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Slow Cooker 5-Cheese Taco Lasagna

Taco Lasagna (eatwisconsincheese.com)

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 package (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 container (16 ounces) Clock Shadow Ricotta cheese

1 egg

10 whole-wheat lasagna noodles*

3 cups picante sauce or salsa

1 cup (4 ounces) Queso Del Ray Queso Quesadilla cheese, grated

1 cup (4 ounces) Queso Del Rey Queso Blanco cheese, grated

1 cup (4 ounces) Brunkow Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup (4 ounces) Queso Del Rey Cotija cheese, grated

1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives, optional

Sour cream, for topping

Diced red onion, for topping

Cilantro, chopped, for topping

Sliced avocado, for topping

Directions:

Heat skillet over medium high heat; add ground beef. Use wooden spoon to break meat into even pieces. Add taco seasoning and tomato paste, stirring occasionally for even browning. Continue to brown beef until no longer pink; drain excess fat. Set aside.

Place ricotta in medium bowl; add egg and whisk until combined. Set aside.

In casserole slow cooker or 6-quart oval slow cooker, layer 5 uncooked whole-wheat lasagna noodles over bottom (you may break some noodles in half to fit slow cooker shape). Spoon half of ricotta mixture over noodles as evenly as possible. Sprinkle half of beef over ricotta. Pour half of salsa over beef.

Mix queso quesadilla, queso blanco, cheddar and cotija to blend. Sprinkle half of cheese mixture over salsa.

Repeat layering, starting with remaining lasagna noodles and ending with remaining cheese mixture.

Top cheese layer with sliced olives, if using. Cover slow cooker; cook on high 2-3 hours or low about 4 hours. Serve lasagna immediately with favorite toppings (sour cream, red onion, cilantro and avocado are my favorites.).

*Note; I like using whole-wheat lasagna noodles for this recipe because they do not get mushy like white pasta tends to do in the slow cooker. The noodles do not need to be oven-ready noodles.

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