Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Easy Crock Pot Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite dishes.
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)

Also need:
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:
  1. Turn your crock onto low and cook at least 4 hours,  but no longer than 6 hours. OR
  2. Put crock in fridge (up to 24 hours) and cook as above.
  3. 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.
Now for my "fresh" spinach tip.  Spinach leaves freeze really well.  Remove frozen spinach leaves and crush.  Or chop fresh spinach and freeze in small portions.

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
Linking up today with The fabulous HomeAcre Hop

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  1. Looks lovely and I bet it smells nice too.
    I am looking forward to using my crock pot this Fall and will try this recipe.
    Thank-you for sharing and as always for your very kind comments.

  2. What a great idea! Sounds like the key to easy lasagna is the oven ready noodles. Have you found them to be any different than the regular kind? You make me wish I had a crock pot. Do you use yours often?

  3. Linda,
    I do use crock pots often; I have 4! One is for big family gatherings; one is for a small meal, just for my prince and me; the other two are used regularly to make meals like this one and bone broth, etc. Or for Thanksgiving, when I have stuffing in two, potatoes in another, gravy in another. I found a recipe for apple butter that I'm going to try soon. Like bone broth, it cooks for days and days -- so the crock is an economical and safe way to go.

    Regarding the lasagna noodles: they are different in a few ways. Besides not needing to be pre-boiled, they soak up sauce. They come in two shapes, the one pictured above and the usual long rectangle. I prefer the long rectangle, but the grocery shelves had been wiped out recently, so I tried the others.

  4. Sounds great! I will have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing! ~Katie


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