Slow Cooker Lasagna
1 pound uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
1 small onion(s), chopped
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
15 oz canned tomato sauce
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
6 items dry lasagna noodles, no-cook
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, strong-flavored like Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and crushed red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Break 3 lasagna sheets in half and arrange over beef mixture; top with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer and finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Remove cover; turn off heat and season to taste, if desired.
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over beef mixture. Cover and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes. Yields 1/6th of dish per serving.
To boost your vegetable intake, add a can of zucchini in tomato sauce to the meat mixture. You can also add 2 cups of sliced shiitake mushrooms to the beef mixture.
Lasagna isn’t something to be made in a slow cooker, in my opinion. I tried making this again tonight and I think after this second try of making it, I will just bake it in the oven from now on. This recipe is just weird. If you put no cook lasagna noodles in a slow cooker for 4 to 6 hours wouldn’t the noodles get soggy right away? Wouldn’t you rather have those aldente noodles the chefs are always talking about on the Food Network all the time? I would! I used some Malfada noodles since they look like little tiny lasagna noodles and cooked them in the beef mixture at the end. This works but when you add in the ricotta cheese and mozarella cheese it becomes more like a very thick stew. To me, I’d rather take the time and just do all the work and bake the lasagna in the oven.