Recipe // Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup

OliveGarden-1The first soup of the fall season is officially in the bag bowl and boy is it delicious.

OliveGarden-2Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup (via):

2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, shredded
1 c. 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
4 cups beef stock
3 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. pepper
5 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. tabasco sauce
1 (20 oz.) jar Prego traditional spaghetti sauce
8 oz. pasta (I like using ditali pasta)

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet; drain the fat. Add beef and all ingredients except the pasta into a large crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
Before serving, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to soup. Top with shredded cheese and crackers. Good to Know: This recipe makes 12-15 servings! Make sure your slow cooker is big enough with a plan to freeze some for a later date OR simply cut the recipe in half!


French Onion Soup

Have I mentioned my obsession with French Onion Soup? I can’t explain how it began. In fact, I used to not even like French Onion Soup. But times have changed. Now I love it to the point that I once drove in a blizzard to get some of this delicacy. After that, I knew it was time. It was time to make my own French Onion Soup. The results were amazing and I am still enjoying my creation, loving every minute of it.

**The picture on this one does not do it justice, but trust me when I say that it is 250% worth it.

French Onion Soup



  • Cugino’s Ridiculously Delicious! Baked Burgundy French Onion Soup Mix (found at Bed, Bath & Beyond, also here)
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Whole wheat bread, toasted
  • Provolone cheese slices


  1. In a medium-sized kettle combine 7 cups water and sliced onion. Whisk in entire contents of soup mix.
  2. Cook over medium heat for 25-35 minutes.
  3. Pour into soup bowl.
  4. Turn oven to high broil.
  5. Top each bowl with a toasted piece of whole wheat bread and a slice of provolone cheese.
  6. Place in oven until cheese is bubbly.
  7. Take out and let cool.
  8. Enjoy!

If you want a true “from scratch” French Onion Soup recipe, check this out.


Tomato Tortellini Soup

This week I decided I needed a recipe that would be delicious, quick and easy to make AND that I could eat for lunch or dinner throughout the rest of the week. Lots of requirements! I was totally feeling a soup — warm and cozy with the chilly winter temps (although Mother Nature has been kind to Chicago so far this year!) and I hit the nail on the head! Delicious is an understatement. I had to make a couple of adjustments to the original recipe because I mis-calculated the seasonings that I owned, oops!

Tomato Tortellini Soup


Original recipe: Taste of Home


  • 2 packages (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) reduced-sodium condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese for a topping, optional


  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes, seasonings, and cheese on in a large pot on low heat.
  3. Drain tortellini; carefully add to soup.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese, if desired.



Recipe Inspired by Ireland

This is a guest post from Laura at astimegoesbuy blog while I’m away on vacation in Ireland.  Make sure to check out Laura’s blog for lots of other great blog posts about fashion, life, and food.

I love Ireland, no seriously, I REALLY LOVE Ireland!

Dublin is in my top five cities of the world and if I didn’t currently live in Australia, I would be living in Dublin. And as our dear friend, Megan, from The Thread Affect is on holiday in Ireland, it got me thinking about the Emerald Isle.

For a large part of both the population of the US and Australia, we can trace our “roots” and heritage back to Ireland, so going there on holiday is in a sense going home. A few years ago, my husband, also known as The Fashion Mister and I, made our pilgrimage back to the homeland. Our first stop was in Dublin. We were there to do the standard tourist things but also to meet up with some of the Irish Clan.

At our first meal in Dublin we stayed at the hotel and went to the restaurant for lunch. They were serving a buffet style meal and it meant we didn’t have to stray too far. As I worked my way through the line I noticed they served potatoes three, yes THREE, different ways, and it seemed you had to have at least two versions on your plate or you couldn’t proceed!

Little did I know that this was merely the beginning of the potato feast during our two week stay! We quickly learned that everything is better with potato and bacon. If you could fit cabbage into the mix all the better!

In fact colcannon, a traditional Irish dish of mashed potato with kale or cabbage, is often topped off with a little bacon. It’s this delicious Irish dish that inspired me when I returned to make what has now become a family favorite, Colcannon Soup.

Colcannon Soup

Prep time:   20 minutes
Cook time:   1 ¼ hours
Serves:        approx. 6


3.5 oz (100 ml) olive oil
1 white cabbage, cored & shredded
6 oz (175 ml) white wine
3 large potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
6 thick slices of pork belly
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
7 oz (200 ml) double cream (sour cream works nicely too)
Salt & pepper


Heat 5 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until softened but not colored. Add the white wine, potatoes, onions, and nutmeg and pour in enough water to cover. Add the pork belly and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour, until the meat is tender.

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon, Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan. Add the garlic and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until it is just beginning to color. If necessary, reheat the soup (I often return it to the hot pan and keep it covered to keep it warm during this step.

Serve the soup hot in bowls with a swirl of cream and the garlic chips. Serve the pork belly either in the soup or separately on slices of toasted rustic bread.

This soup is divine. Haven’t met a soul yet that doesn’t go back for more!

Chicken Taco Chili

After an exhausting weekend (read why here), the thought of cooking and cleaning up a meal sounded impossible until this crock-pot chicken taco chili appeared on my Pinterest board.  With the weather slowly warming up, I wanted to seize one last opportunity to make a stomach-warming meal of chili.  Although the ease of the recipe (adapted from here) is extremely easy to begin with, I simplified even more by using frozen chopped onions to erase any need for a knife!

Prep Time     5-10 Minutes
Bake Time     6 Hours on Low
Makes           10 Servings


1 onion, chopped
16-oz can black beans
16-oz can kidney beans
8-oz can tomato sauce
10 oz package frozen corn kernels
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

for topping (optional):
chips to scoop
sour cream
fresh cilantro


Combine beans, onion, diced tomatoes, frozen corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours. A half hour before serving, remove the chicken breasts, shred, return to slow cooker, and stir. Top with any optional toppings, we love to scoop up the chili with tortilla chips.

**Recipe Source:  Photo a Day**