Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Zucchini Penne

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The weather here in the mid-Atlantic is turning to Fall and I am taking full advantage of the cooler weather by pulling out my slow cooker and making some good ol' comfort food!  Healthy versions, of course...I mean, that IS what we're doing here, right?  I found a few recipes online for some similar recipes and adapted them to this one using whole grain pasta and no-sugar-added pasta sauce.

The great thing about this recipe is that I'm still getting to use delicious summer veggies like zucchini.  Feel free to jazz this little number up with other veggies like spinach, mushrooms and broccoli.  I kept it simple for Hubs since he'll actually eat zucchini.

Another great thing?  Throw it all into your slow cooker and walk away!  This makes 8 large servings, so it's perfect for guests or leftovers.  You can even freeze your leftovers for later.

1 box of whole grain penne or ziti noodles
2 cans Hunt's No Sugar Added pasta sauce
1 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
2 cup ricotta cheese - I used full fat (yup, I did!) but you can certainly use part skim or fat free
2 medium zucchini, chopped
Optional:  2 oz. turkey pepperoni (please note the calories below includes turkey pepperoni)
2T grated Parmesan cheese
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
2tsp Italian seasoning
Using cold water, rinse the dry penne noodles in a colander and let drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and the spices; set aside.

In the bottom of your slow cooker, pour about 1 cup of sauce and spread to cover the bottom. 

Layer some of the noodles over the sauce.

On top of the first layer of noodles, spread half of the cheese mixture.

On top of that, layer the pepperoni, if using.  If not, layer 1/2 of the zucchini.

Pour some more sauce over that layer.

Repeat, ending with sauce and cover with the remaining mozzarella.

Cook on low setting for approximately 4 hours.

Serves 8
Calories 412 / Carbs 50g / Fat 14g / Protein 25g / Fiber 10g / Sodium 1279mg

Adapted from Tablespoon

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