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I have a confession to make.  I’m really not much of a “stick to the recipe” kind of person.  Once I’ve made something from a recipe, the next time I make the dish I usually go from memory and based on what’s in my refrig and pantry.  Or after being the fortunate recipient of a lovely meal at someone’s home or one brought to us as I was recovering from surgeries or chemotherapy, I would ask a bit about their recipe and then wing it from there.

So I admit it’s a bit difficult for me to share recipes, since I don’t have many written down.  And another confession – I’m also not much of a “tablespoon of this, cup of that” person either- I just make stuff putting ingredients together- especially when it comes to making soup!

IMG 5404 300x224 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

January's Healthy Soup Recipe: Minestrone with Tortellini

When I set out the other evening to “remake” a hearty and yummy Italian Sausage Tortellini soup that some long-time and dear friends made for our family several times over the past several years, I didn’t go from a written down recipe.   I remembered and was thinking about the wonderful tortellini soup and the soup I made with the special bean soup mix I was given just recently for my birthday from a special heart-sister of mine. I decided to combine the two and off to the grocery store I went.

 I shopped seeking out fresh vegetables and other ingredients that go along with my purposeful “anti-cancer, healthy eating” lifestyle.

Since I stay away from red meat and pork, I choose Italian seasoned ground turkey instead of Italian sausage. I also choose a bag of mixed dried beans (15 different kinds!) for great fiber and protein.  Then I thought of fresh vegetables to include like zucchini, carrots, spinach, onion, garlic and green beans.

I like keeping a jar of minced garlic in the frig so I didn’t need to purchase garlic and though I wanted green beans, after shopping at two stores, there were no fresh green beans to be found- so next time.

IMG 5390 300x224 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Ingredients I used

Ingredients

1 pound Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey

1 white or yellow onion

4 garlic cloves pressed or minced, or 2 Tbs minced garlic in jar

1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 ½ cups dried mixed beans

1 pint plus one 8 oz can chicken stock

IMG 5381 300x224 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Fresh Vegetables and Herbs

2 large carrots

2 small or 1 large zucchini

½ bag fresh spinach or 2 hand full’s bulk spinach

2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley

2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano

1 package Buitino cheese tortellini or cheese mini ravioli- found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store

IMG 54001 224x300 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Buitino Three Cheese Ravioletti

2-4 Tbs basil pesto, from a jar

Grated fresh Parmesan cheese to garnish

Directions

Measure out beans in a large bowl or pot.  Fill with water two inches over dried beans and leave out over night. If you haven’t planned the day before, you can use the “quick soak

method as described in the link.

IMG 5375 300x224 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Quick Soaking Dry Beans

I tried the quick soak method and ended up boiling the beans for a good hour longer until my beans were tender.

In a large soup pan, heat 3 Tbs of olive or coconut oil on medium heat and add chopped onions.  Cook several minutes until onions soften and start to become translucent.

Add ground turkey, break meat into tiny pieces with the straight edge of a spatula.  I used Italian seasoned ground turkey, if you can’t find that- use regular ground turkey and season it with 2 tsp of Italian seasoning while it’s cooking.

Continue cooking onions and turkey 5-8 minutes until turkey is thoroughly cooked.

IMG 5394 300x224 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Cooked onions and ground turkey

Add canned tomatoes and chicken broth.  I used Fired Roasted Organic Diced Tomatoes.  They were yummy, but any diced tomatoes will do.

IMG 5396 224x300 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Add diced tomatoes and chicken broth

Add the beans (drained from soaking and rinsed thoroughly)

IMG 5383 300x224 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Drain soaked beans and rinse thoroughly before adding to soup

I used the 15 bean package of soup.  Our youngest son (18) calls any soup I make with these beans, “Too Many Bean Soup”.  I can stand the teasing- I like the healthy variety of beans in this mix.

Bring to a boil.

Add chopped carrots, turn heat down to a simmer and continue cooking carrots for 5 minutes.

Add chopped zucchini and continue at a simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add tortellini or ravioli and cook according to package directions: 3-5 min. I used Buitoni Mini Cheese Ravioli this time and I really like the small size of the pasta

IMG 5403 224x300 12 Months of Healthy Soup Recipes: January  Minestrone Soup with Tortellini

Add Basil Pesto to Soup

Add sliced fresh spinach and basil pesto.  I keep a jar of basil pesto in the frig during the winter when I don’t have fresh basil in my garden to make pesto.

Continue on simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Add crusty sourdough or wheat bread with a side a fruit for a healthy and hearty complete meal.

Vegetarian:

Omit the ground turkey and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth

Vegan:

Omit the ground turkey, use vegetable broth and substitute cheese filled pasta with bowtie or small elbow eggless pasta

Gluten-Free:

Omit the pasta or use gluten-free or rice pasta

This recipe makes a HUGE pot of soup to feed 8-10 people.  I don’t know how to make a small amount of soup, and while my kids tease me about this too, who would want to?  It fed my husband and one son for dinner and then I served it the next day for lunch for six of us. Since the beans and pasta soak up the broth in the refrig over night (making it extra yummy), I added ½ cup chicken broth and 1 Tbs of basil pesto as I was reheating the soup.
It was better the second day and I couldn’t help by be grateful again to the thoughtful friends who shared their gifts and their heart with me and my family.

 

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