With people getting busier and busier, we have to get creative and find ways to save time in the kitchen. Cooking our own food is so important to be and stay healthy. This is the only way to control exactly how much of what goes into our bodies. It's also key to staying on budget. Dinner out for a family of four can quickly add up to mucho dinero.
Many of us have crockpots tucked in the back of the cupboards. Not knowing exactly what to do with them, we allow them to gather dust. Well, here is the first in a series of posts about just that. How to use our slow cookers to prepare simple and delicious meals that cook while we're out being busy.
I was skeptical about this first recipe. Lasagna in the slow cooker? Really? But yes. We can. We must.
Zengarry Slow Cooker Lasagna
1 pound of tofu (see below for my favourite kind of tofu)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 package of whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 jars of your favourite pasta sauce
2 sweet potatoes
1 package of frozen spinach
1 can white beans
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
1) Poke sweet potatoes with a fork and bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes until soft. You can also cook them in the microwave if you prefer.
2) Remove spinach from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight.
3) Make the tofu ricotta. Drain the tofu and place in a food processor with lemon juice, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and nutritional yeast. Process until smooth. If you don't have a food processor, you can mix this by hand until it resembles ricotta cheese (pictured below).
4) Store all ingredients in the fridge overnight.
IN THE MORNING (OR 3-4 HOURS BEFORE YOU WANT TO EAT)
1) Drain the thawed spinach and mix in with the tofu ricotta.
2) Scoop flesh out of the sweet potatoes and mash with a fork.
3) Drain and rinse beans.
4) Spray the slow cooker with non-stick spray. Spread a little pasta sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a layer of noodles, uncooked. You may have to break off corners of the noodles to make them fit nicely (you can throw these corner bits in too). Spread sauce over the noodles. Add a layer of ricotta, sweet potato and beans. Top with noodles, sauce, ricotta, sweet potato and beans and repeat for one or two more layers until you've used up all your stuffing ingredients. Finish up with a layer of noodles and more sauce on top.
5) Cook on low for about 4 hours.
Top with a bit of non-dairy cheese or add in any other veggies you like.
For gluten-free lasagna substitute brown rice noodles or use slices of zucchini or eggplant instead.
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