If you live in Minnesota, you know that last night we were reminded that winter is looming; it sleeted. Last night, we sat inside, furnace on, drinking hot cider, as ice pellets fell and the howling wind made sure we could hear the sleet pelting our windows.
At least it didn’t sleet in September… AND, at least none of it remained when the sun came up.
What the sleet left behind is the realization that FALL is here and it may not last long!
It’s time to enjoy those fall colors. Time to get outside and enjoy ANY and ALL days when the temperature is above freezing.
Our family decided to make the most of the day; we went to the MN Zoo.
We saw all the indoor animals and when it finally reached about 40 degrees outside, we put on hats and coats and wrapped the kids in a blanket to do a quick round of the outdoor trails. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun (and walked briskly through the shade).
It was great to be outside, and we were home in time for lunch and naps.
The chill of the morning left me wanting something warm and comforting for dinner. What better than my favorite vegetable soup?
Easy Vegetable Soup
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 1 small yellow onion: chopped and separated
- 8 medium baby red potatoes (if they seem small, use 10): cleaned, cubed, leaving skin ON
- 4 large carrots: peeled, and sliced (cut large slices in half)
- 2 medium zucchini: quarter lengthwise, and slice
- 4 long stalks celery: washed and sliced (it is OK to throw the leaves in for extra flavor)
- 1 green bell pepper (optional): chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley: finely chopped – RESERVE UNTIL END
- 2 TBS Olive Oil (I buy the Extra Virgin, light tasting)
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas): drained, and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans: drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can great northern beans: drained and rinsed
- 3 cans diced tomato with Italian Herbs (or sub diced tomato in basil, oregano and garlic) – DO NOT DRAIN
- 32 oz (4 cups) vegetable broth
- 64 oz (8 cups) beef broth (or sub 6 more cups veggie broth, if desired)
- 10 oz chopped, frozen spinach (optional)
- 1.5 Tsp dried basil
- 1 Tsp dried oregano
- 1 Tsp salt
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 bay leaf, whole
- Wash and prep all fresh vegetables.
- Heat 1 TBS olive oil on med-high heat in a large skillet
- Add half the garlic and cook until fragrant
- Add half the vegetables (reserve parsley until the end) and saute until softened
- Transfer softened vegetables to a large soup pot
- Return skillet to med-high heat and heat the remaining 1 TBS olive oil and remaining garlic
- Add the other half of the vegetables and saute until softened
- Transfer softened vegetables to the soup pot
- Add the drained kidney beans, great northern beans and garbanzo beans, un-drained diced tomatoes, vegetable broth and beef broth to the soup pot
- Add the dried basil and oregano, salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste), and whole bay leaf to the soup pot and mix well
- Bring contents of the soup pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
- Simmer, covered, for 30 – 60 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender
- Add 10 oz chopped frozen spinach, if using, and stir until melted and distributed throughout the soup
- Add chopped parsley and stir to mix
- Return the soup to a simmer and cook 10 more minutes
- Top with grated cheese (Parmesan or cheddar), and warmed, crusty bread, or maybe with grilled cheese (yum!)
- My kids don’t like soup broth, which is fine by me (messy!), so I use a slotted spoon and give them a pile of cooked veggies
- We usually freeze half of this soup since the recipe is so large (or we use it to feed a large group). I recommend freezing in either single portions (for lunches), or with enough servings for your family to have a meal together. To freeze: Cool fully and transfer to labeled freezer zip-lock bags and freeze flat or transfer to plastic containers with lids
- You can add cooked shredded rotisserie chicken to add protein and a little extra flavor to this soup. Just make sure it is finely shredded or chopped
- You can throw everything in a (LARGE) crock pot and cook on HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 5 hours (or until veggies are tender). Just wait to add Parsley and Spinach until 20 minutes before turning the crock pot off (I have a smaller crock pot and this recipe does not fit!).
What’s you favorite FALL recipe?