It is that time of year where my feet are constantly frozen, it takes hours for me to warm up once I get home, and I have my space heater at work running non-stop. Utah is not a warm state despite it’s desert status. Sure, we hit the triple digits once or twice in July, but I’d say from mid-October to late March it is really quite cold. That’s half the year of this crap. And I just can’t seem to get used to it. Growing up in Indiana, the winters were pretty frigid as well, but I think my body is just not made for it.
So how do I beat the chill? I stay inside from October to March and eat soup! Now, in this household, when I get the “what’s for dinner?” question over from the couch in front of the tv and I reply with “Soup”, I am immediately met with a groan. The Mrs. doesn’t really like soup, but she always forgets that the type of soups I make is not a brothy boring soup – I do it the hearty way. I like chunky soup with substance. Soup that you could probably get away with putting on a plate and call it pasta. She always takes back her groan after the meal and tells me I just shouldn’t call it soup anymore because it’s deceivingly more delicious than most soups. So I guess I’ll have to work on that just so she’s not dreading dinner from the time I answer what’s for dinner.
I am so in love with this specific soup though. It is a beautiful Paula Deen recipe – without cream or butter! Can you believe it? I was happy to find something so fantastic that Miss Deen would put her name on it but much healthier than her normal artery-clogging recipes. (Sorry Paula, love ya’, but I just can’t do it every day!) And it’s Lasagna Soup! Lasagna has always been one of my all-time favorites. The vegetarian sausage I found adds such a bold flavor to this recipe. Almost a spicy-ness. Oh man, I wanted to eat so much of it, but my belly just wouldn’t stretch any farther. And the kiddo loved it as well and wanted it for lunch also! That’s always the true test.
The “sausage” I used is made by GimmeLean. In my grocery store, I can find it in the produce section by the tofu and some other Asian products. You may have a larger vegetarian foods section, and it might be there. You brown it up just like normal sausage and follow the recipe just like normal. It’s products like these that sometimes make me forget that I’m vegetarian. It’s an easy substitute, and I personally can’t even tell the difference!
I think there’s something therapeutic about chopping veggies. You just get in the zone and let your thoughts wander.
And Oh…Emm..Geeee! The cheesy bread soaking up the goodness. I just can’t take it anymore! I’m so excited for my lunch today cause I get more of this! Maybe I should just have it for brekkie….. ok, fine, I’ll stick to my oatmeal.
1 pound ground chuck (or Gimme Lean Sausage)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 (32-ounce) box vegetable broth
2 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broken lasagna noodles (this is about 6 noodles, and I used whole wheat)
1 (5-ounce) package grated Parmesan cheese
Serve immediately! You don’t want to wait!