Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Minestrone Soup

It's been REALLY cold lately. 

We were up in Elkhart Lake this weekend, and stopped in to grab some soup and a sandwich at Off The Rail Cafe (love it). We had some minestrone and chili - both were awesome, and totally warmed us up from the inside out.  I was inspired to put some soup on the menu plan for this coming week, but also wanted to share a minestrone recipe we use for our freezer meal swaps.

Minestrone Soup

2 tbsp. EVOO
1-1/2 lb. Italian sausage, broken up
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c. celery, chopped
½ c. carrots, chopped
½ c. green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 c. fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste (about ½ tsp.)
2 c. diced tomatoes (1 19 oz. can)
6 c. chicken stock (Swanson Natural Goodness or Kirkland's Chicken Stock are great)
2 c. shredded cabbage

Include 1 can kidney or Great Northern beans, about 1 c. dried pasta (ditalini, elbow macaroni or other small pasta) packaged separately. Have Parmesan cheese on hand.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven, lightly brown sausage and drain. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots and green peppers. Cook until somewhat softened (leave a little more firm than you normally would, if you're freezing and reheating the soup). Stir in parsley, bay leaf, salt & pepper. Stir in tomatoes and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes. Add cabbage and spinach. Take off heat, and let cool completely.  Freeze once it has cooled completely.

To prepare: thaw, add noodles & beans, and bring up to simmer. Heat through, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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