Bonnie’s Minestrone

Bonnie's MinestroneA rare event took place in my kitchen yesterday. Someone cooked something and it wasn’t me. I grabbed my camera to capture this phenomenon.

Bonnie's Minestrone 091

This is my step-mom, Bonnie, and yesterday she came over and made her unbelievably delicious, healthy, hearty, easy as can be, minestrone.

Bonnie's Minestrone 099copy

She brought this guy along with her. That’s my Dad. Father to 6, grandfather to 18, great-grandfather to 18. Impressive, I know. That’s why we let him sit on the couch. At home he has important jobs in the kitchen such as vegetable peeling and chopping but we gave him a break this time.


Dad and Bonnie recently moved from their quaint cabin in the mountains back to the house where I grew up, just a short 10 minute drive from us. Bonnie came into Dad’s life after we lost Mom; much too young and far too soon. They married 15 years ago and have been gracious hosts to our family every summer at the cabin. Spending time with Bonnie always brought me home inspired to do things like clean and organize my pantry, cook big batches of things, package, label, and freeze stuff, and make her minestrone. She is a woman after my own heart. Now that they are so close, I didn’t waste any time getting her over here to cook up a batch.

Bonnie's Minestrone 004

Here’s what you’ll need: vegetable oil, onion, baby carrots, zucchini, celery, minced garlic, chicken broth (or chicken base to make broth), Italian style crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, kidney beans, elbow macaroni, rotisserie chicken, dry basil, dry oregano, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt,  and fresh parsley.

A note about the chicken – rotisserie chicken works great but you can also use any left over chicken, turkey, or 1/2 pound of ground turkey that has been cooked and drained.

Bonnie's Minestrone 104

Look for these Italian style crushed tomatoes. They are perfect for minestrone.

Bonnie's Minestrone 011

Start by chopping your veggies. Here is Bonnie chopping away. She’s done this a few times before, can you tell?

Bonnie's Minestrone 019

I think I could get used to this.

Bonnie's Minestrone 023

All the veggies are chopped and ready. And I just watched! I think this is when I poured myself another cup of coffee.

Bonnie's Minestrone 029

She coated the bottom of my Dutch oven with some vegetable oil and in went the veggies. She let them cook down for about 10 minutes. I can’t be sure about this cause we were gabbing but I’m pretty sure it was close to 10 minutes.

Bonnie's Minestrone 035

Then she added in the garlic.

Bonnie's Minestrone 038

Rinse and drain your beans. You’ll be needing them soon.

Bonnie's Minestrone 044

She added 4 cups of chicken broth to the veggie mixture. Reserve the remaining 2 cups to add in later.

Bonnie's Minestrone 048

Remember the beans? They go in now.

Bonnie's Minestrone 050

Now she’s adding in the Italian style crushed tomatoes.

Bonnie's Minestrone 057

After mixing all the dry spices together in a little bowl, she adds them to the pot.

Bonnie's Minestrone 059

In goes the al dente, cooked macaroni. Be careful not to overcook the pasta since it will continue to cook a bit when added into the soup.

Bonnie's Minestrone 064

Looking good! As a matter of fact, you could stop here if you didn’t want to add any meat. My house is full of hungry carnivores so I’m adding meat.

Bonnie's Minestrone 066

Here is our rotisserie chicken, all chopped up and ready. Add it to the pot.

Bonnie's Minestrone 070

The mixture will have thickened quite a bit by now so add in additional chicken broth to reach the desired consistency.

Bonnie's Minestrone 077

And, finally, in goes the fresh parsley.

Bonnie's Minestrone 084


Bonnie's Minestrone 145

Here I am sprinkling on the Parmesan. It’ not like I didn’t help at all. I also ate it and it was incredible.

Thanks Bonnie.

Bonnie’s Minestrone
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Servings: 10 servings
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 (14 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian style crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoning Salt
  • 1 cup cooked elbow macaroni (1/2 cup uncooked prepared according to package directions)
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced (or leftover chicken, turkey or 1/2 lb. ground turkey, cooked and drained)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
  1. Heat oil in Dutch oven and cook onion, carrot, celery and zucchini for 5 to 10 minutes, just till a bit softened. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes more.
  2. Add in 4 cups chicken broth, reserving remaining broth for later. Add beans, crushed tomatoes, and dry seasonings. Bring to  a boil.
  3. Add in macaroni and reduce heat to low and add the chicken. Add as much of remaining chicken broth as needed for desired consistency. Add parsley. Simmer for a couple of minutes and remove from heat. 
  4. Note: Store leftovers in refrigerator. Soup will thicken when refrigerated so add additional chicken broth when reheating to thin. Freezes well.

This post was also shared on Melt in Your Mouth Mondays.


  1. Debbie Ward says

    Wow – this is inspirational, I am definitely going to give this recipe a try. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. says

    Hey there –

    Wanted to let you know I just nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Congrats! Check out my post to get the Liebster badge and pass the award on. :)


  3. says

    What a great relationship you have with your stepmother! Looks like you both enjoyed her day in your kitchen. The pictures are great and the soup looks fabulous! Looks like your 2012 is off to a great start!

  4. says

    I am glad Bonnie agreed to let us have a peek at one of her kitchen creations. She does look quite as ease in the kitchen. My mother has long since lost her interest in cooking and baking, so you are lucky that Bonnie still has her passion for creating in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing this tasty recipe!

  5. says

    Oh, this post makes me ache for home and cooking with my family. There is nothing in the world like cooking with the people you love to make your heart happy. I love a good hearty minestrone soup, its so healthy and nourishing. And happens to be one of my Mama’s favorite soups to make.

  6. says

    Ohhh… this looks so good… I have to try it… thanks so much for the recipe… and I love the story around it…

    Have all a great time together…



  1. […] They seem to be making a bit of a comeback and there’s even a bakery chain near us that exclusively sells little mini versions of these cakes. Lucky for us, there are tons of recipes out there to remake these classics and I’m sharing one of them with you today. I got this recipe from my wonderful step-mom, Bonnie. She remembers the Bundt cake era well and recently shared two of her recipes with me. I had to laugh when I saw that both recipes call for alcohol. I’m getting boozy dessert recipes from my sweet step-mom who doesn’t drink. It’s clear, however, that the woman knows a good Bundt cake recipe. Bonnie spent some time in my kitchen last year when I forced her to come over and share her amazing minestrone soup recipe with me. Okay, she came willingly, but I was ready to use force. I love her minestrone. You can see her in action here. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *