Every Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. for the past few months, Spencer and I have had a standing date 45 minutes away. We drop the older boys off at kindergarten and first grade before heading south to Charlottesville — often sitting in traffic and just barely making it to town in time. As I clench the steering wheel and question my sanity for voluntarily committing to such a rushed morning routine, my mind wanders to the rest of the day and my seemingly never-ending To Do List. Can’t dinner in the form of a cozy lasagna, a roasted chicken, or a homemade pizza just magically appear in my kitchen and take one responsibility off of my proverbial “plate”?
But you know what? When we get to our destination — a Parks & Rec class that combines art and gymnastics for an hour long session — and I see Spencer filled with so much joy, it makes the extra effort to spend our morning out of the house SO worth it!
This is Spencer’s favorite day of the week (and it might just be mine, too). He gets to play with his friend Jonathan while I get to catch up with Jonathan’s mom, Kristin. It’s a win-win…and that’s saying a lot for a Monday morning!
By the time we get home for lunch, it’s a scramble to get us fed, the laundry and other chores done, my work finished, and the older boys picked up by 3. Again, it makes getting dinner on the table a challenge that I honestly just don’t have the energy to deal with!
Lucky for you (and me!), I have found quite a few solutions for these out-of-the-house busy days. Whether I’m facing a morning in town for class with Jonathan, a marathon day of errands, or piles or work to tackle, it’s always nice to know that I can dump some ingredients into my Crock Pot in the morning and focus my attention elsewhere for the rest of the day.
With recipes like this Lasagna Soup, I can take a family-favorite comfort food dish and turn it into an easier and healthier dinner that everyone loves. Best of all, it’s ready and waiting for us when we need a hot supper together at the end of the day!
Healthy Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup
Yield 8 (1.5 cup servings)
- 1 lb. extra lean ground beef, cooked and drained
- 24 oz jar of marinara sauce
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 3 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, NOT drained
- 7 “No Boil” lasagna noodles (6 ounces), broken into bite-sized pieces
- Shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, for topping
- Combine first 7 ingredients in a slow cooker (beef through tomatoes).
- Cover, and cook on “low” for about 8 hours.
- When there are about 30 minutes remaining in the cooking time, add lasagna noodle pieces to the pot. Stir, cover, and continue to cook for the remaining 30 minutes (or until pasta is tender).
- Garnish with cheese and serve.