I made this slow cooker lasagna recipe with the kids and claimed back tons of time for play as it bubbled away for 6 hours. The hard noodles softened and I actually found the end result to be more firm and flavourful than my Mom’s more labour-intensive version! Plus, the hidden quinoa and fresh herbs make it much healthier. You may find some Walmart slow cookers at a good price.
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground sausage, pork or chicken (you could also do a vegetarian/tofu meat substitute)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cans (15 ounces each) Italian-style tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 uncooked lasagna noodles
3/4 cup dry quinoa
1. Cook the meat and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, herbs and salt.
2. Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.)
3. Spoon one-fourth of the meat mixture into 6-quart slow cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the meat mixture. Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture, a layer of quinoa and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.
4. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender.
5. Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Broil on low in the oven (optional) for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top. Cut into pieces.