5-Ingredient Cozy Pasta Parmesan Soup

Wow, this soup was great! And talk about easy?! My 11 year old didn’t love the Parmesan, but said he wouldn’t mind a different cheese substituted. I ate this soup the next day for lunch as well, and it was even better! This IS a cozy soup!

rating: 9.8

5-Ingredient Cozy Pasta Parmesan Soup

serves 4
time needed: 15 min.


4 Tbsp butter
4-6 cloves garlic (or 1 shallot), diced
1 (32 oz) chicken Broth (I used vegetarian chicken broth)
1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta
1/2 cup parmesan
Parsley for garnish, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat, stir just until slightly browned, then toss in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or so, just until aromatic, then add chicken broth and pasta. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until pasta is al dente. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half the parmesan. Garnish with parsley and additional parm. Enjoy!


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“Sausage” Quiche

When I think of quiche, I think of a crust, which this one does not have. I would say it’s more like a frittata? In any case, this is GOOD! We couldn’t believe how good it was! I used 1 package of vegetarian sausage (Gimme Lean), and milk instead of half-and-half. I served this with some breakfast potatoes and toast. PS: this recipe was from an ad (For Jimmy Dean sausage) in a magazine.

rating: 9.5

“Sausage” Quiche


Time needed: 1 hour


1 16 oz. pkg. Jimmy Dean Regular Premium Pork sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained (I used 1 pkg. of Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage)
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 eggs
2 cups half-and-half or milk (I used milk)
1 cup all-purpose baking mix
suggested toppings: sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh parsley



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sausage in lightly greased 2-qt. round casserole dish. Top with onions and cheese.
2. Beat eggs, half-and-half, and baking mix with wire whisk until well-blended. Pour over cheese.
3. Bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges. Add toppings.



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“Turkey” Avocado Panini

This sandwich was pretty good. I left off the red peppers, and I used Tofurky deli slices in place of the meat. Easy!

rating: 8.5

“Turkey” Avocado Panini
(Allrecipes Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2017)



2 ciabatta rolls
2 tsp olive oil
2 slices provolone cheese
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, sliced into thin strips
1/4 lb. thinly sliced mesquite smoked turkey (I used Tofurky Deli slices)
1/2 rip avocado, thinly sliced
2 tbsp creamy salad dressing, such as Miracle Whip (I used Hampton Creek Just Mayo)



1. Slice rolls in half lengthwise, brush bottoms with 1/2 tsp oil each, and put, oiled sides down, in a panini press. Layer each with 1 slice cheese and half of spinach, red peppers, turkey and avocado. Spread 1 tbsp dressing on cut side of each top and put, dressing side down, on each sandwich. Brush each top with remaining 1/2 tsp oil.

2. Close panini press and cook until rolls are toasted and crisp and cheese has melted, 5-8 minutes.

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Beer Cheese Soup

This soup was okay. You could still taste the beer a little, though, and I am not a fan of beer. We ate it, but I probably wouldn’t make it again. Meh.

rating: 6.5

Beer Cheese Soup
(Cooking Light, Oct. 2017)

time needed: 1 hour, 10 min.
serves: 6




1 (2-lb.) butternut squash
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped white onion
3/4 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 (12-oz.)
bottle pale ale-style beer
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (I used vegetarian “chicken” stock)
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted pumpkin seeds



Step 1
Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice butternut squash in half lengthwise. Coat each cut side with cooking spray. Place squash halves, cut side down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 45 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Scoop out 2 1/2 cups flesh. Set aside.

Step 2
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add onion and carrots; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, nutritional yeast, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add beer; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in squash, stock, and milk.

Step 3
Pour mixture into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid. Process until smooth. Pour mixture back into Dutch oven.

Step 4
Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; mix well. Whisk cornstarch mixture into soup; cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until soup begins to thicken. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Ladle soup evenly into each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds.


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This was pretty good, but was a little bland if you didn’t have some of those fried onions on your fork! My kids thought it was okay. Leave off the yogurt and it’s vegan!

rating: 8.5

(Cooking Light)


serves 8
time needed: 1 hour 30 min.


7 cups water, divided
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 large yellow onions
1/4 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 cup uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Plain whole-milk yogurt (optional)
Chopped fresh mint (optional)



Step 1
Bring 4 cups water to boil in a small pot over high. Add rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and boil for 10 minutes. Drain. While the rice parcooks, halve and thinly slice the onions horizontally.

Step 2
Heat a medium pot or baking dish with a lid over medium-high, and then add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add sliced onions, thyme, and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until onions are softened and quite browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add a sprinkle of water if needed to keep from burning. Remove half of the onions (about 1 cup), and set aside. Add the parcooked rice, cumin, bay leaf, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to pot. Cook, stirring often, until toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lentils and remaining 3 cups water. Increase heat to medium- high, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cover and cook until rice and lentils are tender and water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Step 3
While mujadara cooks, put reserved half of onions in a small pan, and cook over medium-high, stirring often, until fried and crisp, even blackened in places, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Step 4
To serve, stir pine nuts into mujadara, and sprinkle with fried onions. If you like, drizzle with additional olive oil and a dollop of yogurt, and top with mint.


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Cheesy Polenta Skillet

This was something different for us, and it ended up being pretty good! I don’t cook with polenta too much (and I am not sure why, because I love it!). I left off the mushrooms because my 10 year old hates them. I substituted vegetarian beef crumbles (Trader Joe’s brand) for the ground turkey. This was just really tasty. I served it with a green salad and some crusty bread.

rating: 9

Cheesy Polenta Skillet
(Cooking Light)

serves 4
time needed: 20 min.


4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces tube polenta, cut into 4 (3/4-inch thick) slices (about half of an 18-oz. tube)
6 ounces ground turkey (I used vegetarian beef crumbles instead)
2 cups sliced fresh cremini mushrooms (about 6 oz.) – I omitted
1 cup finely chopped red onion
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 ounces preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)



Step 1
Preheat broiler with oven rack in top position.

Step 2
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high. Add polenta slices; cook slices 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove pan from heat.

Step 3
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add turkey; cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic; cook 6 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce, oregano, and vinegar; cook 5 minutes. Pour turkey mixture over polenta in skillet. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over pan. Place pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.



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Chicken-and-Kale Alfredo Bake

This casserole was pretty good. My one complaint is that there wasn’t enough pasta! It only calls for 6 ounces, and I think next time I will double it! I used 1 bag of Quorn Chik’n Tenders in place of the meat. I served this with a green salad.

rating: 9

Chicken-and-Kale Alfredo Bake
(Cooking Light, Dec. 2017)

serves 4
time needed: 40 min.



6 ounces uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta
2 cups stemmed chopped kale (about 2 oz.)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (I used 1 bag of Quorn Chik’n Tenders)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups fat-free milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated and divided (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped shallot
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cooking spray
2 ounces preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)



Step 1
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Step 2
Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add pasta; cook 6 minutes. Add kale; cook 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Drain. Place pasta mixture in a large bowl.

Step 3
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt. Add to pan; cook 8 minutes or until done. Add chicken to pasta mixture (do not wipe out pan).

Step 4
Combine milk, flour, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Heat pan over medium. Add shallot to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes. Stir in rind and juice; cook 1 minute. Add milk mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add milk mixture to pasta mixture; toss to coat.

Step 5
Spoon pasta mixture into a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, and panko. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes or until browned.


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