Crockpot lasagna sounded like a recipe for crockpot disaster when my friend K posted about it on facebook. But then she said it had turned out well, and that her son, who is AC's age, had liked it.
I clicked through to the recipe she'd linked, from Super Easy CrockPot Lasagna
, and I thought it looked like a vile watery mess.
Now I'm not a crockpot person as a rule. I made two things in it, and everyone refused to eat them, they came out browish grey and watery, and maybe tasty, but ugh. My MIL liked them, though. Since then I've used the crockpot for one thing: simmering things I've made in a real pot, like chili or stew. I don't cook in it. Oh wait. I made apricot butter in it, and it was ok, though it took much much longer than my usual method.
But K had said it was good. And had made some recipe edits, and I thought what-the-heck, I can try this. It's still clean-out-the-pantry-and-freezer month and I had some lasagna noodles to use up.
So I made yet more mods the the recipe, and didn't use my usual recipe and made it yesterday.
And it came out great.
Now normally I don't use ricotta in lasagna, I use a béchamel sauce (ok, since I add cheese, technically a sauce Mornay). But I was too lazy to make the béchamel for an experiment, so I bought ricotta, the lowest fat variety. I also used jarred sauce. I wasn't sure about the recipe and didn't want to invest too much time into it.
I don't use meat in lasagna ever.
Anyhow, it came out a lot better than I expected and it made A BUNCH. This is the way to make lasagna quickly for a crowd.
I mixed a small container of ricotta (lowest fat I could find) with an egg, nutmeg, salt etc. Added a few tablespoons of parmesan.
I sauteed an onion and then added mushrooms and cooked the snot out of them, until I was sure they didn't have any water left. Added about 4 cups of tomato sauce and cooked that for ten or so minutes to make sure it was thick. I did not use spinach because while I love spinach lasagna the first time, I don't find it reheats well and I did expect leftovers on this one.
Layer of t sauce, dry, uncooked, regular
lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, teeny bit of cheese, t sauce, repeat.
I did add the last bit of water, rinsing out the leftover sauce from the jar, and poured it on top. Oregano, and then I slapped the cover on the crockpot and turned it on low.
Left it on for... oh seven hours? A long time.
Anyhow, it was good, and well worth a repeat. I may try it next time without the egg in the ricotta, but I was wanting it to bind a bit -that watery thing- It was nice and firm, not watery at all. Looked nothing like the photo in the blog above.
So, K, thanks for the idea!!!! It was a good one, and I'll certainly make it again. Next time no egg, time after, maybe I'll try my usual béchamel!