March Madness has completely ruled my life for the past 4 straight days. Not that I’m complaining. Believe me, I’m not. As I’ve mentioned before, I love March Madness. Between the miracle half-court UNI shot during the 1st round, the Texas A&M comeback from 12 points down with 35 seconds left (and then winning it in double OT!), and the buzzer beater 3-pointer that Bronson Koenig heaved up at the end of the Wisconsin game to advance the Badgers to the Sweet 16, there has been more can’t-miss TV moments than I can even keep up with.Can I just take a quick minute to talk about the Badgers? I seriously can’t believe they made it through the first two rounds. With the way they looked during the Big 10 tournament, I actually had them losing to Pittsburgh in the first round in my bracket(sacrilegious, I know). In my defense, that Pitt game was horrible. Close right until the end, despite the fact that the Badgers managed to put up only 16 points in the first half (an NCAA tournament record- and not the kind you want). But they somehow managed to eke out a win.
And then there was last night’s game. Holy OMG crap! It was a fight right up until the end. I’m still in shock that they won. I was convinced the whole game that they were going to fall apart, especially since the refs were calling every little ticky tack foul toward the end and all of our starters were getting into foul trouble. But then Bronson Koenig finally showed up and I screamed like a psycho when he hit that last shot. I was in shock.
None of this matters to my bracket though. It was basically blown the hell up by the end of Thursday’s games. Stupid Michigan State.
So anyway, I had another recipe all ready to share with you guys this morning, and then I made this lasagna soup for dinner last night. And let me tell you, that flipped my silly little plan on it’s head. It was too good not to share immediately.
Why is it so good? It’s LASAGNA in SOUP form! What’s not to love?
This soup uses chicken sausage as the meat, and although I’ve never had chicken sausage before, I loved it in this soup. My grocery store carries the Al Fresco brand, and I used the sweet Italian style. Each sausage is packed with green and red peppers, which, when paired with some red pepper flakes, gives this soup a very mild kick. Al Fresco carries a lot of different flavors, including a spicy Italian style and a garlic & herb, but I loved this soup just as it was, so I don’t think I’ll ever change it up. If you’re feeling adventurous though, go right ahead and mix it up!
Now if chicken sausage doesn’t sound like your cup of tea (even though it’s 70% less fat and 30% less sodium than pork sausage!), you can absolutely substitute turkey sausage or regular pork sausage. Or if you’re a weirdo like my husband, and you dislike all kinds of sausage, you could substitute ground turkey or ground beef, although you’ll most likely need to adjust the seasonings. (Just a side note: Do not skip spraying the pot with cooking spray prior to cooking the sausage. Because chicken sausage is so lean, it will slightly burn to the bottom of the pot if you’re not careful)
The addition of the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses right before you eat ensures that the soup becomes slightly creamy and while maintaining a very authentic lasagna flavor.
I think this soup would make a perfect freezer meal, and I intend to test out my theory sooner rather than later. Just follow the steps through Step 2 and freeze. Then thaw in the refrigerator, bring soup to a simmer in a stock pot and add the noodles to cook. It might even work as a crockpot meal. I’ll let you guys know once I try it out!
Update 3/23: I’ve had this soup for lunch every day this week, and it just keeps getting tastier and tastier!
Servings: 7 (1 cup servings)
- 14 oz sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed (I use Al Fresco)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups marinara sauce (I use Prego Light Smart)
- 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 6 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles (about 8), broken into pieces
- 1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp (about 0.5 oz) shredded parmesan cheese
- 6 tbsp (about 1.5 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Spray a large stockpot with cooking spray and cook chicken sausage over medium high heat, using a wooden spoon to break sausages apart into crumbles. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add chicken stock, water, marinara sauce, and crushed tomatoes to pot and stir. Mix in bay leaves, parsley, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Bring contents of pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
- Add lasagna noodles to stockpot and cook until noodles are al dente, about 5-6 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese and parmesan. Prior to serving, top each bowl of soup with one spoonful of ricotta cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon of mozzarella cheese.
To freeze: Follow instructions through Step 2. Pour soup into sealable freezer bag and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat soup in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat and continue with Step 3.
Inspired by: Skinnytaste