Teachers work long hours, and we still have to come home and get dinner on the table for our hungry families. Kids don't care how hard your day was when they're hungry. That's why it is important to have some simple teacher dinner ideas that don't require a lot of prep or that can be prepared in advance. Today I want to share one of my favorite slow cooker recipes with you because my family LOVES it, and I can prep it the night before and have it ready before we walk in the door.
If you've read this blog for more than a minute, you'll know I am NOT a food blogger. To be honest, I cannot cook to save my life. My cookies come from a package and so does my mac and cheese. Even my “homemade” chicken and dumplings soup is a recipe I learned from the show Semi-Homemade with that one lady… I can never recall her name.
However, this recipe (and the super secret tip I'm going to share) are fan favorites around my house. Even my picky eater loves when I make Slow Cooker Lasagna.
Why I wanted to share this dinner idea for teachers
“I hungry!” are consistently the first two words I hear out of my two-year-old after I get into the door of her daycare.
From that moment, it is a race against the grumpy clock if she doesn't get fed.
A snack won't do…the girl needs food. NOW.
My husband and I like to joke that she turns into Betty White from the 2010 Snickers commercial. (Wow, am I dating myself here!)
I, however, just need a few minutes to regroup from the day. So you can see our problem. That's where my slow cooker comes to the rescue.
Pop all the ingredients in before we walk out the door to work…walk in and it is ready to go! From there I can dish up a plate for my mini-Betty White and sit down to chat about her day at school while I get a few minutes with my feet up.
Here's the thing. I am by no means special when it comes to balancing work and home life so I know there are lots of you reading this feeling the same way I do at the end of the day.
That's what inspired me to share this recipe with you.
We all just need a few minutes of downtime after school, but many of us also have busy families to feed before we have to run out the door to a baseball game or dance class. My hope is this recipe can help!
My slow cooker secret tip
Up to this point, the problem has been those recipes that don't need all day…even on low. This recipe, for example, only needs 3-4 hours on low. There's no way for me to make and cook this on a school day because it isn't like I get a real lunch break to come home and prep…and we don't all get paid enough to own the fancy new slow cookers with the extra features.
This meant up until recently, I have been stuck making this dish on the weekends. No more, my friends!! A few weeks back my best friend from high school (who is also in education), put up this picture:
Yep, that's right!
She uses the timer from her Christmas tree lights to start her slow cooker at the perfect time so nothing overcooks.
She's a total genius, right?!
I was so impressed, I had to steal the idea and then ask her if it was okay to share with all of you.
So now that you know the secret (Thanks again, Allison!), I am going to share my super easy, not-so-homemade slow cooker lasagna recipe that I can FINALLY make on any given Tuesday.
How to Make Slow Cooker Lasagna
- 1 package of lasagna noodles
- 1 jar of pasta sauce (I like Ragu Garden Veggie)
- 1-2 lb of ground meat (hamburger, turkey, chicken)
- 1 container of ricotta
- 1 container of cottage cheese
- 1 package of shredded cheese (whatever kind you like)
- Brown the meat and drain any fat before adding your jar of sauce.
- Mix the ricotta and cottage cheese in a bowl. Set aside.
- Spread 1/3 of the meat mixture into the bottom of the slow cooker before adding a layer of uncooked noodles. (HINT: You can break the noodles to make them fit into the space better.)
- Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture across the noodles and cover it with shredded cheese. You can top with a layer of meat or a layer of noodles, depending on your preference.
- Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients. (HINT: Be sure the top layer is meat or cheese NOT noodles.)
- Add shredded cheese on top. Cook on low for4 hours.
That's it! It is so easy that even this non-cook cannot screw it up too badly. Plus it saves me when I get home with a grumpy girl.