Here's how to make slow cooker ravioli lasagna

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One of time-tested classic meals of Italian cuisine is lasagna. Most home cooks have their own variations, but most versions require extensive planning when it comes to shopping as well as preparation.  Boiling noodles, building the perfect ricotta blend, and endlessly layering ingredients makes many a cook shelve the idea in favor of something easy. Well, no more.
This slow cooker lasagna couldn't be simpler. With a few ingenious substitutions, you'll be out of the kitchen in no time. So, if this is one of your family's favorite meals (or one of the most requested for special occasions), then you're in luck. Homemade Italian has never been quicker.
Equipment: 6 qt. slow cooker
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Serves: 8
1 lb. ground beef, lean (optional low-fat substitute: ground chicken or turkey)
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
salt and pepper, to taste
45 oz. pasta sauce, homemade or store-bought*
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional: shredded Italian cheese blend)
1 large package (25-30 oz.) cheese and spinach stuffed ravioli, raw
Optional: If you have fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, or basil), chop a small amount and set aside to top finished lasagna.
*Tip: The overall flavor of your lasagna depends on your pasta sauce, so use the highest quality pre-made sauce you can find or use your own family recipe.
Let's get cooking!
1. Begin by cooking the ground beef with the onion until meat is thoroughly browned and the onions begin to soften, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Drain excess fat from the pan. Tip: By adding the garlic at the end, you won't risk burning it and spoiling the flavor of the seasoned meat.
2. Next, add the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (if you feel it needs it), and the pasta sauce. Stir together and heat on low for 10 minutes.
3. Spray your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and begin the layering process with a few scoops of the meat and sauce mixture. Top with half of the ravioli and half of the shredded cheese.
4. Repeat with another layer of sauce mix and ravioli. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover and cook on low for approximately 3-4 hours.
5. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, basil, or oregano, if desired, and serve. 
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