There are tons of ways to change up this slow cooker casserole with pasta! Add leftover ground beef, cheese and vegetables for a cheap meal. If you loved our Crockpot chicken casserole with rice this will be your second fave.
Any slow cooker casserole should be a dump and go kinda’ meal. Yes you add the noodles later in the cook time so they stay firm but the other stuff can just be thrown in there to simmer all day by itself. This easy Crockpot recipe is great in the summertime when there are lots of fresh vegetables too. (affiliate links present)
Crockpot Cowboy Casserole
Live in a more rural community where fresh produce is scarce? No problem, you can just used canned corn, diced tomatoes and beans. It’s super versatile and one of my favorite leftover taco meat recipes for sure. It can be made with a protein or vegetarian style.
If you do choose to add sausage kielbasa or ground beef you’d want to brown that ahead of time and add that right from the stovetop to the inner liner. You could make a batch of Crockpot ground beef beforehand but that takes a while so you may not have time for both.
Let’s talk a little bit about slow cooking shall we?? First off I have a few different varieties and I love them all. Each one has an occasion to be used like….
- This is my favorite 6 quart programmable one with a locking lid so it’s great for bringing to a potluck too.
- If you just want to serve a few appetizers you should get this one that sit side by side one another.
- I prefer not to use liners, but rather just spray olive oil inside before adding my food for easier cleanups.
Let me give you a peek of my pretty thang I bought recently. It goes with my kitchen so I can just leave it out on the countertop all the time. 😉
I bet you’ve dreamt about this possibility haven’t you? My grandmother was the queen of all things casserole. With 5 kids and on a military husband’s salary, every bit of dinner needed to be eaten in one way or another.
If hamburgers didn’t get eaten, it would get diced up and thrown in as Crockpot lasagna casserole. BAM, another meal was born.
Canned fish on sale? Slow cooker tuna casserole was on the menu that night. That one warmed up well so that might be lunch the next day too. 😉 Get the drift, like nothing went to waste when every penny counted.
Even though I only have 3 kids and both of us work I still have that mentality, I guess it is ingrained in me from birth. Especially when it comes to meals we all love I make sure they are eaten to the last bite. Meat can be thrown into a second dish and made into something else incredible.
Casserole in a Slow Cooker
Occasionally I can surprise myself at how well a one pot meal can really turn out, that was kinda’ that case with this one.
Using zucchini and bell peppers from our garden worked great and I may not have thought about them had they not been outside my front door. Of course you can tweak it towards your favorite produce.
- An onion diced
- Bell pepper diced, any variety or color is fine
- 2 zucchini sliced
- One can of drained and rinsed kidney beans
- A container of mushrooms
- Can diced tomatoes
- 8 oz tomato paste
- Chicken broth
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Some red pepper flakes if you want to add some heat
- 16 oz pasta small or medium size
- 1 c cheese, or more if you’re like us and can’t get enough
For meat, precooked ground beef, sliced sausage links or spicy ground sausage that is cooked ahead of time is great.
Slow Cooker Casserole with Pasta
I mean when you cook it 6 hours is typical. When it is done you can set to keep warm setting for another hour or so but beyond that it will begin to overcook and the noodles or rice will begin to get more mushy than you’d like. Turn off and leave the lid off to cool down after hour 6 or 7 for best results.
Slow Cooker Pasta
You could add leftover chicken instead of beef to make it as a Crockpot chicken recipe instead. I have a written and printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here is a quick rundown;
- Spray the inside of the pot with non stick spray. Add the bell pepper, onion, zucchini, kidney or black beans, and mushrooms.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and seasonings.
- Add this tomato mixture to the pot and gently fold in to combine with the vegetables.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
- I do not recommend cooking on high like ever, unless if you’re cooking frozen meat
- Gently stir in the cooked pasta.
- Sprinkle cheese over the top and cover until the cheese has melted and noodles are as tender as desired (about 30 min).
- Serve garnished with grated parmesan or shredded cheddar cheese melted
If you add more cheese to the top when served I like to melt it for just a bit. For dairy free you can leave this off or I buy a great alternative from Daya that my husband likes and melts quite well.
Casserole in Crockpot
If you loved this slow cooker recipe we have a few other slow cooker casserole recipes you should try as well. Start with what you have on hand.
Using leftovers is a great way to start. That way it is already precooked and you can learn here how to add noodles into the mix. Here are a few more;
- I mean Crock pot pizza casserole is pretty killer with the kids.
- If you want to use rice instead of noodles you should try our slow cooker chicken and rice.
- You can throw in leftover meat or leave your mac and cheese in Crockpot meatless, kids love this recipe for sure.
During the holidays you can make our layered egg and cheese breakfast casserole. Green bean casserole in this pot is great too because you can keep it on warm for hours. Then unplug and let what is left over to cool down. Everything saves quite well for a good day or two in the fridge.
Slow Cooker Vegetable Casserole
I wouldn’t recommend reheating in the same pot as it would take entirely too long. Just nuke in your microwave instead. It is best to add a bit of moisture before reheating. For this one if you just add a few tbsp of tomato or spaghetti sauce and fold that in it will loosen up the mixture.
Heat in 30 second increments and stir after every time. Then if you want to add some more shredded cheese on top do that after 1.5 minutes or so to get it to melt and get ooey gooey again. You could easily add leftover ground beef or diced chicken into the mix if you wanted to combine leftovers.
I hate wasting food so combining what is left after a few days can create a whole new casserole really. Mess around with the base listed below and let us know if you add something we may have not thought about before.
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Slow Cooker Casserole
- 1 onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 2 zucchini sliced
- 15 oz kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 1 can diced tomatoes 15 oz
- 8 oz tomato paste
- 1 c chicken broth
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 16 oz pasta small or medium size
- 1 c cheese mozzarella shredded
- Spray inside of pot with non stick spray. Add the onion, red bell pepper, zucchini, beans, and mushrooms. In a mixing bowl, stir together the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and seasonings.
- Add this tomato mixture to the slow cooker and gently fold in to combine with the vegetables. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
- Gently stir in the cooked pasta. Sprinkle cheese over the top and cover until the cheese has melted and noodles are as tender as desired (about 30 min). Serve garnished with grated parmesan