Bon Appetit: Crockpot Lasagna

I purchased a crockpot a couple of months ago with sincere intentions of using it a lot.  I thought there would be an abundance of recipes available for foods that I could leave in the crockpot all day while I was at work. I had dreams of coming home to the aroma of a freshly cooked dinner just waiting to be devoured. Well, my dreams were crushed.  Most recipes I've found instruct you to cook your crockpot creation for 4-5 hours. If your schedule is like mine, you can't come home at lunch to cook dinner. So, I was thrilled to come across this recipe for crockpot lasagna that can cook on warm for 6-8 hours! SCORE!

What ingredients do you need?
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1/2 garlic clove, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic)
3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded (approximately 1 1/4 cup)
1 (12 oz.) carton ricotta cheese
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp. basil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. parsley flakes
1 (10 oz.) pkg. lasagna noodles, broken into bite size pieces
1 1/2 tbsp. oil
Now it's time to cook! I did most of this the night before so that I didn't have to wake up extra early to cook before work.

Night before:
Brown the ground beef and sausage and then drain. Place in a lightly greased crockpot. Add in and stir all ingredients EXCEPT for mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, tomato paste, water, noodles, and oil.  Place in the refrigirator overnight. Break up lasagna noodles into small pieces and place in large plastic bag.

The next morning:
Cook noodles just until tender (about 5-6 minutes). Drain and then toss in oil.  Add in the remaining ingredients (mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, tomato paste, and water) to the crockpot. Stir ingredients and add the noodles in last. Cover and cook on warm* for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. When it's ready to serve, sprinkle with a little mozzarella cheese.

I cut the original recipe in half, and it feeds two with plenty of leftovers.  I would even go so far as to say this would easily feed a family of 4.  If you're feeding a large group, though, feel free to double it! I have a 5 quart crockpot, and this recipe filled it about 3/4 full. So, if you're doubling it make sure you have a big enough crockpot.  Also, the original recipe calls for cottage cheese instead of ricotta, so you may want to make that substition if you're a bigger fan of cottage cheese than I am.


*Cook on the lowest setting your crockpot offers. On mine, "warm" is lower than "low". If you choose to cook it on low, be sure that you are able to stir it occasionally or else the outer edges will burn and the middle will be dried up. I learned this the hard way. :)



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