Soup’s on Sunday: Meal Planning with Pinterest

By now I’m sure most of you are using Pinterest, if for nothing else than to amass a large collection of obnoxious Someecards.

Or maybe that’s just me?

Pinterest is useful for other things too though, like meal planning. Since I tend to Pin links to recipes all willy nilly, it can be daunting to go dig back through them each evening for a particular link. So, I’ve begun making a weekly menu that has helped keep me organized.

On grocery day I browse through my collection on my Kitchen board, then re-pin any recipes I want to use for that week on my This Week’s Menu board. I make my shopping list from there.

When it comes time to prep a meal, I can access everything with just my phone in the kitchen. This is a vast improvement over the days when I used to haul my laptop in there and try to find a safe place for it among the splatters. Oh, and hey, who remembers those things called cook “books.” So quaint.

Using the Pinterest app for the iPhone, I go to my boards.

If I just selected Kitchen, I’d have to dig around for my recipe. Oh look, I pinned nothing but carbs. How…usual.

This is where This Week’s Menu comes in handy again with its much smaller selection.

There it is, there’s the Pin for the shells I want to make.

When I tap on the Pin, it takes me to the website where the original recipe was posted. (If I’ve Pinned it correctly, that is. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.)

I can even use my phone to take photographs of the food, although I really should take a class in food photography and presentation, ‘cause mine never turn out quite as pretty as the inspiration.

But it still tastes pretty great, so that’ll do. That’ll do.

*If you’re not on Pinterest yet and are looking for a tutorial, may I direct you here or here. Or you can just find me on Twitter or Facebook and I can help walk you through. It’s a great tool for organization and inspiration and doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as some might make it out to be.

Soup’s On Sunday: Lasagna soup

Y’all, I’m changing Monday Meals over to “Soup’s On” Sunday. I’m doing this for several reasons. One, so I can participate in Stasha’s Monday Listicles, and two because, well, because I can!

Oh, the joys of being your own boss.

(For those of you who’ve never heard the saying, “Soup’s on” is just a way to call people to the table for dinner.)

I came across this recipe for Low-Fat Lasagna soup on Pinterest. I’m not a real big fan of low-fat anything, but I figured this would be a good start to my own version of the soup.

(It’s really more like a spaghetti sauce with broken-up lasagna noodles in it, but I’m forbidden to serve spaghetti around here since my husband claims it’s all he he was fed growing up and he’s sick of it, so this is the closest I can get. If you’d like to make it soupier, increase the chicken stock to 40 oz, or cook the lasagna noodles separately, drain and add them.)

In my version, I replaced the turkey and sausage with ground round, spiced it up with some red pepper flakes, and added onion because the smell of sautéing onion makes me very happy. If Scentsy made a “sautéed vegetables” bar, I’d be all over that.

Although I’m fond of the “lazy spaghetti sauce” my mother-in-law used to make for us without fail every time we’d visit, I think I’m going to trade in the can-of-rotel-can-of-tomato-sauce-packet-of-spaghetti-seasoning cheat and go with this from now on.

Lasagna Soup (serves 4)

1 lb ground round
1 small onion, diced finely
1 green bell pepper, diced finely
2 cloves garlic
1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
32 oz chicken stock
8 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
red pepper flakes to taste
salt
pepper
cheese, your choice (mozzerella, parmesan, even ricotta)

In a large pot, combine the stock, tomatoes and seasonings. I like my food heavily seasoned, so you can adjust your measurements according to your taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 15 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, brown the meat, stirring in the vegetables about halfway through. Drain the meat mixture and set aside.

Bring the sauce up to a boil again, and drop in the noodles. Stir frequently until the noodles are soft, then stir in the meat mixture.

Give it another five minutes or so to meld the flavors. Stir in chunks of ricotta here if you like it. (I don’t, so I left it out. Smells like feet. Not a fan.)

Scoop a serving of soup out into a large bowl. Sprinkle your choice of cheese on top, then cover with a plate (or give it a couple of minutes under a broiler) to melt the cheese.

Goes great with garlic bread and could be easily double/tripled for a crowd.