Entertaining with Kids and Bush’s Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

Today’s dish, Bush’s Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna, is easy to prepare and start cooking hours ahead of a dinner party. It’s a great dish to serve kids, ready the minute they walk through the door, allowing adults to enjoy a separate dinner party.

Bush's Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

My husband and I have entertained with kids for almost 24 years now, and somewhere along the way our 3 little cherubs have grown into young adults. Yes, it’s more stressful to entertain with kids, especially little kids, but I’m so glad that we did it over the years. We could have let our perfectionist ways stop us, with the thought that if the kids interrupted us, our “adult time” would be over. Instead, we learned to be interrupted, help solve problems, laugh, kiss boo-boos, and then get back to our dinner party!

It’s just too hard.

Do you know how many times I’d struggled with the thought – it’s just too hard? I personally learned to “go with the flow,” and realized that if kids were a part of our life, then they were going to learn about hospitality, and we were going to work on our friendships (which as a young family, sharing a meal with another family is the perfect way to do this).

Practice to make it work.

We learned to make it work by practice. We watched our friends make it work, too. I remember going to a family with five kids’ home, observing how they fed all the kids first, then we adults sat down to a nice candle light dinner, and I thought to myself, So that’s how it’s done! There’s 2 ways you can entertain with kids:

Stress-free dinner with kids.

– Know it will not be perfect – ever
– Chat with the kids ahead of time and prepare them with your expectations
– Feed the kids first
– Have an activity for them to do after their meal
– Soak up the few minutes of adult-time around the table and be thankful for what you get

Stress-free dinner with no kids.

– Hire a babysitter to come over to entertain the kids
– Feed the kids first, then send them on their way while the adults eat
– Again, know that there is a possibility that things will not be perfect.

Bush’s Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna.

If you plan to feed the kids early, I love this recipe today, because making it in the crock pot allows you to prepare it 5 hours prior, and then cross it off your list! (I’m a list-maker, so knowing the kid’s meal is done would give me peace of mind:)

Bush's Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

Saute the veggies. Mix in the tomatoes, corn, and diced chilies. Season well and add black beans.

Bush's Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

Layer the mixture with cheese, ricotta, and no-boil oven-ready lasagna noodles (I use DeLallo’s whole wheat brand).

Bush's Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

Place the lid on, turn the crock pot on LOW, and walk away!

Bush's Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

Serve the lasagna with other yummy toppings such as salsa, avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro.

I think about the amazing friendships that have been forged around our dinner table over the years–families with lots of kids, families with no kids, families with difficult kids, special needs–those to this day we still keep in touch with!

In what areas do you struggle with entertaining with kids?

Bush's Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

Bush's Black Bean Crock Pot Lasagna

Yield: 8-10

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Easy to prepare and start cooking hours ahead of a dinner party. It’s a great dish to serve kids, ready the minute they walk through the door.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 red peppers, thinkly sliced
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 15 oz. can Bush's Reduced Sodium Black Beans, drained
  • 7 oz. diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2-5 tsp. Mexican spice seasoning (or fajhita spice)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cups Queso cheese (or Mexican mix)
  • 9 oz. lasagna noodles (I use DeLallo Whole Wheat Lasagna)

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of a 4-quart slow cooker with the cooking spray. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and peppers for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn, beans, and peppers; cook 3 minutes more until heated through. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Combine the ricotta cheese with Mozzarella cheese and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
  3. Spread 1 cup of the sauce mixture over the bottom of the slow cooker. Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce mixture, breaking the noodles to fit. Top with 1 cup of the sauce mixture, 1/3 of ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup of the Mexican cheese. Repeat the process 2 more times (depending on the size of your crock pot). Spoon the remaining sauce mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with remaining Queso cheese.
  4. Cover; cook on low for 4 hours or until the noodles are tender. Serve hot with toppings such as salsa, avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro.
  5. If Bush's Reduced Sodium Black Beans are not available in your grocery store, feel free to use regular Bush's Black Beans instead.

More kid recipes:

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

One-Pot Paprika Chicken Thighs

Creamy Salsa Chicken Tenders {20-minutes!}

This post is sponsored by Bush’s Beans, but as always, all opinions are my own.

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10 comments

  1. Looks delicious Sandy!!! I struggle with trying to get the house cleaned up before having folks over the kids always make messes. I try not to be a perfectionist with this but at times to be honest its made me not invite folks over knowing what it will take just to get the house tidied up. Would love any suggestions that have helped?

    • Michelle, I kept 1 room clean and the kids couldn’t go in there (easy) so when company came, we hung out there. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked!

      By the end of night, all rooms were thrashed! LOL But no one cared! It just helped to start with 1 clean space :)

  2. That dinner looks delightful.
    Our kids have always been a part of any get together we have had. I’ve never really thought of any other way. They are both quite the little chatter boxes so sometimes it can be difficult to get a word in.

  3. I can’t even tell you how much I love this post. Growing up, my parents always included me in their entertaining plans, whether I ate separately with other kids or at the adult table. Having an easy meal prepped ahead of time for the kids is such a great idea!

  4. I love your tips about hosting a dinner with kids. #1 is so hard for me! Ha! But really, kids love being involved too. Your lasagna looks scrumptious. I love anything I can make ahead in my slow cooker.

  5. Bush’s black beans are a pantry staple in my kitchen and I love this crockpot recipe, so delicious!

  6. Love your ideas about including kids in the entertaining, having spent far too many meals at the kids table growing up. Although, if this lasagna was on my plate maybe I wouldn’t have cared as much :)

  7. Mexican Lasagna in the crock pot?! You are genius! I also love that you entertain with your kids. I was never a part of that growing up with my parents, and that needs to change when I have kids! Pinned!

  8. Hi there

    Can I ask you what queso cheese/ Mexican mix is? I live in South Africa so would love to know an alternative!

    Thanks

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