The new year is a sort of relief, isn't it? Not so much that 2009 was so bad (for me, though I know was a hard-hard year for many) but because it just feels sooo good to leave behind the too-much, too-rich, too-sweet, too-tempting foods that are hallmarks of the holidays. I've made soup every day this week, broth-based soups packed with vegetables and protein and nutrients. A cup at a time, they are reviving my holiday-logged body and spirit, preparing me for the fullness of the new year.
PLUS I'm cleaning out the basement freezer and the pantry! So when I spied the recipe for "Cheesy Spinach Lasagna Soup" in one of my favorite cookbooks from 2009, The Spice Kitchen, I knew that I'd skip the cheese and amp up the spinach. Better still, it was a great way to use up odd scraps of lasagna noodles that seem to collect.
Tis all a relief, for sure, shedding the excess, living with what's on hand.
"I made this tonight & it was excellent." ~ Pat W.
"I made this tonight, and my husband and I both had seconds!" ~ Foodie Patootie
"Thank you thank you thank you!! We have made this twice in the last five days and I LOVE it!" ~ The Duckworth Family
LASAGNA SOUP with FRESH SPINACH
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 8 cups
4 cups chicken broth, brought to a boil in the microwave (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef (I used ground elk, Note to Vegetarians)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons basil (see TIPS)
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon anise seed
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
15 ounces canned tomato sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
2 ounces broken bits of lasagna noodles or another pasta (see TIPS)
8 ounces fresh spinach, chopped (see TIPS)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, break up the ground meat and cook it with the onion until fully cooked. (See TIPS.) Add the garlic, spices, tomatoes and sauce and hot broth and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. (If making ahead, stop here, let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. Return to a boil.)
Drop in the pasta and let cook until just done. Just before serving, stir in the spinach and let cook through for just a minute or two. Serve and savor!
TIME-SAVER Bringing the broth to a boil beforehand is a time-saving step but can be skipped if there's no hurry.
LASAGNA SPICES Use an Italian seasoning mix to substitute for any of the spices, especially the anise which is critical to achieving the 'Italian' essence of lasagna.
HOW MUCH PASTA? Two ounces of pastas seems like 'nothing' when you first make the soup. But once it sits awhile, it will soak up liquid and almost take over the soup. If using lasagna noodles, break the pieces up really small so they'll distribute more evenly.
PASTA FOR DIETERS For dieters hesitant to use any pasta at all, I think the soup would be quite delicious without it or you might use Dreamsfields pasta, the low-glycemic (low-carb) pasta that tastes good!
'BURN' THE MEAT Don't hesitate to let a little 'burn' gather on the meat, it adds flavor; to do this, stir less often, letting chunks of meat brown well before turning over.
SUBSTITUTIONS The inspiring recipe called for a pound of ground Italian sausage, a cup of mini farfalle pasta (orzo or another mini pasta would work too), only 8 ounces of tomato sauce (I couldn't bear to put another partial something back into the fridge). At the end, 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella were added with the spinach and the bowls were topped with 1/2 cup of fresh Parmesan.
LIGHT & EASY SOUP RECIPES
~ Peasant Cabbage & Tomato Soup ~
~ Homemade Minestrone Soup ~
~ Cabbage & White Bean Stew ~
HEARTY SOUP RECIPES
~ 15-Bean Soup ~
~ Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup ~
~ Quick Green Chile Stew ~
~ more soup recipes ~