They say it takes a village to raise a child. I don't know about that (and I don't plan to for several more years), but it did take a village to make minestrone soup. Or at least several compiled Pinterest and Google-search finds, mishmashed together.
B and I were sick last week, and for me it carried over into the weekend. I spent most of yesterday on the sofa with a box of tissues, several mugs of hot tea, and a book. Actually, that would've been my idea of the perfect fall Saturday...if I had been able to breathe.
Anyway. So when it came time to choose the menu for this week, soup immediately came to mind. Soup is one of my favorite things to make, regardless of my health, but add in a cold and a decided lack of energy, and soup sounded just perfect. Especially soup that you make in the Crock Pot.
I had found a decent-looking minestrone soup recipe on Pinterest, but it wasn't for the Crock Pot. So I Google-searched for another one that was. But I didn't like that one as much, so I mishmashed the two together.
This is wonderful recipe for two reasons. The first is that if you can manage to open some cans and dump them in a Crock Pot, and chop a couple of veggies and do the same, then you can pretty much manage this recipe. The second is that it's one of those fun add in/leave out whatever ingredients you like or don't like to make it your own. B and I eat just about anything, but I know that's not the case with everyone so when I choose to share a recipe I try to make sure it's doable for kids or picky eaters.
This is important: don't be turned off by the amount of ingredients. I tend to get a little hesitant if there are more than 5-8 ingredients in a recipe, but in this case the amount of ingredients does not translate to a complicated recipe. It just translates to more goodness in your soup. And a lot of this may already be lurking about in your pantry, and even if it's not, none of this is inordinately expensive. Plus, it makes a ton, so you'll have plenty to freeze, or just to eat for leftovers.
I just dumped everything in the Crock Pot around 2:00 and voila! Dinner was ready at 8:00. We served it with sunflower bread from Publix bakery, and it was delightful. It was flavorful and filling and delicious without being heavy. It was just what my nasally challenged little self needed tonight. It was YUM. B loved it too, despite it not having ANY meat (or even chicken broth) in it, and it will stay on my to-make rotation for this winter.
Oh yeah, and that's another thing: this is vegetarian minestrone soup, and can be made gluten-free if you need by leaving out the pasta (or using gluten-free pasta). Speaking of, my only recommendation would be to back off the pasta shells. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of pasta, which just seemed laughable in that giant Crock Pot full of stuff, so I upped it to 2 cups of pasta. In retrospect, I'd back that down to 1 1/2 cups, or even just 1.
As usual, check the original recipes here and here, or see my combination of the two below. Cheers to good food, good company, and (hopefully) good health!
Mishmashed Minestrone Soup
1 potato, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 small white onion, chopped
1/2 C green beans, cut into 1-inch slices (I eyeballed the amount)
1/2 C shredded carrot (I used chopped baby carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed well
1 can white beans (Great Northern), rinsed well
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed well
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 C fresh spinach (we just used three handfuls)
6 C vegetable broth (do not use chicken broth)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
1 1/2 C shell pasta (optional)
Put everything except the shells in the Crock Pot, and cook on low for 6 hours. Add the shells during the last 40 minutes of cooking. Serve with toasted bread, and enjoy!