everyday food made simple

cheesy lasagna soup

A few months ago, it was brought to my attention by an ER doctor at work that he noticed something particular about Minnesotans’ grammar when it comes to a certain phrase, and after he mentioned it, I couldn’t help but notice it more and more.

QUESTION: when you’re asking someone if they would like to accompany you somewhere, what would you say?

Would you say: 1) “Would you like to come with me?”, or 2) “Would you like to come with?”

Did you pick 1)? I thought so. That’s how I say it too. And I’m pretty sure that’s how you’re supposed to say it. But apparently if you grew up in Minnesota, you would choose 2).

Now I’m not an English teacher, nor is my grammar the best in the world, but is anyone else with me when I say 2) doesn’t seem like a complete sentence whatsoever?? I mean, “come with me?” “come with us?” “come with us to go shopping?” “come with me to see a movie?”

The possibilities are endless. Next time someone asks me if I “would like to come with?”, I’m tempted to respond, “come with who?”

Seriously, if you’re from Minnesota or know someone from around the area, pay attention to how they word it next time and tell me I’m not the only one surrounded by people who talk like that.

[ahem Brian and Lori]

Now that we’ve got all that serious business out of the way, let’s move on to something better… like this cheesy, hearty, stick-to-your-bones lasagna soup with lots and lots of cheese.

cheesy lasagna soup

It tastes just like lasagna, minus all the work, and we’re definitely not sacrificing on any of the flavors either. There is no need to spend time layering everything; instead, just throw everything in a pot and let simmer. It’s so much easier and comes together much much quicker, and I mean just look at that cheese…!!

cheesy lasagna soup

cheesy lasagna soup

cheesy lasagna soup

Do you like cheese? I like cheese. I mean who doesn’t like cheese? And if you’re from Minnesota, there’s no excuse to not liking cheese.

However, I don’t particularly care for cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (or any sort of crumbly lumpy cheese), so I only used mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. If you’re into the lumpy cheeses, you can definitely use a mixture of everything.

Also, I used lasagna noodles to make it resemble like actual lasagna, but you can always use other smaller pasta shapes if you like… or whatever you have on hand, especially if you’re trying to clean out your cupboards!

 cheesy lasagna soup 

cheesy lasagna soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon EVOO
  2. 12 oz ground Italian sausage
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  7. 28 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
  8. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  9. 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  10. 1 teaspoon dried basil
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  13. 8 oz lasagna noodles, broken up in small pieces, uncooked
  14. 2 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  15. 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat and brown the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Using the remaining oil/fat in the pot, sautee the onions over medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute or two. Add in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and broken lasagna noodle pieces. Return the sausage back into the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the noodles don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the soup boils, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through. Make sure to give the soup a few stirs every few minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine both cheeses in a small bowl, mix it around with a spoon and set aside.
  4. Turn your oven's broiler on. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls and generously sprinkle a good layer of cheese over the tops. Place until the broiler for just a few minutes, keeping an eye on it the entire time, and remove soup from the oven as soon as the cheese starts to turn brown and bubbly. Remove from oven, let rest for a minute or two, and serve immediately.
  5. Serves 4-6
Adapted from Center Cut Cook
Adapted from Center Cut Cook
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
 Recipe adapted from Center Cut Cook

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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I don’t know about you, but in our household, Thanksgiving planning started at the end of October (it’s a big deal!). We planned out our menu and everything we may need, and a few days ago I finished up a make-ahead timeline to make things go as smoothly as possible on the big day.

I don’t know about your timeline – if you’re nerdy enough like me to make one – but mine is filled with 2-3 things to prep and make every night leading up to Thanksgiving. And since this week I’ll already be doing lots of chopping, baking, cooking, and prepping after a long day of work, the last thing I need is to worry about the age old question of “what’s for dinner??“.

Enter today’s easy recipe…… *drum roll please*…..

I present to you: Pizza tator tot casserole!

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My taco tator tot casserole is perhaps one of the most popular recipes in our house – we make it at least once very few weeks – it’s just that good. I remember the first few weeks when I started my new job back in February, we actually made a double batch of it in anticipation of being busy and giving me enough time to get settled into my new routine. Now we gave a new spin to our favorite comfort food – combining our favorite casserole dish with tons of pizza flavors! It’s hearty, meaty, and cheesy all at the same time. It’s got pizza sauce, basil, plenty of cheesy goodness, lean ground beef, onions and green peppers, and not to mention to crispy baked tator tots carefully arranged in OCD fashion on top. All the food groups balanced into one delicious meal, it’s guaranteed to be a hit at your dinner table!

Have I mentioned that it’s also super easy and painless to make?

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Just like ordering pizza on a lazy Friday night, you can totally customize what goes into this casserole based on personal preference. We kept it simple by using plain ground beef and pizza sauce, but this dish totally has the potential to be dressed up based on what you like on your pizza..

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Add in bacon bits, crumbled Italian sausage, and pepperoni slices for the meat lovers in your house.

Simply add in more cheese for extra cheesy goodness.

Or if you happen to like your pizza piled high with veggies, just throw in some sliced mushrooms, olives, extra peppers, spinach, or whatever happens to tickle your fancy at the moment.

See? I told you the possibilities are endless.

pizza tator tot casserole
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound lean ground beef
  2. 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  3. 1 medium onion, diced
  4. 15-oz pizza sauce
  5. 1 teaspoon dried basil
  6. 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  7. 1 package frozen tator tots
  8. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium heat with the green peppers and onions until the beef is no longer pink. Add the pizza sauce and basil.
  3. Transfer the beef mixture into a 8x11" casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese and tator tots
  4. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp and brown. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese, bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.
  6. Serves 6
Adapted from Taste of Home - Ground Beef edition
Adapted from Taste of Home - Ground Beef edition
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home – Ground Beef edition

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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You may have noticed the lack of posts the past few weeks. I have been super stressed about my national boards exam that’s coming up in three weeks, so I have been using all my free time to cram as much information into my little head as possible. As a result, SEF has been neglected for quite some time. I have decided that I’m going to wait until my exam is over to take better care of SEF and dedicate more time to writing more posts. I have already created a bunch of recipes (10, to be exact) and have photographed my creations; however, since I spend most of my time editing them and creating blog posts, I’m going to put them on hold until April 13th. I promise SEF will be updated on a more regular basis after that – there will be some pretty delicious blog posts coming in the near future!

So, as my gift to you until April 13th, I present to you this wonderfully easy recipe that involves one of everyone’s favorite kitchen gadget – the Crockpot.

My favorite soups of all time are as follows (in no particular order):

  1. baked potato soup
  2. Olive Garden’s zuppa toscana
  3. creamy chicken and wild rice soup

Throughout the past 10 months SEF has existed, I managed to recreate and blog about #1 and #2 on that list. Naturally, it was time for me to find a family-approved recipe for creamy chicken and wild rice soup.

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And this recipe is definitely going to be recreated again (and again) throughout the year. Brian and I both agreed it was so delicious that we were calling dibs on leftovers for work. Good thing this recipe yielded an entire Crockpot of soup! Even then, it still didn’t last more than 3 days in our house…

Rewind to about a year ago: I attempted to make chicken and wild rice soup on the stove… And that attempt had failed miserably. It tasted weird, had a funny consistency, and ended up getting dumped in the trash. Needless to say, my confidence in making creamy chicken wild rice soup was a little shot after that, and we both had to scramble and find something else to eat that night.

I think Brian was also a little skeptical when he heard I was going to try to give our favorite soup another try in the Crockpot. I can’t lie, I think I was too. But it was freezing cold outside, I was feeling lazy, and comfort food in the Crockpot was all that I really wanted for dinner.

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This soup is amazing! It’s incredibly creamy and it’s filled with hearty vegetables and tons of juicy shredded chicken. Have you ever had Panera’s chicken and wild rice soup? If you haven’t – try it. It’s delicious. It’s the only soup we ever get there, and this TASTES JUST LIKE IT.

I’m still in awe at how good this soup is, and even better – how easy it is to make!

The steps are pretty simple: throw the veggies, wild rice, chicken stock, and chicken into the Crockpot. Let them sit and hang out and get to know each other for 7 hours. When the chicken is fork tender, take it out and shred it with a fork. Put it back into the Crockpot to soak up more of the yummy juices. Meanwhile, you make the creamy base on the stove…. this is where you should pay attention, simply because it took me three tries to get it right. Trust me, you’ll thank me later :)

When making your creamy base on the stove, melt the butter over low heat. Then add in the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly throughout each addition. The milk must also be added only 1/2 cup at a time as well. This is suuuuuper important – the first few times I tried, I added all the flour in at once, whisked, and added all the milk in at once. Somehow it just doesn’t work that way – it became super lumpy and gross, and I contemplated whether we should just make it “chicken and wild rice soup” instead of “creamy chicken and wild rice soup”. The stubbornness in me wasn’t about to let some butter and flour stand in the way of me and my dinner, so 3 sticks of butter later, I finally got the results I wanted.

The trick is to whisk constantly on LOW heat. When I say constantly, I mean it – whisk that sucker the entire time. Don’t walk away from the stove. Don’t even go on Instagram or Facebook. It’ll seem like it’s taking forever for the mixture to start bubbling, but I promise patience pays off in the end.

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crockpot creamy chicken wild rice soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  2. 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  3. 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  4. 1 small onion, diced
  5. 2 celery sticks, diced
  6. 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  7. 1 heaping teaspoon poultry seasoning
  8. 1/2 cup butter
  9. 3/4 cup flour
  10. 2 cups milk + 2 additional cups
  11. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the diced carrots, onion, and celery in the crockpot, then place the chicken breast on top. Sprinkle poultry seasoning over the chicken.
  2. Rinse the wild rice, and add to crockpot. Then add in the chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, until chicken is fork tender. Remove chicken onto a cutting board, let cool and shred with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back into the crockpot.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and cook until it starts to bubble. Slowly whisk the milk in with the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, just until it starts to thicken. Add this to the rice and chicken in the crockpot, stir to combine. If mixture is too thick, add additional milk (or water) until it reaches the desired consistency. Serve immediately.
  4. Serves 6
Adapted from Pinch of Yum
Adapted from Pinch of Yum
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
So there. Next time there’s a snowstorm in the forecast and all you want to do is snuggle on the couch in warm fuzzy blankets drinking hot peppermint cocoa in front of the fireplace, I’ve got dinner covered for you (trust me, I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a snowstorm in April here in Minnesota).

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Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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This past season marks the last season the Minnesota Vikings will be playing in the Metrodome. In the next few months, they’re tearing it down and will be building a brand spankin’ new stadium in downtown Minneapolis. I sure hope the new stadium has better food than the Metrodome! So for the next few seasons, die-hard Vikings fans will have to brave the elements and the freezing temperatures if they want to watch their beloved Vikings play. No thank you – I’ll only watch football outdoors if it’s above 50 degrees. If it’s below 50, then I’d rather sit in the comfort of my own home in my PJs watching the game where the commentators tell me what’s going on, there are lines drawn on the screen to tell me where the yard lines are at, and I don’t have to wait in line just to use the bathroom.

This chili recipe is a perfect game day food! It’s perfect for that football party you’re hosting this playoff season or for tailgating outside (you know, if you’re into standing outside in the sub-freezing temperatures thawing out your beer by holding it over a fire).
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This is the only chili recipe I have ever used. I don’t know if I would ever consider trying out a new recipe, simply because this one is already perfect (in my opinion)… so why fix something if it ain’t broke? If you’re like me and already have a tried and true chili recipe, I won’t blame you if you’re not up to changing things up. Kudos to you if you’re all for trying new things, though. However, if you’re still out there searching for a good chili recipe, you should totally give this a try!

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simple (and super delicious) turkey chili
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons EVOO
  2. 1.25 pounds ground turkey
  3. 1 medium onion, diced
  4. 1 green bell pepper, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1/4 cup chili powder
  7. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  8. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  9. Two 15-oz reduced sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  10. One 28-oz can petite diced tomatoes
  11. One 15-oz can reduced sodium tomato sauce
  12. One 10-oz bag frozen corn
  13. Salt and pepper
  14. Toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat the EVOO in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the turkey, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spatula until cooked through. Then add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic into the pot. Cook until onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the chili powder, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir and cook for another minute.
  2. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, corn, 1.5 cups of water, and 2 more teaspoons of salt. Simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes, or until beans are cooked through. Add more chili powder if needed.
  3. Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Top with toppings, if desired
  4. Serves 6
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
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I used ground turkey instead of ground beef to make it a little healthier. I like to use products that claim “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” on the package to keep things on the healthier side. If you can’t find reduced sodium products, no worries either – the final product will taste just as good! I also added a few cans of red kidney beans because 1. chili just has to have beans in it, and 2. it’s cheap and filling and is a good source of protein and fiber. If you have a bean-hater in the house, simply omit it… or you can divide the chili into two pots prior to simmering everything and add just one can of beans (instead of two) in one of the pots. That way you’ll get two pots of chili – one with beans and one without beans :)

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If you’re making this for hosting a football party, you can keep it warm by throwing it in a Crockpot and setting it on “warm”. Toppings are completely optional too – oyster crackers, shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream…. you can have a little “make your own chili” station for your guests to completely customize their bowl of chili.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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One of the things about living in Minnesota (land of the cold and snow), is that you just crave something that would warm your insides for dinner during the cold winter months. That’s also why Crockpot meals and soups are very popular in our household. Loaded/baked potato soup is one of our favorites whenever we go out and eat, so I decided to give it a whirl and make it at home.

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This soup was a hit and Brian loved it – he even ate the leftovers the next day, which is rare for someone who typically doesn’t care much for leftovers. It’s basically how I gauge how good a meal is – if he’s voluntarily eating leftovers, it must be pretty dang good.

If potato soup is also one of your favorites, you need to make this! Creamy potato soup loaded with bacon and cheese – talk about carb overload! But man it sure is delicious and worth every single calorie. I didn’t feel bad one bit about eating half a pot of this creamy soup. It is winter after all, which is a good enough reason… gotta start on that extra fat storage to keep us warm!

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loaded potato soup
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Ingredients
  1. 6 slices of bacon, diced and cooked
  2. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 3 and 1/2 cups skim milk
  5. 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  6. 2 green onions, thinly sliced, reserving a bit of the greens for topping, if desired
  7. 1 and 1/2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  8. 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until lightly browned, then gradually whisk in the milk. Cook and whisk constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in potatoes and green onions.
  2. Bring soup to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Serve immediately and garnish with bacon, cheese, and additional green onions if desired.
  4. Serves 4
Adapted from Damn Delicious
Adapted from Damn Delicious
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Soft, velvety potatoes in a creamy soup, contrasted with crisp, smoky bacon bits with ooey gooey shredded sharp cheddar cheese – this soup won’t disappoint and is perfect for a cold winter night!

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The soup, eaten by itself, can be pretty plain and boring – it’s the toppings that make it so delicious! Each person can also top it with whatever toppings they want – more cheese, less cheese, no green onions, more bacon (YESS please!), no bacon (who does that?!)… everything tastes better with more cheese and bacon!

I think next time I’m going to double the amount of bacon and put half of it in with the soup as it simmers, so there’s plenty of bacon in every single bite. If any of you try this recipe and make it that way, let me know how it turns out!

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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