Sunday, March 22, 2009
Dinner last night was lasagna out of my crock pot. Simple right? Well, much easier than the American Lasagna that I usually make. With the crock pot version, you avoid the time consuming assembly-of-the-layers. I like that. However, this crock pot recipe needed a little more babysitting than I prefer when using my slow cooker. If you've been reading, you know that my crock pot does tend to cook fast. After I accused my crock pot of demonic possession when I made Orange Chicken, a friend pointed out that it might have something to do with how full I filled my crock pot. Crock pot recipe cook times are based on a 3/4 full crock pot. If your recipe fills less than 3/4 of the crock pot, it will cook faster and possibly burn. You should adjust the cooking time accordingly. Keeping this helpful hint in mind, I began putting the ingredients into the crock pot for our lasagna dinner.
I started with 1/2 lb. hamburger and 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, both browned and drained of fat.
Then I chopped an onion and a couple large cloves of garlic and added those.
Next, I added 16 oz. of cottage cheese, 8 oz. of Italian cheese blend, 4 oz. of shredded Swiss cheese, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
I gave it stir.
Then I broke up a package of lasagna noodles and tossed those in too.
Topped the mixture with a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce.
I gave it another stir to mix it all up. I was happy to see that my slow cooker was over 3/4 of the way full. Maybe I wouldn't end up with blackened lasagna. I covered it and set the cook time on the lowest setting; 10 hours. This was at about 10:00 in the morning, but I know my crock pot. I was taking mental bets on when my lasagna would start to fry.
I'd like to say that I walked away and returned 7-8 hours later to this perfectly cooked lasagna. It did end up perfectly cooked, but the truth is, it took some work. About 2-3 hours in, it looked done and I could hear it sizzling on the sides. I added water and stirred it about every hour. About 4 hours through the cooking time, I tasted it and it just wasn't tomato-ey enough. I was out of tomato sauce, so I added a jar of pizza sauce. About two hours before dinner I unplugged the thing because it was starting to burn again. A half an hour before dinner, I plugged it back in so that the lasagna would be hot. So much for fix it and forget it! It was a total pain considering that crock pot cooking is supposed to be low maintenance...aside from the scrubbing out after, of course.
If your crock pot works the way it is supposed to, please try this recipe. It was delicious and should have been easy. If your crock pot burns everything, like mine, don't even think about it. Instead, alleviate your frustration by hurling your crock pot out the nearest window(check to make sure the neighbors aren't looking, for Heaven's sake). Please make unecessarily loud weight lifter noises like the guys at my gym while you're doing this. Then, start searching the sale flyers at your local home store. If anyone asks why your crock pot is in the lawn, tell them that you're recycling it into a bird bath. Or...here's an idea, fill it with soil and plant herbs in it. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, people! At least my crock pot may become something useful in my backyard.
Slow Cooker Lasagna by Me
1/2 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz. cottage cheese
8 oz. Italian blend shredded cheese
4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1 T. dried parsley
1/2 t. pepper
1 1/2 t. salt
1 pkg. oven ready lasagna noodles, broken
15 oz. can tomato sauce
14 oz. jar pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups water
Combine all ingredients in your crock pot. Cover and cook on HIGH 4-6 hours or LOW 8-10 hours.