My First Dinner Party

I had the very exciting honor of hosting my first dinner party last Friday evening. In my “About Me” section, I mentioned that my mixer is my favorite kitchen toy. I must say that my crockpot came in a very close second. With a full time job, working out, having a quiet devotion time, and desiring to spend some relaxing time with my husband, making dinner every day isn’t how I want to spend my evenings. Thus, I use my crockpot…A LOT. For this specific dinner party, I made crockpot lasagna, a Pinterest recipe that I was so excited to try! And for dessert, I stole my sister’s trifle recipe. Please enjoy the recipes!

Crockpot Lasagna:
1lb.  ground beef
1 jar  (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 cup  water
1 container  (15 oz.) POLLY-O Original Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg.  (7 oz.) KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 egg
2 Tbsp.  chopped fresh parsley
6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

BROWN meat in large skillet; drain.  Stir in spaghetti sauce and water.  Mix ricotta, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, egg and parsley.
SPOON 1 cup meat sauce into slow cooker; top with layers of half each of the noodles (broken to fit) and cheese mixture.  Cover with 2 cups meat sauce.  Top with remaining noodles (broken to fit), cheese mixture and meat sauce.  Cover with lid.
COOK on LOW 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is absorbed.   Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; let stand, covered, 10 min. or until melted.

My Sister’s Not-So-Secret Trifle:
1 pkg.  (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 qt.  (4 cups) cold milk
2 pkg.  (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
4 pkg.  (1.4 oz. each) chocolate-covered toffee bars, crushed

PREPARE cake batter and bake in 13×9-inch baking pan as directed on package.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
ADD milk to dry pudding mix in medium bowl.  Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended.
LAYER half each of the cake cubes, pudding, whipped topping and crushed chocolate bars in large glass trifle bowl.  Repeat all layers.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

“Cooking is not about being the best or most perfect cook, but rather it is about sharing the table with family and friends.”
~ Skye Gyngell, My Favorite Ingredients

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