White Bean Soup

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Wow. It’s been a bit since I’ve had the chance to post. Between holidays, my husband’s work schedule, and my baby going from stationary to non stop movement I’ve been having trouble keeping up. Still cooking pretty much every day, but I got to say even for me, someone who loves to cook, everyday cooking is getting to me.

My husband and I rarely go out to dinner, especially without the kids, but as soon as the pandemic is over, we’re going out to dinner. Alone. Somewhere fancy, that we have to dress up for. I want to be waited on and not have to refill a plate before I’ve even had a bite or be told that “I’m not eating this” before I have even sat down. Love the little darlings but they put a different out look on meals after eating at home for breakfast/lunch/dinner plus 2 snacks a day for the past, what, 10 months? Don’t get me wrong, we’ve ordered pizza, but we haven’t actually gone out to eat between having a newborn and the pandemic in over a year. Actually, this week is probably the 1 year mark from the last time we went out alone together.

I only remember it because I was just over 40 weeks pregnant with an almost 10 lb baby and I sort of “stuck out” (pun not technically intended) at our little mom and pop diner that we love so much. The waitress asked when I was due and I responded “three days ago”.

Anyways, I’m not sure we have any semi-fancy restaurants around here with vegetarian options, but I’ll have to do some research and considering it’s probably at least 6 more months until things start heading back to something resembling normal, I’ve got time.

So while I wait for the chance to go out to a lovely dinner I don’t have to prepare, I’ll keep cooking. This soup is delicious and very simple to make. Best part is that it doesn’t require a lot of prep work. Begin by dicing 1/2 an onion, 1 carrot, and 2 celery stalks. I had celery that was previously diced and frozen, which worked just fine. Add the diced veggies and 1/2 tsp garlic with some olive oil to a large soup pot. Saute this for about 10 minutes until the carrots begin to soften.

Once the veggies have softened, add 1 tsp Italian seasonings. Saute until fragrant. Add 8 cups of vegetable broth, a drained and rinsed 15 oz can of white beans, and 28 oz of diced tomatoes. Once the boiling add about 1/2 a pound of pasta (I used elbows). Lower the temperature to medium and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Finally add 1 heaping cup of frozen mixed vegetable and continue simmering for 5-10 minutes until they have cooked through. Test the pasta to make sure it is fully cooked before serving.

White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth
  • 15 oz can white beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb pasta of choice (I used elbow)
  • 1 heaping cup of frozen mixed vegetables

Instructions:

  1. Dice 1/2 an onion, 1 carrot, and 2 celery stalks. Place these in a large soup pot with garlic and olive oil. Saute for about 10 minutes until the carrots have softened, then add 1 tsp Italian seasonings. Continue sauteing until fragrant.
  2. Add 8 cups of vegetable broth, the white beans, and 28 oz of diced tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling add pasta and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add 1 heaping cup of frozen mixed vegetables and cook for about 5-10 more minutes. Test to make sure the pasta is fully cooked and serve!

Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted Veggies

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Did you know you can make pesto out of more than basil? Pesto can be made with basil, arugula, kale, spinach, peas…as long as its bright green it should work (I mean, within reason, no cucumber pesto or zucchini pesto). My problem with basil is that it’s hard to enough on hand to make pesto whenever you want it. Frozen peas on the other hand are easy to find, super affordable, and able to keep for extended period of time.

I prepped most of this earlier in the day so that I could throw it together before dinner time but you could easily make it all at once. Start by dicing all the vegetables: 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1/2 an eggplant, and 1 onion. Place these in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil. Stir well to combine. Transfer the veggies to a prepared baking pan. Preheat your oven to 350 and cook for 30 minutes.

While waiting for the veggies to cook, you can prepare the pesto and pasta. Cook 4 cups of peas until defrosted. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large food processor. Add 2 tsp garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from 1 lemon and 3/4 tsp salt.

In previous posts I’ve mention that I try not to add additional salt to meals. I stand by that generally, but felt that salt was definitely necessary for the flavor in this. However, feel free to adjust to salt to your preferences. Pulse the ingredients until smooth. Set aside until veggies and pasta are done.

Using a large soup pot, cook 1 lb (a full box) of pasta as directed on the box. I used Rigatoni and cooked it just past al dente, about 15 minutes. Once the veggies are done in the oven, the pasta is cooked and drained, and pesto is made, combine all in the large pot and stir to combine. It was a decent arm work out, haha. Once it’s all mixed together, you are ready to eat! Makes a large amount, seeing as you are using a full box of pasta, so plan for a few leftovers or lunches.

Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/2 an eggplant
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups peas
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb rigatoni (1 box)

Instructions:

  1. Dice all vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Combine veggies with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil. Place this in a large baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  2. While the veggies are cooking, proceed with cooking 4 cups of peas until defrosted. Drain the peas and place them in a large food processor with 2 tsp garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, and 3/4 tsp salt. Combine these until smooth. Set this aside until veggies and pasta are done.
  3. In a large soup pot, cook 1 lb of pasta as directed on the box, generally just past al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot once finished.
  4. Once pasta, veggies and pesto are done, add all ingredients to the large soup pot. Stir until fully combined. Serve!

Baked Ziti

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Ziti is a common meal in our house. I’ve thrown it together many different ways but one of the ways we like best is with extra vegetables and using cottage cheese in place of the usual ricotta. Cottage cheese, though high in sodium, is lower in calories and fat than ricotta but can be used interchangeably in many recipes.

In this recipe, I added the cottage cheese in straight from the container, but if you prefer more of a ricotta texture you can put the cottage cheese in a food processor or blender and blend it until smooth. Another option for changing up this recipe if you so desire, you can oven roast the vegetables instead of sauteing them, which adds additional flavor. If you are in a hurry on a weeknight, just follow the steps below.

In a medium pot, boil water and add 1/2 a box (about 1/2 a lb of ziti). Cook for 12 minutes and drain out the water. Once this is done, if you are still waiting on the vegetables, add the pasta back into the pot with a little bit of oil to prevent the pasta from sticking as it cools.

While the pasta is cooking, dice 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash, and 1/2 an onion. Add these to a large pot with a bit of oil and 1 tsp of garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the squash has softened. Once the pasta and veggies are done, combine everything in the large pot used for cooking the veggies. Add 16 oz of cottage cheese, 28 oz of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 a cup of mozzarella, 1/2 a cup of frozen chopped spinach, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast. Allow this to simmer for about 10 minutes in order for the spinach to defrost and combine.

Pour the ziti into a prepared 9×13 and sprinkle the top with about 1/2 a cup of mozzarella. Place in the oven at 375 for about 25-30 minutes. One additional note: with many of my recipes, you may notice I don’t often add salt in the recipe. We don’t use much salt because we are sharing with a 3 year old and I find that many ingredients have enough sodium on their own. However, if you prefer your pasta with a bit more salt, go for it! I almost always add pepper, but I do it on my own plate since my son doesn’t like much.

Baked Ziti

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb ziti
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • olive oil
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup mozzarella (divided)
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp parmesan
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot, boil water then add ziti. Cook for about 12 minutes until ziti is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, dice zucchini, yellow squash and 1/2 an onion. Place these in a large pot with a bit of olive oil and 1 tsp of garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes, until the squash has softened.
  3. Once the pasta and veggies are done combine everything in the large pot. Add 16 oz cottage cheese, 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast. Let this simmer, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has defrosted.
  4. Pour the mixture into a prepared 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 a cup of mozzarella on top. Place in the oven at 375 for 25-30 minutes.