Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup is among my favorite types of soups. It is so easy to make and it is offers so much flexibility. It is a great way to use up a variety of veggies that need to be used up. It also easy to change the ingredients, so you can choose your favorite ones or can skip one if you do not have it at hand. Furthermore, depending on what you add to the soup, you can change how filling it is.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
same asparagus
3 rainbow-colored carrots, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 veggie buillion cube
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
optional pasta (for example, elbow pasta)

Preparation:
1. Saute onions and carrots, until softened. Then add the other ingredients, except pasta and cheese (if using).
2. Continue heating the soup on low to medium heat. You do not want to cook the soup. Heat until all vegetables are desired tenderness. Meanwhile (if using pasta), prepare the pasta according to directions on pasta package.
3. Once vegetables are tender, pour soup into bowls and add pasta. Serve with shredded cheese, baguette bread, or grilled cheese.
Note: This soup stores well in air-tight container in refrigerator. If you add the pasta before storing it, the pasta will soak up all the liquid in the soup, so it may be best to store the pasta in a separate container.

Minestrone (sad this picture has glare on it)

Minestrone (sad this picture has glare on it)

Minestrone soup with elbow pasta

Minestrone soup with elbow pasta

Health benefits:
* Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C and B, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium.
* Kidney beans are rich in potassium and magnesium, thus they help to keep blood pressure in check. In addition, the high fiber content can help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.. Kidney beans are also rich in iron and protein, making them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium

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Minestrone soup–Dutch Oven Version

Here is another recipe that we successfully adapted for cooking in the dutch oven. The great thing about this recipe is that you can adjust its list of ingredients based on what produce is in season and better yet based on what you need to use up from your fridge or pantry.

Ingredients (Makes 2-3 servings):
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, sliced (my favorite type of carrots to use are rainbow carrots)
3 fingerling potatoes, cubed (these are small potatoes which come in different colors, I used one purple, one violet, and one yellow potato)
1 can organic kidney beans
3 Roma tomatoes, diced including the juices
1 veggie bouillon cube
Approximately 3 cups of water
salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil to taste
a dash of Cajun pepper

Cooked pasta (we used bicycle-shaped pasta) and shredded cheese (optional)

Preparation:
1. Use a little bit of butter and coat the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven (8 inch).
2. Add all the ingredients, except the pasta and cheese. Add some water to the dutch oven. I rinsed the can of beans and the flexible cutting board with some water that I added into the Dutch oven–it’s the whole leave-no-trace thing. (It is advised especially in areas where there are bears to not dump any water that may contain food particles on the ground. Therefore, I used the rinse water for the soup and brought pasta that I had cooked at home. If you cook pasta in “bear-country” without outhouses or restrooms, you are advised to drink the pasta water…yuck!!!)
3. Place Dutch oven on hot coals and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes. The length may vary depending on heat of fire, size of the veggies, and the desired done-ness). Check periodically and stir to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom or the sides of the Dutch oven.
4. Once heated, serve in bowls with pasta and shredded cheese. Enjoy =)

Minestrone soup in Dutch  Oven

Minestrone soup in Dutch Oven

Minestrone soup served with bicycle pasta

Minestrone soup served with bicycle pasta

Health benefits:
* Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C and B, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium.
* Kidney beans are rich in potassium and magnesium, thus they help to keep blood pressure in check. In addition, the high fiber content can help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.. Kidney beans are also rich in iron and protein, making them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.