Homemade Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup with Pasta, Beans and Vegetables

Recipe courtesy of Robin Miller

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time:  4-8 hr
Level:  Easy
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini or navy) beans, drained
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions

In a slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Thirty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add ditalini, zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Garnish with basil, if desired.

To be honest I’ve never had Minestrone soup. It’s one of Michael’s favorite soups though so I decided to give it a try.


I love cooking food in the crockpot. It’s so easy and everything always tastes so good. Plus there’s always tons of leftovers for the work week lunches.


I chopped all the veggies after I got back from the pool on Sunday.


We had leftover cooked pasta in the fridge from when Michael made his famous mac n’ cheese for a work potluck so that made my job even easier!


My favorite part of cooking is honestly the prep. I love chopping vegetables and prepping food for cooking. It’s very relaxing and meditative chopping away.


I didn’t have Bay Leaves. I’ve never actually cooked a recipe with them because I never have them on hand. And why does every recipe require that you remove the Bay leaf? Are they poisonous?


I must have gotten a super strong onion because I was crying buckets while I chopped. Usually it doesn’t bother me as much. I’m also wondering if I should have used a sweet onion instead of the one I used.

I followed the instructions without deviating from the recipe much.


While dinner was cooking Michael and I watched Pan’s Labyrinth. I’d never seen it before. Wow! It was a really good (and intense) movie.


I checked on the dinner periodically, stirring and tasting it. I decided to skip adding the spinach even though I had defrosted the frozen spinach in preparation for the soup. It just didn’t sound appealing to me.

About 45 minutes before dinner I added the pasta and the zucchini.


The pasta soaked up a lot of the liquid but Michael said that was okay for Minestrone soup. I think next time I’ll add one more cup of chicken broth to it though.


I added some shredded cheese to the top of the soup and made a piece of toast from Dave’s Killer Bread.


It was a very mild flavored soup but it was hearty and good. I hadn’t been feeling well all day Sunday so soup really hit the spot.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 506 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 102
Calories from Fat15

Total Fat 1.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 664mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.6g
Dietary Fiber 4.8g
Sugars 9.4g
Protein 7.1g
Vitamin A 166% Vitamin C 70%
Calcium 7% Iron 11%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Pretty low in calories too for such a healthy, hearty meal!

Now I’m craving French Onion Soup….

QUESTION: What’s your favorite crockpot soup recipe?


Mexican Crockpot Chicken

Crockpot cooking is one of my favorites because it’s so easy. I tried a new recipe this weekend: Mexican Crockpot Chicken

(adapted from Spark recipes)

2-3 chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can mexican chili beans
(Do not drain tomatoes or beans)
1 Package Taco Seasoning
1 can black olives
1 can chopped green chiles

Layer chicken in bottom of crock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order written. Do not stir. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Take out chicken and shred. Return chicken to crock pot and stir well. Serve with tortilla chips or on a flour tortilla. Serve with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese if desired. Extra ingredients are not included in nutritional facts.

Number of Servings: 6

Calories: 220 (before adding extra condiments)

I washed and dried the chicken fillets and then laid them in the bottom of the crockpot.

I had to have Michael open the cans for me because of my gimpy thumb. 🙂

I altered the recipe a little. I omitted the Black olives — I think they would have just gotten mushy and gross. I also added a can of drained corn. (One less can in the pantry!)

I followed the instructions and layered each item. I bought a can of Mexican tomatoes instead of plain.

Next I layered the rest of the cans (not draining the beans or the tomatoes).

I picked up some Taco seasoning for chicken and topped the corn with it.

The last ingredient added was the diced chilies.

I turned on the crock-pot to low and let it cook for 7 hours.

I checked on the crockpot periodically and was worried about how much liquid was still in it. It looked more like chili than what I was imagining. I took the lid off and turned the heat to High to see if that helped–which it did not.

I decided to just led it ride and hope it turned out. About 30 minutes before it was supposed to be done, I took the chicken out and shredded it.

It was really easy to shred the chicken with two forks.

I shredded it all and put it back in the crockpot.

As I added more and more shredded chicken, I saw that it was soaking up the liquid. Mystery solved!

Michael was in charge of the guacamole–this time using just one avocado.

We spooned the shredded chicken mixture into small tortillas and added toppings like sour cream, a little bit of cheese, lettuce and olives.

Because the tortillas were the small ones, it was impossible to put too much in them.

Dinner was delicious! I loved the flavor. I’m not sure what exactly did it but the meat was sweet. I couldn’t tell what was sweet, but it was good.

Oh and I also won the lottery. 😉

$12! WOO HOO! 🙂 Winner!

When I was at the store earlier getting the ingredients for dinner I cashed in my hefty lottery winnings. I noticed in the checkout line that my magazine is gone. 🙁 It’s onto the new month, with a new cover. Oh well…it was cool while it lasted!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite crockpot recipe? And have you ever won the lottery?