You've used your slow cooker countless times for chili, soups and stews, but lasagna? It may not seem like an obvious choice, but this classic Italian dish is surprisingly successful and easy to make in your Crock-Pot.
Cooking pasta in the slow cooker can be tricky — you can end up with mushy noodles or a dried-out mess. But this recipe works wonderfully; start with uncooked regular lasagna noodles, which will hold their shape well, and cook on low for less than 4 hours to prevent overcooking. Adding a little water to the marinara helps prevent the sauce from drying out, and plenty of spinach and fresh basil cut through the rich cheese. Plus, it's simple (and fun) to assemble, too.
While your lasagna is cooking, you have plenty of time to throw together a salad or side dish, set the table and even make dessert. And once the casserole is ready, your slow cooker will keep it warm for the duration of the meal (essential for those inevitable second helpings).
Maggie Shi is a writer and editor who lives in New York City. She has written for RealSimple.com, iVillage, FoodNetwork.com and Epicurious. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @maggshi.