Crock Pot Buddies – MacGyver Meal

If it’s Thursday, it’s time for Crock Pot Buddies with me and my cooking-partner-in-crime Cristina over at!  Have you tried any of our Crock Pot recipes yet?  How did it turn out? Please make sure to comment below to let me know how it went, or if you have any tips/suggestions for the recipe.    This week Cristina’s serving up a tasty Mexican meal, Good Ole Chicken Soup and me, well, as you’ll see it was a work in progress!

 After a long and chilly, but fortunately un-snowy season, Spring officially sprung this past Tuesday.  Right on cue, the weather started cooperating here in the Northeast (NJ to be specific) and it’s been sunny and unseasonably warm, with temperatures more like summer than spring.   And I’ve been totally taken over by the Spring Cleaning Fairy!  In the past few days I’ve already packed up my sweaters, put away the family’s wool coats and even swapped out all the kidlets long-sleeved tops for short-sleeved fare.  Now that the closets were in shape for Spring, next up was tackling the freezer to use up and clean out what’s been hibernating up there for nearly half a year.   So this week’s recipe is called the MacGyver Meal because I took what I found in my freezer and along with some staple ingredients and turned it into not one, but two meals.

In the depths of my freezer I found some sweet Italian turkey sausage and some breasts of chicken. I always have cans of tomatoes on hand in the pantry and looking inside the fridge; I discovered I had the holy trinity of root vegetables – onions, carrots and celery.  I immediately started thinking I could turn this into a sort of Primavera.  The best part would be that I would cook once and eat twice out of this crock-pottery, with two different meal options.

Sausage & chicken browning in my crock-pot

Sauteing the holy grail of root vegetables – onions, carrots & celery. And what good Italian girl doesn’t have a variety of cans of tomatoes in her pantry!

It may not have been the most original or prettiest meal, but a great way to use up what I had on hand and not waste food.

Here’s what it all looked like simmering in the crock pot after 8 hours on low

If you’re like me and have a multi-setting crock pot, mine is the Cusinart Multi-Cooker, you can do everything in the crock pot. Starting on the sauté setting, brown the meat and veggies then prep the sauce with spices before switching over to the slow cook option.  If not, you can brown the various meats and veggies in a skillet on the stove before putting it all in your crock pot and adding the sauce and spices.  I served this meal with a fresh mushroom-flavored linguine, which contrasted nicely to the red of the sauce and dark caramel color of the browned meat.

Plated dish, a little chicken & sausage Primavera with mushroom-flavored linguine

MacGyver Meal
Prep time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6 people
Slow Cook Time: 8 Hours on Low or 3 1/2 – 4 Hours on HIGH


1 ½ pounds of sweet Italian turkey sausage, left whole and in the casing
8 oz of boneless chicken breast, cut into thick strips/chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp Extra Virgin olive oil
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 ½ – 2 Tbsp of tomato paste
1 ½  tsp salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Sugar
2 medium to large Bay leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese


1.  Heat pan and brown meat separately.  Once brown, remove from pan and put aside.

2. Add olive oil and sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic until slightly tender, about 7 minutes.

3. Add tomato sauce, paste, spices and stir thoroughly.

4. Nestle the meat back into the crock pot and make sure meat is completely covered by sauce.

5. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 hours on low or 3 1/2 to 4 hours or high.

6. Serve over pasta and add grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

Now it’s your turn to share.  Please link up below your favorite crock-pot recipe below and don’t forget to share your shortcuts or improvements to your dish.  Remember, there’s always time for a home cooked meal with your crock-pot!

Copyright © 2012 The Harried Mom. All Rights Reserved.


    • TheHarriedMom says

      Oh, it is the Cadillac of all crock pots I’ve ever had. I’m glad you finally got on…I think I need to “deactivate” that feature….

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