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Slow Cooker Lasagna

>> Friday, September 9, 2011

We're all looking for hearty meals that aren't too hard to put together, especially with school and sports activities.  In general, I am not a huge fan of my slow cooker.  There are some dishes I like in it, but some I feel end up tasting the same.  I thought I'd give this recipe I try, but I was skeptical.  It turned out really, really well.  Everyone really liked it. 

The recipe comes from the Kraft website.
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1 jar  (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
1 container  (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg. (7 oz.) 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 egg
2 Tbsp.  chopped fresh parsley
6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

BROWN meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Mix ricotta, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, egg and parsley.
SPOON 1 cup meat sauce into slow cooker; top with layers of half each of the noodles, broken to fit; and cheese mixture. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles, broken to fit; cheese mixture and meat sauce. Cover with lid.
COOK on LOW 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; let stand, covered, 10 min. or until melted
My slow cooker takes 3-4 hours, so watch this the first time you make it.
To go with my lasagna, I made Hamburger Bun Toasts and a salad.

Hamburger Bun Toasts (adapted from Paula Deen)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
4 hamburger buns, split
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (you could use whatever cheese you have but Swiss is best)
In a bowl, combine melted butter, mustard, worchestershire sauce, and garlic salt until well blended. Allow to cool and solidify a little.  Spread over the cut side of buns and place on a baking sheet.  Top with cheese.  Broil on the middle rack until the cheese is melted and the buns are lightly toasted, maybe 5-7 minutes.  Watch closely!!

The salad:
mixed greens, mandarin oranges, carrot, cranberries, and candied walnuts with balsamic dressing.

To make the candied walnuts (SO GOOD):  put 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat until it becomes a liquid (stir the whole time).  After it becomes a light amber color, mix in 1 1/2 cup walnuts and stir to coat.  Spread onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and separate the walnuts with forks.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  Let cool completely.  Store leftovers in a ziploc bag.

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