Recipe Review: Easy Minestrone

It’s no secret that I love me some soup.  I’m especially a fan of soups that are chock-full of veggie goodness and beans and take practically zero time to prepare like this one from Taste of Home

Easy Minestrone

Easy Minestrone

Serves:  10 (or so it says, I think closer to 4-5 if you’re serving this as the main course)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni  the recipe calls for this, but I don’t include it (see the ‘thoughts’ section for more info)
  • 5 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 11 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Just before serving, stir in macaroni and heat through. Serve with cheese.

THOUGHTS

  • This soup is delicious.  I especially love it topped with parmesan cheese.
  • I prefer this soup without the noodles because they have a tendency to get soggy and smushy.  I’m not a fan of either so I just leave the noodles out. 
  • To speed things up, I chop my tomatoes, carrots and celery in the food processor. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Autumn Harvest Minestrone

I know I’ve mentioned this previously… but I love soup.  Like a lot.  I even love it enough to eat it in the middle of the 100+ degree Houston summer. 

Because I’m a crazy person. 

Who loves soup. 

Anywho – the one thing I don’t particularly love is canned soup.  It’s usually very salty and well, just not as good as homemade.  Because I don’t have the time to cook fresh soup on a regular basis I usually set aside one weekend every couple of months to stock my freezer with delicious homemade soups.  I did this over Thanksgiving weekend and I made four separate soups that I’m going to share with you over the next few days. 

Enjoy!

(note:  I found this recipe here)

autumn harvest minestrone

Autumn Harvest Minestrone

Serves:  6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 oz each) fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups (1/2” chunks) butternut squash (approx 1 lb)
  • 1 can (14-1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into ½” chunks
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled, quartered, and sliced 1/4” thick
  • 2 cups bagged coleslaw mix
  • 1 large leek (white and light green parts only) sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons water

DIRECTIONS

  1. 1. In 4 quart or larger slow cooker mix beans, broth, squash, tomatoes (with juice), turnips, parsnip, coleslaw, leek, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the garlic. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  2. In blender, mix basil, parsley, cheese, oil, salt, pepper, water, and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons garlic until smooth. Scrape into small bowl and refrigerate.
  3. To serve, ladle soup into serving bowls and top with a heaping tablespoon of basil sauce.

THOUGHTS

I was a bit skeptical about this soup because I am definitely not a fan of butternut squash.  Call me crazy, but I just don’t think my vegetables should taste sweet.  I don’t like sweet potatoes for the same reason.  That being said, I have made a minestrone soup before that had a little bit of butternut squash and the soup turned out quite tasty.  So, I thought that this soup might be worth a try.  Sadly, this soup is heavy on the butternut squash and it made the entire soup sweet.  When I asked my husband to try a bite he said ‘this is horrible!’  He shares my aversion to sweet vegetables.  Unfortunately, this entire (giant!) crockpot full of soup went down the drain.  😦  Perhaps, if you’re a big fan of butternut squash, you might really like this soup.  However, if you have a dislike for sweet veggies like we do in our family then this soup is not for you. 

If you are a fan of butternut squash I’d love for you to make this soup and tell me what YOU thought.

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Recipe Review: Easy Crockpot Potato Soup

So I found this recipe on Pinterest several months ago and the other day I had a coupon for OreIda potatoes and I thought BINGO!  I totally know what I’m making with those suckers!  So I tried this baby out. 

I found this recipe here.

Easy Crockpot Potato Soup

Serves – not listed

INGREDIENTS

  • 30oz bag frozen, shredded hashbrowns
  • 3 – 14oz cans chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 package cream cheese (don’t use fat free – it won’t melt!)

DIRECTIONS

THOUGHTS

  • Are you ever surprised that you do/don’t like a recipe that you made?  I don’t know why I am.  I mean, let’s face it, at this point I know what foods I do/don’t like so if I’m making something, say, featuring mustard (which I hate) wouldn’t it stand to reason that I probably won’t like the dish?  Makes sense to me.  I’m not really sure why that didn’t occur to me here except I suddenly realized ‘hey!  I have a serious loathing for cream of chicken soup and it’s a starring ingredient in this recipe!’  What can I say?  Somedays I’m not the brightest bulb in the box.  Anyway, if you can’t figure out where I’m headed with this let me spell it out for you… this soup tastes like cream of chicken soup with some potatoes thrown in.  Definitely not my style.  Or my husbands really (even though he likes cream of chicken soup).  Neither of us particularly liked this dish. 
  • IF you like cream of chicken soup then what I’ll tell you is that this dish is super quick and easy (both a win-win in my book).  So, if you’re a fan of the ingredients then I say try it out. 

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Recipe Review: Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

I have to be fair and say first and foremost that I’m biased.  My mom makes the best spaghetti sauce.  Period.  There’s no comparison.  Just ask my husband.  He totally agrees with me.  It’s not for everyone – it’s thick and it’s spicy – which is very different depending on what part of the country you’re from.  I grew up on it though so I love it.  My husband obviously didn’t grow up eating it but he adores it.  It’s probably his favorite meal.  So, it’s not entirely fair for me to review another spaghetti sauce recipe because in my eyes, I’ve already had the best.  That being said, I’m still going to go ahead and tell you what I thought about this recipe.

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

Serves 20 (serving size ½ cup)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon) (I used pancetta)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or olive oil) (I used olive oil)
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • ¾ cup celery, chopped fine
  • ¾ cup carrots, chopped fine
  • 2 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 – 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and fresh pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup half and half

DIRECTIONS

Go here

THOUGHTS

  • I have never heard of putting pancetta, celery, carrots, white wine, or half and half in spaghetti sauce.  I don’t eat pork so I was already sort of wishy-washy to start.
  • This is definitely not my mom’s spaghetti sauce.
  • I had both my husband and my mom try this and they both said ‘meh’ – mom suggested mixing it with a can of vegetable soup and eating it as a soup.  I’m definitely not going to try that personally.
  • This made enough for 3 meals for the Hubs and I (i.e. 6 servings).  I put them all in the freezer and we will eat them on nights when all I have time to do is boil noodles.  I love freezer-ready meals.
  • Don’t misunderstand – this recipe isn’t bad, it’s just different.  I think spaghetti sauce is one of those things that people either love it one way or they hate it another way.  My neighbor makes hers with chicken and sugar.  Yuck!

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