Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Lasagna Soup, found over at PaulaDeen.com. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.
This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice, and I was looking forward to it, but a little iffy on it, too. Because I like lasagna, but I kind of don’t like little chunks of tomato in soups and stews. I can’t help it, there’s something about tomato chunks in liquid that ooks me out, the way they float around glaring up at me, looking all chunky. Maybe it’s ’cause I hated tomatoes as a kid (though loved ketchup and didn’t mind tomato sauce, go figure) and it’s a holdover from that.
ANYway, because I am a ray of shining light, I was willing to deal with chunky tomato bits for the team. I’m wonderful like that.
Ground beef and cheese and lasagna noodles and spices and tomato stuff and such. The original recipe calls for a chopped green bell pepper, but I don’t do peppers, so I just increased the amount of onion instead.
In a dutch oven, combine the ground beef and chopped onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat ’til the beef is browned and crumbly. Is there anything better than the smell of ground beef, onion, and garlic? I think not.
Combine everything except the cheeses and noodles in the dutch oven.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add your noodles and stir until the noodles are tender. I don’t like feeling up noodles for tenderness, so I checked the package that the noodles came in to see how long they needed to cook, cooked them for that long, and assumed they were tender. Then stir in your parmesan cheese.
Preheat the broiler in your oven. Now, the recipe says to “ladle the soup into 8 – 10 ovenproof bowls.” Well, I wasn’t going to do that, because there are only two of us, and why the hell would we make 8 – 10 bowls of the stuff for just the two of us?
So I just made the two bowls, sprinkled a bit of mozzarella on top of each bowl of soup, and then broiled the soup ’til the cheese was melted.
During the part of the recipe where I was waiting for the noodles to tenderize, I made crostini. I have no idea at this point if Nance made the crostini or not, but I felt it was important that I have pieces of garlicky bread to shove in my face. It’s pretty easy – slice a baguette, brush the slices with olive oil, salt and pepper it, cook it ’til it’s brown. Rub it with smashed garlic, then think to yourself “Hey, wouldn’t a sprinkle of cheese on this bread be the perfect touch?”, sprinkle mozzarella on each slice, and stick it back in the oven until the cheese is melted.
Then serve slices of crostini with the soup.
The verdict: thumbs way, way, WAY up! This stuff was SO FREAKIN’ GOOD. You know how I mentioned my dislike of chunky tomato pieces? I totally did NOT even notice the chunky tomato pieces. We ate this for dinner for two more nights, and then I got three lunches out of it. We will absolutely be making this again. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to break the lasagna noodles into smaller pieces. Other than that, this recipe is perfect as is!
I do not even like soup. Soup is messy. I am an uncoordinated slob and it always ends up where it’s not supposed to be. Dribbling down my face. On my clothes. Ugh. I am way too obsessive to be a good soup eater. Awkward people fret about eating in public bad enough without worrying about holding the spoon just right. Not slurping. OHMYGAWD, THE BRAIN WORKS SO HARD FOR THE SOUP! It’s not worth it!
So yeah. I have no idea why I picked this recipe either. I’m not a huge Paula Deen fan (although with my love of butter you’d think she would be my queen). I liked her well enough before she got involved with branding and her name was on everything. I really remember an ad campaign that ran on the aisle televisions at the local Walmart. It would creep me out because she sounds exactly like my mother-in-law. Same accent, same voice. I was forever forgetting about those televisions and turning around looking for my mother-in-law when I was in that store. Drove me nuts. Speaking of nuts, have you seen the Paula Deen Riding Things Meme? Hilarious.
Shirley took this picture. It is the only picture she took of the onions so it is safe to assume that there will not be a How To Cut An Onion Lesson again. It makes me laugh when I see that onion because it was huge and we’ve just been chopping parts of it off at a time instead of cutting the entire thing. Creative people up in here. Or lazy. Heh.
Note: my pictures are going to be even worse than they normally are because I was trying to learn how to use a new flash. You can pretty much see where my career in photography is heading.
Good thing I bought that spice rack from Sam’s Club a while back. Otherwise, I would have no idea what exactly Paula Deen meant when she wrote Italian Seasoning in the ingredients list. And also, would not have had time to go buy Thyme (har-dee-har).
I did not take a picture of the ground beef browning experience because I’m thinking you guys know how that looks. And we’re just going to pretend that those are petite diced tomatoes in there because I had cans of regular size diced tomatoes in the house. Pro-tip: You don’t need a dutch oven for this recipe. A regular ol’ pot will do just fine.
I made the executive decision to add more than 2 cups of broken lasagna noodles because of the first paragraph in which I wrote that I’m not a big fan of soup. The measuring cup above is a standard 2-cup measuring cup. We just heaped it as high as it would go.
Action shot! Just imagine how great this picture would have been if I would have had decent lighting?
I did not have a thin French baguette to make crostini with. I did, however, have some French hard rolls because I was in a sandwich kind of mood the day before. Points for improvisation!
Voila! It was more Taste Like Lasagna Chili instead of soup because I used so many noodles, but everyone here loved it so I was happy. It also made me realize that this is a lot less hassle than making lasagna the normal way (cooking the noodles, layering everything, etc.) so it will definitely show up in the meal rotation. I think I’m going to play around with fresh noodles (Shirley has a pasta roller and knows how to use it) and ricotta cheese next time to see what I come up with, but it’s a keeper for me!
You knew I wasn’t going to forget to show Felina taking one for the team. God bless that little shit of a dog. Obligatory reminder: We wash our dishes with dishwashing detergent, hot water and chlorine bleach. It’s all good!
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- 1 lb ground chuck
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 (32 ounce) box chicken broth
- 2 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cup broken lasagna noodles
- 1 (5 ounce) package grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Garlic Crostini:
- 1 thin French baguette
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves smashed garlic
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large Dutch oven, combine ground chuck, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beef is browned and crumbles. Drain well.
- Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese.
- Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 to 10 ovenproof bowls. Evenly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil soups, 6-inches from heat, 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Add a garlic crostini slice on top. Serve immediately.
- For the garlic crostini:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut bread into ¼-inch round slices. Place on baking sheet and brush each slice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; place in oven and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Rub each side with smashed garlic cloves.