When I was a kid, my mom would always make a nice, hot dinner -- usually soup -- on Halloween night before we headed out for trick-or-treating. As I made soup last night, I couldn't help but think that I should have postponed making it and continue the tradition. Looks like I'll just have to make a different recipe. Even though it wasn't Halloween night, last night was a perfect soup night since got a few inches of snow. If that doesn't call for a hot bowl of soup, I don't know what does.
Anyway, I made, as the title suggests, one of the easiest and cheapest soups you can make: minestrone. All you need are a few vegetables you probably already have in your refrigerator's crisper and a couple items from your pantry. This recipe is delicious and so healthy since the broth is so light and it's bursting with vegetables and beans.
Here's the recipe I follow, based on the recipe I got from Everyday Food magazine.
Simple, Delicious, Classic Minestrone
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp. dried
(Note: I didn't have any rosemary on hand last night, so I subbed it with a 1/4 tsp. of Italian seasoning. Did the trick nicely.)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (14.5 oz.) of diced tomatoes, drained (I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and it added a nice flavor.)
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1/4 head of green cabbage (about 1/2 pound), cored and thinly sliced
1 can of cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (I used my frozen ones from my garden!)
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil (optional)
And that's it. In about 45 minutes or so, you can have a delicious, homemade pot of soup. I forgot to add it last night, but you can sprinkle it with some parmesan cheese when you serve the soup. I didn't, however, forget to make some popovers to go with the soup -- an easy, cheap, and yummy accompaniment. Another great thing about this soup is that it freezes well. This is important because my husband and I and our 4-year-old definitely can't eat an entire pot of this soup, no matter how good it is. Last night, as I was cleaning up, I put the extra soup we had in some quart-sized Mason jars and now they're in the freezer, ready to be reheated and enjoyed on another cold, snowy evening.