How to make slow cooker beef and cheese pasta (video)

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Sometimes you need a big hearty hug of a meal, that's packed with flavor and truly satisfies.  This is one such recipe, and it's absolutely perfect for rounding off a long day at work, post-training carbs, or for lighting up little faces who don't even realize it's packed with the same vegetables that they might dodge in less-delicious offerings.
Use homemade marinara sauce if you have it and if you want the extra flavor, then cook the onion and garlic in a little of the beef fat instead of draining it all off.  
Beef and cheese pasta
Cooktop Cove
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours, 50 minutes
Serves: 6
2 lb. lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. marinara sauce
15 oz. stewed tomatoes (canned)
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to taste
2 tablespoons dry red wine (optional)
2 beef bouillon cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
10 oz. frozen spinach (or 5 cups fresh, coarsely chopped if desired)
1 lb. rigatoni, cooked al dente
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1½ cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Instructions1. Brown the beef in a skillet and drain the fat before removing the meat and sautéing the onions and garlic until softened but not colored. Then transfer the onions and beef to your slow cooker, and add the marinara sauce, tomatoes, herbs, red pepper flakes, wine and crumbled beef bouillon cubes.
2. Stir everything together until combined and season with salt and pepper before cooking on low for 6 - 8 hours.
3.  Once the cooking time is up, add the cooked pasta and cheeses (and frozen spinach if using), then stir gently to combine and cook for a further 30 minutes on high. Finally, stir through the raw spinach leaves before serving if frozen was not used. Add more salt and pepper if desired. 
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