Monday, November 28, 2011

Pay it forward

So now's the time of the year that we all feel like cooking, right? RIGHT!?? Well I do anyway. It's also the time of the year that we bring meals to friends. Of course we all do this year round, but bringing a meal to someone unexpectedly during the busiest time of the year is a really awesome gesture. Do something for somebody it forward people. So here's a perfect, heart warming meal to bring to someone special....just because!

Lasagna Soup & Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. I found the lasagna soup on Pinterest (follow me!). I have actually made lots of Pinterest recipes lately and have not been disappointed yet! I made a few changes to the original recipe which was found here. Here's what I did:

Lasagna Soup

for the soup:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes + 1/2 15-oz. can.
2 bay leaves
8 c. chicken stock
12 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

for the cheesy yum:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper

2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (I put this for the kids but not me. You definitely don't need it with all the other flavors).

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground turkey & sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

Servings: 8

**grabbed this picture from the original recipe. Hers was prettier than mine. ;)

SUPER YUMMY! My family loves this and it is VERY easy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon clove
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.) Stir chocolate chips into dry mixture.

In separate bowl, stir eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin together. Add pumpkin mixture to dry mixture and stir until well combined. Scrape batter into loaf pans and smooth top.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely and top with powdered sugar. (This isn't a must...just makes it look pretty).

Then if you wanna get really creative, you can wrap it up really nice like this:

(not my pic either) :)

So there you have it! Serve the soup with a warm loaf of ciabatta and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and you have an excellent meal to bring to someone.....just because! :)

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