I don’t make lasagna all that much. It’s time consuming and cooking the noodles is such a pain. This recipe is awesome because it eliminates that step! I still needed to cook the ground beef first and layering everything in the crock pot took longer than I would have liked…BUT…that also could have been because I had to stop SO MANY TIMES to help my kids. They all seem to like to use the bathroom at the same time…plus, I’m potty training one of my twin boys right now. (The other twin trained himself just before he turned two…crazy, I know!!)
Anyway, making this lasagna yesterday went something like this… Start layering noodles, hear someone say “I have to go pee! I have to go pee!” Stop what I’m doing, head quickly to the bathroom, help him go, wash hands, come back to start working on dinner again. I do about 2 minutes worth of layering. Then I hear the next one “Me go pee!” Stop quickly, take him potty, clean up, wash hands and then hand out a “chocolate drop.” (They’re from the Simple Truth line at Kroger–free from artificial colors and preservatives.) Anyway, get back to the lasagna. Not more than another 2 minutes passes and then my daughter needs help in the bathroom. Sigh… Break again, help her, wash hands, come back to the kitchen. At this point, the whole dinner thing took WAY longer than I had anticipated and then I needed to stop to put the boys down for their nap. So, once again, break, take them into their room, read them each a book, put them in bed, give them both a sip of water, leave room…and finally come back to work on dinner again. Oh wait! Now I have to start a movie for my daughter. Start a movie for her and then, FINALLY, I can run upstairs to finish assembling dinner in my slow cooker! The whole dinner should NOT have taken so long to prepare, but I suppose that’s just how it goes with three little kids. Anyone else find that their cooking/baking attempts take way longer than they should sometimes due to their kids??
Anyway, if you haven’t noticed before, my recipes are all VERY simple. I don’t like a lot of ‘fuss’ when cooking and if there is a long list of ingredients in a recipe, I won’t even consider it. I like easy to prep, quick meals that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes…using only natural, real ingredients. This lasagna is one of those meals. It may have taken a little longer than I would have liked due to the assembling part, BUT, because I did this right after lunch, my work was finished by 1:30! All I had to do at dinner time was heat up some frozen (organic) veggies and put food on everyone’s plate! Love that!
Note on this recipe: This can go from ‘real food’ to ‘filled with artificial ingredients’ in no time! The key to making this lasagna “real food approved” is using the best quality ingredients and reading the labels on each item!
- 1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage (I buy local, grass-fed beef/free-range pork from Seven Sons Family Farm)
- 3 - 15 oz. cans of organic tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 16 oz. box whole wheat lasagna noodles (or other noodles), uncooked
- 4 cups (+ extra) mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1½ cups cottage cheese (I buy Daisy)
- Spray the slow cooker with an olive oil sprayer.
- Brown the ground beef or sausage in a skillet over medium heat.
- While the meat is cooking, mix together the three cheeses in a bowl.
- When the meat is cooked through, add the tomato sauce, salt, and seasoning. Stir together.
- Spread ¼ of the meat sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Add ⅓ of the cheese mixture over the noodles.
- Repeat these layers two more times and top with the remaining sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
- Just before serving, add a little more mozzarella cheese on top and let melt.
- Scoop out and enjoy!
It doesn’t come out as “pretty” as a regular 9 x 13 pan-baked lasagna, but if you’re not trying to take a picture for a blog…then who cares, right?! 😉 I was also nervous the noodles wouldn’t cook (since I’ve never done this in a slow cooker before), but the noodles were perfectly done and the lasagna was nice and hot when it was time for dinner. Yum!
Note: This makes A LOT of lasagna!!! We ate it for dinner last night and will have it again for dinner tonight…and there will probably still be enough leftover for us to eat it for lunch tomorrow! My daughter LOVED it. She had three helpings!! My boys picked at it a little, but didn’t go crazy over it. However, my husband liked it too, and he’s not big into pasta, so that’s a good sign!
Not that the dinner required it, but instead of making garlic bread, I served the lasagna with slices of honey whole wheat bread that I had just pulled out of the oven. We all LOVE my homemade bread with some butter spread on top!! (I use this crock to keep my organic butter spreadable at all times.)