Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easy Crock Pot Lasagna

Howdy, y'all. Tex here, and I'm back in the saddle after a wayward week of craziness. Then again, that's what spring break is all about. Even when you're the mom, wrangling a passel of kiddos.

But you have writing to get to, you don't want to read about my escapades. By the way, how are you coming on Speedbo? Are you keeping up? Have you surpassed your goals?

Today's recipe is one I stumbled across over a decade ago. Until then, I rarely made lasagna because it was too involved--making the sauce, boiling the noodles...oy! But this recipe is so easy, it's apt to turn lasagna into a frequent dinner guest.

You're going to need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef (you can also use sweet Italian sausage and forgo the seasonings)
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 - 24 ounce (or there abouts) jar spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu garden combination)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 - 15 oz container cottage or ricotta cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
 Cook beef and Italian seasoning in a large skillet until beef crumbles. I added a pinch of salt, some ground black pepper, and a dash or two of red pepper flakes (I'm looking for flavor, not heat). If you're using sweet Italian sausage, simply remove from the casings (if necessary) and cook until crumbled, no other seasonings needed.

Combine spaghetti sauce and water in a bowl or measuring cup.

Lightly coat the inside of your Crock Pot with cooking spray, then place 4 UNCOOKED--yes, you read that right--noodles in the bottom. Depending on the shape of your pot, you'll likely need to break them a bit to cover the bottom.

Now cover them with half of your meat mixture and half of your sauce mixture. Spread your ricotta or cottage cheese over that. I'm not a fan of ricotta, so I use the cottage cheese. For a little extra flavor, you can stir some freshly grated Parmesan into the cottege cheese before spreading.
Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella.
Then it's the rest of the noodles, meat, sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella.

Put the lid on and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce your heat and cook on LOW for 5 more hours.
Just look at the ooey, gooeyness. Add a slice of garlic bread and we're talking heaven.

And what's not to like about that?


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  2. My family has been asking for lasagna, but I've never tried it in the crock pot. This is going on next week's menu!

    And Speedbo? One of my goals was to push my daily word count up, and that's happening. My other goal was 40,000 words...and I'm at 18,543, and just under half the month to go. If I keep my daily word count up, I shouldn't have any problem making my goal.

    Biggest perk of Speedbo? I love my new WIP :)

    1. Yay, Jan!!! Keep going, girl. You can make it--both your goal and the lasagna :-)

    2. Jan, I love hearing that! Isn't it the truth, we have to delve a little deep sometimes to feel the love of the story! :) You go, girl!

  3. oh, WOW!! I had no idea you could do this without cooking the noodles. YUMMO! Lasagna is one of my very favorite things. Thanks for sharing, Mindy!! I'll add the ingredients to my list now.

    1. Missy, I love that the list of ingredients is typically stuff I have on hand already.

  4. Mindy, I can't wait to try this! Oh my stars, I've heard of doing it with dry noodles, but never dared try it.... and I've got a Crock Pot just DYING to be used more often...


    Lovin' this. Totally.

    1. Ruthy, I was skeptical on the dry noodles too, but it really works. And it sure beats having to haul out a big pot to boil them.

  5. I love the idea of making lasagna in a crock pot. Do you think it would still work if I substituted veggies instead of the beef? Or do you think the meat gives it some extra moisture that it would need to cook?

    My Speedbo did a a belly-flop a few times but I keep on trucking. It will be a miracle if I make my goal -- 70,000...but I'm not out for the count yet. Plus I get a four day weekend over Easter so that should help some. I'm trying my hand at suspense and I'm a panster so it got to the point where I had to stop, plot a bit of the supsense and take notes on what I'd done so far to keep all the facts straight. That ate up my Speedbo hours but didn't generate a lot of words on paper. :-(

    1. I'm a pantser too, Kav, and things do come to that point where we have to do some sort of plotting. Hate it. But it's almost inevitable.

      As for using veggies in the lasagna, if anything, I would think they might add more moisture, depending on the vegetable. You could always cut the water back to 1/3 cup. I say give it a whirl:-)