Here it is, the end of the year. It’s been a good one in our household, the kids are growing. . . and growing . . . and growing. They just don’t stop. I wonder when they’ll stop? But I digress. We had a great Christmas. We had fun together as a family, went to see Nutcracker on the Rocks together, went to a local amusement park that was transformed into a “Magical Christmas,” for the holidays, went to the local “Rive of Lights” at the local biopark, had a family party for the kids, one for the adults, baked and decorated a Gingerbread Village, made a Trio of Popcorn for our cousins, along with Christmas Snickerdoodles, Aunt Teen’s Creamy Chocolate Fudge, and The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies. And that was just December.
This year is the year I started this blog in earnest. I had blogged before, but I really started doing it on a regular basis. One of the things I really look forward to is blogging for #SundaySupper. I love the cause, getting families together around the dinner table each Sunday. And I appreciate the inspiration, with a different topic each week that we all blog about I suddenly have something specific to blog about once a week. I love the twitter chats, at 7 pm EST every week, they’re a lot of fun, inspiring, and sometimes a real kick. And I’m also grateful for the great tips, tricks and recipes I’ve found from other bloggers, and now friends, who participate in #SundaySupper too.
So it’s been an awesome year. As I was reflecting on my blogging experience so far, I was thinking about all of the recipes I’ve blogged about. I decided that for the Reflections and Resolutions theme I wanted to share my favorite, and, although I love most of the recipes I’ve blogged about, choosing my favorite wasn’t hard. Very Best Minestrone, no contest. Then I asked Hubby to choose his. Very best Minestrone, no contest. I knew what I would be sharing with you today.
But I wanted to change it up a bit. One of the things I love so much about Minestrone is that it is versatile. You can make it just about any way you like it, so I created this version of the recipe, Minestrone All Ways. It includes a variety of possible ingredients for you to choose from, with basic instructions for using the ingredients to make a delicious meal.
- *MUST HAVES ARE STARRED
- *mirepoix – carrots, celery and onions (about 3 carrots, 5 stalks celery and 1 large onion, cooked in olive oil or butter until tender and translucent).
- *broth or stock – your choice (total 1-1 ½ quarts& extra as needed):
- • chicken stock or bouillon to make chicken stock & water
- • seafood stock or bouillon to make seafood stock & water
- • vegetable stock or bouillon to make vegetarian stock & water
- • no-chicken stock (vegetarian chicken stock) or bouillon to make no-chicken stock & water
- • beef stock or bouillon to make beef stock & water
- • combination of above choices
- *Fresh Veggies – your choice (total 6-8 cups + head of cabbage, chopped, sliced or prepped as needed):
- • zucchini (sliced or diced)
- • yellow squash (sliced or diced)
- • green or string beans (ends removed and cut)
- • mushrooms (your choice of variety)
- • *cabbage (your choice – napa, savoy, or green – 1 head, chopped or shredded – your choice)
- • leeks (sliced)
- • broccoli (chopped into small florets)
- • cauliflower (chopped into small florets)
- • brussels bprouts (quartered and roasted, if desired)
- • bell pepper (color of your choice, chopped)
- • green peas
- • snow peas or snap peas
- • corn (removed from the cob)
- • artichoke hearts (chopped)
- • jalapeño, green chile or other peppers (seeded and chopped)
- • BOK CHOY (SHREDDED OR CHOPPED – YOUR CHOICE)
- • GREENS (VARIETY -YOUR CHOICE, SHREDDED OR CHOPPED – YOUR CHOICE)
- • (You may also use CANNED or frozen veggies of any of the above if you choose)
- *Beans – your choice (canned 4-5 cans or dry, well rinsed or prepared, total of about 60 oz.)
- • great white northern
- • garbanzo (or chick peas)
- • light red kidney
- • dark red kidney
- • cannilini
- *Herbs and Spices - your choice (dry or fresh or a combination of both, to taste)
- • *bay leaf (2-3 leaves)
- • *garlic (2-3 cloves)
- • oregano
- • basil
- • rosemary
- • paprika
- • cayenne
- • thyme
- • parsley
- • sage
- • italian seasoning
- • fresh ground black pepper
- • red pepper flakes
- • onion powder
- • garlic powder
- Cheese – your choice:
- • romano & rind if available (grated, lots and lots, at least ¼ cup)
- • parmesan & rind if available (grated, lots and lots, at least ¼ cup)
- • parmigiano-reggiano (grated, lots and lots, at least ¼ cup)
- • vegan cheese option (grated, lots and lots, at least ¼ cup) (I’m not familiar with this, but I’m sure there are plenty)
- • NONE AT ALL (your crazy!)
- Meat – your choice:
- • bacon, browned (6 oz., I like to do it in the oven)
- • johnsonville sweet, mild or hot italian sausage, rolled into meatballs and browned on the stovetop (½ lb.)
- • prosciutto ham, sliced or chopped (1-2 oz,)
- • ground beef (½ lb., rolled into meatballs and browned)
- • cubed stew meat (½ lb., browned)
- • cooked chicken breast meat, cubed (½ lb.)
- • SHRIMP (I USE FROZEN PRECOOKED, 6-8 OZ.)
- • NONE AT ALL
- *Tomatoes – your choice:
- • FRESH, PEELED AND CHOPPED (3-4 LARGE, 4-5 ROMA – YOUR CHOICE)
- • CANNED, DICED (WITH JUICE, 24 OZ.)
- • CANNED, STEWED (24 OZ.)
- Starch – your choice
- • DITILINI PASTA (¼ CUP)
- • SMALL SHELL PASTA (¼ CUP)
- • SMALL ELBOW MACARONI (¼ CUP)
- • ORZO PASTA (¼ CUP)
- • ROTINI PASTA (¼ cup)
- • potatoes (peeled and cubed, 2-3)
- • NONE AT ALL
- Prepare all of your ingredients, chop vegetables and herbs, brown meat, prepare mirepoix, rinse beans, grate cheese, etc.
- Place stock in a LARGE stock pot over medium-high heat. Add all lower case ingredients to stock and mix well to combine.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to cook for 30 minutes.
- Add ALL CAPS ingredients and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Top with additional cheese for garnish and additional chopped fresh parsley for garnish, if desired. Serve with a hearty bread like DIY Artisan Bread.
Here are a few of the different minestrone recipes I have made this year:
And in September, Seafood Minestrone (for my pescetarian)
And Very Best Minestrone in November
The hardest part of this recipe is the preparation of the vegetables, meat and cheese. I would make minestrone almost every day (at least once a week) if it were not for this part. There is a lot of peeling, chopping, slicing, shredding, grating, etc. And any meat you use (except shrimp which I buy pre-cooked) has to be cooked (usually browned on the stovetop). And the mirepoix needs to be sauteed on the stovetop as well (you could just add these veggies – onion, celery and carrots – raw, but they are much better sauteed together this way). Once those things are done it’s just a matter of putting it all together and allowing it all to meld in a bunch of minestrone love and deliciousness.
As we start the new year, I hope your home if filled with love and good food. Enjoy the Reflections and Resolutions of my #SundaySupper friends today by linking up below.
Join us this weekend for Reflections and Resolutions!
- Snowman Eggnog Pancakes from Shockingly Delicious
- Baked Oatmeal from In The Kitchen With Audrey and Maurene
- Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding from girlichef
Appetizers & Snacks
- Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Popcorn from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Moroccan Cigars from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Baked Camembert with Caramel and Pecans from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pancetta & Goat Cheese Crostinis from Country Girl in the Village
- New Year’s Brezel from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Sweet and Savory Mixed Nuts from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts from Pies and Plots
- Champagne Shrimp and Pasta from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Main Dishes & Sides
- Minestrone Any Way from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Pecan-Crusted Rainbow Trout from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Mushroom Risotto from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Zapiekanka (Polish ‘pizza’) from Curious Cuisiniere
- Hoppin’ John for Good Luck from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Italian Vegetable Soup from The Foodie Army Wife
- Chicken stuffed with Mozzarella and Prosciutto from Family Foodie
- Black-Eye Pea and Greens Casserole and Wine Pairings from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Desserts & Drinks
- Candied Bacon Bourbon Bloody Mary from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Peanut & Pretzel Bark from Killer Bunnies, Inc.
- Cherry Almond Blondies from Mess Makes Food
- Apricot Fizz from Magnolia Days
- Celebration Mimosas from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Dark Chocolate Cake Doughnuts from What Smells So Good?
- Gluten Free Cronuts from No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
- Spiked Cranberry Apple Crisp from Neighborfood
- Blood Orange Mimosas from Take A Bite Out of Boca
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.