So I honestly didn't think about blogging this recipe until I tasted it. Then I changed my mind and took a photo halfway through eating it.
I found a crock pot lasagna recipe on pinterest, and it seemed like a pretty good idea. The only issue with this recipe is there would be no FLAVOR. There were no seasonings, no herbs, no GARLIC?!
My initial thought was No Way! There was no possible way this would be a hit with my family. First of all, we are a family of garlic lovers. Second of all, any type of tomato sauce that, heaven forbid, TASTES like tomato sauce (um duh?) my husband won't eat unless I force him, and third I hate to use processed foods. Which is what this recipe used quite a bit.
So I decided to think about my lasagna, which is basically my moms lasagna, which is basically my grandmas lasagna...ok you get the point.
My lasagna takes about 2 days to make. Why? Because I make my own tomato sauce of course. What kind of partial Italian would I be if I used canned sauce?! My long lost Italian ancestor would be rolling over in their grave at the thought! (Uh, yeah, so I'm sure with as little Italian as I have in me, they didn't even have canned sauce in those days, but oh well.)
Anyway, I didn't have two days. It was 11am and I had 7 hours.
BUT I did have fresh sauce that I had canned at the beginning of the season! With fresh herbs already added! So I got to work. I browned some ground beef, mixed it into the sauce that I had reheated, and started layering the sauce, noodles, and cheese into the crock pot.
Really this is a simple recipe, you can add or subtract or even change whatever you'd like. So, without further ado, I bring you
1 box of lasagna noodles (no pre-cooking necessary)
1 large jar of pasta sauce (You can find my homemade recipe HERE) If you're using cans, I would say about 2 28oz cans of sauce and your favorite pasta herbs.
1-1 1/2 Lbs ground beef/turkey/chicken
1 Lb sausage *optional*
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbs EVOO
1 24 oz container ricotta cheese
1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 Lb fresh mozzarella
Fresh grated parmesan
Mince your garlic and slice your onion.
Heat 2 Tbs EVOO in a large skillet on med-high heat. Add your onion and saute until it begins to soften. Add your minced garlic and saute for another minute. Just until the garlic begins to release an aroma. Then add your ground meat and sausage. Brown the meat completely. Add your pasta sauce and make sure it is heated thouroghly.
When your sauce is hot, take 1/4 of the sauce and put it in the bottom of your crockpot. Layer your first layer of noodles on top. For my oval 7qt, which looks like this:
It was about 4-5 noodles per layer.
On top of the noodles add about dollops of ricotta cheese. On top of each dollop place a slice of fresh mozzarella. Add more shredded mozzarella if you want more cheese and then grate about 2 palm fulls of fresh Parmesan.
Do this two more times, so you have 3 layers of each. Top the final layer with your remaining sauce and add a little extra cheese if you would like.
Turn the crock on low and let it cook for 4-5 hours. Turn off your pot and allow it to sit uncovered for about 15 minutes, given the sauce and cheese some time to set.
Serve it with some garlic bread and a good glass of wine.