Semi-Crockpot Lasagna

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Semi-Crockpot Lasagna

I like my lasagna chock-full of veggies (which I usually pre-cook with a small amount of ground meat before combining with the rest of the ingredients in the lasagna dish) but the process can be a bit time-consuming for a weekday dinner. This week I experimented with a new method that I think is a winner, drafting my crockpot into service for the first leg of the relay.

At lunch time, I chopped and shredded veggies (carrots, onions, green peppers) and tossed them in the crockpot with canned chopped tomatoes, canned tomato sauce and spices. I let that simmer away all afternoon, and then when it was time to prepare dinner, it was easy to make the ricotta/egg/parmesan mixture while browning the meat, and just a few minutes later I was ready to layer the ingredients (using no-boil noodles) and get baking. You could easily replace the canned tomato sauce with other fresh or canned tomatoes, I just happen to be a fan of Hunt's Zesty & Spicy Pasta Sauce and an even bigger fan of the sale price I often get it at.

With the lasagna safetly in the oven in record time, that gave me 40 minutes to make a salad and relax before dinner was ready. Nice! I could see myself chopping veggies and browning the meat the day before a Big Day and setting the sauce going in the morning, leaving just a little bit of assembly work to squeeze in around whatever the event. I'm thinking having the sauce and veggies already piping hot should speed up the baking time considerably versus assembling the lasagna the day before and then heating from cold. More so than the time it takes to assemble? Not sure, but that's a good experiment to try some day.

Need help with the recipe ingredient amounts given by weight? See the Weight Equivalents page.

- Victoria, 2012-07-07

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