I'm a huge fan of slow cookers (aka crockpots). In fact, I think crockpots are downright sexy. Well, perhaps we won't agree on that, but what we likely will align on is how incredibly handy slow cookers are for simplifying mealtimes. When faced with a slew of CSA tomatoes (that we were told were best for sauces), I recently whipped up a batch of slow cooker marinara that made the whole family insanely happy. Here's the how-to (awesome spoiler: no blender required!):
Brief history: this was my second seasonal attempt at homemade marinara. The first time I used a standard recipe and it tasted good, but it just seemed like way too much work (chopping, sautéing, and OMG more dishes in the sink + I burned myself during the puree step), especially since we're talking about what essentially boils down to mashed tomatoes.
So, I made up a recipe to just toss it all in the slow cooker. And it was awesome. It takes maybe 10 minutes to prep and then you walk away and you don't need to puree anything. YAY.
Christine's Super Easy Slow Cooker Marinara
Prepare all ingredients and toss in your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours (I suspect 6 hours would do the trick). Once cooked, mash marinara with a potato masher to break up the big chunks (some residual chunks are fine, in my opinion). This recipe will render enough to fill some containers to freeze for future meals as well as for dinner that night.
The first time I made this recipe we ended up going out to dinner that night so the next day, I mixed up some simple meatballs, placed them in the crockpot and covered with marinara and cooked on low for 6 hours. We made a pot of brown rice and Jon, Violet, and I had the meatballs and marinara over brown rice and Laurel (our vegetarian) ate a separate (meat-free) serving of marinara over brown rice. All with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Delicious. Enjoy!
Image credits: Christine Koh