Monday, October 8, 2012

The only reason I love cold weather...

SOUP! I have been SO excited about today's forecast for a few days now, for one reason and one reason only - I have been CRAVING soup. But I don't like eating soup when it's warm outside. So basically, from April-September I go on a soup aversion.  But once October hits, bring on the candy corn soup!
And since I like to try new recipes, I went searching for a crock pot vegetable minestrone that would work for us - by the mixing of 3 different recipes and a touch of love from my own pantry, I came out with this pot of beauty:
So many of you asked for the recipe, so here it is as best as I can remember it:
- 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 10 mini carrots (or 2 reg carrots), sliced 
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large zucchini, cubed
- 2 cups of your fave spaghetti sauce with 2 cups of water
- 4 cups of chicken stock, plus 2-3 cups (optional)
- 1 can kidney bean, drained
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- salt, pepper, red pepper, italian seasoning, or whatever else flavor you like in your soup :)
- 1-2 cups torn spinach without stems
- 3-5 handfuls of uncooked pasta (shells, elbows, or whatever is in the pantry)

1. Heat frying pan with olive oil and saute celery, carrots, onion, garlic and zucchini until just tender. (you can probably skip this step as it did in all other recipes, but I LOVE sauteed veggies...)
2. Dump veggies in crock pot.  Add 4 cups of chicken stock, the spaghetti sauce with water, tomatoes, and kidney beans.  Add salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste.  (I had a 1/2 packet of italian seasoning for dressing in the pantry so I just poured it in too).
3. Cook on low 7-8 hours (or 10 like mine did). 
4.  Add in spinach and pasta while there's still about 30 minutes left.
5. Add extra stock if too thick (we like our soup a little runny...)

VOILA - yum-o! I use a 5 qt crock pot.  I actually made dinner for another family tonight, so I split the pot with them.  J had 3 huge bowls, I had one and Miriam ate a bowl too. Served with my favorite 3 ingredient sour cream biscuits (2 cups self rising flour, 1.5 sticks of melted butter, 1 cup sour cream - mix and drop spoonfuls in mini muffin pan, bake 20-25 min at 350).  For dessert, we had pumpkin muffins that I made yesterday morning while I was in the baking mode.

And since I'm in the baking mode, I need your help.  I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, and all of my recipes are my favorite.  I have had a bad hankering for some lately, and now sits a bag of unopened chocolate chip morsels in the pantry just waiting to make their appearance in a cookie. So what is your favorite cc cookie recipe?? Since I shared my soup with you, share your cookies with me!


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