Thursday, January 23, 2014

Minestrone Soup: Cooking from your pantry and freezer

In these winter months, I feel less like hopping to the grocery store. Instead, these months call for using up the foods stocked in both pantry and freezer. Warm comforting soups or fulfilling dishes with little effort are on the menu.

Minestrone fits the bill perfectly. Made in one pot and most ingredients can be found in your fridge and pantry.

Any vegetables can be used in this soup. Peas, broccoli, potatoes... each will lend a different flavor. But use what you have! There is no need to make an extra trip to the store.

The carrots and green beans can be fresh or frozen. I like to buy large bags of organic carrots and chop or grate them and freeze for future uses. A little preparation goes a long way in the future. Also, you can use canned beans or equivalent amount of soaked and boiled beans. And you can even use frozen tomatoes! Gracious Granny freezes her tomatoes (whole but de-seeded) every summer to make sauces and soups later on.


Minestrone Soup
4 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 organic yellow onions
3 large garlic cloves
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups cut green beans
2 cups brown rice macaroni (gluten-free)
6 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
3 cups beans (I used one can each kidney and garbanzo beans)
1 TB grapeseed oil
1 bay leaf
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

1. Chop onions and add to pot with 1 TB grapeseed oil. Sautee on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Mince garlic and add to pot. Turn up to medium high for several minutes until garlic becomes fragrant and browns a little (don't burn).
3. Add broth, chopped veggies, bay leaf, and remaining herbs. Boil veggies until softened. About 15 minutes (from boil).
4. Add tomatoes, beans, and noodles. Bring to boil and cook noodles until done (8-12 minutes depending on type of noodles - look to their directions when buying gluten-free noodles).
5. Serve with olives and enjoy!

I usually wait until it's completely cool and freeze one or two servings for Witty Husband who loves a bowl of soup and bread for lunch or dinner.
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