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We only have 19 days until my kids go back to school, and it is one of the most bitter sweet situations of the whole year. We are at the point in Summer where everyone gets on everyone’s nerves. I’m starting to hear “I’m bored” a bit more and we are finally slowing down on all the fun plans we had scheduled this Summer. So as we quickly approach the back to school season I have started my prep list. My prep list includes the typical things; school clothes shopping, haircuts, school supplies, new backpack, back to school pictures etc. But I also have things for AFTER and BEFORE school on my list. I have lunch prep supplies shopping, meal planning, organize closets for easier clothing selection, and slowly getting back to regular bedtime!
One of my biggest headaches during the school year is dinner. Once I get the kids home, extra curricular activities done and homework started I barely have time to realize we are all hungry, let alone plan a meal. So if I don’t create a meal plan, we usually end up going through the drive through and eating incredibly unhealthy while spending an excess amount of money. So, insert CROCKPOT MEALS which are truly my lifesaver. I don’t know what I would do without my 4 crockpots I own…yes, I own 4!
One of my favorite recipes to make is Crockpot Lasagna. It’s a family favorite and SO delicious. There’s also a few tips that I have to make the process even easier.
If you don’t know already, I am huge on bulk prep. I will make 20 freezer to crockpot meals at a time, brown 5 lbs of hamburger at once then freeze in individual baggies, chop 10 onions then freeze them for easier (and non crying) usage, buy blocks of cheese because they are cheaper and then shred it all and place in bags in the fridge or even freezer. So for this recipe I usually pull out my frozen sausage that is pre-cooked which cuts out 10ish minutes in prep, and use my pre-shredded cheese which saves me both time and money! Also for this recipe I use homestyle lasagna noodles because they do not need to be boiled. They are ready to be cooked in the oven (or crockpot for this recipe) straight from the package. Now that you have my tips, on to the recipe
- 1 package homemade lasagna noodles
- 1 lb sausage
- 23.5 oz Prego Italian Sauce
- 8 oz cottage cheese
- 4 oz ricotta cheese
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Start by browning your meat (or pulling out pre-browned frozen meat) and mixing it with the Prego Italian Sauce. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and cottage cheese. Set aside
Prep your crockpot by putting a small amount of sauce across the bottom giving the noodles a small layer between them and the pot. Now layer!
First put your noodles across the whole bottom. Break the noodles into smaller pieces if needed to cover all areas.
Next place a few drops of the ricotta cheese and cottage cheese mixture over the noodles and spread evenly.
Place 1/4 the sauce on top of the cheese mixture and spread out evenly
Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella over the top of the sauce/meat mixture and then start again with another layer of noodles
Repeat 3 more times for a total of 4 layers except DO NOT put on the last layer of cheese on top. Put the remaining cheese in the fridge until the lasagna is almost done cooking. Cook the lasagna on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours. The last 10 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and sprinkle the last cup of cheese over the top and replace lid. Let the cheese melt for 10-15 minutes and then serve!
I love that with this recipe I can go from helping with homework or driving home from dance to dinner on the table within 10 minutes. Just throw the last cheese on and prep some garlic bread under the broiler for a full meal the whole family will love!
Oh, and I pair mine with a delicious V8+ energy drink because we all know that by dinner time Mom is EXHAUSTED!!
I bought all the stuff for this meal at Walmart while doing a bunch of back to school shopping. Walmart.com also has a bunch of coupons available for campbell’s products like Pace Salsa, Prego Italian Sauce, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, and V8+Energy drink.