Easy Slow Cooker Recipe – Italian Mac ‘N Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes

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Warm, gooey comfort food meets the easy of the slow cooker in this Italian twist on a diner classic.

Warm, gooey comfort food meets the ease of the slow cooker in this Italian twist on a dinner classic. ©2014 Couponista Queen

 

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As part of their coming Build Your Kitchen Drawer Contest starting June 2 (Be on the lookout for more posts from me!) Good Cook sent me 5 essential items for your kitchen drawer and challenged me to come up with a one dish recipe that used them.  Well, challenge accepted, and I have to say we were very pleased with the results of the Easy Slow Cooker Italian Mac ‘N Cheese with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions and I will be making this again.   Scroll down for the recipe, but first… Good Cook sent these must-haves for any kitchen drawer:

Smart Ice Cream Scoop (A new take on a classic, this scoop takes on the hardest or softest ice cream, but I used it to serve my mac ‘ n cheese and the non-stick surface made it a snap.)

Flip Measuring Spoon  (Only ONE measuring spoon to keep track of…or lose lol!  This one is very cool, flip to measure 1/2 tsp and tbsp!)

Safe-cut Can Opener (I am, no joke, can opener impaired.  Even I was able to use this one to easily and safely to open not one but two cans in a row without cursing, a new record for me.)

Egg Separator (Maybe we should call this one a “conscious egg uncoupler” instead.  I dig the way it hangs on the side of a bowl, because let’s face it, it does me no good if I drop the whole thing in.)

Pot Clip Holder (The handles on my utensils will no longer suffer the pain of my stupidity when I leave them laying on the edge of a hot pan.  Long live this pot clip!  These are going to be stocking stuffers this year.) I was able to actually use all 5 items.  No kitchen tools were harmed in the making of this recipe! Good_Cook_Cuild_Your_Kitchen_Drawer_Contest BUT a kitchen drawer is not complete with just 5 items…SO Good Cook is doing something to help all of YOU good cooks to stock your own kitchen drawer.  I was selected to build my own kitchen drawer, and beginning June 2, 2014 (and ending July 14, 2014) you will have a daily chance to enter to WIN the kitchen drawer of your choice: you can win mine (The BEST one of course!!), build your own, or select any of the other drawers built by my fellow Good Cook Kitchen Experts.  There will be also be instant win prizes and there is a 5-day giveaway event on the Good Cook Facebook page starting June 2 through June 7.   Good_Cook_Kitchen_Drawer_add_meVisit the Good Cook Facebook page May 28 for details and follow @GoodCook on Twitter!  ALL of the items I selected will be 25% off during the contest–look for the Add Me graphic to build your drawer for a chance to WIN starting June 2. Come back here on June 2 for my post with more details and my drawer selections plus a NEW recipe using the items in my Kitchen Drawer.  

 

Easy Slow Cooker Italian Mac ‘N Cheese with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions

Warm, gooey comfort food meets the ease of the slow cooker in this Italian twist on a dinner classic.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish, 4 as a main dish.  Prep time approximately 15 minutes.  Cook time 90 minutes to 2 hours on low in a slow cooker.

Italian_Mac_N_Cheese_Collage

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of margarine

8 Ounces uncooked Elbow Macaroni

1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 large sweet onion, sliced thin or chopped (about 3 cups)

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning to taste

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to taste

1/4 teaspoon of pepper (I used white pepper)

red pepper to taste

1/4 cup water

6 ounces of Velveeta or similar loaf cheese.  Processed cheese is necessary to withstand the long heat of a slow cooker without curdling.

1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk.  I use the fat free version and it is just as good.  Do not use regular milk as it will curdle in the heat.

2 tablespoons of real butter

1 large egg

Parmesan cheese for garnish

shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

parsley for garnish

Directions:

Using the 2 tbsp. of margarine, coat the inside of a cold slow cooker.  Add the uncooked pasta noodles and the can of crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine.

In a nonstick skillet on med-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the onions.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir.  Cook 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and cook another 15 minutes stirring occasionally till onions are caramelized but NOT burnt.  Do not burn the sugar.  Add the cooked caramelized onions to the slow cooker.  

In the same skillet, add the evaporated milk, water, and the Velveeta cheese (cut into chunks for faster melting).  Stirring constantly, melt the cheese over low heat just until fully combined.  Do NOT let this mixture boil.  Turn off the heat, add the salt, pepper, and red pepper, and allow the mix to cool for FIVE minutes.  This is necessary to keep from cooking the egg.

While the mixture is cooling, separate a large egg.   Beat the egg white.  After the cheese mixture cools 5 minutes, add it to the slow cooker.  Add the garlic powder and the Italian seasoning and stir to combine all the ingredients.  Stir in the egg yolk.  Stir in the egg white, being careful to not over stir.  Put the lid on, turn the cooker on low, and check to see if the pasta is done after 90 minutes to 2 hours.  When done, sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and parsley.  Refrigerate any leftovers within an hour.  Serves 6-8 as a side dish, 4 as a main.


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Comments

  1. Mmm..that looks so good! 🙂 I love anything Mac n Cheese!!

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