Thursday, November 14, 2013

Soup's on!

My Go-to Minestrone

Like many people (especially those of us from the Midwest), my natural inclination when a friend or family member has had a baby, operation, or death in the family is to bring food. My go-to recipe in such situations is a slow cooker minestrone recipe. Super easy to make and customize. So, when I finally had a moment to do some cooking this week, I decided to make Minestrone for my cousin who has 4 week old twins. Added bonus: cuddling with adorable 4 week old babies!  I also threw in a meat and cheese lasagna and turtle cheesecake (soon to be posted on for good measure. My favorite part about this recipe is the pesto - it adds a little richness but is not overpowering.


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, minced
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans trimmed and cut in 1 inch pieces (you can add canned at the end if you don't have frozen or fresh)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small yellow squash or zucchini, diced
  • 5-6 cups vegetable stock, depending on how much broth you like
  • 1/2 cup small pasta (I like to use orecchiette just because my kids think the little ears are cute)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  1. Heat oil on High in a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for about ten minutes before adding the remaining ingredients.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, assemble the remaining ingredients and boil the pasta (you can wait and add the uncooked pasta about 1 hour before the end if your schedule permits).
  3. Turn the slow cooker down to low and add the green beans, chick peas, tomatoes, zucchini or squash, and stock.  Add salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the pesto and pre-cooked pasta (also add the green beans if using canned).

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

And just in case you have a naysayer in your family (as I do), here's an easy tomato soup slow cooker recipe that you can't go wrong with. You can make it a creamy tomato soup by adding cream or milk at the end.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (reduce slightly if you will be adding milk or cream to make a creamy tomato soup)
  • 1 28 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  1. Heat the oil on High in a 4 quart slow cooker. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about ten minutes.
  2. Turn the slow cooker to low and add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove the bay leaves. Puree in a food processor or use an immersion blender to puree it in the slow cooker.