School is back in full swing, the leaves are turning golden and today at my house the weather is deliciously rainy and gray. Time for some warm hearty dinners that won’t derail my weight loss goals!
Last week I pulled out my slow cooker and got busy making one of my favorite easy dinners, Slow-Cooker Lasagna. The recipe is from Cooking Light Superfast Suppers. This book is full of quick, tasty, and best of all light recipes. The book is organized into sections that are printed on the bottom of the pages, I can flip through and quickly find what I am looking for. I also like the way they frame each recipe with suggestions for creating a complete meal in a snap. The nutrition information is included for each dish as well as the estimated preparation and cooking time. This book was a gift from my brother-in-law a couple of years ago, so a big “thank you” to Chris!
- 1 pound ground round (may also use ground turkey, ground chicken, or lean sausage)
- 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 (26-ounce) jar chunky garden-style pasta sauce*
- ⅓ cup water
- 8 uncooked lasagna noodles
- Cooking spray
- 1 (4½-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, undrained
- 1 (15-ounce) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- Cook beef, garlic, and Italian seasoning in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; set aside.
- Combine pasta sauce and water in a small bowl; set aside.
- Place 4 uncooked noodles in a 4-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray, breaking noodles to fit. Layer with half each of beef mixture, pasta sauce mixture, and mushrooms. Spread ricotta cheese over mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining noodles, meat, pasta sauce mixture, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour.
- Reduce heat setting to low; cook 5 hours.
I rarely make a recipe as printed, here are my personalizations:
- .7 lbs of ground meat in place of the 1 lb. of ground round
- I browned the meat with a small diced yellow onion for extra flavor
- Fresh mushrooms in place of the canned (because canned mushrooms make me want to yak)
- Add some chopped yellow squash and small zucchini to bulk up the veggie content (spinach or kale would be good too)
- Add a can of diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic (my new favorite ingredient)
- Make 3 layers instead of 2
Within a few minutes the lasagna was assembled and ready to cook. Several hours later the house smelled great and the lasagna was ready to eat!