My kids don’t eat enough vegetables and frankly, neither do the adults. I am constantly on the lookout for opportunities to sneak veggies onto unsuspecting children’s plates. For instance, I found out that you can grate two whole carrots into the pan when fixing Rice a Roni, and the kids NEVER found out! The all time, ultimate, BEST way to sneak veggies onto your kids menu is by serving soup! For some reason, veggies in soup are OK, and most kids I know will enjoy a big bowl of vegetable soup without complaining at all. This recipe is a family favorite with some extra veggies thrown in. It is a simple Minestrone, with all the veggies I have lying about thrown in for good measure. It is quite filling and makes a great winter soup-and-sandwich-night dinner! I usually make some white pizza to go alongside this, but you could just have a grilled cheese, or bread and butter if you want! Either way, your kids might like it, and if they do, they will have eaten their entire day of veggie servings in just one bowl. Not bad. If they don’t like it, it makes great leftovers for Dad to take to work, just freeze the leftovers in individual bowls. Switch up the veggies any way you like, you could add corn or kale, you name it, you can even make this without sausage, it is still delicious! For gluten-free, replace the pasta with rice.
Margie’s Quick and Easy Minestrone
2 quarts of chicken stock
1 T olive oil
1 28 oz. can of Marinara sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 package frozen green beans (I used a Romano blend from Trader Joes)
1/2 pkg sweet peas
1/2 pkg frozen spinach
1/2 pound of Italian Sausage, cooked and sliced or crumbled and all fat removed.
1/2 tsp Hot Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of dried pasta or farro
1 parmesan rind and additional grated parmesan for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onions to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, add the hot pepper flakes and the garlic, stir for 1 minute and add the celery and carrots. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and tomatoes, cover the pot and cook on medium until it is simmering nicely. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Add the frozen beans and peas, and salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Add the frozen spinach and the sausage, the beans and the pasta or farro and cook for 10 more minutes or until the pasta or farro is done. Taste and adjust for seasonings.
Serve with white pizza. (White pizza: Brush a cookie sheet with olive oil, lay flattened pizza dough, brushed with olive oil and minced garlic, sprinkled with oregano, pepper and salt and a shake of hot pepper flakes if you like heat. Sprinkle parmesan over all and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. MMMMMM!)