A friend sent me a ravioli casserole recipe her cousin shared with her and also with her social media friends. It was a fun one to try and a good example of revamping an old recipe.

Crock-Pot Ravioli Casserole is a cross between ravioli and old-fashioned hamburger casserole.

The recipe apparently originally called for frozen spinach, but the cook adapted it to use fresh spinach in the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Timing is the secret when slow cooking certain ingredients. Sometimes ingredients don’t survive long cook times and the trick lies in knowing which ones do. Fresh spinach, for example, will be less than appetizing after 6 to 8 hours, but if added near the end of the cooking time, it will be perfect. That’s also why seafood is often added later in slow-cooker recipes.

For this dish, the pasta and cheeses are also latecomers to the slow cooker. In the meantime, ground beef, seasonings and tomatoes have plenty of time to merge flavors and the end result is a winner.

This recipe is a good one to use if you have a slow cooker with a stove-top function since you must brown the ground beef, garlic and onion prior to slow cooking.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at juliekay1@cox.net.