Simple Recipe: “Magic” Minestrone

Easy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe
Whenever someone in my family gets sick, my mom makes her famous minestrone soup, and it always works like a charm. No one has come down with a cold over here (yet) but we’re feeling the chill of these autumn days, and that has set us on the hunt for comfort foods. In the notes my mom made for this recipe, it says, “Lots of ingredients, but easy–mostly dumping!” Which is true: chop, chop, chop, dump into pot–and voila! Magic soup.

I love that this soup is thick, almost like a stew, but you can water it down with more chicken broth or water at the end if you like it thinner. It’s one of those dishes that’s great to make on a Sunday because it’s such a big batch that it can last through the week. I’m a fan of putting it into a thermos for a steaming hot lunch at work. Anyone else out there a thermos fan? I think it’s the perfect intersection of nostalgia and function.

Easy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
14-oz can chicken broth
1 quart water
2 medium carrots, diced
Half of small cabbage or 1 small Chinese cabbage, sliced
1 medium potato, diced
15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1⁄2 cup uncooked macaroni

Instructions:

1. In a large stockpot, add beans, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes to chicken broth and water. Simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Coat the bottom of a skillet with cooking spray; sauté the onions for few minutes until the edges are just beginning to turn gold. Add zucchini, garlic, pepper, and basil. Cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Add to the stockpot (with the beans, broth, vegetables, and tomatoes) with tomato sauce and macaroni.

3. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Add water or more broth if it’s too thick for your taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

Pennies for Love: Date Night Mac & Cheese

10 minute mac & cheese

Most Friday nights, James and I go out for dinner somewhere nearby. We look forward to our date night all week long, and I especially look forward to not cooking dinner! But every once in awhile we get tired of our restaurant options, or we decide to save the money for something bigger, and James cooks instead. Since he’s limited on prep time and we don’t want to make a whole bunch of food, we took this Food.com recipe for stovetop mac & cheese and put our own spin on it.

10 minute mac & cheese

Ingredients

4 ounces elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1 dash pepper
1 dash smoked paprika
½ cup water
½ cup half & half
1 cup shredded cheddar

Instructions

1. Boil and salt your water, then cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Our favorite is Dreamfields pasta because it’s low glycemic. But you can use any kind of pasta you like, including gluten-free!

2. Using a medium saucepan, you’ll want to melt the butter slowly and add in the spices (salt, pepper, and smoked paprika), as well as the flour. When the roux is combined and thick, add the half & half and water slowly.

3. When the mixture is bubbly, stir in the cheese until it’s smooth and melted. Stir in the macaroni. Cuddle up and chow down!

10 minute mac & cheese

Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Pennies for Love Logo

The Easiest Beef Stew

The Easiest Beef Stew

Growing up, my mom made this stew every so often, and when she did we would cheer! Since it was a rare treat, I always thought it was really hard to make. In reality, it’s one of the simplest recipes I have in my arsenal. Every time I make it for a party someone asks for the recipe, and when I give it to them the reaction is always: “That’s it? So easy!”

All you have to do is cut up the meat and veggies, mix in the “gravy” and seal it all in foil to bake for two hours. This baking method makes everything lovely and tender, with soft, airy potatoes, translucent onions, and moist beef. This is the perfect thing to eat on a chilly day, and it’s especially delicious with a slice of freshly baked sweet cornbread.

easy-beef-stew

Ingredients

2 pounds stew meat
5-6 carrots, chopped into chunks
4 Yukon gold potatoes (or red potatoes), chopped into chunks
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 envelopes Lipton onion soup mix

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup with the onion soup mix.
2. Cut your meat and veggies into roughly equally sized pieces. Dump them into the large bowl and toss with the gravy so that each piece is coated.
3. Line a casserole dish or 9″ x 13″ pan with foil. There should be enough foil hanging over the sides so that they can close over the top once the stew is in the pan.
4. Pour the stew in the pan and wrap the foil around it. Bake for an hour and a half to two hours.

Optional: garnish with chives.

Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

Simple Recipe: Sweet Potato + Leek Bisque

Frock Files | Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

When I was a little girl, I had a pen pal in England named Gemma. We wrote to each other and sent packages, and eventually when I moved to London we became great real-life friends. A couple of years ago, I flew to visit her on a whim and she whipped up this incredibly satisfying sweet potato and leek soup. It’s thick, smooth, and full of that savory-sweet combination that I can’t get enough of. But my favorite thing about this soup its simplicity. (It’s healthy, too!)

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes
2 leeks (just the white part)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper, and cream to flavor

Instructions:

1. Cut the whites of the leeks in half and rinse under cool water (those suckers are dirty!). Pat dry.

2. Warm the olive oil in a 3 quart pot, then add the leeks. Brown slightly, about 5 to 7 minutes. The more they fall apart, the better.

3. Meanwhile, peel and cube the sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes). Add them to pot. Follow with the broth.

4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and wait 20 minutes.

5. Blend either directly in the pot using an immersion blender, or spoon into a countertop blender, until smooth.

6. Season as desired with salt, pepper, and a bit of cream. We like to leave the seasoning until after each person has his or her own bowl, because people tend to like different ratios of sweet and salty.

Frock Files | Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

While it’s warming up here, it’s still cool enough in the evenings to get cozy with a hot bowl of hearty soup and a chunk of crusty bread. And, hey, some of you still have snow! So tell me: what comfort foods are you turning to these days?

Simple Recipe: Hawaiian Haystacks

Both my sister and I were lucky enough to have the most wonderful kindergarten teacher. Her family became friends with ours and we sometimes went to their house to eat delicious things. Once we went over and had Hawaiian Haystacks for dinner — the irony being that this family from Colorado taught my born-and-raised-in-Hawaii family how to make it. It was a chilly (60-something degree) night and they were the only family I knew of that had a fireplace that worked. They turned it on and served this dish, and that night is still the epitomy of coziness in my mind. With winter here, there’s nothing I want more than comfort food that’s easy, quick, and warm, like this.

Frock Files: Hawaiian Haystack

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked white rice
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1 rotisserie chicken

Toppings (pick and choose as you please):
Shredded cheese
Green onion
Crunchy noodles
Shredded coconut
Pineapple
Diced tomatoes

Instructions:
  1. Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Set aside.
  2. Combine the cream of chicken soup and the chicken broth. Shred your chicken and add in as much as you like (at least two cups). Stir frequently for about 10 minutes.
  3. Serve rice and top with the soup mixture (which I call “gravy). Let everyone choose their own toppings!

Frock Files: Hawaiian Haystack

The flavors all mix together into a creamy, savory, warm meal with a hint of sweetness. Kids love this dish because they can top their haystack with whatever they want! It’s a crowd pleaser, and since it takes just about 20 minutes from start to finish it’s a good one when you’ve got company.

Now I want to know: what are your comfort foods?

You can find more easy recipes right here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...