Minestrone Soup

 

Minestrone

This soup is unbelievably delicious and packed full of roasted vegetables! This soup just makes you feel good, especially on cold winter days. You can tweak the recipe as you see fit… for example if you don’t eat potatoes or are allergic to them; just leave them out. The same goes for the beans or pasta. 

Bon apetit! -Jake

(Serves about 8 people)

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp butter

1 1/2 cups diced bacon (I prefer a non-smoked variety for this soup)

2 finely diced yellow onions

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced celery

1 can diced tomatoes and the juice (italian style or fire roasted are great)

1 can white beans (Great Northern beans or Cannelini variety – cooked)

2 zucchini (small to medium) peeled and diced

1 cup potatoes 

2-3 cups diced, stemmed green beans

3 cups shredded green cabbage

7 cups beef broth

(optional) 1 – 2 cups spiral pasta

Shredded parmesan cheese

 

Directions

  1. Choose stockpot or dutch oven large enough for all the ingredients.
  2. Place on stove over medium heat
  3. Add a little of the butter to the pan and once it is hot, add the bacon. Cook the bacon until it starts to brown (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the diced onion and cook over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the diced carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining butter and repeat this procedure with the green beans, celery, potatoes, zucchini and finally the cabbage.
  6. Add the broth, the diced tomatoes and their juice, and a little bit of salt (go easy on the salt, especially if you are using canned broth. You can correct the seasoning or add salt at the end after sampling it).
  7. Cover and cook at low simmer for at least 4 hours or until roasted veggies are very tender. Slow roasting this in the oven works great as well.
  8. Minestrone should never be thin and watery, so cook until it is soupy thick. If it gets too thick, you can always add another cup of broth or water at the end.
  9. Optionally you can add 1-2 cups uncooked pasta, 15-20 minutes before the end of cooking.
  10. Add the canned beans at the end or 15 minutes before serving.
  11. At serving time, top each bowl of minestrone with a little shredded parmesan.
  12. Put the leftovers in the fridge and reheat it as needed. I think it gets better and better when reheated.

 

The Beauty of Stir Fry

Summer is the time of fresh produce, and we all love hitting up farmer’s markets and local stores for the freshest vegetables of the season. What’s one of our favorite things to make with all of these vegetables? Stir fry! Stir fry points of power:

1 – Simplicity –  Your grocery list, like the ingredients, is as raw and simple as it comes… just about any type of veggies, some lean meat (if you like), garlic, chicken/vegetable stock, oil and a good hot wok and you are set. The cooking is easy and the key is high heat, frequently tossing some garlic and a touch of oil in with each bunch of veggies and cooking the firmer veggies (e.g. cauliflower, carrots) a little longer. Popping the lid over the wok will cook and soften things a little quicker.

2 – Cleans you – If you are on cleanse, trying to eat healthier, carnivore to the end, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, anti-inflammatory, you name it…the basic stir fry can satisfy all the above diets. One of the cleanest and healthiest meals on the planet…go ahead and pick up an issue of your “Clean Eating” magazine or a copy of your cleanse diet and the stir fry is your go-to without sacrificing flavor or creativity.

3 – Cleans your fridge – Yes! The added bonus with cooking up a stir fry is it is the perfect way to clean out the fridge and use those aging  vegetables and that half-empty broth container. Basically empty the veggie drawer (with some minor prepping) into that stir fry. The stir fry is not picky about what you put in it, it welcomes all veggies with open handles.