i should be mopping the floor: Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

This Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is perfection over spaghetti squash.
Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.

As a kid, we traveled down to San Antonio one Sunday a month to visit my two elderly aunts. I always loved those trips because it meant a fancy dinner at a restaurant called the Crystal Baking Company (which has been closed for a while now, sniff). They had white linen table cloths, carousel horses hanging from the ceiling, and the most glorious menu I had ever seen. I would always order the Bolognese Sauce, which they served over a fatter noodle called tagliatelle pasta. It. Was. Awesome. I always swore when I was older that I'd learn to make Bolognese Sauce myself.
My late uncle was a talented pastry chef for another San Antonio restaurant in the early 1900s...but he knew his way around some amazing savory dishes, too. The traditional Bolognese Sauce recipe that I found in his personal recipe box calls for 1/2 cow, preferably already processed. It also makes enough to feed an army...literally. He did some cooking for that restaurant, too...so the quantities are interesting, to say the least.
These days, I rarely have time to process 1/2 of a cow myself, y'all. I mean, what with work and family stuff and blogging and all. Ahem. Let me be frank. Never in my entire life have I processed any portion of a cow. The most trouble I go through is tearing off the cellophane from the ground beef's styrofoam tray. Times have changed, no?
But just because our lives are more hectic doesn't mean we can't still enjoy an amazingly delicious dinner...even, dare I say it, on a weeknight. Check out this Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce below...and how I serve it over spaghetti squash for total guilt-free deliciousness. 

Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.
This newer version of my childhood fave, is made lighter with leaner cuts of beef, less oil, and lighter cream. I also omitted the traditional red wine and replaced it with vegetable broth. I honestly can't have wine on the diet I've been on for a while, so I don't even cook with it anymore either. But, if you'd prefer, you can certainly replace the vegetable broth with it. It's also perfect for the slow cooker. You can make it in the morning and come home to a delicious Bolognese feast waiting for you. All you need to do is throw your spaghetti squash in the oven for a bit and you're ready to go.


Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.
Making light meals more conveniently is the key to us staying on a more wholesome eating path. And I love using spaghetti squash in place of pasta these days. I don't even miss the carbs, y'all. 


Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.
I use Horizon's Half & Half in place of a heavy cream for this lightened up version of a classic. It's still deliciously creamy without sacrificing any flavor from the original. You'll wait to add the half and half until the very end. 
Often times, if I will be home all day, I will just cook the sauce in my large pot and leave it on low on the stove. It saves me from having to clean the slow cooker later on. 
Another bonus is the large batch that this recipe makes. I freeze half of it and then have another meal ready to go in a couple of weeks. 
Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.
I know there's several schools of thoughts on how to prepare spaghetti squash. Me, I bake it. I microwaved them for years, y'all. And then one day our microwave broke mid-spaghetti squash cooking (those long microwave times just did it in, finally). I transferred it to the oven and fell in love with it even more. Something about that almost-caramelized texture the oven does really makes me weak in the knees.

My Spaghetti Squash Method:
  • Cut stem off of spaghetti squash with the sturdiest, sharpest knife you own (like, a machete...or similar, wink). But, seriously, these things can be tough to cut...use caution and just work your way through it.
  • Turn squash upside down to rest on cut-stem side. Slice it in half, long ways (with that machete of yours, again).
  • Remove the seeds from the squash (I use a grapefruit spoon for this).
  • Brush flesh with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  • Place squash halves, cut sides down, onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Allow to cool so you can handle it easily.
  • Scrape out insides with a fork to form spaghetti strands.
Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.


Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 3 large carrots, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Horizon Organic Half and Half
  • dried parsley


Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until liquid begins to evaporate and add vegetable broth. Continue to cook until liquid is nearly gone. Add ground beef. Season ground beef with salt and pepper as you begin to break it up with a spoon and cook it. Cook until beef is almost done. Add garlic and cook beef completely. Drain fat.

Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Stir until combined.

Transfer to slow cooker. Cook over low 6-8 hours. 

Add half and half during last few minutes of cooking.
Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve over spaghetti squash or pasta. Makes a large batch and freezes well.



Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.
For more smart meal inspiration, follow Horizon Organics through their social media channels:

Skinny Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce | A lightened up version of the classic dish made easy in the slow cooker. | Makes a large batch and freezes beautifully.
How do you make smarter meals out of classic favorites?

This conversation is sponsored by Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.







36 comments:

  1. I have actually NEVER had spaghetti squash before - but this looks amazing!

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    1. It is SO delicious! It wasn't even one of those things I had to get used to...I loved it right away! It's just as satisfying as regular spaghetti...minus the carb overload!

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  2. That sounds phenomenal! I LOVE spaghetti squash. A LOT.

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  3. Yum! I love that I don't have to give up my favorite meals when I'm trying to be good. I need to try this one.

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    1. That's right!! Have a delicious alternative makes it so much easier to say on track! Thank you for stopping by, Melanie!

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  4. I'm currently watching my weight, so your recipe will be a must try! Thanks!

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    1. You won't be disappointed! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

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    1. It really is, Nicole! I hope you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I love bolognese! This sounds so delicious!

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  7. We are big Horizon Organic fans in our house. This looks great!

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    1. Yes, same here! Thank you bunches for stopping by, Melissa!

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  8. We are big Horizon Organic fans in our house. This looks great!

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  9. I've never tried it looks delicious and tasty.

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  10. I do like but have never tried to make spaghetti squash--other then the cutting it sounds super easy! As for the Bolognese sauce--I might try to make a much smaller portion on the stove top.

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    1. It's so easy! The cutting isn't so bad...It just really helps to have the right type of knife! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

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  11. This looks really good! I've tried spaghetti squash before and it is great, especially if you are tryng to eat healthier.

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    1. So true!, Danita! There is a lot less guilt with this dish than regular spaghetti!

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  12. Yum! Love spaghetti squash, and its the best with a delicious sauce like this! Pinning it. :)

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    1. Thank you for the pin, Sarah! And thank you bunches for stopping by!

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  13. I've never used spaghetti squash in place of pasta before, but this looks really good!

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    1. I didn't know if I would like it at first...but it really does taste delicious! It's just as satisfying as regular spaghetti...but so much better for you!

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  14. I LOVE using squash in place of pasta. Delicious and saves so many carbs!

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    1. Yes! It's the perfect alternative! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

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  15. It looks so yummy! thanks for sharing

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  16. Wow this recipe looks so yummy and I love using the slow cooking in the cooler months to make dinner.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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  17. This recipe is so freaking yummy! Plus it had so many components we are in love with over at Munching Mondays! #1 Slow Cooker #2 Skinny #3 Spaghetti Squash instructions!!!Congrats on being featured this week at Munching Mondays #111!

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