November 7, 2009

Crockpot Lasagna

I threw this together yesterday for dinner and it turned out great! This recipe is super fast to assemble if you have frozen browned ground beef on hand. I have been buying ground beef in 3 to 5 pound packages. I brown all the meat at once in a large skillet with a chopped onion. Once cooked, I package each "pound" in a ziploc bag, make sure it's nice and flat, and toss it in the freezer.

This is a HUGE time saver. There are so many recipes that call for browned ground beef and the hardest part for me was always the thawing and browning. Now it's all done ahead of time. I just pop the frozen meat in the microwave for a couple minutes and I'm good to go for anyone of a billion ground beef recipes. Plus, as an added bonus, it saves space in the freezer...we really need a bigger freezer!

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Crockpot Lasagna
8 uncooked(!) lasagna noodles
1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1/3 cup water
15 oz. ricotta or 24 oz. cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Break noodles to fit and place half in bottom of greased slow cooker. Brown and drain ground beef. Stir in Italian seasoning. Spread half of meat over noodles in slow cooker. Layer half of sauce and water, half of ricotta and half of mozzarella cheese over beef. Repeat layer. Cover. Cook on low for 5 hours.

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I was a little worried about the whole not cooking the noodles thing but they were perfect! I actually forgot to grease the crockpot too but lucky for me it didn't stick at all. I hate cleaning out a messy crockpot! I used ground beef but I think it would be really good with Italian sausage and I used cottage cheese because that's what I had. I am really fond of ricotta but I couldn't even taste the difference using the cottage cheese. This was just enough to feed our family with a leftover portion for my husband's lunch. Serve this with bread and a salad...YUM!

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