Minestrone Soup – Slow Cooker

I hosted a small birthday lunch this weekend for my daughter who was turning two.  The weather here is turning cold and rainy so the usual backyard barbecue was not going to be an option.  Rain makes me think of soup, so I decided to make a few soups and serve small sandwiches with that.  The party was a big success and the food was tasty!

I made chili, a chicken & bean soup and minestrone.  I’d never made it before, so it was a gamble, but turned out delish!  I set it up in the slow cooker the night before the party:

4 cups beef broth (I like to use Better Than Bullion and mix it up as needed)
1 large can (28 oz.) of crushed tomatoes
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 potatoes, cubed
2 small zucchini, cubed
1 can (16 oz) garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), drained and rinsed
1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp of crushed garlic
2 TBSP of parsley flakes
2 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 bay leaf
4 oz of pasta
3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Fresh parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients except pasta in the slow cooker and set on low overnight or high for 4-5 hours.  Add the pasta about 30 minutes before serving.  Garnish with some shredded parmesan cheese.

Be careful not to add too much pasta (or add it too early) or your soup will have mushy noodles.  Also, pull out the bay leaf before dishing it up.  No one wants a piece of tree in their bowl of soup!

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