Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

I did not like minestrone when I was a kid, not one little bit! Vegetable soup was okay, but I didn't eat tomatoes. Therefore, a bunch of vegetables floating around in tomato juice did not appeal at all! But, when I learned to eat tomatoes, I also learned to love minestrone. I've been working on this recipe for a few months now, adding and subtracting ingredients until I found the perfect taste. Really, you can put any vegetables you want in this soup, but I'll tell you my favorites. This recipe is for eight servings and takes about 4 hours to slow cook. It could be done in less than an hour on the stove. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 quart of vegetable stock (I make my own batch of stock every other week, but I recommend Pacific or Imagine brand, too.) 
  • 1 16 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 tsp of thyme
  • 1 tsp of nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
  • 8 servings of the noodles of your choice (I recommend rotini, elbow, or penne. I use the banza brand, which is made entirely of chickpeas.)
  • 1 small container of fresh baby spinach 
  • 2 zucchini or yellow squash
  • 2 cans of dark red kidney beans
  • 2 cans of cannelini beans (white kidney beans)
  • 2 cups of fresh green beans, cut into bite sizes (Or you can get a bag from the frozen aisle) 
Minestrone.jpg

Instructions: 

  1. Heat your vegetable stock and tomato paste in the slow cooker. This may take an hour. Once they are fully blended, you can add the rest of the ingredients. If you have an immersion blender or feel like whisking it, it can happen in less than 2 minutes. 
  2. Add the rest of your ingredients (except the noodles) and stir. 
  3. Add salt to taste. 
  4. Add noodles prior to serving or storing. I don't recommend letting the noodles sit in the slow cooker for more than a few minutes if you are serving the soup immediately. 

You may alternatively serve this soup over rice, quinoa, or with potatoes. You can add carrots, celery, beets... try out different versions for yourself! This can either feed eight people a lovely dinner, or it can be lunch for two people for four days! 

Corn and Apple Hash

You could describe my cooking style as inventive, but I really have to be. When trying to cook seasonal fresh produce, it can be a challenge to make a balanced meal. I usually find a few things, throw them in a skillet and hope for the best. As I always tell Dev, come take a photo of this. It is either going to be really good or really bad! 

Most fruits and veggies are pretty easy to work with, and a lot of them can go together with a simple sauce or seasoning with no trouble. Corn is in season (and on sale)! My favorite way to eat corn is straight off the grill, but on this rainy day, I had to settle for pan fried. 

For a sweet and savory addition to any southern meal, you will need. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1 apple
  • 1 onion

Yep. That's all. I didn't add any seasoning!

Apple and corn hash .jpg

Instructions: 

  1. Strip the corn off of the cob (raw). 
  2. Dice an apple into small cubes. 
  3. Slice or dice your onion to whatever size fits your fancy!
  4. Sautee these three until the onion and apple are soft and the corn is a little charred. 

Enjoy! If you must add seasoning, I recommend a little black pepper and garlic or Tony's Creole seasoning if you want a little crawfish boil style.  I paired this with some roasted broccoli and baby bella mushrooms. The green you see in the photo is arugula, my bitter friend. It has a very unique taste, when added in small quantities to pizza or a salad, it is delicious! I like to use it as a base for my bun-less burgers and a topping for pretty much anything! 

10 Minute Balsamic Shiitake and Apple Kale

I've gone crazy the last few weeks, putting apples in to caramelize with my onions and garlic. Man, it is so good! The apples add a touch of sweetness to any dish, along with vitamins of course! I even added them to my sloppy joes! If you are up for a delicious adventure, grab these 6 ingredients and make yourself some dinner! 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 head of kale
  • 1 apple, sliced thin (I had Gala on hand)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 small package of whole shiitake mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic or 1 tbsp of garlic seasoning
Shiitake Mushroom Kale Sautee .jpeg

Instructions: 

  1. Begin by stripping the leaves off of the kale stems, washing, and spinning them to dry. 
  2. Slice onions, apples, mushrooms, and garlic.
  3. Quickly steam your kale with a bit of water or veggie broth and put it on your plate. 
  4. Sautee onions, apples, and garlic until tender. Put these with your kale. 
  5. Sautee mushrooms with balsamic vinegar until tender, about 2 minutes. 
  6. Throw it all together and enjoy!