"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding". Prov.3:13 (NKJV)

September 19, 2017

Batch {Bulk} Cooking with Taco Meat

Last week I shared with you part 1 of my ground beef bulk cooking. This week I'm back with part 2. First let me remind you that: Each time I buy any type of meat in bulk and have a cooking session, I’ll come on here to share with you what I batch/bulk cooked as well as some ideas of different uses for it. Now moving on to what I did with the other half of that 5lbs. ground beef.


Just like last time I took this half of it and browned it up with a whole chopped onion. I put 1/4 cup of water in the skillet to help it break up a little easier and cook off some (not all) fat. I cooked it until completely done and drained it well. I put it back into skillet with 1/4 cup water, a few tablespoons of my homemade taco seasoning, stirred to combine well, and let cook for 10 minutes on low. I separated the meat into two cup portions (1 lb. ground beef) to put into quart size Ziploc bags.



As you can see I got 3 bags out of it that I pre-labeled, squeezed all the air out them before closing, let meat finish cooling off, and placed in a flat single layer on a baking sheet to freeze. Once it was stiff enough I take the baking sheet out, and stack the bags on top of one another in the freezer. This is so you save on space to put other things in there.


 Now what can I use these bags of cooked taco meat for? Here’s a list:

* Tacos
* Taco Soup
* Taco or Tamale Pie
* Taco Casserole
* Taco Pizza
* Taco Salad or Lettuce Wraps
* Loaded Nachos or Tots
* Mexican Dip (ex: 7 layer)
* Stuffed Bell Peppers/Potatoes/Shells
* Chili Mac ( homemade version of Hamburger Helper)
* "Cincinnati" Style Chili
* Burritos, Quesadillas, Enchiladas, or Empanadas (hand pies)

These are just examples of the many things you can do. I may come back to add to this list later as other things come to mind. What can you think of that I haven’t added to the list? Please fee free to let me know. That concludes my session with a 5lb. chub of ground beef. These things can be done with ground turkey too. I will be back next week to share with you another type of batch/bulk cooking session.

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September 13, 2017

Batch {Bulk} Cooking with Ground Beef

I love the idea of having meals in my freezer that are already prepped, and ready to be used for dinner in the days to come. Let’s face it, we all have moments where we don’t want to spend lots of time each night in the kitchen preparing a meal for our families. Sometimes you’re just too tired, too busy, or just plain don’t know what to fix when it’s near dinner time and everyone is sitting around hungry.

To help with that problem I learned about freezer cooking years ago. I have done this off and on.
With much planning ahead it is doable, and so worth the time and effort you put into it. To be honest I do slack off and get lazy when it comes to freezer cooking. It is a tiring task, and I don’t always have time for it. One minute I’m all amped up, and can get a couple of weeks worth of crockpot dinners prepped and ready to freeze. Whenever I need something for dinner the next day I can go look in my freezer and take out an already prepped meal to thaw over night, and put it the crockpot the next morning. This is so easy because I don’t have to worry about “what’s for dinner?”. Other times it may be something I already cooked, froze, and just need to thaw and reheat. I have also just made plans for an easy skillet meal that doesn’t take much time because I did all the side prep work before hand, and stored it with directions when time to prepare it. My problem starts when after a few months I get side tracked, knocked off my meal planning groove, and no pre-planned meals are put together for months at a time. I just get plain “stuck in a rut”.

 I’ve learned (been reading up on it for a few years) of another way to prepare meals that may get me back motivated and hopefully stay there. It’s called “batch” or “bulk” cooking. This is were you make a double, triple, ect. batch of a single meal item/dish and freeze what you won’t use right away for later meals. I’m now on a journey to see where this goes, and I thought it would be great to share it with my readers in case someone else out there needed some ideas too. Each time I have a cooking session I’ll come on here to share with you what I batch/bulk cooked as well as some ideas of different uses for it. First up in this series is ground beef. This will be done in 2 parts so this is part 1.

I bought a 5lb. chub of ground beef while it was on sale for a very good price. In the past I would normally cut it into 1 or 2lb. sections and put into Ziploc bags to freeze for a future meal. This time I went ahead and cooked up the whole thing. I took half of it and browned it up with a whole chopped onion. I put 1/4 cup of water in the skillet to help it break up a little easier and cook off some (not all) fat. I cooked it until completely done, drained it well, and let separated it into two cup portions (1 lb. ground beef) to put into quart size Ziploc bags.


As you can see I got 3 bags out of it that I pre-labeled, squeezed all the air out them before closing, let meat finish cooling off, and placed in a flat single layer on a baking sheet to freeze. Once it was stiff enough I take the baking sheet out, and stack the bags on top of one another in the freezer. This is so you save on space to put other things in there. Now what can I use these bags of cooked beef for? Here’s a list:

* Hamburger Helper (I do homemade version)
* Spaghetti meat sauce
* Sloppy Joes
* Stuffed Bell Peppers
* Soups
* Chili
* Rice Bowls (ex: “Korean” Beef Bowls)
* Casseroles, Baked Ziti
* Loaded Tots
* Stuffed shells
* Hamburger Gravy
* Tacos, burritos, or nachos
* Enchiladas, Empanadas, or Quesadillas

These are just examples of the many things you can do. I may come back to add to this list later as other things come to mind. What can you think of that I haven’t added to the list? Please fee free to let me know. Stay tuned for part 2 where I shared what I did with the other half of my 5 lb. chub of ground beef.

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August 29, 2017

Pizza Pasta


Crockpot Pizza Pasta

Ingredients:
24-32 oz. meat pasta sauce (I use my homemade sauce)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups Rotini, Penne, or shell pasta
1 cup (or more) shredded pizza blend, Italian blend, mozzarella, or Colby Jack cheese
Pepperoni slices

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions (I like mine al dente). Drain.  Heat your pasta sauce in a pan. Stir in cream cheese. Stir in cooked, drained, pasta. Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray. Pour in pasta mixture. Sprinkle shredded over top. Separate pepperoni slices and place over cheese. Cover and cook on High heat for 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Serve

Note: You can use any type of topping you like on your pizza with this. You're only limited to your imagination. If you rather do this in the oven just preheat it to 350 degrees and bake it until cheese is melted (20 to 30 minutes).

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August 16, 2017

Wordless Wednesday~ 8/16/17


Potatoes, Corn on Cobb, chicken wings, Kielbasa, and Shrimp...Oh My!!!!

Low Country Boil nights are fun :-)



July 27, 2017

Sauteed Kale and Spinach


Ingredients:
2 handfuls of fresh Kale
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. of minced garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. of real butter (or EVCO: extra virgin coconut oil)
1 Tbsp. of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. ACV (apple cider vinegar)
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Wash greens if they are not already pre-washed.  In a big skillet heat butter and olive oil on medium heat. Saute chopped onion for 5 minutes then add in minced garlic. Saute for another 1-2 minutes.  Add in Kale. Cook down until almost completely withered. Add in Spinach and cook until it has withered. Add in red pepper, salt, pepper and ACV. Cook another couple of minutes or until all greens are cooked to your liking.  If it's too bitter for your taste you can add in 1 tsp. of sugar, but we like it as is. It's now ready to serve.

*I've done this with spinach or kale and collard greens mixed and it came out great too. Cooked crumbled bacon is good added in this too.
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July 18, 2017

Watermelon Pink Lemonade

Last year I shared a yummy beverage to use up any leftover watermelon during the summer holidays. This year I swapped out the ingredients to come up with a new blend for us to try.


Watermelon Pink Lemonade

Ingredients:
6 cups seedless watermelon (cubed)
4 cups (1 quart prepared) Country Time Pink Lemonade
1/2 cup white sugar
2-3 cups cold water plus 1 cup of ice cubes

Directions:
Start out by making 1 quart of Country Time Pink Lemonade. Set aside. Next in a blender blend the watermelon, 1 cup of water, and sugar until pureed. Pour this mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a big pitcher. After all the liquid falls through you can discard the pulp or do like I did and put into a container to use up in a homemade sorbet, slushy, or fruit smoothie. It's best to put into ice cube trays to freeze then pop out and keep in a Ziploc bag until ready to use. Now it's time to add the cold water and the ice cube then stir. This is really good for drinking in the summer time and holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day.

Note: You can really play around with this. It's a very versatile recipe :-)

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July 12, 2017

Wordless Wednesday~ 7/12/17

DIY Dishwasher Detergent
1 Tbsp. or 1 Tab per load + white vinegar in pre-wash = clean dishes :-)


June 18, 2017

Easy DIY Donuts

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. All weekend we are celebrating my hubby to show him how much we appreciate him and all he do for us. In our house we normally celebrate Mother's and Father's Day all weekend long. If our birthdays or anniversary is on a weekend we celebrate the person for two to three days depending on what day it falls on. Our son wanted to make something special for his dad. He has become addicted to Pinterest like his mom; poor thing. He came across some easy ways to make donuts and wanted me to help him try it out.


It all started with a can of biscuits. You can use the 8 or 10 count can depending on how big you want your donuts and holes to be. Don't use any flaky biscuits. You want to get the regular Home Style or Texas Style biscuits. We had two bowls nearby with our cinnamon sugar mixture in one and our glazed mixture in the other. It is easy to make the glaze. All you need is powdered sugar, butter, milk or hot water, and vanilla extract. To make it chocolate just add in some cocoa powder to that glaze mixture.

My son flattened out each biscuit with his fingers so that he was able to make the hole in the middle. For the 8 count biscuits you can use a small cookie cutter to make the hole. For the 10 count biscuits a small water bottle cap will do. I had already filled our skillet with 1/2" of vegetable oil and got it nice and hot so it was ready for us to just drop in the donuts and holes. We watched them as they started puffing up. You want to be sure to stay near them because they only need to cook a minute on each side. We let them drain on a paper towel lined cooling rack. When they were cool enough to touch but still warm, we dipped them into a bowl of sugar or glaze. We placed them on another cooling rack with parchment paper underneath to catch any drips.


We plated them up and sat them in front of dad with his morning coffee. Father and son sat, ate, and enjoyed their time together. I love donut holes so I ate most of those. Hehe They were so GOOD!!! I could not believe how easy these were to make. Why hadn't we made them sooner? I pray all you dads have a wonderful and blessed Father's Day, and that you are honored for all you are and do for your family :)
 

May 3, 2017

Easy Salmon Loaf with Creamy Dill Sauce


Salmon Loaf

Ingredients:
1 can pink salmon, drained
1.5 cup of cracker crumbs (or 1 cup dry bread crumbs)
3 Tbsp. Mayo (or 4 Tbsp. melted butter)
1/2 cup milk
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard)
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper (or 1 tsp. fish seasoning)
1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)

Creamy Dill Sauce

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Sour Cream or Mayo (can sub with Greek Yogurt)
2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper



Directions:
Preheat oven 350 degrees. After draining canned salmon pick out the big bones (small ones are safe to leave in since the bones are edible). In a large bowl add all the ingredients with the pink salmon. Mix together thoroughly. Grease or spray a loaf dish or pan. Pour in salmon mixture and evenly spread out. Cook in oven for 45 minutes or until light brown on top and around sides. Let sit for up to 10 minutes before cutting slices.

While loaf is cooking make your sauce in a small bowl by mixing all the ingredients and refrigerate covered until ready to serve. This sauce can be made a day ahead as well.


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April 25, 2017

Fat Bombs!

Have you ever heard of Fat Bombs? Take a look around Pinterest, YouTube, or Google it and you’ll see how popular they have become among people watching their weight, sugar intake, or for many other health reasons. I saw a video last year that one of my favorite YouTubers did showing how she made hers. She makes fat bombs because she wanted to cut back from a serious sweet tooth addiction. From time to time I make a version of these to help me when I’m trying to cut back on the sweets myself.



Fat Bombs

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup real Butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter- creamy or crunchy (I normally use Natural PB but was out this time)
2-4 Tbsp. Honey or Agave
Vanilla Extract (a splash)
A couple of silicone molding trays (to make mini bite sizes)
Glass jars (for storing)

Directions:
Slowly melt the coconut oil, butter, peanut butter until fully melted. You can do on the stove-top or in the microwave in a glass heat proof bowl (or big Pyrex measuring cup like I did). Stir in honey or Agave. Add a splash of vanilla and stir thoroughly. 


Carefully begin filling your silicone molding trays with the chocolate liquid. Place in freezer for 30 minutes or until firm. Pop out and place in a glass regular or Mason Jars and cover. Keep refrigerated until ready to snack on.

*Caution: These are not very sweet so don’t expect it to taste like good ole chocolate candy. It has a very high fat content so you do want to keep them cold so they don’t melt on you. These have been said to work well for those who are diabetic. Some have said that the high fat content feels weird on their stomach. I haven’t had that issue. I can get by on eating up to 3 a day (not all at once) and feel satisfied.

March 23, 2017

Crockpot Corned Beef and Cabbage


Crockpot Corned Beef and Cabbage
 
Ingredients:
1 corned beef brisket, about 3 pounds 
4 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices 
4 medium carrots, sliced 
1 medium onion, quartered 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cabbage, about 2 lbs. (sliced into 8 wedges)
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar (white or brown) 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
salt to taste (optional)
1 1/2 cups water

Directions:
Thoroughly wash corned beef. Lightly butter or spray a 5 to 6-quart crockpot. Layer potato slices over bottom with carrots, onion, and garlic. Add sugar and vinegar. If you have the seasoning packet that came with your corned beef open it and sprinkle it on top of veggies too. Add water. Place corned beef on vegetables. Arrange cabbage slices around and on top of meat. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 7 to 8 hours, until meat and vegetables are tender.
Remove meat to a platter; cover with foil and rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
Serves 8

* We ate spicy brown mustard with our corned beef.

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March 9, 2017

DIY Body and Lip sugar scrubs

I’ve shared before how I love Shea Moisture's hair and body products. The body oils smell so good after a good shower. They can last longer and (depending on what you buy) are cheaper than Bath and Body products, which makes my bank account happy :-) I love their face and body scrubs. I hate that I can’t keep a stock up on all my favorites. I only purchase them when they are BOGO Free around once or so a year. What’s a girl to do? Get in the kitchen, search in the cabinets, and pull out what you need to start making your own products.

Thanks be to God for Pinterest. The ideas and things you can learn how to do just blows my mind. I love it WAY more than Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. YouTube is another favorite cause HEY…there’s so much learning going on over there. :-) The amount of time most people spend on Facebook would be how much time I’m on Pinterest. I must confess I’m a little addicted to it ;-) Any free time I get I may pop into FB for less than 10 minutes, and about the same for Twitter and Google+. Anyhoo after some searching I found two products to make that I wanted to share.


As you can see I made two different sugar scrubs. I made some DIY Vanilla Sugar Lip Scrub as well as some Brown Sugar Face~n~Body Scrub.


This is the Vanilla Sugar Lip Scrub. To make it you’ll need:
1 Tbsp. Brown or white granulate sugar
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 drops of vanilla extract (go easy on this it’s just for scent)

Mix it all together in a small bowl and transfer to a jar with an airtight lid. I used one of my small Mason jars. I store this in the downstairs bathroom where it’s much cooler. I used it once this week and love it. Immediately I could feel how soft it made my lips. Don’t be tempted to eat it up because it takes good. I plan to use this a few times a  week to keep soft and kissable lips for hubby.


This is the Brown Sugar Face~n~Body Scrub. To make it you’ll need:
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Coconut Oil

Mix it all together in a small bowl and transfer to a jar with an airtight lid. I used my Mason jar with a clamp. I also store this in the downstairs bathroom where it’s much cooler. I use this once a week. If I need to use it in the shower I just get a little out and put it into something unbreakable because I know an accident is waiting to happen if I don’t. Now we don’t want that to happen do we? :-(

I plan to play around with some more scents and flavors once these are all gone. I love making my own products. I can control what’s in them and I get to save money cause they last much longer. That’s a win in my book!

February 21, 2017

Fish Foil Packets


Fish Foil Packets

Ingredients:

-1 lb. boneless, skinless portion size fish of your choice (Tilapia, Pollock, Salmon, ect.)
-variety of cut up fresh or frozen veggies (here I chose to use carrots, green beans, garlic, and sliced red onions. I use whatever I have on hand but you can use whatever is good to you)
-lemon pepper seasoning, Fish seasoning, or salt and pepper to taste (can use herbs too)
-1/2 Tbsp. of butter (for each packet)
-A splash of cooking or Real white wine---whatever you fancy (optional)
-Foil (for making packets)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry fish. Tear off good size pieces of foil (enough for each family member) to make each pack. Lay a piece of fish on a piece of foil. Sprinkle on choice of seasoning. Add a handful of your choice veggies. At this point if you’re using, add that splash of wine and put a 1/2 Tbsp. of butter on top. Fold sides of foil up together and roll the ends to seal. Place packet flat on a long baking sheet and make the other packets the same way. Place packets side by side seam side up to cook. Put in oven and cook 20-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of your meat and veggies). Serve each person their packet with some steamed rice and/or a side salad.


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February 16, 2017

Wisconsin Cheese Soup

Wisconsin Cheese Soup

Ingredients: 
5 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:
In a large stock pot melt butter and saute vegetables 10 minutes or until crisp. Add ham in the last 5 minutes.  Don't let the veggies get brown. Stir in flour and cornstarch stirring constantly about 3 minutes.  Add broth and cook while stirring slightly until thickened.  Add in milk and seasonings.  Stir in cheese gradually stirring until melted.  Don't allow to boil at this point.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with crusty bread.

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February 7, 2017

Crockpot Pasta Sauce



Ingredients:
1/2 roll of breakfast sausage, or 8 ounces Italian sausage
1 lb. lean ground beef, turkey, pork, or chicken
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 med. chopped green bell pepper (or 1/2 of a large one)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (can use 2 tsp. of the jar kind)
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
dash ground red pepper or 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, if desired
1-2 Tbsp. sugar to cut the acidity (I used honey)


Directions:
Remove sausage from casings; brown in a heavy skillet along with ground beef. Break up sausage and ground beef and add in chopped veggies and cook until meat no longer pink and veggies are soft; drain well. Add sausage and beef to crockpot, along with all remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 3.5-4 hours or HIGH for 1.5-2 hours. This sauce can be frozen if you don't want to use now.
Serves 8 to 10


*Tastes great with Parmesan on top and served with garlic bread and a fresh garden salad.  I have also added sautéed spinach to my sauce for added nutrition. In my above picture I've doubled this recipe and cooking in my 6 qt. crock pot so I can serve some spaghetti for dinner tonight and put the rest of the sauce in the freezer for another day. I let it cool down in quart Mason jars before adding to labeled gallon size Ziploc freezer bags. When I want to use it I just thaw the sauce in the refrigerator over night and boil some noodles to stir into my heated up sauce. This sauce can be used for lasagna and other types of pasta dishes too.

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January 31, 2017

21 Years…

21 years 2gether

 

Happy 21st Anniversary to my lover, my life partner, my confidant, my friend, and baby daddy. May God bless us to see 21 more years together my love. Let us continue to work towards having a marriage that is...


1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (HCSB)

4 Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
5 does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends
 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (KJV)

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth:
 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (ESV)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.










January 19, 2017

Salsa Chicken

Salsa chicken

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken breasts
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
1 corn frozen corn
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
cooked rice

Toppings:
shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
tortillas or chips

Directions:
Wash and drain chicken breasts. In a 6 quart slow cooker add chicken. Sprinkle taco seasoning all over the top of meat. Add in salsa, corn, and beans. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Remove chicken from crockpot to a plate or dish. Stir cream cheese into hot corn mixture until well combined. Shred chicken then add back to warm slow cooker. Toss everything together. Serve over Quinoa or rice. Sprinkle on cheese. Can also wrap in tortillas or eat with tortilla chips.

Salsa chicken 2

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January 12, 2017

Easy Lasagna Soup~ crockpot recipe

Lasagna Soup

Easy Crockpot Lasagna Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage, cooked
1 yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
24 oz. jar pasta sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2- 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes (regular or any Italian seasoned ones work well)
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
5-6 cups beef (or chicken) broth
ricotta cheese (optional)
8 oven ready lasagna noodles, broken up

Topping:
shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
If you haven’t already browned your meat go ahead and do that now. While you’re at it throw in those onions and garlic halfway through to cook all together. If your meat is already done just sauté your onions and garlic in a skillet in some EVOO for about 5 minutes on medium heat. In a 6 qt. or bigger crockpot combine everything except the cheese and noodles. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Stir in broken up noodles 30 minutes before soup finishes cooking. Once done you can stir in a little ricotta cheese for creaminess or use as a topping with your mozzarella and Parmesan cheese in your bowls.
Serve this with what you normally would eat regular lasagna with. Garlic bread or flavored crackers tastes great with this. YUM Smile

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