Fix it and forget it? Definitely! A recipe that will make your family cheer!

Life is busy right now around the Tighe homestead with school back in full swing for five students, childbirth classes beginning again, three boys playing soccer, and just trying to keep up with everyone. You may be singing the same tune! Since we all have to eat every day (and multiple times at that!), I’ve been on the lookout for quick, easy, and tasty dininers that are easy both on the grocery budget and my already crunched timetable. Imagine my delight when this recipe found me and appeared a few days ago in my email inbox. How easy is that?! A few months ago, I posted a similar recipe for a baked ravioli lasagna that turned out really well, and if you’re interested in comparing the two, check this out. Working from the premise that if the baked recipe was good then the crock pot version could be even better, I decided that yesterday was the day to try it. An added bonus was that Meijer has ravioli on sale this week (you could make your own, or subsitute gluten-free, like the original blogger used in the recipe that can be found here), and it was a no-brainer.

This recipe really couldn’t be easier. Although the original instructs calls for a 4-qt crock pot, we don’t have no stinkin’ 4-qt crock pot in this house. We use the industrial-sized, feed a herd crock pot, because otherwise someone would be left out in the rain, crying because they had no dinner. I try to avoid making people cry over having no food whenever possible. I am happy to report that even with the larger crock pot, the cooking time–and results–were the same.

In any case, it takes a bit of time to brown the ground beef or turkey, but after that the entire dish goes together very quickly. Here’s what it looked like after it was assembled:

At least 5 of the 6 kids came in to ask what I was making during the process. Even before it was ready, it smelled really good! I posted the picture on Facebook when it began crock-potting, and a few comments kind of got me worried–especially the “how do you keep the pasta from getting mushy?” from my observant friend Amy. I hadn’t even considered it before she brought it up, and so then I was a bit concerned. I needn’t have wasted the worry time. It cooked all morning and into the afternoon, and around 3:30ish, I turned it down to warm from low to wait for the soccer boys to come home after running themselves into a tizzy on the field.

Here’s a poorly presented plated version of the finished product:

Served with a green salad, everyone at the table gave rave reviews of this meal. The only comment for improvement was to add more cheese next time (this is a common request in the Tighe home, however. I was not surprised to hear it!). I will definitely make this again and often. Perhaps your family will be as pleased with it as mine was.

Crock Pot Ravioli Lasagna

1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 (28-ounce) jar prepared pasta sauce
25-30 frozen cheese or meat ravioli
2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
2 tablespoons warm water
Use a 4-quart slow cooker. After browning the meat in a skillet, drain well and add the pasta sauce (save the jar!) to the meat in your saute pan. Stir to combine.
Scoop a large spoonful of meat sauce and spread into the bottom of an empty slow cooker. Add a layer of frozen ravioli. Then add another layer of meat sauce. Continue layering until you run out of ravioli and sauce. Sprinkle cheese evenly all over the top.
Put 2 tablespoons of water into the empty pasta sauce jar, and shake. Pour this water over the top of your “lasagna.”
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (Though the original recipe calls for 6-7, that seemed too long. I was home the first day I made this, and it was heated through well before 7 hours had passed. Now I plan on 5, and check it with a meat thermometer after 4.) Your lasagna is done when the pasta on the ravioli is tender and the filling is heated through.

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