I’ve been messing around with noodles in the thermal cooker and I haven’t had awesome luck. If you keep them in the thermal cooker for the entire cooking time, they get swollen and mushy. If you add them for the last 30 minutes of cooking time, they get soft but also kind of gluey because the liquid is no longer actually boiling. Putting noodles to cook in hot but not boiling water is apparently a no-go.
Since I knew I was doing a spaghetti sauce recipe today, I thought I’d give noodles another try. The trick here is to cook the sauce as listed below. When there are maybe twenty minutes left until dinner, bring water to boil in the small inner pot. Add your noodles and boil for a minute or two. Then insert the small inner pot into the cooker with your spaghetti sauce that’s already been cooking for hours. Seal the cooker and let the noodles cook for the amount of time the package directions specifies.
So, for my whole wheat spaghetti noodles, I let them cook for 14 total minutes, including the time they were boiling on the stove and the time they were sealed in the thermal cooker. The package said “Boil 12 minutes.”
Then, what’s the point of using the thermal cooker to cook noodles this way. For one thing, you save a little energy by not having to boil the noodles the whole time. It’s also a convenient way to take dinner on the go. As you’re leaving the house for baseball, put the noodles in and then dish them up on the field.
Now for the sauce. This is an amazing sauce that can be modified a hundred different ways. The basic recipe was taught to me by my Peruvian aunt who was living in Montreal. She taught me how to cook this, while speaking French and with no exact measurements. She just tossed things in the pot and I tried to write down approximate amounts.
I’ve been making this sauce for nearly twenty years now and it’s a little different every time. So, make it your own.
Thermal Cooker Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP parsley
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 28oz can diced or pureed tomatoes
1 14oz can tomato sauce
1 8oz can tomato paste
1 24oz jar marinara sauce
1 tsp liquid beef bouillon or one bouillon cube
2 tsp sugar
Fresh grated parmesan (optional)
Heat oil in skillet and toss in onions. Stir the onions for about 5 minutes until they are translucent and begin to turn golden. Add ground beef or turkey and stir and break into small pieces until most of the pink is gone. Drain most of the fat. Then add garlic and spices and stir for 30 seconds. Dump in tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, marinara, and bullion. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Stir in sugar. Place in the thermal cooker and seal. Let cook for 1-4 hours until you’re ready to eat. Serve over noodles or vegetables and top with parmesan cheese.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1 TBSP minced garlic
- 1 TBSP parsley
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 28oz can diced or pureed tomatoes
- 1 14oz can tomato sauce
- 1 8oz can tomato paste
- 1 24oz jar marinara sauce
- 1 tsp liquid beef bouillon or one bouillon cube
- 2 tsp sugar
- Fresh grated parmesan (optional)
Heat oil in skillet and toss in onions.
Stir the onions for about 5 minutes until they are translucent and begin to turn golden.
Add ground beef or turkey and stir and break into small pieces until most of the pink is gone.
Drain most of the fat.
Then add garlic and spices and stir for 30 seconds.
Dump in tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, marinara, and bullion.
Bring to a boil for 3 minutes.
Stir in sugar.
Place in the thermal cooker and seal.
Let cook for 1-4 hours until you’re ready to eat.
Serve over noodles or vegetables and top with parmesan cheese.
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