And now, on with the recipe. This week, I've got another yummy and healthy soup that's easy to make and freezes well. Split the batch in half or make a double batch (depending on how many people you're feeding), cook half now and freeze the rest. This cooks either in the crockpot for half a day or just on the stove in only half an hour or so.
I don't remember where or when I got this recipe. From a magazine I read a long, long time ago (pre-internet; that long ago!), I think. I used to make it a lot, but making the meatballs by hand got to be too much work so I quit making it. Then I discovered pre-made, pre-cooked meatballs at the grocery store, so I dusted off this recipe and started making it again. Much easier now! That's it in the picture; that was actually my lunch today! It tastes great left over.
Easy Meatball Minestrone
- About 1 pound of Italian-style meatballs (pre-made from the grocery store, or make your own if you want)
- 1 - 15 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (I use crushed tomatoes because, as I said last week, I don't like bits of cooked tomato in my food. Yes, I'm a picky eater)
- 1 - 15 oz can red beans or red kidney beans, with liquid (don't drain the beans; the liquid from the beans adds great flavor and texture to the soup)
- 1 - 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, with liquid
- chopped onion to taste
- 1 cup (or more) carrot slices
- 1 large zucchini, sliced (I cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut each half into half-circle slices)
- 1 cup (or more) fresh or frozen green beans
- you can also add sliced cabbage, chopped spinach, whatever vegetables you like, even celery (yuck)
- 1/4 t. garlic powder (or equivalent of fresh minced garlic, but I'm doing the easy version here)
- 1/2 t. dried basil (or equivalent amount of fresh)
- 4 c. beef broth
Dump it all in a pot or the crockpot and cook until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked/heated through. If you freeze a batch, don't add the broth yet; only add the broth when you put the soup on to cook. To freeze, put the soup (minus broth) in a freezer zippy bag, press out the extra air, seal, and lay flat in the freezer. Also write on the bag what it is and when you made it, so it doesn't turn into the mystery bag that's in there for years. And that you need to add broth for cooking.
I suppose you could also add pasta to the soup. I would only do that when the soup is cooking, to cook the pasta just long enough for it to be done but not overcooked.
To serve, I like to sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on my bowl of soup, and serve hot French bread or garlic toast on the side.