Friday, May 10, 2013

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

I read a blog called My Bizzy Kitchen nearly every day. I sure like this blog. From reading the blog, I feel like I can relate pretty well with the blog's writer who refers to herself as "Biz".  She's about the same age as me, she likes to cook, and she's been struggling with keeping her weight down; I can relate to all of that.  She blogs about pretty much everything she eats and also what she is doing for exercise.  She is diabetic and often includes Weight Watcher's points for many of her recipes (if you find that helpful).

I have tried a number of Biz's recipes and they are all fantastic.  In general I get lots of good ideas from seeing what she's cooking and eating.  Biz has been going on and on about Lasagna Soup so I decided to give it a whirl.  Biz says she's making the recipe she found on a blog called Two dogs in the Kitchen.

Broken up pieces of lasagna pasta... any small or medium sized pasta would do (bowties and shells come to mind).  I will use something other than lasagna next time... a little easier to eat in soup...

 I cooked the soup, portioned it out into 4 servings, and the kept the pasta in a separate container.  The pasta, if left in the soup, would soak up all the soupy-ness and the pasta might get mushy.

When I was ready to have some soup, I warmed up one portion in the microwave for about 2 minutes, added in a bit of the cooked pasta, and then warmed it for another 30 seconds in the microwave.  I put a scoop of "cheesy goodness" in the bottom of my soup bowl and then added in the hot soup.

So tasty.  It really does taste like Lasagna!

I strayed wildly from the recipe as written but it still turned out great.  I've been making lots of homemade pizza lately and I never quite use an entire jar of sauce (I use two kinds of Bertolli brand jarred tomato pasta sauces).  I started to save the leftover sauce in the freezer in small plastic storage containers so when I made this soup, I thawed some of the leftover odds and ends of sauce and even threw in 1/2 of a small can of tomato sauce which was also in the freezer.  I used leftover cooked crumbled Italian sausage (Johnsonville brand hot bulk Italian sausage) and leftover lasagna noodles.  I just had to get some ricotta cheese at the store for the "cheesy goodness".  You CANNOT skip the "cheesy goodness" (see below)!

Lasagna Soup

For the soup:
2 cups jarred tomato marinara sauce (such as Bertolli brand tomato basil sauce)
1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional)
1 cup water
1 can (14.5 ounce size) chicken broth
cooked crumbled Italian sausage (I used less than 1/2 pound)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
5 to 6 ounces dried pasta

For the "cheesy goodness" which is what TOTALLY makes the soup amazingly wonderful:
4 ounces ricotta cheese (I used a low fat/lower calorie variety, Friggo brand)
2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I used KRAFT brand)
a generous pinch of salt
a few grinds of black pepper.

In a soup pot, combine all of the soup ingredients except the pasta.  Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and allow to gently simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions.  I used left over lasagna noodles which I broke into small pieces but any small or medium sized pasta would be great.  Drain the pasta and spread out on a cookie tray or platter to cool.  If desired, drizzle a little olive oil on the pasta to keep it from sticking together. I skipped this to save on calories.

In a small bowl, make up the "cheesy goodness".  Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; stir well with a fork to combine.

To serve, place 1/4 of the "cheesy goodness" in a soup bowl.  Add in 1/4 of the cooked pasta and cover with hot soup. Stir in the cheesy goodness and enjoy!

I stored my soup, pasta, and cheesy goodness in the refrigerator in separate containers to keep the pasta from absorbing all of the soup liquid.  I added the cheesy goodness to each individual portion of warmed up soup.  This soup was so good I had it for lunch and for dinner yesterday!

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