2cupscottage cheese (drain off excess liquid if there's a lot)
½cupfreshly grated Parmesan cheese
1teaspoondried parsley, or a couple tablespoons fresh
Pinchof salt and pepper
9-12no-boil lasagna noodles
10ouncesmozzarella cheese shredded, (2-3 cups)
Lightly coat the inside of a round 4- or 5-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sugar, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, and balsamic vinegar.
In another bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and pinches of salt and pepper.
In the slow cooker, spread about 1/2 cup of sauce across the bottom. Add a double layer of noodles, breaking to fit. Spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture (it's ok if the layer is spotty and not overly thick), followed by 1/3 of the remaining sauce and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.
Repeat the layers (noodles, cottage cheese mixture, sauce and mozzarella) twice more.
Drizzle 1/3 cup (more or less) of water around the edges (see note above).
Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Turn off, remove the insert (if it's removable) to a heatproof spot or trivet and let sit for 20 minutes before serving (you can dig in before that but it might be just a tad soupy and lava hot).
Slow Cooker: slow cookers vary in size and shape. The only slow cooker I've ever made this in is 4.5-quarts and about 8 3/4-inches in diameter and 5 inches deep (the lasagna doesn't fill it up all the way; there's probably a couple inches left after layering). You could easily 1 1/2 or double the recipe for larger slow cookers (or decrease for smaller).No-Boil Noodles: I've made this with several brands of no-boil lasagna noodles. I've found the Barilla brand needs hardly any water around the edges before cooking whereas the Target whole wheat lasagna noodles and Trader Joe's lasagna noodles need 1/4-1/3 cup water. It will vary based on brand.Layers: it's a little counterintuitive to stack lasagna noodles on top of each other but in the case of slow cooker lasagna, it's ok and actually helps give a nice, hearty layer of noodles after cooking. A single layer of noodles cooked this long in the slow cooker would be unnoticeable (and dare I say a little mushy) after cooking. Noodles: I've only ever used no-boil noodles here so feel free to experiment with regular noodles (I'd suggest cooking them for a couple minutes but leaving them quite al dente).Meat: the recipe as written is for a meatless lasagna but we've added meat now and again. Simply brown whatever meat (ground turkey, beef, sausage, pork, etc) with a bit of salt and pepper and maybe some diced onion and minced garlic, drain any excess grease and stir the meat into the red sauce mixture before assembling.Cottage Cheese: and finally (phew!), I've tried this with ricotta and we much prefer it with cottage cheese. If you aren't a fan of the texture of cottage cheese, get over it. Ha! Just kidding. You can try blending the cottage cheese a bit to smooth out the texture. I found that ricotta (no matter how much water I added around the edges) dried out the lasagna, probably due to the long cooking time, plus I'm steadfast in the cottage cheese loving camp so I prefer it here.