That being said, I still have some favorite dishes that I like to eat out for. Hugo's in Studio City's Mac n Cheese, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, and Olive Garden (for a guilty-pleasure pasta meal).
However, I've also discovered a great recipe or two for Copycat Cooking. There are ton of wonderful recipes referred to as "copycat" or "clone" for many of your favorites around the internet.
Tonight, check out a fantastic recipe for Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli that makes a lovely crock pot meal that lasts for days. I personally think it rivals, if not outshines, the Olive Garden's take on it. (And to boot, it's way cheaper than a trip to the place where everyone is family).
Copycat Pasta e Fagioli
excerpted from Recipezaar, adjusted by me
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 4-5 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cans diced canned tomatoes
- 2 cans red kidney beans
- 2 cans white kidney beans
- 2 cans of beef stock
- 3 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3 teaspoons garlic powders
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 5 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 1 1/2 jars Classico Tomato & Basil Sauce
- 1 lb of shell noodles (or any other shape you'd like)
- Fresh parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- Cook up all the ground beef
- Mix all the ingredients above (except for the noodles) in a large crock pot. Add ground beef, stir, and set to "Low" for at least 5-6 hours.
- 15 minutes before you're ready to eat, cook 1 lb of shell noodles.
- To serve, place amount of noodles desired in your soup bowl. Add soup on top of noodles. Top soup/noodles with delicious, freshly grated parmesan!
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers (there will be a lot).