Fun Soup for a Busy Night

I know you’re crazy busy this holiday season so avoiding  take-out completely is too much to ask, but soup is a great alternative. Here’s a easy and fun soup recipe for Minestrone or “Minestone” as it it’s known at my house probably because one of my kids had heard the story of Stone Soup.

As the story goes… A long time ago, a cold and weary traveler came to a town. He had no money and decided to see if the town’s people would give him a little food, but no one would share. So he got an idea. He found an old pot, filled it with water, set the pot over a fire and added some stones. The people were curious and when someone asked him what he was doing, he replied, “Making stone soup, which would be delicious if only I had… ” And so the story goes. As the town’s people each found a little something to share, the soup got better and better.

If you can, find some  time to “act out” this story with the kids. All you’ll need is a big pot, some water and some stones (washed carefully of course). The rest of the ingredients can come out of the cupboard and your freezer. Flash frozen veggies are full of food value. Let the kids pick the combinations. Of course if you want to quietly incorporate some fresh greens that would be great. As I said, have fun with this. Make up your own version of the story. Let everyone put something in the pot. Nothing tastes better to the kids then a meal they made themselves… All the good nutrition is an added bonus.

Minestone

1 28oz. can tomatoes.  I like Hunt’s Petit Diced
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
Assorted frozen veggies
2 quarts water
½ # vermicelli, or other small pasta
1-tablespoon sea salt   I use a scant Tbs.
½ teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic crushed 1/8 Teaspoon thyme 1/8 Teaspoon basil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons olive
½ cup grated cheese,  optional, but a big flavor boost

Directions
Combine tomatoes, potatoes, assorted veggies and water
Cook 15 minutes
Add pasta, salt and pepper
Cook an additional 12 minutes
Combine garlic, thyme, basil and tomato paste. S L O W L Y add olive oil
Then slowly add the mixture to the soup and combine
Add grated cheese. Stirring well
Serve with extra cheese and slices of crusty whole grain bread.