Summer Minestrone

Summer Minestrone
A bountiful garden is always a good thing but finding new ways to use up your crops at their peak can be difficult. If your crisper drawer or veggie storage is overflowing try this simple soup to use up your harvest, changing up the vegetables to suit what you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 2 c. diced carrots (1/2 inch)
  • 2 c. diced celery (1/2 inch)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 c. chopped zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2-15 oz. cans chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh too!)
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 15 oz. can white beans, drained
  • 2 c. cooked small pasta (such as elbows or small shells)
  • 1 bunch baby spinach or other green
  • Parmesan cheese and pesto for serving

Directions

Heat 2 T. of olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme; cook until veggies start to soften (about 8 minutes). Add tomatoes and chicken stock, flavor with bay leaf, 2-3 t. kosher salt and 1 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in squash, beans, cooked pasta and greens. Cook just until heated through and the greens have wilted slightly.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with grated parmesan and a spoonful of pesto for additional flavor.

Vegetable Baked Ziti

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-4
Need to use up veggies in your crisper drawer but tired of vegetable soup? Give this recipe for Vegetable Baked Ziti a try! The ingredients are easily customizable for any taste and the casserole can even be assembled a day in advance if you know you’ll be crunched for time. The recipe is written to use up what I had on hand but feel free to swap out vegetables as you’d like!

Ingredients

    Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-1

  • 12 oz. uncooked tube-shaped pasta, such as ziti or penne
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, shredded
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese as I had it on hand but use less salt as the sodium count in cottage cheese is a bit higher than ricotta!)
  • 1/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella

Directions

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-2Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 13×9 inch casserole dish.

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain.

Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and bell peppers to pan, cook for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Add zucchini and swiss chard, cook just until chard is wilted. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-3In a large bowl combine the pasta, the vegetable mixture, the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella. Transfer pasta/vegetable mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheeses are bubbly.

Serves 8

Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup

One of the benefits of winter overstaying its welcome this year is the extension of comfort food season! One of the greatest meals for cool, dreary days is chicken noodle soup with warm bread or biscuits. This recipe is quick, easy and could be increased to feed an army! While the recipe calls for raw chicken that is poached in step two, leftover chicken can be used making it even easier to get dinner on the table. Enjoy our extended cool-weather vegetable growing season!

rosemary chicken noodle soup

Ingredients

  • 4 c. cooked whole wheat egg noodles
  • rosemary-chicken-noodle-soup-1-sm1 T. olive oil
  • 2 t. salt, divided
  • 8 c. water
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 2 T. dried rosemary (great way to use last year’s harvest!)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast or thigh
  • 10 oz. shredded carrots
  • 6 oz. baby spinach (you can use any spring green you have in your garden!)
  • 1/3 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2 t. black pepper

Directions

Toss hot cooked noodles with oil and salt.

Combine water and the next five ingredients (through chicken) in a soup pot, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and cool slightly, reserving the cooking liquid. Shred the chicken using two forks.

Return cooking liquid to a simmer. Add shredded carrots and cook for 6 minutes, until carrots are softened. Add shredded chicken, parsley and spinach. Cook for 3 minutes or until spinach wilts.

Stir in noodles and lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for one minute.

Serve!

*Note- if you use pre-cooked chicken you can replace some or all of the water with chicken broth for extra flavor!*