Friday, April 8, 2011

Pasta E Fagioli (My version of Olive Garden)

LOVE LOVE LOVE Muir Glen products which is totally weird, why you ask?

I loathe tomatoes, raw ones that is.  They appear so beautiful on salads, paired with mozzerella and balsalmic, or on a sandwhich, but I cannot eat them.  From time to time I give it and honest go and try them, but being 29 I can say with near certainty I will never be the gal that can eat tomatoes like an apple.

I do love all tomato products, ketchup, puree, salsa, even fried green tomatoes (well I bake mine)...but you get the point of my love/hate with tomatoes.  But I have all love for the company Muir Glen and their product goodness.

If I had to pick out a fave it would be their black bean and corn salsa with baked tortilla chips...delicious.  They offer ketchup, soups, pasta sauces, and a WIDE variety of canned tomato products from puree to whole canned tomatoes.  I have tried them all, seriously and so far we haven't found one that wasn't really good!  My husband can't have tons of garlic due to a food intolerance so I don't get to enjoy their sauces and salsas that are high in garlic content very often, but they make the grocery list when he is gone on business *evil laugh*

Today I am focusing on a canned product, fire-roasted diced tomatoes.  One of my fave lunch spots, before I made it a point to eat at home more and eat healthier was Olive Garden for their endless soup, salad, and breadsticks.  Below is a melded recipe from several I googled online and settled upon this configuration as the closest to the real deal.

I am giving a bonus recipe for my spinach artichoke dip that is lower in fat and calories than most.
My Pasta e Fagioli Close Cut

  •  1 lb ground buffalo*
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 2 tbsp celery flakes (or 1 cup chopped celery stalk) 
  • 2 garlic cloves minced (or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 28ounce can of Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans (with liquid)
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini bean (or nothern) with liquid
  • 1 15 ounce Muir Glen tomato sauce
  • 8 oz spicy V-8 vegetable juice
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • salt to taste
  • 8 ounces ditalini pasta**
*we use bison due to it's lean nature and great taste, but ground beef, turkey, or chicken would work-poultry will somewhat change the flavor
**any pasta will work but the ditalini pasta is what they use

1) Brown meat in large cast iron/stock pot. Drain fat.

2)Saute aromatics (onion, carrot, celery (if using stalks), and garlic) for 10 mins.
3)Finally add in all other ingredients with the exception of the pasta and simmer for 1 hour
4) Cook pasta to firm al dente, drain, and add to soup. Remove soup from heat and allow pasta to soak for 10 mins

You can make this in a slow cooker too, brown meat, drain add to slow cooker with all ingredients (minus pasta) cook on low for 4 hours. Add cooked, drained al dente pasta and allow to sit for 10 mins, serve.

I am using Pillsbury Simply French Bread to make breadsticks and coating them with light butter, parmesan and garlic salt.


Healthier Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts (chopped)
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach (thawed & drained)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced or nonfat shredded Mozzerella Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
1) Oven to  350.
2) Mix all ingredients and scoop into 9 inch pie plate or square baker.
3) Bake 20 minutes or until heated through


  1. Thanks for the recipes!! I am going to have to add these to our menu plan soon.

  2. Thanks Christi!! I hope you guys like it!