I have recently begun working an extra two hours per day tutoring, and four days per week I now find myself not getting home until 6 pm. By this time, we are hungry, and if dinner can’t be ready in about 10 minutes, I either want to eat leftovers or have something waiting for me when I walk through the door. My crockpot, a $3 yard sale steal, has made a quick re-entry into my life after lying dormant most of the summer, and I am currently making at least one crockpot meal per week. While I enjoy cooking and find it relaxing, when I am short on time, nothing is better than dumping your ingredients in the crockpot and knowing you will have dinner ready when you walk in the door.

I found a straight-forward recipe  from food.com and decided it was time to try lasagna in the crockpot. We waste no food in our house, and I am very conscious of using or freezing leftovers if not eaten within a day or two. I found myself with a leftover cooked elk burger, a mason jar of tomato puree I had frozen earlier, and a bunch of brown-paper-bag-ripened tomatoes from our garden ready to be used.

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Crockpot Lasagna with Ground Elk

Serves 2-3

16 oz. spaghetti sauce– I make my sauce and use “My Mama Iuliucci’s ‘Don’t Skip a Step Spaghetti Sauce’ “  as the basis of my sauce but I do skip a few steps…lol

4 oz. or more ground elk, crumbled (beef or venison would be fine, too)

~ 1.5 c Italian blend cheese

~ 1/2 c Parmesan cheese

~1.5 c 2% Cottage Cheese

Italian seasoning

3-6 No-cook lasagna noodles, depending on size of crockpot

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1. If using homemade, make spaghetti sauce, add in ground elk, and simmer in crockkpot for 3 hours on low. No need to dirty another pan! My sauce was made of what I had on hand and based off the above recipe: 16 oz. tomato puree, diced cherry tomatoes, onion, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, garlic pepper, sugar, salt, Italian seasoning, and parsley. I did not measure exactly.

2. Next, I scooped out 2/3 of the sauce, and left a layer on the bottom of the crockpot.

3. Next, I ran home during my 15 minute break between jobs, and layered non-cooked lasagna noodles (broken to fit the circular crockpot), spread them with cottage cheese, then sprinkled shredded Italian blend cheese and parmesan on top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

4. Repeat this process two more times–sauce, noodles, cheeses, Italian seasoning– and add a little extra cheese on the top and final layer.

5. Make sure your noodles are totally covered with sauce/cottage cheese so they cook and are not hard.

6. I only cooked my lasagna for 2.5 hours on HIGH in the crockpot and it was juuuust done. If I had had more time, I would cook it on LOW as recommended for 4-6 hours.

7. Serve with salad, and enjoy!

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