My godfather’s oldest daughter is staying with me this weekend. I haven’t seen her in YEARS. I haven’t even seen her dad in years, actually. Nashville. Logistics. It is what it is.
She had something to do in town and needed a place to crash, and considering my past penchant for crashing on couches (whether I knew the owner of the couch or not… aka every time I’ve ever been to Chicago) I figured I’d never forgive myself if I said no. One of the roommates is out of town, so she even gets a real bed.
She’s lovely, and it’s been fun. But I have to say, my favorite part of having company – ANY COMPANY – is having a good excuse to cook.
I’m just going to start with a link to a recipe here, because I can take absolutely no credit for this except for how exactly I followed the recipe. Best blueberry muffins you will EVER have.
Dear Martha Stewart,
They haven’t been kidding about you all these years, have they?
The second recipe is – OMG – lasagna in the slow cooker.
Could you make your lasagna and put it together and stick it in the fridge and then remember to take it out and stick it in the oven later in the day? Sure. But if you have a crock pot, why would you bother? The slow cooker cooks it perfectly. I mean perfectly. And your house will smell delicious all day, and when your company shows up, you can say, “Are you hungry? There’s lasagna in the CROCK POT.” That’s fun to say.
I really think you can use your own lasagna recipe for this and use this recipe as a timing guideline, but I’ll just tell you what I did, because it went over SO WELL:
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (or just dried oregano, if that’s what you have on hand)
- 1 12 oz. pkg. lasagna noodles
- 12 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 small package baby spinach
- 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
- 16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef (seasoned with a pinch of the salt), onion, and garlic until brown. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, remaining salt, and Italian seasoning and stir until well incorported. Cook until heated through.
Finely chop the spinach in a food processor or blender. In a large bowl mix together the spinach, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and most of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Spoon a layer of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the crock pot. Add a double layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Break to fit noodles into pot. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, and cheese until all the ingredients are used. Cover and cook on low heat in slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours. (mine was actually ready to go at around 5, but the way my crock pot timer works, 6 hours is actually high instead of low.) about 15 – 20 minutes before you serve, add the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
I ended up stretching my sauce a little bit at the end. If you have 2 ish cups of sauce left and you think you need 3, squeeze in two or three more tablespoons of tomato paste (I had a tube on hand) and a cup of water. Mix it up well and let it heat through again… add more seasoning if you need to, but chances are you won’t be able to taste the difference.
I stole the idea of adding spinach to my cheese mix from Miss Erin of The Speckled Palate. I feel like everyone does something a little special with their lasagna. What do you do with yours?