I'm always looking for new ways to use my Crock Pot (a.k.a. slow cooker). It really is one of the most used items in my kitchen. I think one of the things I love most about it is it can be used year round. Don't want to heat up your kitchen in the summertime by turning on your oven? Use your Crock Pot. Want to save on your electric bill when you've had your electric heat cranking all winter? Use your Crock Pot. And not only that, foods still come out tasting great. It can take a tough, inexpensive cut of meat and turn it into a moist and juicy meal. So when I saw this recipe for Crock Pot Lasagna from Jenna from Newlyweds blog, I knew I had to put it on the menu to try.
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
1 (15 oz.) container small curd cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon pepper
lasagna noodles, uncooked
salt, to taste
Brown and crumble ground beef in a large skillet.
(You need a larger skillet for this because you'll be adding the spaghetti sauce and water to it later). Then add in onion and garlic and cook for additional 1-2 minutes. I like to season my beef mixture with a little salt at this point too.
Drain excess grease from beef. And put back into skillet.
Pour in spaghetti sauce, water and cherry tomatoes (if using).
Give it all a good stir (you can turn the heat off at this point).
Give it a taste test, add additional salt if necessary.
In a separate bowl, mix together cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, egg, pepper and chopped parsley. (Put your remaining cheeses back in the fridge, you'll be using those as a topping later)
Spray Crock Pot with non-stick cooking spray.
Scoop approximately 1 cup of meat sauce into bottom of slow cooker.
Top with one layer of uncooked lasagna noodles.
Just do your best to break them up to fit into your crock pot.
Next top with a layer of cheese mixture.
Keep adding layers, ending with meat sauce.
I was able to get 3 layers in my 5-quart slow cooker.
Put the lid on and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
(It took exactly 4 hours in my slow cooker).
You want most of the liquid to be absorbed and noodles should be soft.
When it is finished cooking, add remaining cheeses.
Put the lid back on for about 10-15 more minutes until cheese is melted.
Slice and serve it up with a crisp salad and some garlic bread.