As mentioned in a previous blog, we recently had family over for my son's 4th birthday. He requested that we take everyone for lunch at his favorite Chinese restaurant, but since I knew we'd have family in from out of town, I wanted to make sure that I had a lighter dinner available, in case anyone was hungry later in the evening. I knew we'd be having a big lunch, so I thought that soup, salad and bread would surely be sufficient. I kept going back and forth between soup recipes, because my in-laws (and husband) are all very picky eaters, so I wanted to make sure that I had something that would appeal to everyone. My grandmother included her recipe for Minestrone soup in a cookbook that my Mom and sister put together for me as part of my bridal shower gift years ago and it's always been so well liked by anyone who tries it. A single recipe makes a decent amount, but I would highly suggest doubling it, as the leftovers are just as delicious--and perfect for any of you who take your lunches to work...or for those of you who are at home juggling kids and trying to squeeze in five minutes to grab a bite to eat!
1/2 pound bulk Italian Sausage (I ordinarily increase it to a full pound!) 1 cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic--finely chopped 8 cups water (1) 28 oz can Italian style tomatoes, undrained and broken up 5 teaspoons beef bouillon (or 5 cubes) 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning 1/4 teaspoon pepper 3 medium carrots, pared and sliced (1) 15 1/2 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained (1) 9 oz package frozen cut green beans, thawed 1/2- 8 oz package spaghetti, broken grated Parmesan cheese
In a large kettle or dutch oven, brown sausage, onion and garlic. Pour off fat. Add remaining ingredients, except green beans, spaghetti and cheese. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for one hour. Stir in beans and spaghetti--bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered ten additional minutes or until spaghetti and green beans are tender. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
If you were to look up the word "picky" in the dictionary, you would see a picture of my husband off to the left. Growing up, I was exposed to all sorts of different foods and encouraged to experiment with different flavors, but after meeting my husband, I somewhat locked myself into an eight to ten meal rotation and was reluctant to deviate. I have since given birth to two of the least picky eaters on the face of the Earth, thus inspiring me to transform my cooking style. I know many people, like myself, lead such hectic lives, so I strive to find recipes that are quick and easy--especially those that you can whip up with ingredients that you ordinarily have on hand!
A bit about me...I married my husband, Marcus, on June 1, 2003 and we welcomed our son Jacob on March 22, 2005. Our daughter, Madeline, was born on March 1, 2008. I stay home with the kids for the most part, but also work occasional shifts as a registered nurse at a local hospital. I truly hope you enjoy my blog. A special "thank you" to my sister, Sarah, for giving me the idea! Her creativity is hard to live up to, but I'm a very determined person and hope to make her proud :)