My brother got married over this Christmas break, and Mom decided that we would cater his reception ourselves. Her idea? Copycat Olive Garden. We gathered slow-cooker versions of the Pasta e Fagioli and Zuppa Toscana soups, added some salad tossed with copycat Olive Garden dressing, and a few breadsticks. The day of was as easy as throwing the soups in the crockpots, letting them cook, and then placing them on the table for folks to enjoy. Much cheaper than paying someone, extremely delicious, and really not that stressful in the end.
The recipe we used for Pasta e Fagioli comes from the 365 Days of Slow Cooking blog. It makes a ton – something like 12 servings – for pretty cheap. It’s also extremely delicious and filling. With two kinds of beans, pasta, and ground beef (or ground turkey, which is what we use – leaner and cheaper) this is a hearty soup that legitimately fills you up. My husband’s chief complaint when I serve soup is that he never feels full, but I have not yet heard that complaint about this soup.
Also, all of those nice proteins (beans, lean beef/turkey) are good and healthy for you. Combine it with the veggies and spices, and you have a deliciously healthy meal. Literally no guilt here, guys. Just enjoyment. You’re welcome 🙂