Monday, July 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

I think I ate enough pizza in college to last a lifetime.  Without revealing my age, let's just say it's been awhile since I've had pizza or ramen noodles as meals on a regular basis.  However, it still remains something I'm kind of burned out on.  If we're going to break down and have pizza, it either has to be homemade or something really, really good topped with quality ingredients like fresh basil or feta cheese.  That being said, I'm a sucker for anything in the slow cooker because it's easy-peasy and fortunately the rest of the family is not opposed to pizza as often as I am.  This casserole tastes exactly like a pizza, only easy and in one pot.  Great on a busy day.  It makes a TON, so if you have a big family, you're in luck.  If you don't, you're still in luck because you'll have great leftovers!

Tastes just like a pizza!
Only the ease of the slow cooker!
The Line-Up
Don't worry, you're just layering ingredients.
It's easy!
Brown ground beef and sausage together...
Combine uncooked pasta with marinara sauce.
Season with oregano.
Begin layering ingredients in the slow cooker:
First pasta mixture, then beef mixture.
Next is onions, green peppers
and mushrooms.
Add shredded cheese and a layer of pepperoni.
Repeat layers.
Just like the old "pizza in college days"
only way better!

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole
1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta, uncooked
2 (24 ounce) jars marinara sauce
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 pound ground beef
1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or spicy, your choice) removed from casing and crumbled
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
5-6 large button mushrooms, sliced
4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
sliced pepperoni

In a large skillet, brown together the beef and sausage.  Drain well.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the uncooked pasta with the marinara sauce and oregano.  Spray the interior of the crock with cooking spray.  Place half of pasta mixture in bottom of crockpot.  Add half of the beef/sausage mixture.  Sprinkle with half of the onions, half of the green pepper, half of the mushrooms and half of the cheese.  Add a layer of pepperoni slices then repeat the layers, ending with sliced pepperoni on top.  Cover and cook on low about 6 hours. 

NOTE:  I was concerned about using the pasta uncooked, but it came out just fine.  Make sure you half plenty of sauce, because the pasta needs to absorb it to get tender.  Feel free to change the ingredients to your favorite pizza toppings too!

Prep Time:  Approximately 25 minutes      Cook Time:  Approximately 6 hours

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