(First, I’m going to apologize for jumping on the Story Before The Recipe trend, because I hate those posts. But this was such a win for me, I can’t help it this time. BUT NEVER AGAIN).

LAST MONDAY — Was feeling pretty trashed the day after traveling and hiking with Seattle friends to see the Larches (East Coasters go Leaf Peeping; West Coasters go Larch Peeping). I did NOT want to go to the store (who does?) to get a ton of ingredients for a dinner for four. I wanted tonight’s meal to be as mindless as possible. One pot, even. Plus, not everyone in the house (i.e. no one) is a fan of my bachelorette go-to of Sauté All The Veggies I Can Find In the Fridge, Top It With Cheese And Call It Good. Something about the amount of kale I use in it.

However, I still decided to take my chances with opening the fridge and cobbling together something from what we had. And this was a big chance to take with the teens in the house this week. I usually try to stick with proven winners, but even I’m tired of those and my foodie side was getting antsy. Thankfully though, they DO like SOME veggies, so let’s jump off the cliff and see what happens!

OK. That ground pork in the freezer should be cooked. Leftover pasta from last night? Sure. Got some extra red bell peppers in the bin, plus that massive bag of baby carrots. Good start.

“Hey Siri: give me a recipe for pork, pasta, bell peppers and carrots.”

The robot obediently gives me One Pot Pork and Veggie Pasta, which I immediately decide to hack because a) This crew won’t go for mushrooms, wilted spinach, and summer squash, b) I HATE sweet onions and c) what is this Smithfield mushroom marinated pork loin filet nonsense?

A quick run down in my head of everyone’s favorite veggies and sure enough, damnit, I had to go to the store but just for a FEW things.

However, my gut was telling me, everything is going to be OK – just turn it into “One Pot of Everyone’s Favorite Veggies With Pasta And Meat.”

Back at the house, I chop and dice veggies, make the broth from my little concentrate jar in the fridge (but barely enough, so used water), then realize I don’t have nearly enough parmesan cheese. Final hack: pull the last few mozzarella sticks out of the deli bin and chop, because all that mattered is that the cheese needed to melt easily to make the broth creamy.

Toss it all together, cook, heat up the leftover garlic bread from the night before, bowl up, and put on the table.

Everyone approaches the table, sits down, eyes what’s in their bowls. I don’t make eye contact. I just focus on my bowl, blowing it cool, spoonful by spoonful, but anticipating leftovers.

It’s a quiet at first (which isn’t unusual at our house). Then Jeremy, as he always kindly says after a few bites, “Thank you for making dinner. This is pretty good.”

Usually the boys follow with quiet “Thank you’s” which I am always appreciative of. But, then the 13 YO says, “Yes! This is great!”

Then the 15 YO follows up with “Yep, this is really good.”

Well, just push me off that cliff because I was stunned. Then the 13 YO is picking up his bowl and slurping down the rest of the broth, ending his meal with “That was delicious!”

Again, stunned. I thank them for their feedback and explained how I was a little nervous about this one but realized it was just everyone’s favorite veggies with pasta and meat in a bowl, and thankfully the veggie and soup gods came through for me.


One Pot Everyone’s Favorite Veggies with Pasta and Meat

I adapted it from this recipe: https://www.bunsinmyoven.com/one-pot-pork-veggie-pasta/#wprm-recipe-container-25028

Pasta: https://www.sfoglini.com/products/sporkful?gclid=CjwKCAjw7p6aBhBiEiwA83fGuhnSUE6TUvrk6pBsFEtwZ5XMlGSG-Shdcl9oemzeXq5H7Gu3kVzCihoCCssQAvD_BwE_


  •  1 lbs of ground pork 
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  1 white onion diced
  •  3 cloves garlic minced
  •  10 ounces cherry tomatoes cut in half
  •  1 zucchini diced
  •  1 red pepper, cut into small chunks
  • 1 head of broccoli, stem removed, florets divided out
  • 1-2 cups of baby carrots, cut into thirds
  •   1 pound pasta (I used Cascatelli, which I get from Trader Joes)
  •  4 cups chicken broth, plus a little more to make it more soup-like
  •  1/4 cup heavy cream
  •  1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or ½ cup Parm, ½ cup Mozzarella)
  •  6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • Garlic bread, to serve with


  1. Heat a large dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan.
  2. When oil is shimmering and heated, add onion and ground pork and cook until pork is cooked and onion is softened, stirring often. Season with a few dashes of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper, and uncooked pasta to the pot. Pour in the chicken broth and stir to combine. For more of a soup, add more broth or water so liquid level is just at or slightly above the meat/pasta/veggies.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, check veggies to make sure they don’t get too soft.
  5. Add the cream and Parmesan cheese (or Parm/Mozz mix) to the pot and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine.
  6. Stir in the spinach and continue cooking 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
  7. Serve immediately. Top with more mozzarella or parm. Serve with garlic bread.

Calories: 650-ish.