Saturday, January 24, 2009

Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 14oz cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 28 0z can crushed tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained
3 (10 ounce) cans beef stock
3 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons pepper
5 teaspoons parsley
1 (20 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces salad pasta

In a little bit of butter saute carrots, celery, garlic, and onions. Brown meat. Combine all other ingredients except the pasta in a crock pot. Add meat and sauteed veggies. About an hour before you are ready to eat add dry pasta. Cook on low 4 hours total.

Tip: I didn't like how the pasta made the soup really thick so I cooked the pasta separately and then added it before I served it.

Yummy! Tastes just like Olive Garden!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I like this because I marinate the night before and then just put it all together. If I'm on the ball, I'll do all the prep the night before (cutting veggies, guac, etc), and then it's super easy and fast the next day for dinner. I also half the recipe for our little family of 4 (2 adults, 2 pre-K.)

Prep: 30 mins; Marinate: 8hr+; Broil: 16 mins; 6 adult servings

Fajita Marinade
1/4 C vegetable/olive oil
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 small can diced jalepeno chillies (sometimes I skip this altogether)
2 ripe large avocados
2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice (I squeeze one fresh lime in)
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I use the pre-chopped bottled variety--1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (1 1/2 C)
1 medium onion, FINELY chopped (1/2 C)--onion can be overpowering, so go easy--less is more!
Tortilla chips, if desired

1 1/2-pound beef boneless top sirloin steak or chicken (1 1/2 inches thick)
12 flour tortillas
2 Tbsp vegetable/olive oil
2 large onions
2 medium green or red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 jar salsa
1 C shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4oz)
1 1/2 C Guacomole
3/4 C sour cream

Guacomole Recipe:
1. Cut avocados lengthwise in half; remove pit and peel. Mash. (I use my pastry cutter for this.)
2. Mix all ingredients (except chips) in bowl.
3. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve on fajitas and with chips.

Fajita Recipe:
1. Make marinade in Ziploc bag.
2. Remove fat from meat. Peirce meat with fork. Place in Ziploc bag with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours, turning occasionally.
3. Heat oven to 325.
4. Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil. Heat in oven about 15 mins. Remove, but keep wrapped.
5. Set oven to Broil.
6. Remove meat from marinade; reserve marinade. Place meat on rack in broiler pan. (For easy cleanup, line broiler pan with foil before placing meat on rack.) Broil meat with top about 3 inches from heat, about 8 mins or until brown. Turn, brush with marinade. Broil 7-8 mins longer for medium-rare to medium. Discard any remaining marinade.
7. While meat is broiling, heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions and bell peppers in oil 6-8 mins, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender.
8. Cut meat across grain into very thin slices. Fill tortillas with toppings and enjoy!

I planned to take a picture of the finished product, but completely forgot it. I did take a random picture of the veggies cooking, because I seriously think it's so beautiful. That's how much of a food nerd I am. Peppers and onions: art. :)