Stir and Go Slow Cooker Shells and Cheese

or so easy it's scary, comfort food made while you wait

So, a couple weeks ago, I was innocently making my own pregnant way through the work week when out of nowhere the migraine I had been fighting all week roared up and took over my life.  As anyone who has had a migraine knows, this took me completely out of commission immediately.  The main problem with this, aside from my hormonal reaction, was that I was home alone and needed to make sure that I was able to eat something without causing myself too much pain in the way of worsening my condition.  So chicken soup was out, I was out of prepped freezer meals, and I was desperately craving comfort food.  Enter the pasta...

Carbs are most definitely comfort food, cover them in cheese and how could you go wrong?  But the process usually involves at least occasional periods of effort, which meant more up and down and activity in general (which my migraine was seriously arguing against).  So what to do?  Use the slow cooker of course!  Now, this is not a recipe that I could set in the morning and have ready after work, since I do not have one of those new fancy slow cookers that are programmable, but on a day when I am home simply incapable of physically manning the kitchen - this was perfect.  The only real effort it took was stirring enough before setting it so that the cheeses were all incorporated.  And the result was delicious, perfectly comforting and ready and waiting when I awoke from my pain induced sleep, I mean nap....  This came to mind again today as my hubby is sitting at home with a head cold trying to nurse it back to health, if only he liked macaroni and cheese in general I wouldn't have to worry about him forgetting to eat.  Oh well, it brought it to my mind and therefor I bring it to yours to share.  Check it out, I hope you enjoy!

2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 ⅔ mini shells or macaroni, uncooked
3 cups low fat milk
10 oz shredded Cheddar & Monterrey Jack cheese
6 oz  ricotta
½ tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for topping before serving

Hardware: slow cooker, crock pot (3 qt sized preferred)

1. Toss all the ingredients together into the slow cooker and stir until the cheeses are well blended.
2. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.
3. Serve immediately topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or top with Italian breadcrumbs and broil the top slightly to crisp in an oven safe container.

The leftovers are perfect for fried mac & cheese experiments, I haven't perfected my own variation yet but I will link it here as soon as I do!

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