The holidays are a busy, busy time.
Wait…you are busy, right? I know I can’t be the only one. It seems like the month of December is one long holiday party, one long hectic work day, one long exhausting shopping excursion, or some horrifying combination of the three.
Or maybe those things are only horrifying and exhausting to us introverts of the world.
Any way you look at it, it is no minor miracle if I don’t spend the entire month eating cookies for dinner every night, thus wreaking havoc on my new year’s resolutions before they are even made.
This time of year, I like to turn to recipes that are comforting but also incredibly easy. If that recipe can be prepared at least in part ahead of time, all the better. If it is a perfect meal for entertaining, since you never know when people are going to stop by for a visit during the holidays…well, I might just consider never making anything else for the rest of eternity.
This Slow Cooker Lasagna with Ground Pork and Spinach really does have it all. While doing some shopping at my local Dominick’s, I picked up a box of Barilla’s Oven Ready Lasagne and a couple of jars of their all-natural Tuscan Herb Sauce, knowing that they would be perfect for putting together this easy but delicious meal. Using an all-natural pasta sauce and oven-ready lasagna noodles are two holiday cooking shortcuts that I can fully get behind; by layering those ingredients in my slow cooker with some frozen spinach, cooked ground pork, and cheese, I had an assembled lasagna ready to cook in no time flat.
Bonus: This lasagna can totally be assembled up to a day ahead of time, then put in the refrigerator until you are ready to plug in your slow cooker and get things goin’.
Extra bonus: Since you’re cooking this lasagna in the slow cooker, there’s no need to babysit it. You’ve probably got company coming over, or cookies to bake, or shopping to do! Go, be free, and get things accomplished – far away from your kitchen – while this does its thing. When you come back, dinner will be ready and any guests you have will be so impressed that you spent so much time making lasagna for them…and far be it from you to tell them any differently.
Because Barilla knows that your holiday season is a busy one, they want to help make meal-time a little easier! Right now, when you shop at your local SAFEWAY store, you can get $1 off the purchase of ONE (1) box of Barilla® Lasagne and ONE (1) Barilla® Sauce! Not only did your meal just get easier…it just got less expensive, too.
You can’t tell, but I’m high-fiving you through the computer screen right now.
For more quick and easy holiday entertaining recipes, be sure to follow Barilla on Facebook!
- 1 box Barilla Oven Ready Lasange
- 2 24-ounce jars Barilla Tuscan Herb Sauce
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1½ generous cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Spray the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the pork until cooked through. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, drain any fat, and set aside.
- Using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, squeeze the liquid out of the thawed spinach. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese and the spinach and mix thoroughly.
- Pour ½ jar of the sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with 2-3 of the lasagna noodles (you will need to break them into pieces to get them to fit properly). Top the noodles with half of the ricotta cheese mixture, then half of the cooked pork, then another ½ jar of the sauce. Layer with 2-3 more noodles, then repeat with the rest of the ricotta, pork, and another ½ jar of the sauce. Top with more 2-3 more noodles (you will not have used the whole box of pasta) and the remaining sauce.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, or until the noodles are cooked and the sauce is bubbling. Turn the slow cooker to warm, top the lasagna with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and place the lid back on for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.