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Monday, December 31, 2012

Lasagna Lightens Up

Lasagna Soup
1 Onion, diced
2 Cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 Cloves garlic
2 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP crushed red pepper flakes
1 TSP fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
1 LB ground lean turkey
3 TBS tomato paste
1 14 OZ can crushed tomatoes
5 Cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 Cup part skim ricotta

For Serving:
Cooked whole wheat pasta (you can use lasagna noodles, but I like the small shells)
Fresh basil
Parmesan or shredded mozzarella

As much as I enjoy all the sweet and decadent goodies of the holiday season, I can't wait to get back on track after the new year.  I don't mind eating healthy, but every once in a while I'll get a craving for something bad.  Luckily when that happens I know I can always swap out some ingredients for healthier options.  That way I can get my fix with less guilt.

My soupy version of this classic comfort dish may not be the perfect substitute for mom's lasagna, but it's still packed with all the great flavors and textures.  You can even skip the meat entirely and add more mushrooms, baby spinach, or any vegetable you like.  It's much easier to throw together than lasagna too, especially if you make ahead and freeze.  Just reheat and add your cooked pasta (the noodles don't get soggy!).   

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot.  Cook the onions and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, fennel and ground turkey.  Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink.  season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and broth.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or so.  Stir in the ricotta.

When ready to serve, add the cooked pasta.  Top with cheese and lots of fresh basil.

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.