I love cooking in my crock-pot. I love finding new things too make it useful everyday. (If you haven't tried the crock pot liners - try them! They are fantastic! The only reason I am not using one here is because I run out so fast!)
So, I had seen a bunch of recipes for 'crock pot lasagna.' I could not fathom how in the world you would make a casserole in a crock pot and it still come out 'right.' Then I thought, how can you mess up lasagna? It's a fancy, expensive spaghetti. I don't worry about the look because as soon as you start to cut into it, it is no longer pretty (the only time I looks pretty is if you let it cool to almost room temp before cutting any how.)
To start - I do NOT boil my noodles. No need to. I do NOT buy the no boil either. Just trust me. Not all of the ingredients are shown here - I took the photo before taking some out (oops!)
You need noodles (broken is fine!), tomato sauce (I use cheap spaghetti sauce), mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese (you can sub cottage cheese! It's cheaper!) and Parmesan (use the stuff in the bag in the dairy section - not the canned stuff, it's more expensive, but tastes better. I used an Italian blend), and meat. I use half sausage (jimmy dean type breakfast sausage) and half hamburger/ground turkey. Depending on the price determines what meat is used. If turkey is cheaper, I use it instead of hamburger. Since the breakfast sausage has a better flavor than plan hamburger (or even turkey) due to the spice blend, I use some of that. Due to the price of the sausage, I am financially required to sub some other meat too.
Cover the bottom of your crock pot with tomato sauce - more than this, you are not boiling the noodles, so the raw noodles will need the sauce to soak up moisture and cook.
Add a layer of noodles. No one will ever know if this layer is broken or all in one piece.
Add cheese - this is cooking, not rocket science. Just slap it on top of the noodle. Start with your ricotta, then add the shredded stuff. Not too much, though. You will need some for the other layers.
At this point, I got the idea to add some fresh basil from the garden. Might as well use it. Plus, don't fresh herbs have vitamins or something?
Add a layer of meat
Add another layer of noodles
Add more sauce - again, more than you see here.
Cheese me, please!
Add more meat
Sauce - are you starting to see a pattern?
More meat - this is the last of the meat
At the bottom of the package - all the broken noodles. It's ok, You will never notice when cutting into them anyhow.
Last of the cheese
Cover and cook on medium for 3-4 hours. I bet you could put it on low for about 6 hours. We were hungry and the entire house smelled good. I wasn't waiting long!
Oh yummy! Broken noodles? Where are they?
Guarantee no one cares about the original size of their noodles or even the order of the ingredients at this point.
1 pkg lasagna noodles
1 can spaghetti sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
1 small container ricotta cheese
1 bag Parmesan
roughly 1/2 lb sausage and 1/2 lb hamburger meat.
Layer ingredients in crock pot. Order does not matter as long as the sauce is on the noodles. Let cook 3-4 hours on medium heat. Enjoy!