Cooler weather means hot and delicious home made comfort food. First thing that comes to mind is soup and lasagna. What if I told you that you could have both at once? Yup! The best part is that aside from getting all of the amazing flavors, spices and cheeses from lasagna is that this is a one pot meal that cooks up much faster than a pan of lasagna and is easier to prepare.
I really don't understand how people deal in a cold, wet climate day after day. Of course I've lived in The Valley of the Sun most of my life and am used to cloudless skies and very dry weather 98.7% of the year. The last several days however have been drizzly and today it's been raining hard almost all day long. The skies are completely covered in clouds making it look like twilight at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I can't help but notice that it's taken a physical and emotional toll on my body.
Working in a windowless operating room starting in the wee early hours of the morning means I never have any idea what it's like outdoors. So imagine my surprise when I walked out the back door of the hospital at 2pm to very dark skies, cold wind whipping through my hair and seconds later sheets of rain pounding on my windshield.
Twilight Zone weird.
My energetic mood and positive attitude all but diminished during my 20 minute drive home and my plans to exercise quickly changed into the need to crawl into bed and pull the fluffy covers over my head. Rain pounding on my bedroom window and thunder shaking the panes of glass only made me want to sink deeper into my bed.
So how do people in cooler and wetter time zones deal with the grey skies day after day? Adaptation I suppose but lack of sunlight and dry clothes have got to take it's toll on a person, familiar or not.
TIME 45 MINUTES SERVES 6
YOU WILL NEED
- 1- 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1- 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
- 4-5 cups chicken broth or water
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic smashed then sliced
- 5-6 oven ready lasagna noodles (no pre-boiling needed)
- 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms, stems removed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- handful fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
- a few fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped for garnish
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
In a large stock pot or ceramic cast iron pot, over medium-high heat brown beef. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic saute 1 minute more. Add broth while scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wood or plastic spoon. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Add Italian seasoning, bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Break the lasagna noodles in thirds and carefully add to pot. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low. Stir the noodles once or twice to prevent them from sticking together. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes until noodles are just soft, don't over cook.
In a small bowl combine the 3 cheeses. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a generous spoonful of the cheese. Sprinkle chopped parsley and basil over top. Enjoy!
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