Pesto Pasta & Leftover Veggies

For a quick meal to clean out your fridge of leftover veggies, add some pasta and use a jar of pesto from your pantry!  Add pine nuts for extra protein!


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • leftover veggies:
    •  chopped carrots, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, onion, celery
  • fresh or dry pasta
  • jar of green pesto
  • parsley (garnish, optional)

Chop all veggies, add add olive oil or grapeseed oil to a skillet.  Add all vegetables to skillet, add mushrooms last so they don’t over cook.  Cook for 5-8 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil water for pasta and cook according to directions.

Combine cooked veggies and pasta in a bowl; add 4-6 TBS pesto sauce and any extra olive oil desired.  Add pine nuts and parsley as garnish, serve immediately.

Pesto can also be used within the next 5-7 days to add to fresh or frozen ravoli or tortellini for an additional meal!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadilla

This I made on a whim, not expecting it to have a ton of flavor but I was pleasntly surprised and loved this recipe!  This will defintley be one of my go to recipes when I need a quick meal!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadilla


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • leftover tortillas (I used refridgerated white corn, but any will work!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups baby spinach (optional, I didnt use these)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup tomato salsa, corn salsa, guacamole or chopped tomatoes

Microwave sweet potatoes for 2-4 minutes (prick with a fork first) then bake in the oven until soft at 400 for 15-25 minutes.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender. Stir in black beans, lime juice, oregano and cumin. Heat through, set aside.

Don’t warm tortillas before; place them on a plate and add the mashed sweet potatoes, black beans, cheese and any other desired ingredients.

Two options for adding the fillings:

  1. Add the ingredients to one half of the tortilla and then fold OR
  2. Add the ingredients to the entire shell, place another on top

Add tortillas to the skillet and cook on low heat for four minutes, flip and cook another 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and tortilla is soft and cooked.

Cut the tortillas in half and or in fourths, serve with salsa, guacamole, avacado and any other toppings.

**Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens weeknight Mexican

Pasta Fagioli Soup

This soup is packed with nutrients from the veggies and protein, antioxidants and fiber from the cannellini beans. This also uses the same chopped up veggie base as the sloppy joe recipe.

Pasta Fagioli Soup


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (15 oz) cannellini beans (or white kidney beans)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked orzo (you can use any pasta, I used elbow macaroni)
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (I use low sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley (garnish, optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (garnish, optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or a large soup pot over medium – high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in the basil and oregano.  Add the bouillon cube (I just used extra chicken stock) and stir well. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, making sure orzo is cooked.

**I didn’t use orzo but instead cooked the elbow pasta separately and added at the end.

**Adapted from the 30 minute, one pot meal cookbook.

Sloppy Joes (with homemade pasta fagioli soup)

Great leftover if you buy extra ground beef at the store when making other dishes such as cottage pie or tacos.  Don’t season the meat for the sloppy joes but divide the raw meat before cooking and save a pound of meat to make the next day for these sloppy joes!

Sloppy Joes can use the same base as the pasta fagioli soup, so reuse those chopped up veggies for two meals!

Sloppy Joes (from the book “A Year Full of Recipes”)


  • 1 lb ground beef (we used 85% but try grassfed or 90% lean)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped or minced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • leftover celery, zucchini, carrot, red pepper
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 TBS packed brown sugar
  • pinch of chili pepper or paprika (sweet)
  • hamburger buns
  • salt and pepper to taste

(makes about 4-5 servings)

  1. Put the beef, onion, garlic, and green pepper and any other leftover chopped veggies into a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, for 8-10 minutes, until the beef is evenly browned and cooked through.  Drain fat.
  2. Stir in the mustard, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and chili powder/paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.
  3.  Divide the mixture among the burgers and serve.

Serve with 1-2 cups veggies such as green beans.  Can be served with soup or soup can be made as its own recipe.




Pesto Chicken

This is a quick week night recipe which incorporates veggies, a lean protein and pre-made sauce for a quick 20 minute meal.  Pesto sauce can be refrigerated for 7-10 days and used again the following week for another quick meal.


  • 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 jar pesto sauce
    • I have tried both basil pesto and a walnut pesto depending on ravioli
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1/2 sweet onion, 1-2 carrots, 1 celery stock finely chopped
    • ***zucchini and mushrooms can also be added, chop into larger pieces so when you add to skillet they cook evenly with the above
  • 2 TBS pine nuts (optional)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh pasta such as orecchiette or stuffed ravioli
    • Recommend 1/4 LB pasta per person

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add grapeseed or olive oil until pan shimmers.  Add salt and pepper to chicken breast, cook until the chicken is no longer pink (at least 5 minutes), remove from heat and set aside.

Add the vegetable mixture, cook for about 5-7 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. (Recommend chopping veggies in advance to save time).  Add the pine nuts and italian seasoning, and add the chicken back to the skillet; turn burner to low, stir frequently while the water for the pasta boils.

Cook the pasta according to directions, fresh pasta is done once it has cooked for 3-4 minutes and rises to the top of pan and floats.

Drain the pasta and add 2-4 TBS pesto and 1 TBS olive oil.  Stir to coat the pasta and add vegetable and chicken mixture.  Serve warm.

You can also add an additional vegetable such as green beans or steamed/baked broccoli.