I think I’m finally getting the hang of this slow cooker thing. It’s only taken me 4 months. Generally the rules for successful slow cooking are as follows:
1. It’s great for cooking whole slabs of meat.
2. It’s great for cooking soups or stews.
That’s pretty much it. All the other experimental recipes I’ve done where you add cut up meats, veggies and rice/noodles/quinoa at the beginning of the day and hope to come home to some fabulous dinner at night have turned out pretty nasty. A slow cooker will transform all these ingredients, just not into a fabulous dinner. It’s more like a gluey blob.
Needless to say I was a bit skeptical when I saw this Cooking Light recipe for slow cooker lasagna. Just like the rest of my trial and error recipes, it SOUNDED like a great idea, but who knew if it would turn out with perfect, rich layers like a traditional lasagna or if the squash and noodles would meld into a gummy mess. Cooking Light has rarely let me down in our long history together, so I took the plunge and decided to give it a shot.
Much to my delight, it turned out perfectly! It was so great, in fact, that it just may be my favorite slow cooker recipe to date.
One word of caution, the zucchini and squash WILL turn into mush if they are overcooked when they go in the slow cooker, and if you cook it for too long. I recommend cutting slightly thicker slices or skipping the zucchini and squash all together in favor of heartier veggies like bell peppers or broccoli.
Other than that I give it four stars!
Load up your slow cooker this morning and come home to an awesome, healthy lasagna tonight.
- 9 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated and divided (about ¼ cup)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, divided
- 6 cups water
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 large yellow crookneck squash, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
- 1 large zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
- Cooking spray
- 12 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage links, casings removed
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 (3.5-ounce) packages shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 (25-ounce) jar lower-sodium marinara sauce
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded and divided (about 1 cup)
- Combine ricotta, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 tablespoon chives, pepper, and 1 garlic clove, grated, in a bowl; set aside.
- Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large skillet; stir in red wine vinegar. Add squash and zucchini; cook 2 minutes. Drain.
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook 7 minutes, stirring to crumble. Stir in onion; cook 8 minutes or until onion is tender.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 10 minutes or until mushroom liquid nearly evaporates. Mince 5 garlic cloves; stir into mushrooms. Stir in stock, basil, and marinara. Bring to a boil; remove from heat.
- To assemble lasagna, spoon 1 cup marinara mixture into the bottom of a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Top with 4 noodles, breaking noodles to fit cooker. Layer half of squash mixture, half of sausage mixture, and ¼ cup fontina cheese over noodles; top with 1 cup marinara mixture. Arrange 4 noodles over marinara mixture; top with ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with ¼ cup fontina; top with remaining half of sausage mixture and remaining half of squash mixture. Arrange remaining 4 noodles over squash mixture; top with remaining 1½ cups sauce and ¼ cup fontina. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours.
- Preheat broiler.
- Uncover slow cooker; sprinkle lasagna with remaining ¼ cup fontina and remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan
- . Broil on middle rack of oven for 2 minutes or until cheese browns slightly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.