betty’s main course minestrone

mom's minestrone soup

Bacontime

It donned on me as I started cooking the first ingredient for this dish ~ bacon ~ that most of our family has lived with a microwave in the kitchen, than without.

Gulp. I’m old!

While the microwave’s origins go back as early as the 1930s, by the late 1970s, the prices made them more affordable. By 1986, only 25% of Americans had a microwave meaning us Kikers were early adopters of magic!

Aside from microwave popcorn, and scrambled eggs, bacon was something that the microwave could heat fast n’ good, turning Mom into a time-saving magician.

This recipe doesn’t call for microwaving the bacon, but either way you’ll find every spoonful of the salty stuff a special surprise.

the makin's for minestone

Let’s Eat

i. ingredients

3 slices | bacon, finely chopped
1 cup | onion, chopped
½ cup | celery, chopped
2 large cloves | garlic, minced
1 teaspoon | basil leaves
1 can | campbell’s beef broth
1 can | campbell’s bean with bacon soup
1½ soup cans | water
1 can (16 ounces) | stewed tomatoes, undrained
½ cup | uncooked ditalini pasta
½ teaspoon | salt
1 cup | cabbage, cut into long, thin shreds
1 cup | zucchini, cubed

ditalini pastaii. what to do

1. In a large saucepan, brown bacon and cook onion and celery with garlic and basil until tender.

2. Stir into soup the water, tomatoes, ditalini and salt. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat.

3. Simmer 15 minutes.

4. Add cabbage and zucchini. Cook 10 minutes more or until done, stirring occasionally.

Yields: 8 cups.


Foodie Tips ~

 Why not partner a bowl of this soup with some tasty bread?
 This recipe can easily be doubled for larger food gatherings.

Foodie Note ~

When I found this recipe, it didn’t have a name. I went online and found out that this was indeed a minestrone soup recipe. I later found a couple other minestrone recipes in Mom’s cookbook so I know it was one of her favorites. 

mom's minestrone recipe

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kiker’s kicker award-winning pot licker chili

my award-winning pot licker chili recipe

My AWARDWINNING chili recipe will set your guests ablaze with compliments to you, the chef.

This chili will probably also set your tummy on fire, because if there’s a way to add spice to a dish, I’ll sneak more in when nobody’s looking.

Don’t listen to what “the others” say: THE BEST CHILI ON THE PLANET HAS BEANS. BEANS, I SAY! I was born and raised in San Antonio, which has been credited as the birthplace of chili. So when I say “Beans,” you say “Chili!”

Me: “Beans!”
You: “Chili!”
Me: “Chili”
You: “Huh?”  :~)

In 2005, the company I was working for had a chili cook-off. My pot won the gold. Then two more awards again in 2014. Spoons and bowls above the rest. Try one bowl and you’ll see.

PS ~ Did you catch this is an award-winning recipe?

Foodie Tips ~

 Mmmmm… Beer! Mom always preferred Pearl Light beer. She’d salt a lemon ~ sometimes a lime ~ and drop it on in. I usually use Miller Lite when I’m cooking at home. Read more about beer and how to make beer bread here!

 This is a great dish that’s served well with saltines, fritos or my jalapeño and cheese cornbread.

 Chili Lover? Check out this second chili recipe here at Betty’s Cook Nook. It’s a sweeter bowl of red that calls for no beans. Gasp!

i. ingredients

2 tablespoons | falfurrias brand buttershake your maracas. we're having chili!
2 medium | white onions, chopped
2 cloves | garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds | chili ground beef (not ground beef)
2 tablespoons | ground cumin
1 tablespoon | oregano leaves
1 tablespoon | salt
2+ tablespoons | medium or coarse fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon | sugar
1 can | stewed tomatoes
1 can | rotel
2 cans | “chili fixins” by rotel
1 can | tomato soup
1 can | beer
2 cans | ranch-style (or pinto) beans
to taste fresh jalapeños

ii. what to do

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook 5 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add ground beef and cook until well done. Add the next 5 ingredients and cook 4 minutes.

3. Add the next 5 ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add in the beans and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until thick.

4. Side ingredients can include: crackers, corn chips, white tortilla chips, cheese (sharp cheddar/pepper jack works good), fresh jalapeños and sour cream.

5. Eat it up.


patrick’s chicken tortilla soup

This recipe is dedicated to my special niece Melissa ~ Her zest for food taught me
the more spice you add to life, the merrier!

~   
  ~

my tortilla soup recipeIf my Mom “Betty” was still alive, I would have made sure she put my own favorite recipe in her cookbook. And better yet, I would have made her some bowls of this great-tasting soup.

I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years, and you can also edit it to please your own personal taste buds. I’ve had several friends say it’s the best tortilla soup they’ve had … plus, it’s easy to make. My secret? Squeezing lime juice on top just after the cheese starts to melt.

As temperatures start to “dip,” what better way to warm-up chilly evenings, than with this all-time favorite tortilla soup recipe? Perfect as an appetizer, or as a main course, one bowl of this soup usually leads to two … or more! Totally a comfort food staple for the Fall Foodie in you.

ingredients

2 cups | cooked chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup | chopped onion
1 tsp. | olive oil
1 – 4 oz. can | chopped green chilies
1 – 1.25 oz. package | taco seasoning mix ~ the hotter, the better
1 – 16 oz. can | stewed tomatoes
6 cups | chicken broth
1 – 10 oz. package | frozen corn
1/3 cup | fresh chopped cilantro
to taste | tortilla chips, broken into pieces
4 cups | your favorite grated cheese (we prefer pepper jack, monterey jack or cheddar)
1 | avocado
garnish | sour cream
garnish | green onion (scallion)
to taste | fresh ground black pepper
garnish | a squeeze of lime juice

what to do

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes and cook until done. Drain and set aside.

2. In a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in oil 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.

3. Stir in chilies and the seasoning mix, cook 1 minute.

4. Add tomatoes and juice, breaking them up with a spoon.

5. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.

6. Add corn and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Top with the cilantro.

8. Spoon into bowls and top with chips, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Garnish with scallion, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4-5 hungry folks. The soup refrigerates well; keep the garnish (chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream) as last minute additions. 

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook