A generous ladle of this Slow Cooker Sausage Ragu is the best companion for a cold winter night.
I’ve never been much for resolutions, but I do enjoy taking some time at the beginning of a new year to reflect and plan, dream and remember. I know it sounds terribly selfish, but sometimes I forget to stop and be grateful for this life I’ve been given. In 2014, I visited five different states (plus discovered some hidden treasures in my own), met online friends in person for the first time, quit my job to pursue full time blogging, celebrated five different weddings of dear friends, and experienced the wonder that is Hot Chicken.
When I look back at this year, I’m overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I won’t tell you it’s all been easy or fun. There have been mouse infestations and gutters falling off the house, health issues and Polar Vortexes. But in the midst of the day-to-day grind, I see the punctuations of grace. Grace was there in a California sunset, in a late night heart to heart with a best friend. It was there when the tears brought healing, when new friendships were formed, when my husband and I walked hand in hand on a Cape Cod shore. I am so thankful for this crazy, hard, wild, beautiful, unexpected life.
I’m not planning to sit down and make a list of SMART goals for 2015 or post my resolutions to the fridge. I have no idea what to expect of this year, but if there’s one thing I am hoping for, it’s that I can be fully present for whatever may come. I want to soak up every bit of this life I’ve been given, practice thankfulness, and be intentional with my time. Maybe that means not bringing my phone to dinner with a friend or leaving the computer off for an entire weekend. Maybe it means inviting people to my house even when it’s a hot mess or choosing celebration of the women around me over comparison. Instead of focusing on doing more, I want to focus on being present and showing up for every moment of life I’ve been given.
I guess I shouldn’t say I’ve totally shunned resolutions, because I do have a few for NeighborFood. One of those is to better communicate with you, the readers, and give you more of what you want. Back in September, I asked all of you what you would like to see in this space, and you answered with a resounding “Slow Cooker Recipes PLEASE!!” I heard you loud and clear, and I’m excited to tell you this entire month will be dedicated solely to crock pot favorites, starting with this hearty sausage ragu.
This is the kind of recipe you want to come home to on a cold winter night. It’s loaded with Italian Sausage and ground beef which simmer all day in an herby tomato wine sauce. Served over a pile of pasta, it makes a filling one pot meal.
I know a lot of you are probably resolving to eat healthier this year, and this recipe can definitely fit in. The sauce itself is gluten free and dairy free, loaded with carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and checks in at about 320 calories a serving. Pick a heart0healthy whole wheat or gluten free pasta to go with it, and you’ve got a hearty meal you can feel good about serving to your family. The Mr. went wild for this, and said he’d be fine if it made it onto our menu every single week. That, my friends, is high praise.
This recipe does require browning the meat before adding it to the crock pot, but other than that, it’s a throw it in and forget it recipe. I like to brown the meat and chop the vegetables the night before so I only have to spend 5 minutes in the morning getting everything ready to go.
I’m so excited to share more slow cooker favorites with you in the coming weeks. Here’s to being present, being thankful, and enjoying every moment of 2015!
Slow Cooker Italian Sausage, Beef, and Vegetable Ragu
To make this easy, I like to cook the meat the night before then just throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning. Prep is a breeze!
- 1 lb. Italian Sausage, in a roll or links with casing removed
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 6 ounce cans tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 3 stalks celery, chopped fine
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb. pasta of your choice (I like something hearty like rigatoni or cavatappi)
- In a large skillet, cook the Italian sausage and ground beef over medium heat, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until beginning to brown. Add the chopped onion and cook until meat is no longer pink and onion is translucent. Drain any excess fat off the pan, then place the meat mixture in the slow cooker.
- Add the tomatoes, paste, wine, celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, and oregano to the slow cooker and stir everything together. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with a hearty pasta, such as pappardelle or rotini.
Recipe by NeighborFood
Looking for more meaty Slow Cooker favorites? Try these!
Slow Cooker Braised Short Ribs from Big Bear’s Wife
Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff from The Daring Gourmet
Slow Cooker Swiss Steak from The Midnight Baker