joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

lasagna soup.

Soup. Day 2.
(aka: I realized I haven’t made anything with pasta in it in a couple days…)

We had a snow storm yesterday. We’re on Spring Break. Spring. Break. Nature is super weird sometimes. My dad’s school had a snow day. Those lucky kids. Apparently they closed all the offices at my college as well. Of course we would have a snow day over a break. Of course.

I’ve never really been a big soup person, which sounds crazy after two soup posts in a row, but it’s true. Also, I don’t know if I’ve every posted 3 days in a row. That’s what happens on a break where super cool parents buy all your ingredients. (Word.) But this year has been a big soup year for me. It started last summer when I was living at school and my boss at the time and her husband had all their student workers over to watch the Marvel superhero movies and eat food. The night I went we had soup and watched Thor. We had delicious soup and fantastic company. What more do you really need?

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Creamy soups are my favorite. Broccoli cheddar is a big favorite. Preferably from Panera, but I won’t (usually) be picky. We used to have this restaurant in my town called the Dollar Diner where you could get anything for $1. It was great. Not a super awesome date place though. Trust me on that one. They had all these different soups and lasagna soup was one of them. That was my first experience with this kind of soup and unfortunately it wasn’t a super great one. Oh well, live and learn.

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I’ve been wanting to recreate this for awhile and finally found a really good recipe. I halved and changed it a little bit because I made it for my parents and I (little brother hates soup). But it is amazingly delicious. You can use any kind of pasta you want, I used ditalini and it was the perfect soup pasta. There’s so much flavor in this broth and the noodles soak it all up and become extra delicious. And there’s a cheesy surprise in the middle. It can’t get any better than that. Unless you add garlic bread. Yeah. Now it’s better.

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Make some soup. Play in the snow. Knit some stuff. Have family time.

Lasagna Souprecipe adapted from a farm girl’s dabbles
serves 3-4 people

for the soup:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups pasta

for the cheese:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, break it up into bite sized pieces, and cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Add tomato paste and stir well. Cook until the tomato paste darkens, about 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and vegetable stock. Cover soup and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook 3 minutes under the time the box says.
While the soup is cooking, make the cheesy center. Mix ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
Place a dollop of the cheese mixture into each bowl. Ladle soup over/around cheese and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.

If you have extra, store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat.

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Lasagna Rolls

This summer, I decided to stay at school in Illinois instead of going home to Iowa where I hail from. I am totally okay with this because I have a sweet job here and love having this independence (sorry, Mom!). This comes with one large drawback: no home cooked food. This recipe is here to remedy that!

I love lasagna. Heck, I love Italian food in general. There is definitely something delicious about pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce. I don’t know what it is, but combine all those things together and you get some pretty nice dinner. This is also a really good meal to have friends and neighbors over and make good memories with old friends and make new friends. People seem to be more in the mood to chat over garlic bread and lasagna.

I found the idea for this recipe on Pinterest but decided to change it up and make it a little different. If you haven’t checked out Pinterest, it is probably one of the best ideas ever. I mostly like to browse on it while watching Netflix and eating handfuls of white chocolate chips. Yeah, that’s real life.

The original recipe called for chicken in the rolls, but I have decided that chicken and lasagna go better when there is Alfredo sauce involved. So I decided to use ground beef instead. You can also use no meat for your vegetarian friends, which also happened tonight. Half and half. I’m a fan. We start with sauteing garlic and beef. Pretty simple. But wait until the cheese happens.

Check out that cheesy goodness, friends.

Three kinds of cheese: Ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. So good. (If you’re adding meat, this is where it goes) This mixture gets spread on cooked lasagna noodles and rolled up. Super fun. This should happen while you listen to sweet music, say Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. It’s pretty chill.

As much as you can fit. So worth it.

Let’s be real, these are pretty adorable.

These get placed into a baking dish to sit in some sauce and soak up some of those flavors. This means that you have to pick a really good sauce. Not necessarily expensive or fancy, just choose a sauce that you like and that you are comfortable with and it’ll all work out. What else could we put on top of these? More cheese? Yes. I like the way you think.

This gets more delicious as we go.

This will get baked for a little bit to warm them up and melt all that cheese. This is a really good time to break out the garlic bread and heat that up too. This recipe makes 12 rolls, and you could put all of those in one 9×13 casserole dish to bake, or if your kitchen isn’t quite as well stocked with casserole dishes as you would hope, 2 8×8 dishes also work well.

Ready to be devoured.

This is also an easy recipe to half or multiply, so don’t be afraid to do so for fewer or more people.

Lasagna Rolls

(adapted from ivillage.com)

Makes 12 rolls

1 lb ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 cup Ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained, cooled slightly so you can handle them

2 cups favorite spaghetti sauce

In a medium sized skillet saute garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for 1 minute or so. Add in ground beef and and cook until brown.  Add oregano when beef is almost all the way cooked. Drain the meet and set aside to cool. In a medium sized bowl combine milk, cheeses, and pepper. Add the cooled meat to the cheese mixture and mix together. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce in to the bottom of the pan (divide among pans if using two). Take one noodle and spread the cheese mixture along the length of the noodle, leaving a half inch on each end to make rolling easier. Roll up the noodle and put seam side down in the sauce in the pan. Repeat that for all the other noodles. Pour the remaining sauce over the tops of the rolls and top with extra mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with garlic bread.

If you have leftovers, keep them well wrapped in the fridge for up to 7 days. But you should eat them before that. Don’t let that cheese go to waste.

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