Whole wheat penne with Slow Cooker Meat Sauce, salad

Mom’s Meat Sauce
1 medium onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic (depending on your tastes), minced
1 pound lean ground beef (we use grass-fed), or beef, pork, and veal mixture
2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Note: For best results, I recommend browning the meat first, then transferring to the slow cooker, but if you’re really pressed for time you can skip that step!
Combine the onions, garlic, and browned meat in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Mix together all the remaining ingredients, pour over the meat, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  Stir well before serving.  This recipe will make enough sauce for 2 pounds of pasta.