Minestrone Soup

It was a dark and stormy night.

Well, its supposed to be, any day now.

And isn’t that how stories are supposed to start? Probably not recipes though. I will get there eventually. But for now…

It’s actually very still out, about nine o’clock at night and a little overcast. I was taking laundry from the dryer into the house and I heard a “flap-flap-flap-squawk-thud” coming from the hen house. I took the laundry in, fetched a flashlight and went to investigate. Being in town, I was not particularly thinking of predators, but was most definitely curious.

There was Lefty, wandering around outside the coop, in the run. I shined the flashlight on her and she slowly walked around making little noises I took to be “my goodness, how’d I get down here? What am I to do now?” I shined inside the coop, up in the ‘loft’ where the other girls where sleeping. They eyeballed me from the side and tried to look very innocent. They made little noises too, like “What? Me? I don’t know anything about it? I’m just sitting here sleeping, see? ZZZZZ”

Eventually Lefty wandered back inside and up the ramp to bed. I suppose she could have been sleep walking. Or, as I suspect, some other hen saw an opportunity for more wing space and did a little ‘whoops’ with her elbow, knocking sleeping Lefty out of the loft entirely.

Lefty, of course, is on the left

Of course, now for the Minestrone soup. It’s a quick meal to make, healthy because its full of vegetables, warm on a cold night and makes great leftovers. Whats not to love?

You start with some hamburger. Preferably the good kind, not one with the pink slime we keep hearing about mixed in. Well, here is the recipe:

1 lb. hamburger (more or less and you like)

1 diced onion

2 diced carrots

1 diced celery stalk

really, whatever vegetables you have lying around. I added about a 2″ piece of zucchini I chopped up and some cut up green beans from the freezer.

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can of white beans, this time I used cannelloni also called white kidney beans.

3 cloves garlic

some small macaroni, or in our case, some Trader Joes mini cheese ravioli, cooked separately.

beef/chicken broth (I usually use a combo of whatever is open in the fridge and add to it.)

Italian seasoning, about 1 Tbsp.

rind of a Parmesan, plus some to grate on top of the soup when done.

In a large soup pot, cook up the hamburger. (Drain the fat if needed). As it cooks, add the onions, carrots, celery, green beans, etc. Put a lid on it for about 5-7 minutes for vegetables to steam. Add either diced garlic or put it through a press. I salt and pepper it at this point

Now add the broths, (I use a box of each), the seasoning, can of tomatoes, beans, rind, and let this all simmer, making your kitchen warm and steamy as well as smelling wonderful.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta if you have not done so. If you want to make it earlier, be sure to slightly under-cook it, then run it under cold water to stop the cooking, so it won’t be mushy. I cooked the mini ravioli’s for about 13 minutes or less, drained them and ran the cool water on them to wait.  Put the pasta into the soup and give it a good stir.

It is very hot, so dish out the bowl, sprinkle on the cheese, then to set the table, slice some home-made bread and spread with butter, light some candles, put on some music or pop “Hugo” into the DVD player. (I’m telling you this soup is so hot, you need to find things to do.) Or, like my son does, just put an ice cube in it.

Barely time to snap a pic before diving in.

Enjoy!

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