Minestrone Soup


Here’s a quick minestrone soup that I whipped up tonight. I was trying to use up a variety of fresh vegetables that were sitting in my refrigerator. This makes a huge pot – enough for a large family!

2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cups diced carrots
6 celery ribs, sliced
Salt & pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
6 cups water
1 TBSP chicken bouillon
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 small green cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
2 cups small pasta shapes (I used ditalini)

1. In a 10 quart stockpot heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender and slightly browned.
2. Add carrots and celery cooking until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that bouillon will add salt as well.
3. Add tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning and bouillon. Simmer for 10 minutes then add zucchini and cabbage.
4. Add pasta 10 minutes before serving. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
5. Serve with fresh grated parmesan or Romano cheese on top and crusty bread.



Italian Sausage & Escarole Stew

Photo by Pampered Chef

We had our first Christmas in our new home, and started what may be a new tradition: Soup Party on Christmas Eve.  Soups are easy and inexpensive to make. Add a vegetable tray, cheese, salami and fresh bread from the bakery and you have a low-stress meal to feed a family! Best of all, I had the guests bring the side dishes, so all I had to cook was the soups.

I made three kinds of soup (which of course, was too much). I made a French Onion soup, and two new recipes: Italian Sausage Stew and Lemon Herb Chicken.  Of the two, I liked the Italian Sausage & Escarole the best.  The recipe comes from the Pampered Chef Soups & Stews cookbook. It was a little spicy thanks to the hot Italian sausage and had assortment of fresh vegetables.

I opted to use a bag of baby spinach in place of the escarole.  I was in a hurry and honestly, not sure what escarole looked like.  The spinach worked fine and actually saved a step since I didn’t have to wash and cut the escarole. The next time I make this dish I think I will leave out the ditalini pasta. It was fine the evening I served it, but it continued to absorb the liquid from the stew as it sat in the refrigerator.  The stew is hearty already, so the pasta isn’t really necessary.

You can get the recipe here, from the Pampered Chef website. Give this one a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Amazing Comfort Food: Chicken Stew With Biscuits

I was looking for something special to make this week.  For inspiration I visited the Barefoot Contessa page on Food Network to browse recipes by Ina Garten. Among the most popular recipes featured was her “Chicken Stew with Biscuits”.  I had nearly everything needed on hand, just had to get some frozen peas and fresh parsley.

Oh my gosh! This is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. The dish is a little time-consuming to make, but it is well worth the time and effort.

My dish doesn't look as perfect as the photo on Food Network, but hey, this is real life cooking!

To make it, you will roast six chicken breasts, bone-in and skin on.  That takes a good bit of prep time to cook, cool and dice up the chicken. Then you make the stew base of onions, butter, flour, stock, cream. Into that goes the chicken, carrots, peas and pearl onions.  Lastly, you make a baking powder biscuit dough with fresh parsley mixed in.

Enough for a large family (8 large servings).

The recipe makes enough for a large pan 10″x13″, but I don’t have one quite that big, so I ended up with two dishes.  It’s certainly high in flavor (and calories) but wasn’t too salty. The flavor is like a rich chicken pot pie.  It’s such a wonderful cold weather dish. A perfect way to celebrate the beginning of autumn.