Saturday, December 3, 2011

One healthy meal...check

Feeling a bit stuffed like last week's Thanksgiving turkey, Chris and I decided to get ourselves back into the gym every day this week. So far we've made good on that promise.

Another promise we made post-Thanksgiving was to eat a bit healthier. In other words, cutting out sweets (as much as possible). We're still working on that one. It's hard to resist Breyer's chocolate ice cream especially after having a salad with every dinner. But I haven't baked anything this week (yet). That counts, right?

I turned to homemade soup to help with the healthy food part of our December "resolution." What could be better for you than a nice hot bowl of minestrone soup?

I looked at a variety of minestrone soup recipes online since I haven't made it before, and decided to put together my own version which thankfully, turned out to be just what I was hoping it would be. It's loaded with vegetables and helps check off the box on our promise to eat healthy -- at least for one meal.

Minestrone Soup
(Courtesy of the Clarendon Cook)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
5 cups chicken stock
1 (28 oz.) can of petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can of cannellini beans
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup of orzo pasta (or other small pasta)
1 cup of frozen diced green beans
1 cup of frozen corn
3 T. of your favorite pesto (This adds a fantastic depth of flavor to the soup. My favorite store-bought pesto is Bear Pond, which I've only seen at Whole Foods.)
Salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper.)
Grated Parmesan, for garnish


In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery, saute for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and saute 5 minutes longer.

Add chicken stock, tomatoes, basil, oregano, and pasta (if uncooked) and simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes. (If pasta has been cooked ahead of time, add this at the very end.) Add the green beans, corn, and pesto, and simmer 5 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with grated Parmesan.