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.

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!*

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Candied Pecans

Jump into spring with an easy yet elegant spinach salad! This recipe is also great in the fall using pears and crumbled feta. Any leftover dressing can be refrigerated up to two weeks.

spinach salad with straweberries and candied pecans

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of spinach (spring mix will work too!)
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
  • 1 1/2 c. candied pecans
For the dressing:
  • 2/3 c. cider vinegar
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 t. prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 t. poppy seeds

Directions

To candy the pecans:

Melt 3 T. butter in a non-stick pan. Add pecans and toast for two minutes. Add 3 T. brown sugar and a dash each of cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Stir until sugar dissolves into a syrup. Transfer nuts and syrup to wax paper to harden. Break apart once cooled if needed.

For the salad:

Combine spinach, strawberries and cooled candied pecans. Blend together dressing ingredients; drizzle desired amount over the top of the salad and serve.