Heat olive oil in a large pot and add onions.
Saute until onions are tender and then add garlic.
Cook garlic until fragrant.
Add ground beef and cook until beef is browned, and then drain off the fat.
Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.
Stir in basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
Taste and add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Add bay leaf and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Stir in prepared lasagna noodles.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of ricotta (if using), shredded mozzarella cheese, and fresh parsley.