Tag Archives: Pasta

Italian Wedding Soup

Superbowl Sundayyyyyyyy is here!

And as Green Bay Packers fans this is setting up to be an exciting one 😛

I’m trying out two fun recipes for the game festivities —-> here’s a sneak peak.

Now let’s just cross our fingers that The Packers pull through or else not even this delicious food is going to make for a very happy boyfriend hahaha.

Well last night we were supposed to have Fanatic Fam over for a belated birthday dinner, however Fanatic Dad got the flu so we thought it best to reschedule 😦

What I didn’t reschedule was the actual dinner itself, and I’m so glad I didn’t because this new to me recipe was well worth the less than an hour of effort!

Super flavor punch for such little time 🙂

Enough time to get us to the movies to see this lil’ romantic comedy:

Loved. It.

But back to dinner, which like I said was a new-to-me recipe.

A recipe I’d like to dub as “how I got The Man to eat spinach.”

He hates cooked leafy greens.  Hates them.  Well hated them I should say… until tonight!  Yep, that’s right.  This recipe got even The Man to dig into some cooked leafy greens and enjoy every bite 😀

Italian Wedding Soup

I followed this recipe, making a few modifications as noted below.

Recipe courtesy of Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.

Main changes were using more pasta than called for (we like less broth), panko for bread crumb and dried oregano and basil in place of the seasonings noted.


  • 1 pound ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil & 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

This Whole Foods ground beef is our favorite, has a really really great flavor.

Mix it all up and get your hands dirtyyyyyyy!

You want the meatballs to be small, this takes patience, trust me 😛

About 1 tablespoon each I would guess.  And it makes about 40 U would say?

The Soup

  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 6 cups organic chicken broth (1.5 containers)
  • 1 cup ditalini
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • Parmesan Cheese for serving

Start by prepping all your veggies.

Then saute the carrot and onion in olive oil for a few minutes until they start to get tender.  I’d say about 10, adding some chicken broth if they start to stick.

During the last couple minutes add your garlic and basil too.

Then in goes the broth, which you’ll want to bring to a boil.

Once the soup is boiling, drop in your mini meatballs one at a time (and thank your photographer for a wonderful meatball shot 🙂 )

Then add in your pasta and spinach.

Allow this to boil for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta and meatballs are done that the starch from the pasta has thickened up the soup a bit.

Serve this delicious warm bowl of goodness with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Oh yummmmm.  Yum.  Yum.

Why have I never had Italian wedding soup before?

I was definitely missing out!

This bowl of simple yet amazing flavors seriously warmed me inside and out!  The meatballs had the perfect hint of garlic flavor while the soup was so satisfyingly warm & savory with the chunks of veggies and creamy broth.

I told The Man that I may have to start making this every week.  I liked it that much 😛

He loved it too.  And agreed to eat it that often.  Good thing huh 😉

Like I said, I was a bit apprehensive on how the spinach would go over with this so-called spinach hater (kale, collards, etc. hater) but it was a definite winner. 

This one is a keeper!

Do you have any special ways/recipes to sneak in cooked leafy greens for a picky veggie eater? 

GO PACK GO!!!!!!!!!!


A Packaged Deal

Well everyone, the new year is upon us!

Did you check out our New Year’s Eve night out and starting the year off with homemade vegetarian tamales?!  😀

And as a CPA working in financial reporting I must tell you that this month, especially the beginning of this month, is one that is pretty ridiculously busy.

So busy in fact, that after a late night at work tonight, dinner called for a packaged deal.

I know I know, so un-CookinFanatic-like of me 😉

But every once in a while a quick meal is just necessary, especially if one (eh hmm moi) wants to keep up a semblance of a workout routine during said busy times!

We don’t eat cream sauce very often in our house (although I’m sure The Man would have it otherwise) so this was a fun change-up.

In fact, the last creamy pasta I made was this delicious Butternut Squash & Chicken Sausage Parmesan Pasta <— which actually didn’t even have any cream at all, but sure was decadant!

This Buitoni alfredo sauce was pretty darn good for a fast Monday meal.  And the ingredients aren’t too shabby either 😀

I bulked mine up with some steamed broccoli atop a bed of thin spaghetti (plus black pepper for good measure). 

The Man was having none of that veggie nonsense.  He ate his straight up, and added more Parmesan cheese.  What’s new.

A Caesar salad was just what this meal needed to make it complete, yum!

Made by The Man while I finished my workout, even more yum 😉

Ahhh this dinner was just what the Monday doctor ordered.  I’d definitely recommend the Buitoni alfredo sauce in a pinch (especially if you happen to have a $1.00 off coupon, just sayin’…)

Hoping that tomorrow isn’t quite as crazy as today and looking forward to a fun new recipe coming to a table near you.

Hint:  It includes the use of something fun that hasn’t been in our kitchen in quite some time, sofrito!!!!

Just crossing my fingers I can get home in time to see it all come together 😛

Such. A. Foodie.

Girls Dinner In!

After the chorizo, chicken and unseen beef that was consumed this week, tonight all I was in the mood for was a meat-free meal!

Lucky for me, lil’ sis agreed to come over and have a girls’ dinner in with me – she appreciates a meatless meal (and beans!) as much as I do 🙂

And don’t worry – The Man had plenty of chicken wings, nachos, etc. while watching football with his buddies – he def didn’t starve 😉

So I set out to make us a healthy, veggie filled dish!

Veggie and White Bean Pasta & “Better Than Fries” Roasted Broccoli

First up, the pasta sauce.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 bag frozen squash
  • 1 can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • *edited to add* there was a splash of white wine & shake of red pepper flakes also involved towards the end!

I normally don’t like to buy canned tomatoes, however these San Marzanos appeared at Whole Foods a few weeks back and I’ve never had them before *shock!* so I had to go for it.

So worth it.

Also, in case you didn’t know, fresh basil freezes wonderfully for later use in cooked dishes.  This is from our basil plant this past summer and the flavor is still spot on!

This was definitely a throw together kind of meal.  A great one to use up some odds n’ ends in the pantry too!

Onion, garlic and squash.

Tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and beans.

Plus some water to thin it out. 

The sauce cooked away while lil’ sis and I drank away had some time for girl talk 😀

And prepared the roasted broccoli…

Garlic infused olive oil.  Seriously amazing.

I used frozen broccoli this time around, drizzled with the garlic olive oil plus some sea salt and black pepper. Into a 425F oven for about 20 minutes (one flip in between) and you will have an amazing veggie side dish on your hands.

Lil’ sis proclaimed this broccoli to be “better than french fries”….

And if you knew of her deep love for fried taters then you would know how serious this was!

We served the veggie bean sauce over some thin spaghetti too – plus a topping of Parm cheese for moi 🙂

Deelish deelish deelish.

Now it’s movie time!  Anyone seen Knight and Day before?  Hope it’s good 😛

Exceeding Expectations

Tonight the plan was for an Italian inspired meal!

After two nights of Mexican meals, we were feeling a need for a lil’ location change 😉

Plus, I’d had these in the cabinet for way too long…

I bought them a few weeks ago, but have been scared to use them ever since. 

Yea, I said it, scared.

Canned clams don’t get the best rap in case you’re wondering. 

And with a preconceived notion that these were going to be slimy, tough and fishy — I’m not even sure why I bought them?

But tonight I got brave…

And let’s just say that bravery paid off!!! 😀

Lemon Butter Pasta w/ Clams

A canned clam’s best friends:  onion, garlic, fresh parsley and lemon.

A bit of butter and olive oil.

A quick pan sauce comes together.

Would you believe me if I told you that all this dish needed was 1 tblsp of each?!   Well it’s true.  Proof that you don’t need alot of fat to make a tasty meal 🙂

The smell of butter and onion and garlic will never cease to amaze me.

It’s just that good.

A touch of clam juice and white wine also pulled this sauce together, what doesn’t wine make better? 😉

Ever have some smaller portions of leftover pasta on hand?


Yea, I used them both.  Made for some fun & different textures!

I’m in love with these cheese bits that you can pick up for dirt cheap at Whole Foods…

Anyone else?

This Parmesan was so flavorful, I think it’s time to splurge for the full block 😉 

Marketing genius…

Freshly shaved atop the lemony buttery sweet clam pasta.

This dish exceeded every expectation (or lack thereof) that I had.

The butter & olive oil was cut perfectly by the fresh lemon and parsley and the clams were perfectly tender and not fishy in the least!

This recipe is most definitely going into the rotation for easy, flavorful go-to meals.

We demolished the entire pan. 

Yummmmm!  😛

Lemon Butter Pasta w/ Clams

  • 1 tblsp butter
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can clams, drained & clam juice reserved (will need 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • fresh parsley, chopped (about 2 tblsp)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • black pepper
  • pasta – about 1/2 package
  • freshly grated Parmesan

Melt the butter & olive oil in a saucepan.  Add the onion and cook over medium heat until translucent.  Add the garlic towards the end and cook for another minute or two. 

Add in the reserved clam juice, white wine, lemon juice, parsley, clams and black pepper.  Cover and let heat through for about 5 minutes (told you it was fast!)

Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to directions.  Using a pasta spoon, remove from boiling water and add to saucepan w/ claim sauce.  The extra pasta water will help to create more liquid for the sauce.

Top with grated Parm and prepare your tastebuds for excitement!

Enjoy 😀

Decadent + Figure Friendly?!

Tonight’s dinner was decadent.  Wow. 

It tasted like comforting love in a bowl, with delicious rich flavors that were pulled together while still being figure friendly. 

Just wait, you’ll see! 😉

Butternut Squash & Chicken Sausage Parmesan Pasta

The starters:

Onion, garlic, chicken sausage, ziti and Parmesan cheese.

Plus some pre-roasted butternut squash. 


Yep.  Want to hear a great trick?  Remember last night when I was roasted up those sweet potatoes…

Well I snuck these squash into the oven too since I knew I’d be using them today and saved myself about an hour of roasting time tonight!  Made my life soooooo easy after work 😉

To roast butternut squash I follow this method:  cut in half, remove seeds and place into baking dish at 350F for about an hour or until soft & tender.

First up, the onions and chicken sausage.

Followed by the garlic and butternut squash, plus some salt and pepper.

Then the chicken stock, cream (only 1/4 cup, stayin’ healthy here remember!), Parmesan cheese and fresh thyme.

Another great trick.  Anytime I buy something like heavy whipping cream which we don’t use up, I put into ice cube trays and freeze for later use.  Works great in cooked dishes and keeps me from having to let anything go to waste!

Freshly cooked ziti and a quick stir…

And you’re done 😀

Serve with more cheese if you like, or in my case more freshly cracked black pepper.

Flavors = spot on.  Creamy, rich and comforting.

Yet only a small amount of fat needed to achieve such flavor.  I couldn’t believe how buttery and creamy this was.

The chicken stock does a great job of adding flavor while also creating a luscious sauce out of a minimal amount of cream and cheese.  So good!

The dinner table (i.e. The Man and myself) raved.

Here’s the recipe, which took about 30-40 minutes start to finish.  Not too shabby huh? 😛

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, cooked, peeled and chopped
  • chicken sausages, sliced on the diagonal (I used Trader Joe’s Italian)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I had homemade on hand, but use any kind you like)
  • 2 tblsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated preferred!)
  • fresh thyme, about 1 tsp
  • salt (we like sea salt) 
  • black pepper
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 3/4 to 1 box ziti (or any pasta you like)

1.  Cook onions in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add in sliced sausages and cook for a few until browned a bit, about 5-7 minutes.  If the onions start to brown too add a splash of water – it’ll help them to steam vs. get too brown.

While this is cooking, go ahead and cook your pasta in another pot according to directions.  That way it’ll be done right when the sauce is ready!

2.  Add garlic and squash to onion/sausage mixture plus salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

3.  Add in the fresh thyme, chicken stock, cream and Parm cheese.  Stir gently as to not break up squash.

4.  In goes the cooked pasta (which has been drained).  Add more salt and pepper if you like, then stir to combine.

5.  SERVE IT UP!  Top with extra black pepper and Parm cheese as desired.

And trust me, you’ll have some happy diners!  A comforting meal to feel good about serving too 🙂

I hope you’ll give this one a try!

Starred in the Google Reader

This little gem has been starred in my google reader for a few weeks now and after a weekend spent away from home livin’ the college dream, nothing sounded better than an easy yet extremely flavorful dinner last night!

P.S. Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels relatively old during post-grad college visits either! 😉

Jenna’s Linguine w/ Shrimp & Tomato Cream Sauce

I followed Jenna’s recipe for the most part, making a few changes as follows:

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 1 box Pomi crushed tomatoes (26 oz.)
  • 7 oz. frozen shrimp, precooked for ease
  • 2 tblsp heavy cream (which I had previously frozen!)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • water as needed
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 package fettucine

My love for Pomi tomatoes goes on and on… 😉

I simply sautéed the onions in olive oil until they turned translucent, about 5 minutes, then added in the garlic for another minute or 2.  Then in went the tomatoes, half the basil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.  I let this simmer over medium heat until the flavors combined, about 10 minutes.

While this was going down I boiled up the pasta according to directions, easy peasy.

Then it was time to add the shrimp, which just needed to be warmed through since they were previously cooked.  I added some additional water to get the sauce to the consistency we prefer as well.

Last in the pan went the remainder of the basil plus the heavy cream , which I had actually previously frozen leftovers of in ice cube trays for later use (best used in cooked dishes).  Not many of us use a whole container of heavy cream for 1 recipe nor use it up before it goes bad, at least in my experience, so freezing it is a great option!

Serve the shrimp sauce over the pasta with a fresh slice of buttered bread…

And a gorgeous salad of yellow tomato, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt & black pepper…

And you will have some happy happy diners 🙂

At least we did in our house!

This recipe will easily become an impressive go-to dinner in our house, it was fantastic.

And now?  After an intense Yoga w/ Weights session I am looking forward to some quality Monday night TV…

How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement, Gossip Girl AND Thintervention all in one night???  Don’t mind if I do (hey, I never said it was “educational TV”) 😛

What is one of your favorite easy-yet-flavorful go-to recipes?!


Ever since The man ordered the seafood orecchiette while we were out last Friday, I’ve been looking forward to using it in my own kitchen.

Well last night was the night, so I just pulled some ingredients together and came up with a fabulous new recipe using my new pasta finds:

Creamy Ham & Swiss Veggie Orecchiette

I was really in the mood for a creamy cheesy pasta dish, but also wanted to try to keep it on the light side as well as work in some veggie friends!  Here’s how it came together.

  • 2/3 box orecchiette
  • 3 yellow zucchini, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 container mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tblsp EVOO
  • S&P
  • fresh parsley

For the “lower fat” creamy cheesy sauce:

  • 1 tblsp butter
  • 1 tbslp flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 block Atlantique Swiss, shredded (approx. 1 cup)

This type of swiss is The Man’s favorite, but packs a lot of punch so you don’t need a ton to get a great flavor!

Sauté the onion and squash in EVOO (season w/ S&P) for about 10 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes or so until all veggies are nearly done.  In goes the garlic and fresh parsley for another couple minutes and you’re set.

While the veggies were sautéing I boiled the pasta and worked on the cream sauce.

To make the sauce, melt butter in saucepan then whisk in flour for about a minute until slightly brown.  Add in milk and continue to whisk occasionally while you bring to boil, then turn down heat to medium and let sauce reduce & thicken for 5 minutes.  Add in shredded cheese and let melt through and you’re done!

I also sliced up some honey ham to add to the dish – ham & swiss are a match made in heaven!

Threw together the veggies, pasta and ham

Mixed in the cream sauce and placed into a baking dish.  Popped into a 375F oven for 10 minutes to finish up and here you have it:

Served w/ a side salad with tons of veggies & Asian sesame vinaigrette.

I love this orecchiette pasta, it has such a hearty texture which went wonderfully w/ the veggies, ham and cheesy sauce!  This dinner was definitely a winner!

After stuffing myself silly I watched The Bachelorette finale which I must say was pretty good.  So, did anyone else predict that Ali would pick Roberto in the end??  Did you want Roberto to win?

I had a feeling from the start that their chemistry would last through the end so it wasn’t a huge shock however all the spoilers said she’d pick no one so that kind of had me fooled!

Have a great Tuesday all Smiley