I love using our slow cooker because once the food is in there I can pretty much just forget about it-no stirring or worrying it's going to bubble over or burn. I recently checked out of the library Taste of Home's Skinny Slow Cooker. Tons of great recipes! I love getting cookbooks out of the library because it puts a subtle pressure to actually COOK a few of the recipes instead of accumulating more cookbooks to leaf through and "tab for later." This one is definitely worth buying.
If you're anything like me, cooking even a handful of recipes is pretty impressive and what's helped increase the odds of making new dishes is paging through the cookbook, writing down the recipe title and page number then committing to 1 to make that week (which means I usually make it within 2 weeks). Keep in mind most ingredients will freeze, so if you don't get to it that week you have a way to preserve the food until you do! Just don't give up.
My other goal includes having 50 reliable recipes that I can be confident are crowd pleasers, which I intend to pass on to my kids to make their cooking lives easier (just what they're hoping for;)). But the side bonus: it will make your life easier too!
This Lasagna Soup recipe is a tasty one and worth making. I gauge this by when my husband has more than one helping and doesn't result in the question "What did you do to it (to make it healthy)?" If you click on the link the recipe is slightly different from the recipe in the cookbook because the cookbook calls for turkey sausage which I urge you to use for health purposes as the flavor is still so good. I made some spice additions-the red pepper flakes add a subtle kick that is not overly spicy.
I also picked this recipe because I wanted to expose (again) our "no soup mommy!" 3-year-old to this dish since it contains ingredients he finds acceptable, but he refused again (see: patience). However the next day the pasta absorbed most of the liquid transforming it into a more traditional pasta dish that was equally delicious and one Cooper was willing to eat.
One last aside, I only had a few whole wheat lasagna noodles, so I added gemelli which had a satisfying mouth-feel if you need a substitution.
This recipe is a flavorful and nutritionally balanced dish containing carbs, protein and vegetables that serves up a comforting meal with leftovers for the week. (For parents that pack lunches for their kids: I'll heat leftovers for Cooper's school lunch and add it to this cute thermos, which gives him more variety at lunchtime).
To your health,
Yield: 8 servings (2-1/2 quarts)
Slightly adapted from: Cooker Lasagna Soup in Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes Annual 2016, p61
1-1/2 pounds Italian turkey sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Italian Seasonings
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 carton (32 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Italian stewed or crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
6 lasagna noodles, broken into 1-inch pieces (TRY: whole grain lasagna noodles)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach (or ½ of 5 oz bag baby spinach)
1 cup cubed or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Thinly sliced fresh basil, optional
In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Transfer to a 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker.
Add onion and carrots to same skillet; cook and stir 2-4 minutes or until softened. Stir in mushrooms and garlic; cook and stir 2-4 minutes or until mushrooms are softened. Transfer to slow cooker. Stir in seasonings, broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook, covered, on low 4-6 hours or until vegetables are tender.
Add lasagna; cook 1 hour longer or until tender. Stir in spinach. Remove insert; let stand 10 minutes. Divide mozzarella cheese among serving bowls; ladle soup over cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and, if desired, basil.