For those of you who want to save time, here's an EASY way to make two distinct recipes from one!
Many of us don't appreciate spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meal after meal after meal. So, here's a way you can get two recipes out of one. Prep everything from the beginning for two recipes and then after everything's cooked you take two different directions with halves of the original recipe.
I call one half of this recipe Unbaked Skinny Lasagna because it is skinny - in more than one way. First of all the noodles are cooked el dente and sliced into strips, PLUS, it's a low-cal recipe, with logs of veggies and not a lot of meat and cheese. Regular lasagna is laden down with loads of cheese and meat. In this recipe, YOU control the the calories by controlling the amount of cheese and meat.
The Hidden Veggies Tomato Soup is like a warm cozy hug on a cold winter day. It is loaded with invisible veggies that the kids wont even know are there. You still serve it up in that old familiar way for the kiddos - a big mug with crackers. They won't even know it's loaded with vitamins. You will feel warm and cozy because you know they are getting the vitamins they need.
Prepare the tomatoes, and veggies which will all end up in the tomato soup and in the skinny lasagna. When they are all cooked, separate out what you want to serve as the tomato soup vs the skinny lasagna. Here's where you change up the flavors by adding different herbs and garlic so your family doesn't think they are the same recipe. Plus, this is ALL done on the stove top, nothing in the oven.
Of course, these are the ingredients I have used, from what I have handy in the fridge. You should feel free to use the veggies and herbs and meats you like best together. And, use canned tomatoes to save yourself some time.
I've divided this up into 3 parts. For the first part, I'm cooking all the ingredients for both recipes. Then you'll see that I divide the cooked recipe in two, making Skinny Lasagna for one half of the original recipe, and Tomato Soup for the other half. Have the Hidden Veggies Tomato Soup one night and the Skinny Lasagna the next. There you have it, two different meals knocked off in one cooking session.
Each recipe serves 4 people.
Use a large stove top saucepan on low to medium heat.
Two for One Recipe Ingredients, serves 8:
2 Cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, 15-16 oz @
1 Can Water or Beef broth, 16 oz
2 Cans Tomato sauce, 16 oz @ (Or pizza sauce)
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Sweet Pepper, orange, large
1 Sweet Pepper, red, large
1/2 Onion, medium, diced
2 Kale leaves, large, rough chopped (optional, of course)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Cheese to top the soup and/or lasagna
Make the One Recipe:
- Clean and dice the veggies.
- Sauté the veggies in a pan over medium head, with 2-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Start with 2 tablespoons and add more if you think you need it. Cook until tender.
- In a large saucepan, combine and heat the tomatoes, water, tomato sauce.
- Add the sauteed veggies.
- Cook until everything is hot.
- Taste and add any other herbs you feel it needs.
- Split the recipe in half; one half for the lasagna and one half for the soup, each recipe described below.
This Lasagna is definitely skinny in more ways than one!
I don't usually think of "skinny" when I think of lasagna. It's usually laden with heavy cheeses, thick wide noodles , salty meats and tons of sauce. This time you CAN think skinny when you make this lasagna. It's dreamy with it's skinny noodles, fresh veggies with a touch of sauce and a shaving of cheese. You don't sacrifice the taste. You'll gladly sacrifice the calories and the cholesterol.
It's skinny because the lasagna is cut thin and narrow and can be eaten like spaghetti. No layering it in a big pan and then piling on all those other layers of cholesterol and fats. Just cook the lasagna noodles and slice to your desired thickness. I like to leave it about 2" wide for some volume.
It's skinny because it's full of veggies. You choose the veggies or follow my recipe below to get all the vitamin goodness without all the calories. No meat to add unless you just can't live with a little. You control the amount and the type of meat. I usually sprinkle a little Italian sausage in it so I get about an ounce per serving. It offers the flavor without the calories.
It's skinny because it has minimal cheese in it, not layer after layer of excess cheeses. You control the amount of cheese and you control the type of cheese you like best. That's another cutback on all the cholesterol and calories. You add just enough shredded or grated cheese at the end to give you some dreamy cheesy goodness.
It's skinny because it has less sauce. There's no reason to layer all that excess sauce, red or white, in this recipe. There's no need to. I use the sauce sparingly, just so all the veggies and noodles are coated. That still gives you the flavor without all the sodium and fat, especially with a white cream sauce.
This skinny lasagna serves up about 4 portions. When accompanied with some homemade garlic bread, and a glass of wine, it's sure to quench the desire for a healthy Italian-American dish.
Skinny Lasagna, serves 4:
6-8 Lasagna Noodles (boxed or precooked)
1/2 of Two for One Recipe
1/4 Lb. Italian Sausage, broken up and sauteed
1/4 Lb. Hamburger, broken up and sauteed
1/2 C Asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 C Ricotta Cheese (optional)
Put the Skinny Lasagna together:
- Cook Noodles according to the package directions.
- Drain noodles and let cool. Then slice the long way, in about 3 slices to create long wide noodles.
- Sauté the meat with a couple teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil in fry pan. Of course, use the ratio you like best; all sausage, all hamburger or half of each. Add pepperoni for more spice.
- Place meat in tomato and veggie mixture. Make sure all is hot throughout before serving.
- Place a few noodles on plate or low sided bowl.
- Layer it with meat and tomato sauce (and Ricotta if you opted to include it).
- Garnish with a little of each of the shredded cheeses.
- Accompany with garlic toast or a crusty brown bread.
Hidden Veggies Tomato Soup, serves 4: 1/2 of the Two for One Recipe
Put the finishing touches on your soup:
- If you like your tomato soup with chunks of veggies in it like I do, then leave it as is and heat it up to enjoy with crackers with a slice of cheese, or a grilled cheese sandwich or a hefty chunk of crusty bread.
- If you like your soup smooth, without any chunks, just eliminate them by using an emulsion blender or food processor until all the veggies are "gone!" Presto! Vitamin packed tomato soup without the kids even knowing it. If you include Kale, NO ONE WILL EVEN KNOW. (If you use an emulsion blender or food processor make sure the soup has cooled so it does not splatter or burn.)
- Enjoy your Hidden Veggies Tomato Soup with a little milk stirred in if you like, cheese and crackers or garlic toast points. Some like it with a little yogurt or sour cream dollop on top.