I just realized something the other day when I was making lasagna for dinner.
I’m still struggling with it, but facts are facts.
The first time I ever made lasagna was over 25 years ago!
I feel old. Really, really old.
But not too old to forget all the details of my first try at this classic Italian dish.
My daughter was still in elementary school and she wanted to have a sleepover for a couple of her friends.
And guess what she wanted me to make for dinner?
You got it. Lasagna.
I’d never EVER made it before, but how hard could it be?
So I grabbed the one and the only cookbook I had at the time (our church’s cookbook) and the very first recipe for lasagna I found was the one I made. (Just a side-I used that cookbook so often back then that I had to throw it away because most of the pages were filled with stains or were ripped from so much use!)
The kid’s seemed to enjoy the lasagna just fine, but I found it to be a bit on the bland side.
The next time I made lasagna was for a family gathering. This time I decided to change it up and add in fresh garlic and herbs and substitute some of the ground beef for Italian sausage.
That was over twenty-five years ago!
Can you believe it? I know…I feel so old. And boring.
But it’s true. Since that day I took the original recipe and ‘spiced’ it up, I haven’t changed one ingredient.
Not one. I didn’t have to. It’s that good.
And I’m not just tooting my own horn. I’ve made this lasagna hundreds of times-for potlucks, family gatherings, friend get-togethers, or just dinner.
The results are always the same.
Everyone loves it.
Which is why after all this time I decided to change it.
Okay, I’m just kidding. I didn’t actually change any of the ingredients.
But I did make a BIG change. A change so big that I was certain it wouldn’t turn out and everyone I’d invited for dinner that night would be terribly disappointed.
I know…that wasn’t too bright on my part, was it? I mean who makes a HUGE change to a tried and true recipe the very night she invites over friends?
And the BIG change I made? Well, I was busy that day. SUPER busy and though I’d promised my dear friends lasagna, I wasn’t sure I’d have time to stand over the hot stove for two hours while the sauce simmered ever so slowly. And then there was assembly and baking.
That’s when I thought about my slow cooker.
Heck, I’ve made chili and stew, soup and even desserts in that magical cooking device.
Why couldn’t I cook lasagna? After a quick Google search, I found out that yes indeed I could, and boy would it save time!!
All I had to do was make up the sauce-(all the simmering would be done in the slow cooker)-assemble the lasagna in the slow cooker-turn it on low for 4 hours and VIOLA!
But the big question was-would my lasagna turn out just as good as it always had?
The answer is…..yes!
In fact, I think it’s even better.
So did our friends.
Here’s the recipe!
Slow Cooker Lasagna
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh basil can use dried if need be
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 16 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10-12 lasagna noodles uncooked
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
Add butter and oil to a large fry pan. When hot add in onion. Saute until translucent. Add in beef, sausage, and garlic. Fry until meat is browned. Drain off fat. Add in tomatoes, paste, and seasonings. Mix well. Lower heat.
Meanwhile, Combine ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Spray 6 qt slow cooker with cooking spray. Begin layering with 1/4 of the meat mixture. Break 3-4 noodles in pieces to fit and place over meat mixture. Top noodles with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Repeat layers ending with 1 final layer of meat mixture topped with a layer of noodles. Sprinkle with additional parsley. (Optional). Cook on low for 4 hours. Let sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve warm.
Do you have a tried and true recipe that doesn’t require any changes? I’d love for you to share it!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Have a great weekend!
Blessings and hugs,