Clearly Fresh Bags Keep Food Clearly Fresher Longer!
December 2011: Stocking Stuffers

Lasagna In A Crock Pot? Yes, You Can!

An Easy, Adaptable, Slow Cooker Recipe

Lasagna in All-Clad Crock Pot after cooking for 5 hoursThink you can't do lasagna in a crock pot? Think again, you can! And it's easy as a blueberry pie!

Besides the time savings, and ease, the best part about this recipe is that it is fully adaptable to your choice of ingredients. Whether you're a vegetarian or love a traditional meat lasagna, you can make both versions using the following recipe. I tested this recipe a number of times until I got it just right, so I can share it with you.

Ingredients (see *NOTE*)

1.5 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Fresh Basil

1 - 2 boxes lasagna noodles (the old-fashioned kind, NOT the "no boil" or "no cook" type)

3 jars of pasta sauce - your brand choice, but use at least the 24 oz. size

16 oz. Mozzarella cheese - whole or part skim, sliced into cubes

Ricotta cheese - My "less is more" philosophy on calories = I use a small, 15 oz. whole milk ricotta; it holds up to the heat better than the low fat or part skim options when using a slow-cooker. There may be less of it throughout the lasagna, but it tastes so much better than the other types.

Option 1 - Vegetable Lasagna {the listed veggies do not have to be cooked before adding to the crock pot}

Eggplant - skinned & cut lengthwise; Zucchini - skinned & cut either lengthwise or in 1/4" circles; Red Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms - generously sliced (if they are too small, they won't hold up to the heat)

Option 2 - Meat Lasagna {meat should be browned before adding to the crock pot}

Lean Ground Beef AND/OR Sausage- Add some olive oil and brown beef or sausage (best to slice it first) in a skillet, but don't overcook it. Mix in 1/2 cup pasta sauce at the end to keep it moist. NOTE: You can add chopped onions for extra flavor.

TIP: With either option, you will also need to line the bottom of the cooker with chopped onions or red peppers.

Instructions

1. To help with the clean up: use a paper towel & swipe the bottom & sides of your crock pot with thin layer of olive oil.

2. Layer the bottom with chopped onions or red peppers (or a combination).

3. Add a layer of overlapping lasagna noodles: you may have to break them to create a full "floor" to support the veggies/meat.

4. Build a level of vegetables (or meat, or both) by layering the eggplant, zucchini, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, random dollops of ricotta, a handful of cubed mozzarella, basil, topped by sauce.

5. Add another layer of lasagna noodles, repeating the process. Be generous with the pasta sauce on each layer. TIP: After you arrange the lasagna noodles and before adding the toppings, gently push down a bit on each layer. The whole batch will cook down a lot, so this step will give you a bit more room to build an extra layer to fill the crock pot.

6. When it is filled to the top edge, cover with one last layer of noodles, add more sauce. Cover the slow cooker. TIP: Save clean up time & don't add mozzarella cheese to the top layer of noodles because the cheese can bubble up and stick to the glass.)

7. Cook on LOW heat for about 5 hours. (Don't rush it... I tested this recipe on High for 4 hours, and the noodles were very gooey.)

Vegetable Lasagna square on white plate*NOTE*: You may have to increase/decrease the cooking time and amount of ingredient items according to the size of your crock pot. I listed the amount used for a large crock pot; obviously, the vegetable quotient is up to you and your likes/dislikes. FYI, I used an All-Clad 6.5 quart slow-cooker similar to the one show below - and I LOVE it!!

So there you have it! An easy lasagna recipe that is sure to please everyone at dinner, and for lunch the next day. Pour a glass of red wine and enjoy!

Comments