Hello again! You didn’t think I would just give you a post about a homemade version of cream of condensed soup this week, did you? I wouldn’t do that to you! I always to try to give ya a drop dead delicious recipe weekly. I am actually eating this reheated as I type this and oh man, this is totally one of those ‘tastes even better the next day’ type dishes. It tasted real good last night, but I think I might eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow because I am an adult and I can do what I want.
Last week, I made this for the first time, and it was just alright. But I’m a perfectionist, so I made it again this week. The first time, I think I added a bit too much water to the sauce, and it didn’t cook properly in the slow cooker, because It was just a bit too “soupy” for my lasagna preference, and the flavor was a little flat. This batch though? It’s AMAZING! I’ve never, ever cooked lasagna in a slow cooker before last week. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve never cooked any kind of pasta in there. I’m usually a stove top and oven type of girl, but I’m journeying more and more into the slow cooker world. (As a lot of people journey into the Instant Pot world haha!) You want to know the number one reason why I love my slow cooker? I just love the smell that permeates throughout the house for the entire day! I also love that I have dishes done before dinner time, so I can relax with Eric and Pepper before her bedtime. This idea came by request from my sister and some of her co-workers. They wanted a healthier crock pot lasagna! Ask and you shall receive… eventually… probably, unless it’s oysters. Go somewhere else for that. So, here you go, gals! I think you’ll love it. I know I love it. Eric went on and on about it. Pepper ate lots of it.. but I had to add extra cheese. She’s having a ‘More cheese please!’ phase. But she still won’t touch macaroni and cheese, try and figure that one out. I basically took my good ol’ standby lasagna recipe and added some water, so the noodles would cook properly in the slow cooker. And voila!
The best thing about this?
It’s delicious. It’s creamy and cheesy. It’s flavorful. AND it’s easy.
The worst thing about this?
It’s kind of a mess when it comes to plating. Neatness is one reason I really like making it in a big lasagna pan, butat meal time, families don’t much care about what it looks like, as long as it’s good! I mean, it was mostly just annoying to me because I have to carefully photograph it to make you all drool over a picture, you know?
Food photography can be a total pain in the you know what sometimes. Ha!
So here we go…
Grab a medium yellow onion, and chop it up as evenly as possible. Then grab a few cloves of garlic..
Mince the garlic as finely as you can. I actually noticed some pieces were a bit bulky, so I put it under the knife once more after this shot.
Grab a large stock pot and throw in half a pound of Italian Turkey Sausage (I use Jennie O Sweet Italian Links with the casing removed from the links), and half a pound of lean ground turkey. Throw a bit of kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) on it while you’re at it. I use a mixture because I find the sausage taste overpowers if you only use that. It’s a personal preference, honestly. You could use all sausage or all turkey, but in my humble opinion the mixture of both is where it’s at. If using just the ground turkey, I recommend sprinkling about one teaspoon of Italian seasoning on it while browning to give it a bit more flavor.
When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and garlic, and cook until soft.
Now add a large can of crushed tomatoes, and a can of diced tomatoes. (You can use tomato sauce in place of this, but I like the extra texture of crushed tomatoes!) Add 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons dried basil, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and a couple shakes of red pepper flakes. Also 1 cup of WATER! Do not forget the water. It needs water to ensure the noodles cook properly in the crock pot, because we won’t be cooking the noodles beforehand.
Mix it all up, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, grab a bowl and mix up my favorite part; The cheese! Add 2 cups cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for later), and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. I was so excited that I was able to use this much cheese while still keeping the points/calories in check. Mix it all up!
P.S.- If you’ve been reading my recipes for awhile… you know I HATE cottage cheese, but I cook with it because it is PERFECT to cook with.
Spray the crock pot with a bit of cooking spray, and then add about 1 1/2 cups of sauce at the bottom, followed by a layer of broken-up lasagna noodles.
Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles as evenly as possible.
Then layer on another portion of delicious sauce, about 1 1/2 cups.. followed by some more broken up noodles! (I chose to break them up because it annoyed me too much that they didn’t fit properly)
Then some more of the cheesy mixture…
Now yet another layer of sauce!
and more noodles!
More cheese! I apologize for all the repetition. But remember, layering is everything here- it’s what lasagna is all about!
Then top with the remaining sauce, and mozzarella cheese! Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
If you’ve been making lasagna for a while you probably know that it needs to sit 10-15 minutes after cooking so it kind of all “forms together,” ya know what I’m sayin? There must be a technical term for this process. I feel like this also rings true with the crock pot method. I turned the crock pot off, and while I was making side salads and toasting bread in the oven, I just let it sit with the cover slightly turned. It was a total of 20 minutes, maybe. By all means, you can dig in right away, but it will be a bit sloppy!
Here it is, fresh and hot out of the slow cooker, and all ready for a close up. (insert all of the heart emojis!) My second favorite part about this is that the serving size is HUGE, which means a lot to a girl watching her weight.
A bit messy… but oh so scrumptious! Eric came home from work and said it literally smelled like an Italian Eatery! He was fairly unimpressed with the first one I made in the crock pot. (He’s got pretty high standards these days, insert eye roll.) He couldn’t stop raving about this one, and honestly the only thing I changed was the amount of water, and I threw some salt on the meat while browning it.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Lasagna in the crock pot will DEFINITELY be happening more in this house!
With love from my kitchen to yours,
Slow Cooker Lasagna
- 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage- I use Jennie-O Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage Links , with the casings removed
- 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 16 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbs worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup water
- 8 oz lasagna noodles
- 2 cups 1% cottage cheese
- 2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- cooking spray
In a large pot, add ground turkey, ground Italian turkey sausage, and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. When the meat is mostly browned add onions and garlic, cook until slightly softened. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, worcestershire sauce, and water. Stir together and simmer for about 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, Add Parmesan cheese, cottage cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella (reserve 1/2 cup of mozz) into a bowl, and mix together thoroughly. Take your slow cooker and spray lightly with cooking spray. Add 1 1/2 cups sauce to the bottom, lay the broken lasagna noodles on top, then about 1/3 the mixture of cheeses, followed by about 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining sauce, and sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top! Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.