Friday, October 12, 2007

Problem-Solving Minestrone

I am always looking for healthy and inexpensive recipe ideas, and I use quite a lot. The ingredient search is extremely helpful when you have limited ingredients on hand. These days, I've been trying to stock my freezer again, after having cycled out most of the food put away for the summer. Anyway, I found this recipe for Minestrone and it really does solve a lot of my problems~ it's healthy (it has all the food groups included, if you grate the bowls of soup with Parmesan) and it's very economical (most of the ingredients are in your pantry , then add some fresh produce), and it's freezable! I'm really loving those new Twist and Lock containers ~ they're perfect for soup! This recipe makes a boat load and I doubled it. I think a large stockpot full of hearty soup is such a beautiful sight! Hope you enjoy it. Serve with a salad and nice crusty bread.

P.S. If you want to freeze the soup, do not add the pasta or spinach until you have thawed it and are reheating it.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can green beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • 3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup seashell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.
  3. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
  4. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Spray with olive oil and serve.

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