Friday, January 24, 2014

Pasta E. Fagioli (Olive Garden Copy Cat)

One of the reasons I love having a facebook page is that friends share their wonderful recipes. I posted a question about favorite soups and a friend recommended this recipe. I had to change it a bit because my crock pot was not big enough to double just about everything. I wish it was because then we could have some for dinner and freeze some for a later day. She also added Tabasco sauce. I would normally add that but my son sometimes has a hard time with tomato base soup and the added extra spice would make it even more difficult for his tummy. I am not used to making soup with pasta and 8 oz seemed like so little so I made 16 oz and added as much as I thought made sense. I regretted that because the pasta soaks up a lot of broth and I had to add more broth later.

This soup reminded me of a cross between lasagna, chili, and minestrone. We all loved it and had seconds except Brody. He doesn't really like chili or lasagna so it made sense he didn't like this soup. I loved it and am looking forward to making it again.

The next time I make it, I may change adding the pasta. I may only add it to each bowl. It might be better when reheating. Try it and let me know what you think.


1lb Ground Beef. 
1/2 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 can diced tomato 
1 can red kidney beans rinsed
1 can northern beans rinsed
4 cups beef stock or broth
1 (25 oz) jar Prego spaghetti sauce (I used tomato garlic)
2 teaspoon dried Oregano
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz ditalini pasta
Parmesan cheese for topping 


In a large skillet brown ground beef. Add it and all ingredients except pasta to the crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or low for 4-5 hours. The last hour of cooking you should boil pasta and under cook slightly. Drain and add during the last half hour. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Swiss Steak

My mother made this recipe for me a few times. She got the original recipe from her mother-in-law Lucy. Lucy was an amazing cook and I hope to one day make Macaroni and cheese just like hers. What I love about this recipe is that it is easy and it slow cooks for hours. You put it in the oven and forget it. It's wonderful for a cold winter day. I like it over mashed potatoes but you could do it over egg noodles and rice. It makes lots of gravy. Try it and let me know what you think. 

One of the things that drives me crazy about recipes is the cuts of beef are very different in different states. I went to the store and asked for round steak. I saw a package of round steak London broil. I asked a guy if that was the same thing. He looked at me like I was crazy. Luckily I was right. I worried the whole time. It was a tender as a young maiden's heart. That is a quote from my mom. 


2 lbs round steak (London broil) 
1 14 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1/2  onion sliced
1 package of brown gravy mix
1/2 cup of water
2 carrots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper. 


Pre heat oven to 225 degrees. Prepare gravy mix according to package. It is important you do this and not just add the gravy mix to pot. Tenderize the meat. I don't own a tenderizer mallet so I stabbed it with a fork all over on both sides and banged it a couple of times with my large ladle. It seemed to have worked just as well. 

In a large skillet heat oil. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat. I cut the steak into 3 pieces so I was easier to work with. flour the meat and brown in the pan once it is piping hot. Brown both sides. Add onion and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes, gravy and 1/2 cup of water. Add a bit more salt and pepper and couple handfuls of baby carrots. 

Cover and bake for 2-3 hours.