I’m not here to get my starving writer friends an actual job. Unless your ambition is to set up a slow-cooker lasanga stand somewhere. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. I always say, if you’re going to dream, dream big. No, I’m here to help out all my friends who, like me, may be finding their word output far exceeding their caloric intake. Or finding themselves at the bottom of a bag of peanut M&Ms in search of inspiration. This one is for you guys, my brothers and sisters in NaNoWriMo.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe that you can put together in 5 minutes (unless you’re trying to take pictures of the process. In that case, add an hour) and leave it for a few hours while you hammer out content. Drumroll, please.
Heather’s Slow Cooker Lasagna – complete with crappy photographs. You’re welcome.
Here’s what you need:
8 lasagna noodles (I prefer whole wheat because they maintain their integrity in the recipe, meaning they don’t cook down to paste. Friday, my husband finally admitted that he hates them. Who knew?)
15 oz of ricotta cheese (I like part-skim so I am not all fat, but whole milk variety works as well for you skinny folks. That I hate.)
2 Cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Jar of the spaghetti sauce of your choice (not for a minute did I pretend that this meal was going to be totally from scratch. Deal with it, or go back to your M&Ms)
1/3 Cup of water
Optional: half a pound or so of your favorite ground meat or protein crumble (my kid is a vegetarian, so we leave out the meat, but Morningstar Farms Sausage crumbles are pretty awesome)
1) Break the noodles into the bottom of the slow-cooker.
2) Pour in half of the jar of your sauce. You don’t have to be exact.
3) Add the water. I didn’t include a picture of this step. I am sorry if you are now confused and will end up with toast instead of lasagna. I can only do so much for you.
4) Add your ricotta cheese and try to spread it evenly. Here’s a tip: it doesn’t spread. You’re going to have to squish it. But it’s kind of fun.
5) Here’s the dangerous part in the recipe. If you have meat or a meat-substitute, this is where you add it. I don’t, so there is no picture. Meat or meat substitute. Not dog food or pencil shavings. You can do this, even without a photo to guide you.
6) Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese over the ricotta/meat/meat substitute. Note: this represents only HALF of your cheese. If you use all of it, it will be cheesy, but it will look really weird.
7) Top with the remainder of the sauce.
8 ) Turn your slow-cooker on low. Cook for an hour. Set a timer if you have to.
9 ) After cooking for an hour, top with the remainder of the cheese. You CAN do this before step 8, but your cheese will be all brown and crunchy. Me no likey, but if you like crispy cheese, feel free to mix it up. And by that, I mean change up the recipe. If you actually mix up the contents of your slow-cooker, it won’t be pretty.
10) Cook for another 2-3 hours. If you have an oval slow-cooker, you’ll aim for 3 total hours of cook time. If you have a round one (I am jealous), aim for four total hours.
11) Serve it up with a side of salad and fresh bread. That you kneaded from scratch. Shut up. I did. I can’t make spaghetti sauce yet, but I can bake me up some bread. I’ll post that recipe another time.
So there you have it. A recipe that is quick and easy and doesn’t require a lot of baby-sitting. Your word-count is almost guaranteed to shoot through the roof . ** Carbs and comfort food can have that effect. Happy writing!
** Please note, I said “almost ” guaranteed. Author is not responsible for writer’s block, computer crashes, hair loss or weight gain.