How to make slow cooker cheesy unstuffed shells made with ground turkey

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Slow cookers are great when you're heading out for the day and want to come home to a comforting homemade meal. Sometimes, however, they're great when you just have stuff to do around the house and don't want to be fussing over a hot stove for an hour or so. Enter the recipe that follows. It's an easy way to satisfy a pasta craving without having to worry about making additional sauces or even baking it in the oven.
This recipe does have a couple of additional steps, so why not just make it on the stovetop? Well, in addition to being able to tend to the garlic bread or salad instead, cheese does something wonderful in the slow cooker –especially the cream cheese this recipe uses. It melts slowly, which allows it to coat every single piece of pasta and really soak into the ground turkey, giving it a nutty, salty flavor that blends rather than stands out. Also, when you add the pasta and water at the end, it won't turn out rubbery like some other slow cooker pasta dishes tend to do.
Cooktop Cove
Slow Cooker Cheesy Unstuffed Shells Made with Ground Turkey
10 minutes
3 hours
3 hours, 10 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 24-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 ounces small dried pasta shells
1 cup water
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and allow it to heat as well.
Add the ground turkey and cook for about 8 minutes until fully browned, breaking it up as you do. When turkey is finished cooking, place in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker.
Add the spaghetti sauce, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, oregano, basil, salt and black pepper to the slow cooker. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 2 hours, until the entire dish is bubbling.
Remove the lid and add dried pasta shells and water. Stir again and place the lid back on the slow cooker. Cook for another hour on low until pasta is tender.
Sprinkle parsley into the dish just before serving.
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