This isn’t our first time at the minestrone rodeo! In 2012 we made this minestrone recipe and Mom must have surely loved this soup because I think I’ve found 3 different minestrone soup recipes in her cookbook.
While the formal definition of minestrone calls for a thick soup with bits of pasta, this recipe – sans the pasta – is just as tasty as our first find, which included dittalini. With Italian origins, this tasty soup warms you up on a cold day! It’s good all by itself or partnered with some fresh baked bread and a salad. For those who don’t know me, a side of wine is a given. :)
❤ I used red cabbage for a pop a’ color.
❤ I was concerned at first sight by the mass quantity of soup. But when I later did the math I realized it’s perfect for a party of eight. Or 4 days of 2 bowls each. :/~ You can also bag and freeze leftovers for a quick meal when you’re short on time.
❤ “Navy beans” are referred to by many a name. Haricot. Pearl Haricot. Pea Bean. This high fiber bean isn’t navy blue in color – rather white – and prized for its cholesterol-lowering health benefits plus its ability to retain an oval shape after being cooked tender. Navy beans received their nickname after being a popular staple of the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century.
2 cups | navy beans
4 quarts | cold water
5 | beef bouillon cubes (or beef broth)
2 tablespoons | vegetable oil
1 ½ cups | onion, chopped
2 cups | celery, sliced
2 cloves | garlic, minced
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 pound can | tomatoes, chopped (including juice)
1 teaspoon | basil, crumbled (or a few fresh leaves, torn by hand)
½ teaspoon | oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons | salt (we prefer kosher salt or grey sea salt)
¼ teaspoon | pepper, freshly cracked
1 cup (3 medium) | carrots, thinly sliced
4 cups (4 small) | unpeeled zucchini, sliced
10 ounce package | frozen green peas
10 ounce package | frozen cut green beans
¼ head (2 cups) | cabbage, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, grated
1. Wash the navy beans. Place beans, water and bouillon (or broth) in a large pot. Bring slowly to boil and simmer, covered 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are soft. While the beans soften now’s a good time for a little wine rest break! #LongDay
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans and broth.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
4. To serve, sprinkle each serving with the grated parmesan cheese and ENJOY!
Yields: About 8-9 servings (~2 cups each, in size). Nutritional info is below in the original recipe scan!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup
This “BIG SOUP” recipe is insanely flexible! It starts with a base of chicken broth and our familiar friends onion, celery, carrot and herbs. But then the party gets a little crazy – you add whatever fresh, canned or frozen veggies, pasta and or meats that you have loitering around the kitchen, making this soup “soup-er” flexible.
Some of the best cooks never follow a recipe to the “t” and this is surely one of their favorites!
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Note the variations on the original scan –
For more soup: Add additional vegetables and broth.
For two meals: Freeze the leftovers.
For creamed soup: Add ½ to 1 cup cream 5 minutes before serving. Do not boil the cream!
For pureed soup: Put all ingredients (no bones) into a blender and work your magic, until smooth.
♥ If you discover a version you really like, make record of the ratios so you can make it again on the next go.
♥ I was 10 when this recipe appeared in the 1976 edition of Apartment Life Magazine. How alarming it is to see the office phone hanging on the wall in the photo below! PS ~ I also love the bananas T-shirt!
i. base ingredients
2 cans | chicken broth
4 | chicken breasts
1 | large onion, chopped
1 | celery stalk, chopped
1 | carrot, chopped
2 sprigs | parsley
1 teaspoon | thyme (or dill weed)
1 | bay leaf
to “cover” | water
ii. “scavenge” for these accessory ingredients
1 small can | pinto beans, chickpeas and or plum tomatoes
1 medium can | corn
½ package | frozen okra, asparagus, artichokes and or pea pods
2 | potatoes, chopped
1 small | zucchini, chopped
1 | green pepper, chopped
¼ pound | mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup or more | pasta or rice
1 length | seasoned sausage
cubes | leftover meat
1 | kitchen sink (just checking if you’re paying attention!) :)
iii. what to do
1. In a medium/large pot over medium heat, add the first eight ingredients in step “i” above. Add water to cover.
2. While waiting for the soup to simmer, scavenge for your step “ii” ingredients above, whatever form they take.
3. Add fresh veggies and rice after the soup’s been simmering 15 minutes or canned, frozen ingredients and pasta after 20 minutes. Simmer soup for 30 minutes or until everything’s done.
Click To View –> An Original Scan Of The Big Soup Recipe
The Best Of Days
One of the happiest of days growing up was “birthday day.”
We were lucky in that I can’t remember a single birthday when the Kiker boys of three were given a store-made birthday cake. Not that there’s anything wrong with store bought cakes … I just love the fact that Mom always made us our own “wish cakes.”
A wish cake was truly something just for us. A chocolate cake with trains. A circus-inspired cake. Or an Angel Food cake topped with chocolate frosting and sliced almonds, if you’re my brother Roger.
So when my birthday rolled around this year, I didn’t make cake. I just let my fingers find our next recipe in Mom’s cookbook. That’s all it took ~ this Italian Zucchini Casserole recipe.
If you love bacon, you’ll find its flavor woven throughout this dish … and that makes this a recipe worth celebrating!
foodie tips ~
♥ If you’re serving this as a side it’ll yield 10-12 servings. But if you eat like me, it will yield 6 servings.
♥ We used ciabatta bread vs. sliced bread. It was great!
7-8 medium | zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
8 slices | bacon
1 large | white onion, chopped
1 large | garlic clove, crushed
4 slices | bread, torn
2 cups | cheddar cheese, shredded/grated
15 ounce can | tomato sauce
1 teaspoon | italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon | freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup | freshly grated parmesan cheese
ii. what to do
1. Cook zucchini in a small amount of boiling water for about 5-8 minutes; drain well and set aside.
2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and let the strips rest on paper towels. Reserve the bacon drippings in the skillet. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
3. Sauté onion and garlic in the drippings until tender; drain.
4. Combine onion mixture, zucchini, bacon and remaining ingredients EXCEPT the parm cheese; mix well.
5. Pour into a lightly-greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish.
6. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until your eyes say “it’s done.”
Yields: 10-12 Servings (side dish) or 6 Servings (main course)
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.
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
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.
This special recipe is dedicated to our dear family friend Bristol ~
thanks to her, mom’s recipes live on; the greatest treat I’ve ever received.
~ ♥ ~
My mom’s great friend “Bristol” said “calabacita” was one of mom’s absolute favorite recipes because she loved its spicy taste. Now I know where I get my love of spicy food!
I didn’t even know how to spell calaba-HUH?, but thanks to Google, I do now. Calabacita means “little squash” in Spanish and is often made of a variety of summer squashes with thin, edible skins, including zucchini, yellow crookneck, Mexican straight-neck and sunburst squashes (per the research I did online). We’ll see what mom used!
I remember something squashy as a kid, but not sure of the name. I think mom “dumbed” the name calabacita down to “squash” for me since my tiny tongue was too young to pronounce “ca-la-ba-ci-ta.” Although I do remember the young ability to say “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!”
5/14/11 UPDATE ~ I received mom’s cookbook this very week and scoured both the cookbook and the little recipe card file… and no calabacita recipe! All I can figure is that mom probably had the recipe in her head and didn’t need to write it down. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t share it with her friends! I’m on the hunt for the recipe, so in the meantime, enjoy the recipe below from the other Betty (Crocker)… the ingredients look similar to what I remember eating… except I don’t remember mom using chicken… but she did use both yellow crookneck squash and green zucchini.
1 tablespoon | extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 lb | uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
8 to 10 small to medium | zucchini (2 1/2 lb), peeled, thinly sliced (8 cups)
1 medium | white onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (15.25 oz) | Green Giant® whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) | diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion, undrained
1 can (4.5 oz) | Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, undrained
1-1/2 teaspoons | garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon | ground cumin
to taste | salt and pepper, if desired
1/2 cup | chopped fresh cilantro
ii. what to do
1. In a 5- to 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add the chicken; cover and cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in the center.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients except cilantro. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.
3. Stir in cilantro; cook 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ While I don’t remember mom serving calabacita over white rice, consider it (from me to you).
♥ Making instant rice? Why not substitute water with chicken or beef broth?
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook