Pasta Fagioli Soup


So, I tried two different knock offs of Olive Garden soups this week….Chicken Gnocchi and Pasta Fagioli.  I was so disappointed when the Chicken Gnocchi did NOT taste like Olive Garden’s and it really didn’t taste good at all.  So bummed.   BUT, the Pasta Fagioli turned out delicious and made an enormous amount.  The recipe completely filled my  crock pot to the top.  That’s way too much soup for our family, so before adding the pasta at the end, I scooped out half of the soup into a freezer bag.   I will freeze that half and add the pasta to it when reheating.  The half that remained in the crock pot got the pasta added the last hour or so.  I hope you enjoy…it was SUPER easy.


(I would give credit, but my mom sent me this recipe & I don’t know where she got it from!)

2 lbs. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained

1 (16 oz.) can white kidney beans, drained

3 (10 oz.) cans beef stock—I used a 32 oz. carton of beef broth

3 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. pepper

5 tsp. parsley

1 (20 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce

8 oz. pasta

-Brown beef in a skillet.  Drain fat and place in crock pot.

-Add all other ingredients, EXCEPT pasta.

-Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.

**At this point, if you want to freeze half, separate it out.

-During last 30 min on high or 1 hour on low, add pasta.

**We served with Parmesan cheese on top and homemade rolls as a side.

I also think you could assemble all ingredients (except pasta) with the beef already browned and place in a freezer bag.  Freeze.  Then, when you want to make it, thaw overnight and dump in the crock pot the following morning.  Still wait to add the pasta till the last hour or so.



Hawaiian Pizza Pasta

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I adapted this recipe from one I found in The Everything Freezer Meals Cookbook.   Its super easy and pretty tasty if you like Hawaiian Pizza.  🙂

Hawaiian Pasta

1 jar pasta sauce or 1 1/2 cups homemade pizza/pasta sauce

1 box penne or rotini pasta

approx. 10 oz. deli ham, chopped

1 can pineapple tidbits, drained

approx. 5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


-Cook pasta according to directions on the box.

-Combine the pasta, sauce, ham, pineapple, and half the cheese.

-Spray casserole dish with cooking spray and dump in the pasta mixture.

-Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.   Cover and freeze or bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

-If frozen, no need to thaw, just bake at 350 F for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.  Or if thawed, bake for 30 minutes.

**This makes a 9×13 size casserole or two 8×8 sizes.



Panera Mac N Cheese


I LOVE the mac n cheese at Panera.  It is amazing!  Who’s with me?  I was thrilled to find the recipe on their site.  I have made it twice and it is good.  In fact, my daughter requested it for her birthday dinner this week.  HOWEVER, there are two things I am disappointed by:  #1-It is NOT cheap to make.  #2-I can’t get mine smooth and creamy like theirs.  When I make it the sauce is real thick….not sure how to thin it down.  With all that said.  It definitely is tasty.  And I’ve tried freezing it….it works great!  I just thaw overnight and warm in the microwave.  SO simple!  Let me know if you try it and let me know if you have a way to tweak the sauce.  🙂

Panera’s Mac n Cheese

UPDATE 1/23/14

I don’t think Panera has the link up on their site anymore….so happy I saved it!

Panera Bread’s Signature Macaroni & Cheese 
Adapted by Head Chef Dan Kish 

1 (16-ounce) package of rigati pasta (or other small pasta shells) 
¼ cup butter 
½ cup all-purpose flour 
2½ cups 2% reduced fat milk (or cream) 
6 slices white American cheese, chopped 
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar 
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
¼ teaspoon hot sauce 

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. 

2. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. 

3. Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat. 

4. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. 

5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated). 

Serves 4 to 6

Jennifer’s Pizza Pasta


We enjoy this pasta dish on our the gal’s in my co-op has made twice.  For my family, she even divides it into two meals, since one it too much.  I believe it makes a 9 x 13 inch size casserole.

Jennifer’s Pizza Pasta

1 box penne pasta

1 jar spaghetti sauce

6 oz. Italian blend cheese (3/4 bag)

3 oz. shredded Parmesan

½ bag pepperoni

Onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, and black olives to taste

Italian seasoning to taste

Sauté diced veggies in olive oil until tender.  Cook pasta and drain.  In a casserole dish, combine pasta, sauce, veggies, ½ the Italian cheese blend (reserving the other half for the top), Parmesan, pepperoni, and seasoning.  Sprinkle reserved cheese over the top and bake at 350 degrees until hot and cheese is melted.