April 1, 2010

Crock Pot Lasagna

I was looking through a crock pot cookbook, and saw some recipes for crock pot lasagna. I thought I would try it out, but with my own lasagna recipe. My cut piece of lasagna picture up top doesn't look really great, and this is why: I was layering all of my lasagna in the crock pot while talking on the phone with my sister, I put the cheese on top, and all of a sudden I realized I hadn't added any of my meat yet!! So, I tried to lift up pieces, and layers, and put the meat in, but it didn't work very well in making a pretty dish... Oh well, it still tasted DELICIOUS! Husband and kids devoured it. My husband even thought I made the noodles - that's how yummy they turned out!

Really, the only difference in this lasagna and me making it the regular way is I didn't cook the noodles ahead of time to speed up the cooking time, and I didn't have to wait around for lasagna in the oven, I could turn the crock pot on and leave.

**  Update - I now use more cheese than this:  Italian cheese and Mozzarella cheese (usually 16 oz.)

Crock Pot Lasagna:
1 lb. ground beef (browned)
1 lb. Italian sausage (browned)
15 oz. low fat ricotta cheese
12 oz. low fat cottage cheese
8 oz. Italian blend shredded cheese (or whatever kind of cheese you want to use)
1 T. dried parsley (you can use fresh to taste)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 16oz. lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1 2lb 13 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu Garden Combo., or make your own)

1. Combine your browned meats. Set aside.
2. Mix together the next 5 ingredients, reserving a good handful of cheese to sprinkle over the top of the lasagna. (I have also in the past, sprinkled in basil and oregano into the cheese mixture, but I didn't do it this time for some reason. I think it just depends on how flavorful your spaghetti sauce is to what spices you add to your cheese mixture.)
3. Grease your crock pot.
4. Begin layering (But, not while you are on the phone...). Put about one cup of sauce in the bottom of your crock pot, followed by enough lasagna noodles to make one layer to cover the sauce, then spread a portion cheese mixture, then sprinkle a portion of meat mixture, then cover with a portion of sauce. Repeat, until all ingredients are used, ending with sauce on top covered with your reserved cheese.
5. Cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 5 hours, or until noodles are soft.

*** You could also add layers of mushrooms, or cooked spinach, or zucchini, and carrots if you want to make a vegetable lasagna instead of meat. Or for the ultimate lasagna, add everything!


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