Minestrone

The comfort food trend continues… The snow has finally relented but the chill has remained in the air – perfect soup weather!  So today I’m sharing my favorite soup recipe with you.  Well, my favorite soup to eat.  My boyfriend cooks this recipe for me which makes me and my tummy super happy.  I’m sure it will make your tummy happy too!

Minestrone

This hearty vegetable soup is satisfying any time of year but particularly during the cold months.  And unlike many comfort foods you can feel good about eating it.  I can’t think of a tastier way to eat a bowl full of vegetables!  This is one of those recipes you have to let simmer for awhile, but it’s worth the wait.  Just make yourself a big pot so you have some leftovers – this soup reheats very well.

Minestrone

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

1/3 c. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Butter
1 small Onion, thinly sliced
2 Carrots, diced
2 Celery stalks, diced
2 medium Red Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 oz. Green Beans, chopped
1 Zucchini, finely diced
2 Canned San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped
1 Parmesan Rind (optional)
2 c. Beef Broth
2 c. Water
14 oz. can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
Salt
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan (I use Parmigiano-Reggiano)

1.  Add the oil, butter, and onion to a large stockpot or dutch oven.  Turn the heat on to medium low and cook until the onions are a light gold.

Onions

2.  Add the carrots and after 2 minutes add the celery.  Then add the potatoes, green beans, and zucchini then stir.  (Look at those veggies piling up!)

Veggies

3.  After 5 minutes add the tomatoes, beef broth, water, and parmesan rind (if using) then season with salt.  Bring the soup to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

4.  Stir in the cannellini beans and allow to simmer 30 minutes longer.

Minestrone

5.  Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan.  Season to taste with salt and ladle into bowls.  This recipe makes 4 large bowls of soup.  One is probably enough to fill you up (especially if you’re having it with bread) but it you’re hungry you’ll have a hard time resisting going back for another bowl.

I recommend serving this soup with our Rustic Bread for soaking up the delicious broth… YUM!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It wasn’t until recently that I made chicken noodle soup at home.  Actually MADE it, not heated up some Campbell’s.  I must say, this is one recipe I hate I didn’t discover before now.  Chicken Noodle Soup is a “Feel Good” kinda dish anyways – something you make for someone who isn’t feeling well, or something you enjoy on a cold night in your sweat pants.  But HOMEMADE chicken noodle soup is a REAL “Feel Good” dish – maybe it’s the fresh veggies, or the slurpy egg noodles like mamaw used to make, or just that it sloshes so happily into my bowl from my pretty red pot (where a lot of good things come from)… I’m really not sure.  No matter what the reason for it’s greatness, it’s great.  It’s a ridiculously simple recipe (adapted from a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal recipe) and all the ingredients are probably already in your cabinet.

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Start by chopping all the veggies.  I like to chop mine fairly small and try to keep it fairly even.  You’ll also need to dice your chicken.  Season the diced chicken with a little salt and pepper.

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Now drizzle a couple tablespoons (twice around the pan, as Rachel would say) in the bottom of a large pot.  I like to use my enamel-covered cast iron dutch oven because it heats quickly and evenly, and it retains its heat very well.  When the oil is hot, add your chicken and saute until cooked through.  It should all be white in color, with no pink remaining.

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Now add in your veggies and cook 5-7 minutes, allowing them time to sweat (or give off some of their moisture).  When the veggies have started getting soft, add (roughly a tablespoon each) parsley and Italian seasoning.  Stir to combine.

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Dump in all the chicken stock and bring your soup to a simmer.

I like my chicken noodle soup with a lot of broth and a lot of noodles.  I use 5-6 cans (or 10-12 cups) chicken stock and almost 1 pound of egg noodles.  You can use as little as 6 cups of stock to 1/2 pound of noodles if you prefer.  There’s no wrong ratio of chicken to stock to noodles.  So whatever makes you and your family happy!

Add the egg noodles and turn down the heat, simmering about 5-7, or until the noodles are soft.

Note: Egg noodles cook fast and get extremely soft.  So if you prefer your noodles with a little more bite, cook only 3-4 minutes and pull the pot off of the burner (they will get softer as they sit in the hot pot).  You can also add the noodles directly to individual serving bowls.  I have a toddler and we’re okay with soft, so into the pot they went.

Serve with crackers or crusty bread, like our Rustic Bread, for a delicious meal!

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This recipe makes A LOT of soup.  It will keep in the fridge for a few days, but you can also freeze it.  Ball (and I’m sure other companies as well) make inexpensive freezer jars.  In the winter, I like to freeze soup and chili in these pint-sized jars so I’m always ready with an individual portion of something quick and warm for lunch or dinner.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, diced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 medium carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 medium/large onion, diced
1 Tbsp. parsley (more if using fresh)
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
5-6 cans (10-12 cups) chicken stock
1/2 to 1 pound egg noodles

Step 1: Salt and pepper the chicken.  Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil.  When the pan is hot, saute the chicken until cooked through, 4-5 minutes.

Step 2: Add the vegetables and saute 5-7 minutes, or until getting soft.  Add in the seasonings and give it a little stir.

Step 3: Add the chicken broth to pan and bring to a simmer.

Step 4: Add the egg noodles and cook 5-7 minutes or until noodles reach desired consistency.

Lasagna Soup

As the snow accumulates outside and the temperatures drop into the teens I’m getting into a winter state of mind.  In honor of my mood, I want to share one of my favorite cold weather recipes with you.  This lasagna soup is the perfect dish on a cold evening with rain falling against the windows or snow blanketing the world outside.  It’s hot, comforting, and satisfying!  As the name suggests, it’s got all the components of lasagna in soup form: pasta, meat, tomatoes, herbs, and cheese.  So yummy! Lasagna Soup I usually make this dish on Sunday nights.  It’s a great football dinner – you get it going and let it simmer while you enjoy the game.  When it’s done, take your bowl to the couch and enjoy the homey deliciousness without missing any of the action!

Lasagna Soup

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

1 tsp. Olive Oil
6 oz. Italian Sausage (make your own using our recipe)
6 oz. Ground Beef
1 1/2 c. Diced Onions
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
14 oz. can Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
1 Bay Leaf
3 c. Chicken Broth (I use low-sodium)
1/4 c. chopped Fresh Basil
4 oz. Whole-milk Ricotta Cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan (I use Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1/8 tsp. Salt Pepper
4 oz. Pasta

1.  Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sausage and beef and cook until the red color is gone.

2.  Add your onions and cook until softened (generally 3-5 minutes). Add Onions 3.  Then add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook 3-4 minutes.

4.  Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and chicken broth.  Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Simmer Soup 5.  Next, create your cheese mixture: combine the ricotta, parmesan, and salt then season with pepper and stir.

6.  Add your pasta to the soup and cook until al dente.  Since the soup isn’t boiling, it usually takes about 2 minutes longer than the longest time listed on the pasta box.

For my pasta, I like to use tirali.  It looks like elbow macaroni with a ruffled ridge along the back – kinda like the edge of a lasagna noodle.  Any sort of relatively small pasta will work.  Keep in mind that a ridged pasta, like the tirali, holds sauce better.

7.  Stir in your basil and season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir in Basil 8.  Now you’re ready to eat!  Put a generous dollop of the ricotta mixture in the bottom of the bowls.  Ladle hot soup over the cheese and serve. Dollop of CheeseLadle Soup

I have tried adding mozzarella to the top of the soup – to make it more lasagna-y – but all it seemed to add to the dish was extra calories.  I no longer add it, but you’re welcome to try it if you like. Serve this soup with some warm, fresh bed for a comforting and filling meal – I recommend our Round Rosemary Foccacia! Soup with Bread Before you eat, make sure to give your soup a stir to distribute that cheesy goodness on the bottom of the bowl! Lasagna Soup

Mexican Roasted Corn Salad

Looking for a little variety in your next Mexican meal?  Try this simple Mexican Roasted Corn Salad as a side dish instead of the typical rice.  Roasting gives the corn great flavor and texture!

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This is a great weeknight side dish as it comes together quickly and requires very little effort.  Enjoy!

Mexican Roasted Corn Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 c Frozen Corn, defrosted
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Chopped Cilantro
1 tbsp. Greek Yogurt
2 tsp. Lime Juice
2 tbsp. Grated Cheese
Salt
Pepper

1.  Mix corn with olive oil in a bowl then season with salt and pepper.

2.  Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer.  I typically use a rimmed baking sheet so the corn can’t fall off the sides.

3.  Roast at 400° F for 15 minutes, stirring a couple times during cooking.  The corn should be starting to brown lightly.

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4.  While the corn is cooking, make your dressing by mixing Greek yogurt and lime juice.

5.  Once corn is done, mix in the dressing, cilantro, and cheese.  For the cheese you want a white, easy-melting cheese.  I usually use Monterey Jack or Farmer’s cheese.  Dig in while it’s hot!!

Mex Corn Salad