Friday, February 13, 2015

Snowed-In Minestrone

2015 has found most of us snowed in at least for a day or two per week and while at first it an be enchanting and the snow is pretty, after a while the weather starts to put a damper on things and mess up our schedules. Multiple snowstorms have disrupted our routines - lengthened commute times, cancelled school days and rescheduled appointments, less time or energy to run errands or food shop because we're spending too much time shoveling, etc.

So I came up with this recipe that takes advantage of using whatever you have on hand when you're snowed in. This is a satisfying soup that'll warm you from the inside-out. The most important things is to pay attention to the quantities of each ingredient grouping and use what you have in the freezer or fridge to come up with that quantity.

Also, here are some tips when you're cooking on a regular basis to stock up for the future:
  1. When dicing onions for a recipe, freeze extra diced onions for later use
  2. Minced garlic in a jar with oil is a good pantry staple to have on hand when you run out of fresh garlic
  3. If using fresh ginger for a recipe, freeze the extra root whole and unpeeled or peeled and minced, you can add it to rice or soups for an added kic
  4. Freeze diced zucchini and summer squash from the summer's garden and add to tomato sauce, pasta dishes or soups
I wanted to take a photo of  this bowl of soup nestled in a snowbank but couldn't get myself motivated to brave the storm!
Minestrone Soup
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced (5 tsp minced garlic from a jar)
3 cups chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, green beans, sweet potato, red potato, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini)
2 cups vegetable broth plus 2 cups tomato juice OR 3 cups vegetable broth plus one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes and their juice
¼ cup grain (barley, quinoa, rice, or millet)
2 tsp total of dried herbs, favoring the ones your prefer and what you have on hand (oregano, marjoram, basil, sage, thyme, rosemary and/or red pepper flakes)
1 can of beans, drained (kidney beans, cannellini beans, or chickpeas)
1 cup chopped greens (kale, spinach, chard, or dandelion greens)
Fresh herbs (parsley, basil)

1.      In a large pot, heat onion and garlic in olive oil or water until translucent.
2.      Add broth and tomato juice, chopped vegetables, herbs, and grain.
3.      Simmer 20-30 minutes depending on how much time is needed to cook the grains
4.      When grains are cooked, reduce the heat and add the beans, greens and fresh herbs
5.      Simmer 5-10 minutes until greens are wilted
6.      Top with pesto or a flavored olive oil

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