It’s finals week(s) and I’ve been living on popcorn, clementines, peanut butter, and coffee. But on Sunday, I decided to let my crockpot make my dinner for me. I’ve been toying with the idea of making a lasagna in the crockpot, and that’s how I stumbled across this recipe for Pumpkin White Bean Lasagna. But since you need to break the lasagna noodles anyway to fit them in the slow cooker, I decided to modify the recipe to use whole wheat ziti. And of course, I snuck in one more vegetable and some Parmesan cheese while I was at it! As you can see from the list of ingredients, this is pretty much a pantry meal with no special purchases required. It took all of 20 minutes to assemble in the crockpot, and then I went on with my day.
When I came home, I was pleasantly surprised that the pasta had cooked fairly well. This meal is soft, warm, and comforting. It lacked a little bit of flavor though, so next time I would add more seasoning to the ricotta mixture. In the meantime, I added a bit more sauce and some Parmesan cheese and it was a great dinner, with plenty leftover for lunches for the week. Now, I have no excuses left and must go study!
Crockpot Pumpkin Spinach Ziti Casserole
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (16 oz.) container fat free ricotta
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 (28 oz) can + 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen spinach
4 heaping cups whole wheat ziti (buy a 12 oz. box)
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
In a small bowl, mix pumpkin, ricotta, and Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. In a larger bowl, mix tomato sauce and frozen spinach.
Coat the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray. Place a heaping 1/2 c. of sauce on the bottom of the pot. Add a heaping cup of dry pasta. Add 1/3 of the cheese mixture, followed by 1/3 of the beans, and 1/4 of the remaining sauce. Repeat layers of pasta, cheese, beans, and sauce 2 more times. Add a final layer of pasta, and spread the remaining sauce on top. Cook on low for 8 hours.
-Adapted from GeekyPoet