Introduction: Crock Pot Lasagna Soup
This Crock Pot Lasagna Soup is a family favorite. It's easy to throw all of the ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning and then have a delicious lasagna soup ready by dinner time. We have doubled this recipe for pot lucks and larger family events (it fills the crock pot right up to the top when doubled), and it's always the first soup gone.
Step 1: Ingredients
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
- 2 (15 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb. rotini/fusili pasta
Cheese Topping Ingredients:
- 1 (16 oz.) tub cottage or ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil (opt.)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
Step 2: Make the Soup
Start by chopping your onion to the desired size. We have 4 kids and some of them have "texture" issues with large crunchy onions, so we chopped ours pretty fine, but make them as big or small as you like. Add them to frying pan with about 1 tablespoon of oil heated up to medium high. Cook the onions until they become semi translucent. Add the garlic into the onions. We use that pre crushed garlic you buy in a jar, but fresh garlic would work fine here too.
NOTE: If you want to use powdered garlic, add it later when you add the other spices to the crockpot, and you'll have to adjust the dried garlic down down as it's stronger than the fresh or jarred variety.
Push the onions off to the side of the pan and add your hamburger. Start chopping it into little pieces and making sure it browns evenly throughout. Once it's browned, drain off the fat, and dump the hamburger into your crock pot.
Next add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Then add all of your spices. If you are using chicken bouillon (like I did in the pictures) instead of actual chick broth, then you will need to add enough for 5 cups of water (for mine it was 1 tsp of bouillon for 1 cup of water, check your packaging and adjust for your bouillon). I have made this with real chicken broth and it is just as tasty.
NOTE: If you do use the bouillon, make sure and add your salt at the end to taste as the bouillon is always a little saltier than real broth.
Stir everything together and cover your crockpot and cook on 'HIGH' for 4-6 hours or 'LOW' for 8 hours.
Step 3: Make the Cheese Topping
After you get the soup cooking in the crock pot, you can quick throw the cheese topping mixture together, and then allow it to sit in the refrigerator letting the flavors marry. In a medium size bowl, dump your cottage or ricotta cheese, then add the parmesan cheese and spices, give it a good mix. Next add the mozzarella cheese, and mix again. Cover the bowl, and place it in the fridge until you're ready to dish up your soup.
You'll also want more mozzarella cheese to garnish the top of your soup when you dish it up, so make sure you have more than just the 1 cup called for in this topping.
NOTE: I grew up with cottage cheese in my lasagnas, but this works equally well with ricotta, so choose whichever cheese you prefer in your lasagnas for this topping.
Step 4: Cooking the Noodles
30 minutes before you're ready to eat, we'll add the noodles. I like to fish out the bay leaves at this point, but they won't hurt anything if they are left in there (some lucky person will just have to scoop it out of their bowl if you leave them in).
Now I add 1/2 pound (1/2 the bag) of noodles into the soup. I don't bother weighing this, I just eye ball it. I open the bag, then pinch my fingers about half way through the noodles in the bag, and dump them in until I hit that spot. Just try to get close to half the bag and you'll be fine, there is plenty of fluid to cook these noodles in, if you add too few, it will just be a little more soupy, but still tasty.
Stir the noodles into the soup (turn up the crock pot to 'HIGH' if it's not already there) and then cover and set your timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover and stir, and you're ready to dish up!
Step 5: Dishing Up
To serve this soup, dish up desired amount of the soup into your bowl, and then top with the cheese mixture and extra mozzarella cheese. My kids like to stir their cheese mixture into their soup, but I prefer to have it resting on top and control how much cheese to soup ration with every bite.
Serve with some bread sticks, our personal favorite bread stick recipe is http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/quick-and-easy-breadsticks/464097. They are super easy to make, and they end up pan frying a bit so you get a great crispy fried bottom crust, with tender crumb and you control the toppings. Enjoy!