Nov 20, 2016

Slow Cooker Lasagna.

Do you ever wake up early on a glorious Saturday morning in spring, do a bit of backyard HIIT, watch the sun rise over your backyard and think....

gee isn't this the perfect day to cook a lasagna in my slow cooker?

If you haven't and wouldn't ever, don't feel like you've missed out Super Moon style because not only have I supplied you with a stunning photo of said moon, I will now also supply you with all the glorious details of how your day might unfolded if you'd taken that leap of faith in the lasagna department.

I will begin with giving you the video instructions / recipe for the lasagna I made.  It's a One Pot Chef recipe so you know it will be easy, budget friendly and comfortingly delicious.

The red sauce in the original recipe is straight out of the jar but if you've read this blog for any amount if time you will know my passion for hidden vegetebal-ing and red meat-ing the socks off any main course by any means possible.

I made a bolognese sauce using a couple of jars of Paul Newman's Own.  I felt a wave of nostalgia wash over me as I opened the jars.  Mr Newman's bolognese was the bottled sauce of my childhood.  But I digress.  I fried some celery, carrot, onion, garlic and capsicum in a pan before adding a kilo of mince (fancy low fat beef and a pork/veal mix), the sauces and some seasoning.
Available from Costco in a massive bottle and Woolworths (from memory or was it Coles) in a tiny bottle for a similar price.

Highlights of the seasoning list were a splash of Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce and one of Kikkoman's soy.

I was ridiculously frivolous in my choice of hard cheese for this recipe, using this $14 wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano.

The frivolity turned to frugality by way of the cheese wedge's rind.  I had read somewhere that cheese rinds add magic to a pot of red sauce if you drop the rind  in at the simmering stage.  Readers, the internet never lies.  If you need a quick tip to amp up the taste of supermarket pasta sauce, this would be it.

The cheese sauce for this slow cooker lasagna was both fun and easy to make.  The chopped spinach (or substitute vegetable) is essential, I believe.  It adds some lightness to an otherwise very rich cheese sauce.  I used light ricotta for the same reason.   You might scoff at adding a packet of Spring Vegetable soup mix to the sauce but once you try the lasagna, your doubts will vanish.

I used dry lasagna sheets, I think you need their consistency to make this dish work in the slow cooker.  Fresh sheets probably wouldn't absorb as much liquid and the result would possibly be the soupy nightmare that is a slow cooker recipe gone wrong.  So don't risk it.  Dry and crispy all the way!

Preschooler SSG loves the One Pot Chef as much as I do.  We watched the video for this recipe several times last week in preparation for our first attempt at it.  Nearly four year olds have the most amazing memories.  They have tape recorder like recall skills.  Pertinent lines from the video would come out of Preschooler SSG's mouth as we progressed to the appropriate step of the recipe.

Up until we made this lasagna, I had no idea just how deep Preschooler SSG's love for mozzarella was.  I wonder where he got  it from?  We're a strong and sharp cheddar kind of household.

The lasagna took five hours to cook in my slow cooker which gave us plenty of time to go adventuring for the day with the promise of a hot dinner ready to go the moment we got home.  More about our adventures in future posts.

This is what our lasagna looked like once it finished cooking and the cheese on top had finished melting with the lid on and slow cooker turned off.

This is how the lasagna looked when scooped out of the slow cooker.   Preschooler SSG was especially pedantic about the need for more cheese at every stage of the cooking process.  Which is why we had to add even more mozzarella as a kind of garnish when we plated up..

The layers!  The lack of claggy, starchy bits!  The lack of burned to a crisp bits at the top!  Yes, it is a calorific, cheesetastic and carborific vision of lasagna but it is so very good because of despite this.  Because I did use some lower fat ingredients along the way, it wasn't as oily as it could have been.  The liquid to pasta sheet ratio was just right for me because there wasn't even any dry stuff sticking to the bottom when I finally reached the bottom of my slow cooker bowl after making up eight large serves for the freezer.

Is it wrong to be seriously considering making this lasagna as my main course for Christmas lunch?  Actually, I don't want to know if it is.


  1. I definitely think lasagna for lunch on Christmas Day is a great idea.. :)

  2. That looks so good! Louise


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