lasagne in a slow-cooker

done on plate

Yes, you read that right … lasagne in your slow cooker! The days of draping lasagne noodles over every surface in your kitchen are over. Lasagne should’ve been one of the first things our mothers threw together in her “crock pot”! You could not do yourself a bigger favour on a Friday than to put this little baby together – guess who’s got the weekend covered? You do! I do! We all do! Add a big green salad, a slice or 2 of hearty, toasted rustic bread, and you can easily get a few meals out of your little Friday effort! Welcome to slow cooking 101. First – commandments #1, 2, 3, 4 & 5  – never ever, ever, ever remove the lid during cooking –  ever. With that said, slow cooking creates a certain situation. Lawyers live for it, companies long for it, humans suffer from it, what am I talking about? Retention. Yes, retention, in the form of moisture. There you have it, the secret’s out. Trapping moisture under the lid creates the magic 4, 5, 6 hours later. That’s why anything prepared in a slow cooker is moist and flavorful. You’ve cornered the moisture and forced it to stay at the party, and the noodles thank you.

done

And speaking of noodles – they’re in heaven, layered like a well-made bed ready to soak up all that moisture. And I’m not talking about the oven-ready variety, I’m talkin’ hearty whole grain noodles that you wouldn’t have ever dreamt of using straight out of the box. Well, go ahead and dream, they’re straight out of the box now! I have never cooked a better lasagne. I hope I’ve convinced you – your family will be shocked and amazed, as will you. The noodles could not be more forgiving, they’ll keep sucking it up as long as you need them to. Now how many humans can you say that about? I rest my case.

PS If you don’t have a slow cooker and you have a dishwasher, well, you have to see it to believe it! And if you are looking to switch it up from the classic, check out more lasagne ideas than you’ll ever know what to do with!

click here to jump down to the lasagne in a slow-cooker recipe

I’ve really held your hand on this one – so here we go!

ingredients

1. Get your ingredients together.

meat sauce

2. Add the onions, garlic and meat to a large skillet.

meat sauce 1

3. Mash and brown.

meat sauce 2

4. Until no longer pink and the onions are soft – so a bit longer.

meat sauce 3

5. Tip the pan so the fat collects in a corner and remove most of it with a baster, leaving a couple of tablespoons – a little fat equals a lot of flavour.

meat sauce 5

6. Start building your sauce, add chopped vegetables …

meat sauce 6

7. Canned tomatoes …

meat sauce 7

8. Tomato sauce and give it a good stir.

meat sauce 8

9. Next, the seasonings go in.

meat sauce 10

10. Then the tomato paste.

meat sauce 9

11. Give the sauce a good mix, simmer on low for 5-10 minutes and set aside.

cheese sauce

12. Next build the cheese mixture by combining ricotta, cottage cheese and eggs in a medium bowl.

cheese sauce 1

13. Give it a good stir until …

cheese sauce 2

14. Until, yes, (this is not your first rodeo) – well combined.

cheese sauce 3

15. Stir in the parmesan.

cheese sauce 4

16. Chop and add the parsley.

cheese sauce 5

17. Stir some more.

drain spinach

18. Drain the spinach in a small colander or sieve.

drain spinach 2

19. Pressing with the back of a spoon to remove as much liquid as possible.

drain spinach 1

20. See all that liquid?

dishes

21. Kitchen tip #313 – clean up as you go!!!

cheese sauce 6

22. Stir in the drained, chopped spinach.

cheese sauce 7

23. Keep stirring!

cheese sauce 8

24. Cheese layer, done!

grate cheese

25. Grate the cheeses.

mix cheeses

26. Add the parmesan.

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27. Stir to combine (or not).

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28. Gather the parts and your slow cooker.

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29. Let the construction begin! Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of your slow cooker.

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30. A layer of noodles, breaking to fit.

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31. A layer of the cheese mixture, spread evenly to cover.

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32. A layer of noodles, breaking to fit.

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33. A layer of the meat mixture, spread evenly to cover.

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34. Sprinkle a layer of cheese over the meat.

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35. Spread another layer of the cheese mixture over the noodles.

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36. Another layer of noodles, breaking to fit.

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37. Continuing until all mixtures have been used up. Even if you have to combine them. It’s all ending up in the same place.

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38. Finishing with the grated cheeses.

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39. It will look like this.

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40. Cover and let the magic begin!

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41. There should be at least a couple of inches to the top of the cooker. If you don’t leave space for expansion, it will overflow – been there, done that – I should learn to take my own advice!

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42. An hour in.

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43. Two hours in.

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44. Three to four hours in.

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45. Turn off the cooker. Residual heat will keep it going for at least another hour.

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46. Let it sit to firm up.

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47.  If you dig in too early it will be a little loose.

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48. Pull up the first piece to oooooo’s & aaaaaawwwws!

[flickr]

49. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!.

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50. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

2 Responses to lasagne in a slow-cooker
  1. Ballantyne
    September 25, 2011 | 12:47 pm

    Looks delish:)

  2. Ballantyne
    September 27, 2011 | 11:16 pm

    Yummmmm…looks fantastic!

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