We’ve basically been sitting around all day waiting for the forecasted blizzard to start. It was supposed to start early this afternoon and blanket us in snow until sometime tomorrow. It’s now evening and the snow has yet to start. Each hour that passes without snow drops my chance of getting an elusive adult snow day tomorrow!! If you get me all hyped up for 10 inches of snow…..you really need to deliver the 10 inches of snow!
I was digging back through my posted recipes hoping that I could just repost a link to tonight’s dinner, but I was shocked to discover I’ve never shared the recipe. The Engineer loves soup, and nothing sounds better when the weather is due to turn crappy than a large pot of soup simmering away on the stove! My minestrone recipe is fast, easy, and a perfect way to use up any random veggie odds and ends you might have laying around. Honestly, anything goes so just load it up with whatever you have laying around in the crisper drawer! I’ll list what I generally toss in, but the amounts vary by how much soup you want to make, how thick and chunky you want it, and how much of everything you have. I like mine extra thick and loaded up….extra hardy and filling for those cold nights.
It’s extra perfect for us as January draws to a close. I never had a chance to get back out in the field to fill my fall turkey tag. Mostly it was a function of the weather swinging from unseasonably warm to mind numbingly cold. Plus, the added research and learning that nearly impossible to get fall turkeys to come into calls…..they just aren’t that interesting. I’m not giving up hope on my #operationthunderchicken, just taking a break to hit the range, train, and refocus before the spring season starts. The whole state is open, and the tags aren’t issued by county which means I’ll be able to go hunting pretty much anywhere we can get permissions or find public land. Those odds seem much better….and warmer!
- Onion — 1.5 onions, rough chopped
- Baby Carrots — about 4 Cups, diced
- Celery — 5 stalks, chopped
- Garlic — 2-4 cloves, minced
- Zucchini — 2 medium zucchinis, diced
Sauté with salt and pepper in a few good drizzles of olive oil until the onions start to soften and go translucent.
Add to the veggies…..
- Red Wine — anything you’d drink. Part of an old bottle you have open will work just fine, 1-2 Cups
- Diced Tomatoes — 28oz can
- Water — fill your tomato can up twice
- Bouillon Base — I use “Better than Boullion”…..3 heaping tablespoons
- Spaghetti Sauce — 40oz….doesn’t need to be exact. That’s the size jar I can get at Costco, but just use your favorite kind.
- Spices — Thyme, Oregano, and Basil….about a tablespoon each. Two Bay Leaves and a small dash of Cayenne Pepper.
Let simmer until the carrots and celery are tender and cooked through. If you’d rather not use jarred sauce feel free to use just tomatoes, you’ll just need to add more spices and cook it longer to get that home-y, slow cooked sorta taste. Part of what makes this a fast minestrone is my little jarred sauce cheat step! Also, if you have any stock laying around….chicken, veggie, or beef…..feel free to add that instead of the water and bullion. Don’t be nervous if it seems too “soupy” at this stage. It’s going to simmer for awhile and the next step will soak up some of the extra liquid.
10 minutes before serving time…..
- Kidney Beans — 2 cans
- Noodes — Again, just use what you have laying around. We had half a pound of rotini so that’s what I used tonight. I’ve used elbows, small shells….honestly just toss in a couple handfuls of whatever you have
- Spinkle a little parmesan cheese on top
- Bread for soaking up all the spicy, delicious broth
It’s vegetarian and would be easy to make vegan. I love it because it’s veggies so you can pound down a couple bowls and not feel guilty at the end of dinner. The Engineer loves it because it’s soup, and soup is always his jam, and because I let him pass off some of his zucchini chunks to me. We are about as far from being vegetarian as your can get, but meat isn’t something you miss with this meal. A bowl of this, some warm, fresh baked bread, and some good red wine makes for a homey meal that will please even the most carnivorous of palates.