You may remember this lil’ recipe for pasta fagioli… 

It’s no secret that I’ve made it many, many times before!

But for good reason, as always 😉

It’s such a w0nderful comforting go-to recipe for a crowd! 

Or for an impending visit from a couple hungry college kids, whatevs 😉

Hello Mini-Fanatic and Mylez

Can you take a guess as to who’s coming into townnnn for the weekend?!

So excited!  Looks like I’m not the only one hahaha… 😛

So in an effort to keep their tummies full n’happy, I threw together a pot of pasta fagioli last night that will be ready for eatin’ upon their evening arrival tonight. 

I mean, what are big sisters for? 😛

For this pasta fagioli go-round I hurried things up a bit, adapting the recipe to one that didn’t take hours, making it totally suitable for a week night dinner! 

Chicken, Northern beans, pasta sauce, ditalini pasta, onion, garlic, chicken broth. 

15 minutes cook time + 45 minutes simmer time while I watched ‘quality TV’

How can you go wrong here? 😀

I adapted the original recipe to incorporate chicken thighs (since I had them on hand) and this Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil sauce that was delivered to my doorstep a few days back.

Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received free samples of these Newman’s Own products.

But to make this super snappy, start with some precooked chicken, perhaps off the rotisserie.  This will keep the cook time under that hour!

If not, chicken breasts work too, which I used in the original version of this dish.

This Newman’s Own tomato basil sauce was great!  It had the perfect basil flavor, so much so that I didn’t even need to add any extra seasoning to the fagioli. 

I give it a higher rating than this roasted garlic sauce from a few nights ago, 7.5 out of 10!

Pasta Fagioli just plain rocks!  And this version was no different, yummmm-Oooo.

So uhhhh, is it dinner time yet? 😉

Do you have a go-to dish that you like to prepare for guests coming to visit from out of town?


Hello Spring!! Ummmm….

Snow? Smiley

Anyways… guessing all this cold weather has created some major soup cravings for this girl, and after Friday night’s Chipotle Tomato, Black Bean & Mixed Green soup success, Saturday night was soup night numero dos in this house!

The friends over at The Gracious Gourmet were kind enough to send me some of their fabulous products to try out, how amazing do all of these look?  So excited! 🙂

I browsed their website for some recipe ideas and couldn’t resist the idea of using the Chile Red Pepper Tapenade in this vegetable soup

Here was the recipe I used, which was close to their original, however I added some ditalini pasta to bulk it up a bit and used measurements according to what I had on hand.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Pomi chopped tomatoes (or canned, diced tomatoes)
  • 1 32oz. box organic chicken broth
  • 1/3 lb fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2/3 jar chile red pepper tapenade
  • 3/4 cup ditalini
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • shredded Parm to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste

First up, the onions and carrots.  Cook over medium in 1 tblsp olive oil for about 7 minutes, or until they start to get tender.

Add garlic during the last minute.

Then in goes the chile red pepper tapenade.

Upon first open I knew this was going to be a hit, it smelled amazing!

Strong on the roasted red peppers and perfect on the spice.  This stuff really wow’ed me I must say…!

I was spreading it on bread while cooking because I couldn’t get enough haha 😛

Add the tapenade and the tomatoes into the pot.

Then the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes is up, bring the soup back to a boil then add in the chopped spinach.

Garbanzo beans, which have been drained.

And ditalini pasta. 

Let this boil for another 15 minutes, uncovered… and voila!

How pretty is that?

Season with some salt & pepper plus a grating of Parmesan cheese.

Stir it up and serve.

Perhaps with some cheesy jalapeno bread…?

Winner winner soup dinner!

This product gave such a flavor dimension to an otherwise ordinary soup.  I absolutely loved it! 

I’m a huge fan of roasted red peppers and ya’ll know how much I love a little chile pepper spice, so this tapenade couldn’t have been more perfect 😉

Now I’m just looking forward to trying out the other three products… and have a few tricks up my sleeve later this week to do so!

And if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go slather some more of this stuff on some hunks of sliced bread 😛  And perhaps a glass of wine — gotta celebrate our VCU Rams making it to the FINAL FOUR!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s huge. 

Tell me, is it snowing where you are?