Until recently, lasagna has been time-consuming to prepare, but well worth the effort... especially when I make and freeze it two weeks before our traditional Christmas feast, where we serve as many as 26 sit-down guests.
HOWEVER, I have learned how to make lasagna in the crock pot. NOW I assemble it on regular ole' weekdays in just a few minutes. The recipe I'm about to share serves 4 hungry people, including second portions AND leftovers. OR 8 mildly hungry people -- too polite to ask for seconds...still with leftovers. Here's my recipe.
2 lb Ricotta cheese (I use Kraft Simply Original)
2 Large handfuls shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped "fresh" spinach (quick hint below)
2 fresh eggs
1 pinch nutmeg
1 Tbs sugar
Pepper (up to 1/4 tsp)
1 pinch of Love (I add this ingredient to everything!)
1/2 lb ground meat (I use ground sirloin)
(Or sliced, Italian sausage as I do on Christmas.)
1 24 oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water or broth (I use bone broth)
1/2 Pkg. oven ready lasagna noodles
2 1/2 quart slow cooker / This size works best.
1/3 cup Mozzarella and 2 -3 Tbs Parmesan for top.
Brown meat, add sauce, add broth to jar and shake; then pour into sauce mixture. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine filling ingredients.
Lightly spray slow cooker with cooking spray (I use olive oil). Add one layer of sauce to cover the bottom of crock. Break noodles to form your next layer. Cover noodles with 1/3 of the filling mixture, another layer of noodles, sauce, another layer of filling another layer of noodles, and most of the remaining sauce. By now, you should be to the top of your crock. ( Don't worry if you mixed up the layering...it will not matter.) Break and arrange a layer of noodles and press them into the top layer of sauce with your fingers to submerge. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.
At this point you may do one of the following:
- Turn your crock onto low and cook at least 4 hours, but no longer than 6 hours. OR
- Put crock in fridge (up to 24 hours) and cook as above.
- Seal with plastic wrap and foil, and freeze (only if you have more than one crock pot). Remove from freezer and cook on low 6-8 hours.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Note: my recipe was inspired by a blogger who posted the recipe to Pinterest. from the blog: tablespoon.com