Getting Through the Holidays

Getting Through the Holidays

 After the death of my husband,  I made a  move to Ohio.  I bought an old home built in the 1880’s.  Changes were needed to make it my own, but one of the best things I did was claim a small added-on sunroom as my own.  It is a cozy nook where I can read, pray, & be still.

I am convinced that everyone needs to find a space all their own.  My kids tend to hang out in the living room, & I love hearing their laughter from across the house as I sit in my own little corner.

Our grieving process as a family has been one of challenge & growth.  That first holiday after Greg’s death was an invitation to a friend’s home.  They lovingly spoke of my husband & the times we had shared with them in the past, understanding that our grief was fresh, & tears never far from the surface.  It helped being around others.

Those who have lost loved ones DO want to talk about them.  After the funeral service when YOUR life returns to normal, those grieving are trying to figure out what THEIR norm is going to be from that point on.

As the Lord would have it, on my really down days, my children seemed to do better than I, but on their hard days, my spirits were hopeful.  I was able to help them look forward to their future, in spite of our feelings TODAY.

For those who have experienced recent loss, the holidays tend to be something to just GET THROUGH, rather than celebrate.  Perhaps an invitation to share a quiet evening where you simply listen & empathize would be the HOPE that person needs.

I’m sharing today a recipe for Lasagna soup.  It’s a hearty, easier version of the layered casserole most everyone enjoys.

Confectionately Yours, 

Sue

Lasagna Soup

2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage (or 1/2 hamburger & 1/2 Italian sausage)
3 c. chopped onions
2 tsp garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz lasagna pasta, broken in pieces
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves (or dried basil to taste)
salt and ground black pepper, to taste 

8 oz. cottage cheese or ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper

 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes.

Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. 

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 and absorb all the soup broth.

I cook the noodles separately, and then add some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them.  Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt & black pepper.

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

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