A rare event took place in my kitchen yesterday. Someone cooked something and it wasn’t me. I grabbed my camera to capture this phenomenon.
This is my step-mom, Bonnie, and yesterday she came over and made her unbelievably delicious, healthy, hearty, easy as can be, minestrone.
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.
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.
Look for these Italian style crushed tomatoes. They are perfect for minestrone.
Start by chopping your veggies. Here is Bonnie chopping away. She’s done this a few times before, can you tell?
I think I could get used to this.
All the veggies are chopped and ready. And I just watched! I think this is when I poured myself another cup of coffee.
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.
Then she added in the garlic.
Rinse and drain your beans. You’ll be needing them soon.
She added 4 cups of chicken broth to the veggie mixture. Reserve the remaining 2 cups to add in later.
Remember the beans? They go in now.
Now she’s adding in the Italian style crushed tomatoes.
After mixing all the dry spices together in a little bowl, she adds them to the pot.
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.
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.
Here is our rotisserie chicken, all chopped up and ready. Add it to the pot.
The mixture will have thickened quite a bit by now so add in additional chicken broth to reach the desired consistency.
And, finally, in goes the fresh parsley.
Here I am sprinkling on the Parmesan. It’ not like I didn’t help at all. I also ate it and it was incredible.
- 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
- 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.
- Add in 4 cups chicken broth, reserving remaining broth for later. Add beans, crushed tomatoes, and dry seasonings. Bring to a boil.
- 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.
- Note: Store leftovers in refrigerator. Soup will thicken when refrigerated so add additional chicken broth when reheating to thin. Freezes well.