Crockpot Ziti & a Garlic Story...
“And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted." Numbers 11:5
God supplies all our needs - especially during fall harvest.
Fall has finally arrived in South Carolina!
Well, sort of. After about 4 months of 90 degrees and humid, temps have officially dropped below 80 degrees!
At night anyway. And early morning. And after the sun goes down. 🤨
So it's time for fall comfort food! Here's a recipe I whipped up last week in about 20 minutes, stuck into the crockpot, and enjoyed that evening. Yum!
1# ziti pasta
2# Italian sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
14 oz. bag frozen peppers and onions
1 T. minced garlic
1 large 32 oz. jar Classico Tomato & Basil sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil cooking spray
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, brown sausage in a large skillet.
Once sausage is fully cooked, reserve drippings in pan.
Remove sausage from pan with a slotted spoon.
Drain sausage on a paper towel-lined platter.
Using pan with reserved drippings, saute garlic, peppers and onions just until softened.
After draining and rinsing cooked pasta, pour into a large pot or bowl. (I used the same pot that I cooked the pasta in.)
Stir remaining ingredients (except cooking spray) into pasta. Combine well.
Coat inside of crockpot with olive oil cooking spray.
Pour pasta combination into crockpot.
Cook on low 3-4 hours, or on high 1-2 hours.
Serve hot with tossed green salad and garlic bread. True comfort food!
* Recipe can easily be halved. Very forgiving if ingredient package sizes are not exact. Recipe can also be baked in a large baking dish in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. Can be made ahead and cooked/baked within 24 hours. Also freezes well.
Now for a funny garlic story!
Remember last week, when I talked about my grandmother's farm and how her flower-loving genes were passed down?
Remember the side comment about a funny garlic story I'd tell you later?
Today is the day.
But first, a clarification.
That photo of my grandma's house? It was an old photo from many years ago. I live in South Carolina and my grandmother's house is in Ohio. So I don't have a recent photo.
Maybe the plants next to the chimney weren't hollyhocks any more.
But that's where I remember them growing when I was a kid.
There was this big shade tree with a picnic table underneath it, and I would sit there and stare at all Grandma's flowers in awe.
Someday I wanted to grow flowers like my grandmother did.
So now I do!
But I don't grow garlic, thank you very much. I buy it at the store.
Actually, it's surprising that I eat garlic at all, considering my first experience with it.
Now mind you, for whatever reason, my mother never cooked with garlic.
Her heritage is Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Polish and Russian.
My father's family is maybe English or Scottish to the best of my knowledge.
Not an Italian in the bunch.
So it's really more surprising that Grandma grew garlic than that Mom didn't use it.
So... as best I recall... I was about eight years old this particular day we visited Grandma's farm.
My Aunt Monica is only ten years older than me, and she was still in high school.
She led me to the back forty to explore.
(Photo is not my grandma's farm... but this gives you an idea of the back forty acres!)
Behind the barn, the milk house and the corn crib, beyond the vegetable gardens, the grape vines and the fruit trees, we found these oddly shaped cream-colored things growing.
I had no idea what they were. So I asked Aunt Monica.
She told me they were garlic.
But I didn't know what that was.
And got a mischievous look in her eye.
She assured me it was food.
It didn't look like food to me.
She told me to taste it.
I was reluctant. She had that look.
She was persistent. And she was my aunt.
She wouldn't poison me!
It definitely wasn't a flower.
So Grandma wouldn't grow it if it wasn't food.
Taste it, it's good, Aunt Monica coaxed.
So I took a bite of garlic, straight off the plant.
It was pungent.
Just a little. 😉
And I needed WATER!
But we were in the back forty.
Behind the barn and the buildings
and the gardens and the orchard.
It was a LONG walk back to the house.
That day, it was a long RUN.
Aunt Monica had a good laugh on me that day.
And I'll never forget my first time tasting garlic.
Somehow, these days I love it.
But not straight from the clove.
Thanks, Aunt Monica, for a laugh that lasts! And thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of laughter!
“God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me." Genesis 21:6
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Do you have a funny food story?
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