Pasta e Fagioli Soup

If you’re anything like me, you are really beginning to feel overwhelmed with the thought that Christmas is only 1 week away! You are asking yourself…why did I sign myself up for so many activities and responsibilities this week?? Note to self for next year…say no to every invitation the week before Christmas!

So in case you are like me, you will probably appreciate an easy and affordable meal that is delicious and quick. The best part is you probably have most of the ingredients on hand so no need for another trip to the grocery store. Serve this with crusty french bread & a spicy Malbec, and you have a nice meal to calm your nerves during this hectic week.

This recipe is a variation of Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe…primarily, I added heirloom tomatoes I had canned this summer and increased the amount of bacon…because really, shouldn’t we all eat more bacon? I think so!!!

Price Note: This recipe serves 4-6 and if using homemade stock and canned tomatoes, the price per serving is less than $1 a person.

2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
6-8 ozs bacon, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups homemade chicken stock
1 pint canned tomatoes or 1 can (14.5 ozs) diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
2 cans (14.5 ozs) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained well
1 cup small to medium sized macaroni shells
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil & butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the chopped bacon and saute until pieces begin to crisp up, approximately 7 minutes. (Don’t fret if all the pieces don’t crisp up…only about 1/2 of mine were crisp by the end). Stir in the garlic and saute 1 more minute. Add the chopped rosemary, bay leaf, stock, tomatoes, beans, a dash of salt, and approximately 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a blender or food processor, puree 1 1/2 cup of the soup mixture until smooth, then return the puree to the dutch oven. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add in pasta then reduce heat to medium high. Stir occasionally and allow to boil for approximately 8 minutes, until pasta is tender but still firm to bit.

Season with fresh ground pepper and remove the bay leaf. I doubt you’ll need more salt since this has bacon.

Ladle up & Enjoy!

And good luck this week with your hectic schedule. I hope you make time for refreshing moments with deep breaths.



Shrimp Chowder

I have an admission I need to make….I can sometimes be a perfectionist…and I am always a procrastinator…so sometimes I have these ideas in my head of how I want my blog pages to be perfect but that takes time and then I get overwhelmed and decide to just ‘work on it tomorrow’ and then finally it’s two weeks later and I’ve barely updated any of the pages. So, its going to take me a while to get the pages and my blog to look like the picture in my head. But I’ve realized, that doesn’t mean I can’t keep posting. So… I’m going to try to add content to the pages each week or so and will try to write a new post each Sunday – Thursday evening. I hope you enjoy these recipes and thoughts in my head.

This next recipe…Shrimp Chowder is so yummy.

Don't I look divine?

The best part is that there is no milk  – none – and is still really creamy!  (The secret is in pureeing the starchy ingredients!)

NOTE: This recipe does require a bit of chopping veggies. If time allows, I suggest chopping earlier in the day so you don’t feel rushed when making this for dinner. I promise though, it is worth all the chopping!


1 lb local shrimp
1/2 to 1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup thinly sliced or chopped carrots
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups frozen corn
2 lbs baby red potatoes
3 cups chicken stock, click here for a homemade stock recipe
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
kosher salt
ground black pepper
crushed red pepper or ground cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel shrimp and devein. Rinse and then dry off with paper towels. Place in small bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If desired, add some dried spices to them…I used a french herb mix I had on hand. Place shrimp in fridge.

Fresh from the Charleston Harbor

Place chopped potatoes in a small bowl and generously drizzle with both olive oil and kosher salt.

Roast potatoes in preheated oven for 25-40 minutes. While potatoes roast, use a food processor to puree 2 cups of corn with 1 cup chicken broth. Set this aside for later.

Next, heat 1-2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat and saute onion and carrots for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add bell pepper, sprinkle kosher salt over mixture and stir.

Let the mixture cook for a while so everything is very tender.

Cook another 5 more minutes and then stir in minced garlic to the mixture. Saute for 1 more minute, then stir in corn puree, remaining 1 cup of corn kernels, and 1 cup chicken stock. Turn the heat down to low.

At this point your potatoes are probably finished roasting…Here is what mine looked like…

Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside

So now place 1/2 of those potatoes into a food processor and puree with the remaining 1 cup of chicken stock.

The puree will be very thick!

Pour the puree into the soup with the remaining roasted potatoes. (If desired, cut the remaining roasted potatoes into smaller bite size pieces with kitchen shears.) Add the chopped cilantro and season generously with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Allow to simmer on low heat. If your chowder is too thick, add water or chicken stock to reach desired consistency.

What the chowder will look like before the shrimp is added.

With the chowder slightly simmering, place a saute pan over medium heat and add approximately 2 tsp olive oil. Cook the shrimp in this pan until just cooked through – a few minutes on each side. The shrimp will end up cooking a bit more in the chowder so you don’t want them to get overdone in the saute pan.

Once the shrimp are cooked, transfer to the chowder and allow to simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Taste soup again and season with salt and pepper as necessary.

Now it’s time to serve it up and enjoy!

I need to learn a new word for "Enjoy"!

I sprinkled cayenne pepper on mine as I love a kick. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!


PS…for budget calculations…this recipe comes out to $15-$20 to make and that includes shrimp at $7/lb. You should get 6 to 8 servings out of this recipe.