Tag: Recipe Review

Taste Test: Pizza Hot Dish In A Slow Cooker

Spending time browsing Pinterest makes me want to do strange things.

After avoiding Pinterest for quite some time, I logged back into my account and gazed in wonder and bewilderment at all of those frosted watermelon “cakes,” two or three ingredient [insert the name of any food imaginable] and recipe round-ups ad nasuem. Of course, nearly every image on Pinterest is vertical because someone’s research found people are more likely to pin them. Now, we have no other choice but to.

Last week my friend posted a nifty recipe for crock pot meatloaf. Between reading her post and seeing crock pot lasagna recipes, pizza hot dish got stuck in my head. I chose to try the Skinny Crock Pot Pizza Casserole recipe from the blog Six Sisters Stuff because it seemed to make slightly less food and contained less cheese and sausage than the other recipes (though I loathe the word skinny).

I did swap ground beef for ground turkey. My new favorite butcher grinds fresh beef and I drained the fat off anyway. Plus, the recipe calls for a cup of pepperoni, so why count calories? A friend commented that this type of pasta dish in the slow cooker can become dry and so I took her advice by adding more pasta sauce and water than the recipe called for. In the end, the pasta had still soaked up most of the sauce.

So, what does happen when you cook marinara sauce, rinsed (but not cooked) spiral noodles, chopped bell pepper and onion, black olives, ground beef, pepperoni, and mozzarella in a slow cooker on low for four-five hours?


The recipe called for fresh garlic. My pasta sauce smelled garlicky, so I omitted it.

The instructions specifically say no peeking while the dish cooks. Five hours later. . .


Honestly, the pizza hot dish in a crock post tasted pretty dang good. Since slow cooking is essentially steaming food, the cheese will melt instead of become golden brown. Also, the noodles at the bottom will feel mushier while the ones near the top will be chewier. Depending on how long you keep the meal on warm, some noodles may even become crunchy, but I didn’t even mind the varying noodle textures because they added textural contrast.

This isn’t the prettiest dish and it’s far from gourmet, but pizza hot dish in the crock pot is comfort food like our mom or school cafeteria might have made. We’re enjoying it enough to keep chipping away at the leftovers. Jake’s only complaint is that he did not like the addition of the green pepper. He likes raw green pepper but thought it got overcooked in the hot dish.

My best advice for anyone who wants to make this dish is to add lots of black pepper and change up the ratio of noodles and pasta sauce. Using about 2/3 box of pasta and 16 oz. of sauce + 1 cup of water might create more sauciness. Who knows, though. Cooking pasta in the slow cooker is wild, you guys.

Recipe Review: Garth’s Breakfast Bowl Waits For No One

Garth BB GIF

Most people choose recipes that sound good. I choose recipes that amuse me.

When Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network cooking show first aired, I remember watching an episode where she prepares Garth’s Breakfast Bowl. She layered tater tots, sausage, bacon, cheese tortellini, scrambled eggs, and cheese. I watched in absolute fascination as she explained how Garth loves to put cheese tortellini in everything, including breakfast.

This episode’s been rattling around in my brain ever since. After dinner one evening, I turned on a recent episode of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and described how she made Garth’s Breakfast Bowl to Jake. “On top of the tots, eggs, cheese, and meat, she adds cheese tortellini! How weird is that?” I exclaimed.

“Actually, that sounds pretty good,” Jake responded. “I love cheese tortellini. We should add them to more dishes.”

And so Garth’s Breakfast Bowl came to fruition. I prepared it in the name of science, of course. To showcase the full glory of Garth’s bowl, I served it in the prettiest glass bowl could get my hands on (thanks Beth). The bowl steamed up as I added each layer (or, ribbons, as I like to call them) of breakfast food.

FInal bowl Collage

One of my friends commented that the tortellini-filled breakfast bowl reminded her of the Friend’s episode where Rachel tries to make an English trifle for dessert. She adds beef, whipped cream, peas, custard, and jam, but, alas, no cheese tortellini. Garth would have totally added tortellini.

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 6.02.16 PM

View the clip on Youtube.

So, how did Garth’s Breakfast Bowl taste? It tasted exactly how you’d imagine tater tots, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs and cheese to taste. The dish was heavy and didn’t provide much textural contrast, but the sum of the flavor didn’t taste any more offensive than each individual component. I froze the leftovers in little containers for occasions where we need some extra fuel.


Honestly, my favorite part about this dish were those cheese tortellini. I guess that means Garth might be onto something. . .

I’m not sure how I feel about this dish, but in all seriousness, Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood were two of my first favorite singers and “Beaches of Cheyenne” and “On A Bus To St. Cloud” were my first favorite songs. 

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