it’s not Olive Garden… it’s better

Times are tough. It’s all over the media. Everybody’s talking about it. Most of us are finding ourselves tightening our belts, reigning in our “discretionary” spending, staying in on a Saturday night when, before, we might have just gone out.

But… sometimes that’s not all bad. A little dinner, a bottle of wine, and a movie on DVD… and it’s date night – but more casual and without the big expense.  And, if you pick up a quick and easy recipe like this one (which I’ve had bookmarked for a couple of months from Culinary Adventures of a New Wife), you don’t even have to spend much time in the kitchen.


This is a filling recipe that’s as impressive as it is tasty. The gnocchi plays the role of the ultimate comfort food while the tomatoes, spinach, and cannellini beans balance things out into a fairly responsible dish. So, whether you’re feeling a little decadent or a little healthy… this dish will work for you and your grocery budget. So go ahead… indulge and enjoy something that’s every bit as good as any restaurant meal… at a fraction of the cost!


Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans
(Adapted from Eating Well &  Culinary Adventures of a New Wife)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 16 oz package of gnocchi
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
1 16 oz package fresh baby spinach
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (depending on your desired spice level)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add gnocchi and pan fry for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.

In the same skillet, add a little more olive oil. Saute garlic about 2 minutes. Add water and cook another few minutes until garlic is soft. Add spinach and cook until spinach starts to wilt.

Add tomatoes, beans, red pepper, pepper, and bring to a simmer. Stir in gnocchi and add cheese. Salt to taste. Heat until cheese melts.

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7 thoughts on “it’s not Olive Garden… it’s better

  1. Great use of pantry items to create a wonderful, filling, and flavorful meal. Add a Netflix movie or two and it sounds like a perfect evening to me!

  2. NAOmni says:

    Cooked spinach is awesome!


  3. truenorth67 says:

    The beans and gnocchi look so similar but each bite is a surprise! Love the rustic feel of the dish and having recently made my own gnocchi, like even more so!

  4. sharon says:

    Your photos look great and are definitely making me hungry! Date nights at home are sometimes the best….just as long as I dont do the dishes :)

  5. Oh, I love these kinds of rustic dishes. And that first shot has me longing for some right now.

  6. ~M says:

    This sounds amazing! I am so glad to have discovered your blog! Do you think this would work with another kind of cheese besides Parmesan? I was thinking fontina…that’s our favorite cheese here (and so melty!).

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