Introduction: Incredible Crock Pot Lasagna
First Prize in the
Crock Pot Challenge
Lasagna may be one of the best inventions (food-wise) of all time. It's tasty, filling and definitely the ultimate in comfort food, in my book anyways. Sure you can cook lasagna traditionally in the oven but making it in the slow cooker allows for a much more delectable flavor. You've just got to try it!
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- mushrooms (I like LOTS)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 1 large jar of tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3/4 of a large container of cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- lasagna noodles
- shredded cheese (mozzarella and/or cheddar)
-1 small whipping cream
- 1/3 package of taco seasoning
- cooking sherry
- 2 large red peppers
Step 1: The Meat of Things
In a large skillet, cook the ground beef until it is lightly brown then strain out all of the fat. Return skillet to stove top and reduce heat. Add half a package of taco seasoning (DO NOT add water) and stir well. Leave meat to simmer.
In a second skillet, saute your sliced mushrooms in a little water and cooking sherry with a little dallop of margarine. Be sure to cook the mushrooms down significantly as they have a lot of water in them and will make for a soggy lasagna if not cooked properly. Add diced onion and continue to cook.
While the veggies and meat are cooking, slice 4 red peppers in half (being sure to seed them first) then place them skin side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook until pepper skins are blackened. (You may have to broil them a bit if they're taking too long to blacken). Once the peppers have blackened, remove them from the oven, place in a bowl then cover tightly with saran wrap. The steam will collect under the saran wrap loosening the skin of the peppers. After the peppers have sat for a few minutes, peel off the blackened skin, slice them up and put them in with the meat mixture.
Add your tomato sauce, basil and oregano the meat and then add your mushrooms and onions. Allow to simmer
Step 2: Extra Yum Factor
While this tomato sauce is definitely tasty on it's own, I like to add a little extra gooeyness to my recipe. (This is totally optional)
In a medium skillet, add your minced garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add most of the small container of whipping cream and a little paprika. Sprinkle in your parmesan cheese evenly and stir. Cook the mixture down until it is a thickened alfredo sauce. (If you happen to already have some cooked bacon, break it into little pieces and add it to your mixture).
Once your sauce has reduced to a thickened sauce, mix it with your meat sauce mixture and turn off the heat.
Step 3: Cheese Please
Pour your cottage cheese into a mesh strainer to remove any extra liquid. Once that is done, pour the cottage cheese into a bowl and add fresh parsley. I like adding a little paprika to this mixture and a little extra parmesan cheese if I have any left. Mix thoroughly and set aside
Step 4: Layer It Up
Now for the fun part: layering all the yummy ingredients you've made.
In a 6 quart slow cooker, spread about 1 1/2 cups of the meat mixture over the bottom. Cover the meat with lasagna noodles, breaking them to make sure they fit properly. (DO NOT COOK THE NOODLES; that's the slow cooker's job). Layer a third of the cottage cheese mixture onto the lasagna noodles and then cover with a cup of shredded cheese (I'm a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much cheese so feel free to go crazy here).
Repeat the layers until you are out of mixture. Top with lasagna noodles and shredded cheese.
Cook for 6 hours on the low setting until noodles are tender. After it's done cooking, turn off the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes. This will allow the lasagna to set. I was too excited to eat it when I made mine hence why the pictures of my lasagna just look like a pile of yumminess.
And there you have it: the ultimate slow cooker lasagna!
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