Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lasagna Soup

I've been trying really, really hard to pretend it feels like fall.  I mean, I'm ready for 50-60 degree weather, football, boots & sweaters.  Yesterday, it was 91 degrees in Denver.  91 Degrees!  So needless to say, I'm not quite ready to bust out all of my saved pumpkin recipes, soup recipes, etc.  We are still outside grilling!
A few weeks ago, I did have the opportunity to try a good fall recipe.  It was a bit on the cooler side, it was Sunday evening & we had just spent the afternoon at the Bronco's game.  I've had this recipe saved for awhile now & I'm glad we tried it!  It was so good.  Sorry the picture is so bad...we were so hungry, I just quick snapped a picture before we devoured it!

{Lasagna Soup}
recipe compliments of  Cassie Craves

{I tried to get a picture of the Ricotta mixture at the bottom of the bowl...didn't work out so well}


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound spicy sausage
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
5 cups beef broth
1/2 cup tomato basil spaghetti sauce
1 bay leaf
4 ounces campanelle pasta
4 ounces ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the spaghetti sauce, the broth, and the bay leaf and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

2. Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaf. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella, and ladle the soup on top.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Block Party! and a few great recipes...

Hopefully everyone is having a great weekend!  Last evening, we had our first annual block party.  We had a great time!  This is what our street looked like:


Even Little Oli had a good time...although this morning he's had a slight hangover: by that I mean like a food coma/hangover.  We watched our little 13 pound dog eat 1 hotdog, 1 cupcake wrapper & he took a cookie right out of a little girls hand!  Who knows what else he got ahold of.  SO needless to say he's a big sluggish this morning. 

We ended the evening with a bonfire in the middle of our street.  It was so much fun!  Can't wait to do it next year!  As for what I brought- they were both new recipes that I will be keeping around.  I enjoyed them both (and a big thank you to Pinterest- which is where I found the links.)

{Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites}
recipe compliments of Foodaphilia

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons softened butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
mini pretzels
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter & softened butter in a large bowl.  Mix to combine.  Add the sugars & mix again.  At this point if the filling will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands you're ready to go.  If not, add a little more of each sugar until you've reached a consistency that is easy to roll.

Use a teaspoon measure to scoop the filling.  Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich them between two whole pretzels.  When all the balls are rolled & successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about 30 minutes (I froze my completely.)

Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl & heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer & quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate.  Return to the tray & repeat with remaining sandwiches.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

TIP: line the tray with parchment paper

now on to my favorite:

{Asian Chicken Pasta Salad}
recipe compliments of

1 box bowtie (farfalle) pasta
4 chicken breasts cooked & shredded (I shredded a rotisserie chicken)
1/4 cup green onions; sliced
1/2 pack sliced almonds; toasted
1 bag spinach
1 small bag peapods
1 can mandarin oranges; drained

NOTE: this recipe MUST be doubled

1/4 cup sesame seeds; toasted
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or sesame oil)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook pasta (a little al dente.)  While pasta is cooking, shred chicken.  Make 1 batch of the dressing.  Combine cooled pasta & chicken in a container: pour dressing over.  Place in fridge overnight (or at least 4 hours.)

Right before serving, toss all together with 1 more batch of the dressing.  Top with a small amount of additional sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Aspen Recap & a Great Soup Recipe

Wow! Aspen was amazing.  We had a great time just hanging out, watching volleyball, walking around town, eating tons of food & drinking some really good wine (pretty much left over from our last Napa Valley vacation.)  Before I share one of my favorite soup recipes....Sausage Tortillini Soup, I thought I'd share a few photos from our trip.

My hubby & I
The girls

Post hiking up Aspen Mountain...we needed a few beers & some FOOD!

Aspen Sunset...

Needless to say we had a busy week! 

Since coming home from Aspen, the mornings have been a bit on the chilly side & it's been a bit dark when I've been waking up for work.  I think it's appropriate to say that fall is in the air!  Soup is such a fall meal for's this time of year I usually bust out a few soup recipes.  This is my absolute favorite!

{Sausage Tortillini Soup}
recipe compliments of Ann Bishop

3 stalks Celery; chopped small
3 stalks Carrots; chopped small
1 package fresh mushrooms; chopped
1/2 onion; diced
1 pound Italian Sausage
1-28oz can petite diced tomatoes; undrained
2-15oz cans chicken broth
1 small package premade cheese tortillini
Parmesan cheese
French Bread

Saute celery, mushrooms, carrots & onion in a large soup pot.  At the same time, brown sausage.  Once cooked, add sausage to veggies.  Add undrained petite diced tomatoes & chicken broth.  Bring to a boil & add tortillini.  Boil until pasta is cooked. 

Top with parmesan cheese (and I also topped with some fresh basil from my garden) & serve with french bread. Enjoy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Headed up to Aspen this weekend!

We are headed up to Aspen for the long Labor Day Weekend this afternoon!  This is quite a big deal in our house: my hubby recently resigned from his job & now has weekends off!  We've never been to Aspen before, so we're really excited.  We're going with our good friends Heather & Nate and Andrea & Tony. 
Some things that will be going on this weekend:
-Jazz Fest
-Wine drinking
-Riding bikes through town
-Zac Brown Band concert
-Enjoying good friends & good food
Since I don't have a recipe to share...I thought I'd share the comfy outfit I'll be wearing for the trip up.  I've got to get the last weekend of wearing white in!  I'll be sad to see my white shorts/skinny jeans go.  I'm not sure...I might rock they out for a bit after this weekend.  We'll have to see.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend My Friends!
headed up to Aspen this weekend!

Abercrombie fitch
$68 -

Bernardo sandals
$195 -

Hermes stainless steel watch
$2,700 -

Jennifer Meyer chain necklace
$1,500 -

Jennifer Meyer stud earrings
$675 -

Dogeared Jewels gold bracelet
$70 -

Ray-Ban ray ban shades
$159 -