Saturday, November 26, 2022

Winter Warmers: Lasagna Soup

Craving a good lasagna but don't have the time to spend making it?  Try my Lasagna Soup.  It has all the flavors of your favorite lasagna but made in half the time!   

  • Lasagna Soup

It's not winter yet, but it's been so cold around here that I'm bringing on the winter dishes that keep you warm.  Soup is a go to in our house.  This one is quick and easy to make and tastes like lasagna in a bowl.

There is something comforting about pasta, beef, tomatoes, spices, and cheese that when combined in a soup it screams comfort food.  This one pot meal is a winner so be sure to try this recipe soon.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • ground sirloin
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • diced tomatoes (canned)
  • tomato paste
  • tomato sauce
  • beef broth (low sodium if available)
  • Italian seasoning
  • lasagna noodles
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use Italian sausage for the beef
  • Use chicken broth in place of the beef broth
  • Use malfada pasta instead of breaking the lasagna noodles

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • serve with a salad and some garlic bread
  • leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for several days
  • Use a large dutch oven for a one pot meal.  Here's the one I use.

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Lasagna Soup

    1 pound 10% lean ground sirloin
    1 cup diced yellow onion
    salt & pepper
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
    1 8 oz can tomato sauce
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    32 ounces low sodium beef broth 
    2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    6 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken in to pieces, or malfada pasta


    1 cup ricotta cheese
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, brown beef and onion over medium-high heat, adding salt and pepper for seasoning. Add the garlic and cook for about 30-60 seconds. 

    Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef broth, and Italian seasonings. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add in broken lasagna pieces. Reduce heat slightly and cook for about 10 minutes or until noodles are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    For the Cheese Topping: In a small bowl, mixture together the ricotta, Parmesan, and salt.
    To serve, spoon soup in a bowl and top with a dollop of the cheese mixture. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Cold Weather Warmers: Easy Homemade Minestrone Soup

This Easy Homemade Minestrone Soup is chock full of hearty vegetables and beans that are simmered in a chicken tomato broth and spiced just right with wonderful Italian herbs.  The perfect to warm yourself on a cold night! 


I thought it was time to update my Homemade Minestrone Soup recipe from 2019 with new pictures since this soup is a staple during the cold months.

It's getting really cold outside and to me that mean "soup season" is here. This Minestrone soup is an Italian classic that is easy to put together and the taste can't be beat. You will need about 1 hour to make this soup so plan accordingly. Perfect to make on a Sunday with some crusty bread and a hearty salad.


Want some other great soups?   Try Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup and Italian Chicken and Bean Soup and Cheesy Potato SoupThey are all delicious and guaranteed to drive away the cold!  

What Ingredients do I need?

  • olive oil
  • onion
  • carrots
  • celery
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • garlic
  • low-sodium chicken broth - pick a good broth that you like
  • dried oregano
  • dried thyme
  • red pepper flakes
  • bay leaves
  • diced tomatoes, 28 oz can 
  • canned Cannellini beans
  • canned red Kidney beans
  • fresh baby spinach
  • Ditalini pasta

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • The secret to a good soup is a good broth, and allowing the flavors to meld together to develop a rich taste.  Don't skimp on the broth!
  • Make sure to allow the soup to simmer 20-30 minutes to develop a rich flavor.
  • If you want to keep the soup you might want to cook the pasta separately and adding it at the time of serving.  Pasta tends to absorb the liquid of the soup if you store it in the refrigerator for a few days.
  • If you are going to freeze the soup I would leave the pasta out and add it when serving.  The pasta will become bloated and loose it's integrity when frozen in soup.

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Easy Homemade Minestrone Soup

serves 6

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 small carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 (15 oz) can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1 cup Ditalini pasta
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pan, using a spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining chicken broth, oregano, thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, tomatoes, and drained beans. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 20-30 minutes.

Add the spinach and the pasta. Cook for 10 minutes more until the pasta is al dente. Remove the bay leaves and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

No-Cook Recipes: Healthy Breakfast Banana Split

This is a fun spin on your typical fruit and yogurt dish morphed in to a mock banana split that's perfect for breakfast or dessert!

Healthy Breakfast Banana Split

Don't you just love no-cook recipes?  With busy holiday coming up a recipe that you just assemble is high on my list of things to make.  Here's a fun modification of a banana spilt turned healthy.  I found this weight watchers recipe that I just had to try and modified it just a bit.  With just a 6 ingredients you can have a healthy breakfast or dessert that tastes amazing!  

The banana is the star with toppings of sliced strawberries, a drizzle of yogurt and honey, along with a sprinkling of granola and sliced almonds.   This mock banana split is so delicious and healthy, but don't take my word for it, make it today!


What Ingredients do I need?

  • banana - you will need 1 banana per serving
  • strawberries - buy nice ripe strawberries, or use frozen
  • Greek yogurt - or your favorite yogurt
  • honey 
  • granola
  • sliced almonds

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use any type of berries you want
  • Drizzle on some warmed peanut or almond butter for added protein
  • Use vanilla yogurt for more flavor
  • Flavored granolas will give variety

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • You can serve this in a banana split bowl or a longer plate as I did to accommodate the full size of the banana.
  • Ready in 10 minutes.
  • Play around with flavors and make this your own.
  • This recipe is a weight watcher recipe that I modified.  WW points 4-9.
  • Serve has a fun dessert or breakfast!

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Healthy Breakfast Banana Split

serves 1
WW points: 4-9

1 medium banana, halved lengthwise
2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
drizzle of honey
3-4 sliced strawberries
1 Tablespoon granola
sprinkle of sliced almonds

Place the banana on a plate.  Scatter strawberries over and around the banana.  Using a spoon, drizzle or place drops of yogurt over the banana and strawberries.  Drizzle with honey.  Sprinkle with granola and sliced almonds. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Fall Flavors: Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes

Light and airy Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes have that perfect fall flavor and are guaranteed to melt in your mouth!

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes 

Pancakes are one of my all time breakfast items, and when fall hits I want to get a taste of that in my breakfast so I break out the pumpkin puree and spices.  These pancakes are a little healthier with the addition of some whole wheat flour.  The key to keeping these fluffy is with a 50/50 ratio of all purpose and whole wheat flours.  The pancakes turn out really fluffy that way.  I also like to use buttermilk in these which keeps the pancakes tender.  Add a little pumpkin pie spice and you have a pancake worthy of fall.

So fluffy and light and spice just right, these pancakes will be one you will make over and over this fall.  Easy enough to whip up on the weekend this recipe makes make a large batch that you can cook up and freeze the leftovers so you'll have these anytime you want during the week.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • all purpose flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • sugar
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • eggs
  • buttermilk
  • pumpkin puree
  • butter

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use all regular all purpose flour or all whole wheat flour if you choose.

Pancake Toppings

  • Butter
  • Hot maple syrup with cinnamon mixed in
  • Honey
  • Chocolate chips (how cute would it be to make a pumpkin face!)
  • Chopped nuts
  • Nutella
  • Cinnamon & Sugar
  • Whipped Cream and cranberries or blueberries

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Do not overmix the batter - Over-mixing pancake batter develops gluten which will make your pancakes rubbery and tough. You want to mix just until you don't see any large flour streaks in the batter.
  • It's a great idea to whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl before adding any wet ingredients. This allows the baking powder and soda to be evenly distributed so the pancakes turn out perfect.

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Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes 

1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

in a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder, baking soda, both flours, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and pumpkin puree.  Add in the melted butter and stir until combined.   

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in the well.   Gently stir until just combined (the large flour streaks are gone, but don't over stir). The batter should be thick and slightly lumpy.

Preheat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat.

Scoop 1/3 cup of batter and cook until bubbles begin to form, flip and cook until golden.  Keep cooked pancakes warm in a 250 degree oven until all pancakes are cooked.

Serve immediately with syrup or favorite toppings.


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