Comfort Food

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Pork Adobo

Simple Clean and Homemade I Pork Adobo 4

I am so sorry I have been gone for over a week now. I have really missed all of you and am really excited about some things that I want to share with you in the next few weeks. We have been super busy. Like, Monday I realized I bought two Christmas presents and had not made any plans or ideas to find any more. Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Justin Timberlake concert with my best friend. It was so good. He is a phenomenal entertainer. Seriously, he can sing, dance, play the guitar, and play the piano. Wow. Today, because we did not spend the day at my parents’ house, we finally got tons of errands crossed off our list including almost all Christmas shopping.

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After our snowy trip home on Saturday, I have come to realize that it really is going to be winter in just a few days. Hibernation mode is in full swing. Hibernation mode means more comfort food. Stuff that roasts in the oven most of the day, filling the house with yummy smells. Pork Adobo does just that. I have to warn you, this is not done in the traditional manner. I did it how I like to cook pork, but with the same spices as the traditional Filipino dish. One of the unique ingredients is palm vinegar. It can be found in Asian grocery stores and is very inexpensive. It really adds that special something.

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I like to make this the day before we are going to eat it. I heat it in a skillet over medium heat with about 1/4-1/2 cup of water. To add some spice for this of us who like heat, I add a small amount of hot chili oil. Then, I heat it until it has a nice sauce and serve it over rice. I use brown rice which is not traditional, but what we enjoy in our home. Then, I sprinkle a little cilantro over top. It freezes well and can be reheated in the same manner once it is defrosted.

Pork Adobo

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 hours

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 3 pound pork shoulder, cubed and salted
  • olive oil
  • 1 light colored beer
  • 6-10 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup palm vinegar or white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, squeezed with your hands
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 green onions, diced


Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks. Sprinkle with salt.

Allow the meat to come to room temperature.

Heat oil in a dutch oven (at least 5 quarts). Brown the meat on all sides. This may need to be done in batches, depending on the size of your pan.

Remove the pork and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the beer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and then scrape the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Add the bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, tomatoes, soy sauce, and vinegar. Return the pork to the pan.

Heat the oven to 350. Place the dutch oven in the oven without a lid for about 3 hours stirring every 30 to 60 minutes. When most of the moisture is gone, add the sliced onions and green onions. You may need to add 1/2 cup of water. Return to the oven until the onions are fully cooked and most of the water is gone.

Serve over rice.

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Arroz con Pollo

Simple Clean and Homemade I first snow

Happy first snowfall! Above is what I woke up to this morning. It was a winter wonderland outside with snow, ice, and cold. The perfect day to snuggle under a warm blanket on the couch and watch tons of old movies. If only that was what really happened today. While I didn’t get to spend the whole day under a blanket, I did get to snuggle a little longer this morning. I had to be at work 45 minutes later than usual today. It was so relaxing and luxurious to get to spend a little time relaxing before work and enjoying my coffee and french toast breakfast casserole.

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Today was the perfect day to make a giant batch of arroz con pollo or chicken with rice. If you are unfamiliar, it is rice and chicken simmered with tons of peppers, garlic, onion, garlic, and carrots. The flavor is so homey. It is classic comfort food.

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We have made this twice. I found that the best way to do it is to par cook the rice. I only cook with brown rice. We buy the giant bag from the Asian grocery store. It takes a really long time to cook. I didn’t par cook it the first time and had a minor kitchen fail because of my impatience. If you are more patient than I am, you will have to increase the water to 2 1/2 cups or 3 cups. But do not turn up the heat. It will for sure burn on the bottom. I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch.

Arroz con Pollo

by Jessica

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 hours

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 1 1/2 cup long grain brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 8 chicken thighs (remove the skins after browning)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 poblano peppers, diced
  • 2-4 jalapeño peppers, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup light colored beer
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 5-6 threads saffron
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • cilantro
  • green onions
  • lime wedges for garnish


In a rice cooker, cook the brown rice with about half as much of the water as directed and 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon.

In a large skillet or Dutch Oven, heat the oil on medium high. Salt the chicken and brown it on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and all but about 1 tablespoon of fat. Sauté all the vegetables until soft. Add the garlic, paprika, bouillon, and saffron to the pan. Deglaze with the beer. Cook about 3 minutes. Add the rice and chicken back to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add more water if needed.

Garnish with lime, green onions, and cilantro. Serve hot.

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Simple Clean and Homemade I applesauce

We all have something we love when we are sick. When I was a kid and the nurse sent me home from school, my grandma was almost always the person to pick me up from school. She knew just how to make me feel better at her house. She always put sheets and pillows on her couch with a fuzzy blanket. There was tons of water or tea and the best toast ever. She always got fresh Italian bread for the toast and to this day I do not know how she made it so yummy. One of my favorite things that she did was make fresh applesauce. I loved having warm applesauce with the cold butter on my crunchy toast.

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Today I want to share with you her “recipe” for applesauce. I use the term loosely because it is more of a guideline than a recipe. Mine is a little different than hers because I use almost no sugar. You should make it to your palate. I like tons of cinnamon, so I add it.

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She always had thick and chunky applesauce. To me, the chunks make it taste and feel homemade, especially when it is warm. If you do not like chunks, pick apples that will not stay chunky to make your sauce. I typically use the seconds mixture from our local apple orchard to have a variety of flavors and textures. Use what you like best. And try it when your favorite person is sick. It is instant comfort.


by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (3 pints)

  • half peck of apples (mixture of varieties), peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1-3 tablespoons sugar


In a 6 quart sauce pan, add apples and water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium until bubbling. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the apples have reduced and is your desired consistency. Add the sugar to taste and cinnamon. Allow to cook for a 3-5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Simple Clean and Homemade I Chicken Dumpling Soup 3

I still can’t really believe it is fall. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that summer was just starting. I really am not ready for cold weather and shorter days. I can get myself a little more enthusiastic about cool, crisp weather by reminding myself of warm, fuzzy sweaters and boots. To survive cooler weather, I think we all need a little comfort. There isn’t much more comforting than a hot bowl of soup on a crisp fall day. Luckily, some soups are fast and easy enough to make on a weeknight to enjoy during the week.

Simple Clean and Homemade I Chicken Dumpling Soup

Chicken Dumpling soup reminds me of a little restaurant near my parents’ house. I specifically went there for the the Chicken Dumpling Soup. When I discovered it closed a few years ago I was very disappointed. It inspired me to create my own version. It is still just as comforting and only takes about an hour to make. It is something that I can make on a whim when we are craving soup.

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I like to pack this soup with tons of spinach. We love spinach in soups, So I put much more in it than in the recipe. Feel free to add more spinach. I love the texture of wilted spinach when I am eating soup. That coupled with the texture of the fluffy yet slightly doughy dumplings gives this soup the texture that I love.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 stocks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • water
  • 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat a 6 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Add oil to the pan and cook the chicken until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and cook the carrot, celery, and onion until soft. Add the bouillon, bay leaf, and about 4 cups water. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add spinach.

In a bowl, combine flour, cilantro, baking powder, salt, and milk to form a dough. Drop small amounts of dough into the soup and cook an additional 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

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A few months ago, a friend from work had a baby shower for her son and daughter in law. It was so exciting getting ready for it and discussing all the details. She decided to have a mashed potato bar. So, we spent a lot of time discussing topping options. I suggested meatloaf meatballs. I had to try it almost immediately.

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This is my version of the meatloaf meatballs. I made them a few months ago and froze them in a zip top bag. It ended up being several meals for us of the course of a few months. Each time, I made mushroom gravy and then simmered the meatloaf meatballs in the gravy. I served them over mashed potatoes.

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The thing I like the most about this is that it is freezable and already in individual serving sizes. That makes it perfect for a quick dinner or a party. If you want to try a mashed potato bar, I highly recommend it. It was a genius idea.

Meatloaf Meatballs

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Keywords: bake entree appetizer


Ingredients (2-3 dozen meatballs)

    For the Meatloaf

    • 2 pounds ground meat (I use beef)
    • 1/2 onion diced
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
    • salt
    • pepper

    For the Gravy

    • 10-12 crimini mushrooms
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 1 tablespoon beef better than bouillon
    • pepper to taste


    For the Meatloaf

    Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into meatball shapes and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 or until cooked through. Allow to cool. Serve or freeze in a zip top bag.

    For the Gravy

    In a medium skillet, cook the mushrooms until browned. Salt to taste. Add remaining oil and flour. Whisk in cups water. Add the beef bouillon and cook until thickened. Add the meatloaf and serve.

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    Cinnamon rolls are intoxicating. Just the smell of them causes people to swoon. Add some frosting (or a lot of frosting) and they are almost irresistible. Maybe it’s the cinnamon, or the butter, or the frosting. I don’t know exactly. Perhaps it is the combination of all of those things. I remember when the outlet mall was first built near my parents’ house. There was a Cinnabon store on the end of the food court. Each time we would walk by, the enticing smell would lure us in. My mom often bought one for us to split.I remember them being warm and comforting, gooey, and buttery, with tons of whipped cream cheese frosting.

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    I personally believe that cinnamon rolls are best served slightly warm. Mostly because it makes them so moist. These cinnamon rolls are moist served cold or warm. The pumpkin really makes the dough very soft and moist. Just a bit of a warning, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are not the pumpkin flavor from the fall. They mostly just taste like a regular cinnamon roll, but more moist.

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    Making these take a little bit of time, but the commitment is totally worth it.

    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

    Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

    Keywords: bake breakfast dessert


    Ingredients (12 cinnamon rolls)

      For the Dough

      • 3/4 cup milk
      • 1/4 cup butter
      • 1/4 cup sugar
      • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
      • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
      • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
      • 3 cups all purpose flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt

      For the Filling

      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1 cup brown sugar
      • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
      • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


      For the Dough

      Put 1/4 cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.

      In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk for about 1 minute. The temperature should be between 110 and 115 degrees. If it is too hot, allow it to cool. If it is too cool, heat more.

      Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer on top of the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.

      Once the yeast is foamy. Add the cinnamon and pumpkin to the bowl. Begin mixing on low and gradually add the flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead for about 5 minutes in the stand mixer.

      Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place the dough ball in a clean, greased bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm, moist place. (I put it in the cold oven with the light on with a small pan of boiling water.)

      The dough should double in size (1-1.5 hours).

      For the Filling

      With a mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

      Roll out the dough into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough leaving a 1/2 in strip on one side.

      Roll the cinnamon roll into a long strip ending with the part that does not have any filling. Squeeze the roll to make it longer if desired and to seal it.

      Cut into 12 pieces. Place cut side down in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Cover with a clean dish towel.

      Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place the cinnamon rolls on top to continue rising for 30 minutes.

      Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.

      Ice with your favorite frosting or icing (I like cream cheese frosting). Enjoy!

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      Cream Cheese Frosting

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 10 minutes


      Ingredients (Frosting for 12 cupcakes)

      • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
      • 1/2 cup butter, softened
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla
      • pinch salt
      • 3-4 cups powdered sugar


      Combine ingredients beating for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy.

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      Foodie Friends Friday

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      Oh, Meatloaf.

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      I had to come up with a way to make it less of a giant hunk of meat and more of a healthy, tasty treat. I decided to mix the beef with jedra. Jedra is like a pilaf made with bulgur and lentils with garlic and onions. It adds a delicious flavor to the meatloaf that I had never tasted before. It is not as dense as an all meat dish, with tons of flavor and fiber.

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      This is a great meatloaf to try for meatloaf haters. Top it with some simple pan gravy. Serve it ail mashed potatoes and green beans!

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      My meatloaf tip: Make the meatloaf in advance (like the night before you plan to eat it). It is easier to slice when it is cold. You can reheat it in a pan on medium heat. The outside of the slices get caramelized and it heats quickly.

      Meatloaf with Bulgur and Lentils

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

      Keywords: bake entree beef lentils bulgur fall winter

      Ingredients (6-8 servings)

      • 3/4 pound super lean ground beef
      • 2 cups jedra (see recipe)
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
      • 3 pieces of bread, torn into small pieces
      • 1/2 cup milk
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • juice from small can stewed tomatoes
      • stewed tomatoes
      • green pepper, sliced


      Heat oven to 400.

      In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except stewed tomatoes and green pepper. Mix to combine. It should be moist but not soupy. If it is too moist, add more bread or breadcrumbs.

      Put mixture in a loaf pan. Top with stewed tomatoes and green peppers. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

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      Let’s talk cereal. As a kid, I loved many cereals, but my parents would never buy them. I had to go to Grandma’s house for the good stuff. I’m talking about Cocoa Krispies, Fruit Loops, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

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      Oh the delicious, sugary cereals. They were such a treat. I may have picked what I wanted at the time based on the prizes. I think my favorite was Cinnamon Toast Crunch, though. I would pick it even without an awesome prize.

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      When I had the idea to make cereal treats with different cereals, I wanted to take my favorite cereal flavors and make delicious treats. So, we made a bunch of different treats.

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      Corn Pops Treats

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      Fruit Loops Treats

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      Rice Crispy Treats

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      Lucky Charms Treats

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      Lucky Charms Treats

      My favorite treats were the classic rice crispy treats, cinnamon toast crunch, and cocoa crispies. It’s not real a surprise because those were also my favorite cereals as a child. You can use any cereals that you enjoy. It is the same basic recipe. I can imagine having a table of different cereal treats at a birthday party.

      Cereal Treats

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 5 minutes

      Cook Time: 10 minutes

      Ingredients (16 treats)

      • 3 tablespoons butter
      • 10 ounce bag marshmallows
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 6 cups cereal

      For Cocoa Crispies

      • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

      For Cinnamon Toast Crunch

      • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


      In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.

      Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray.

      Add the marshmallows, stirring frequently to melt. When melted, add the vanilla (cinnamon or cocoa powder for other cereals). Stir to combine. Add the cereal and stir to combine.

      Place in an 8×8 that is lined with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Do not use waxed paper.

      Use another piece of parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spayed. Press down on the treats to compress and form to the pan. Allow to cool before cutting.

      To store, do not stack. Place in an air-tight container lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

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      Foodie Friends Friday


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      After making this salad, we had quite a bit of flank steak left. So, the next morning we decided to make a breakfast that incorporated the leftover steak. While I really make an effort to not eat eggs, I had to make something to go with the steak that I could eat while Pierre could eat an egg.

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      I decided on grits despite having made them one other time in the past. The last time I made them was before we got married. It was a fail in my opinion and I decided at that point that I didn’t like them. I have since eaten grits in several restaurants. They are creamy and delicious. This time, I read tons of recipes and tips before venturing into grits again.

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      The cheesy grits were super successful. They are cheesy and creamy. I can see why so many people enjoy them. This was the perfect breakfast on a Sunday morning and would be even better with some veggies or spinach.

      Cheesy Grits

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 5 minutes

      Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

      Ingredients (2-4 servings)

      • 1 1/4 cup milk
      • 1 cup water
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup cornmeal
      • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
      • 1 tablespoon butter
      • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese


      In a small sauce pan, add milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Cover and cook on low. Whisk every two minutes to prevent sticking. When creamy, whisk in butter and cheese. Serve immediately.

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      Asian Marinated Flank Steak

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time: 8 minutes

      Keywords: grill entree

      Ingredients (4-8 servings)

      • 1 to 1 1/2 pound flank steak
      • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
      • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
      • handful chopped cilantro
      • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
      • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
      • 1/3 cup soy sauce


      Place the flank steak in a zip-top bag. Stab the steak with a fork 20-30 times. Add remaining ingredients to the bag. Seal and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

      Remove from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking.

      Heat the grill until very hot. Cook the steak on the grill for 4 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook an additional 3 minutes for medium rare (125 degrees). Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Slice against the grain and serve.

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      I really, really love soup. I may even hoard it a little wee bit in our extra freezer. My favorite soups are usually the ones that are packed with vegetables. I like to get in a few servings in one comforting bowl.

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      I had never tasted minestrone soup until a few years ago when we were out to dinner. It was the soup of the day at a restaurant. I ordered it only because I was so cold. It was love at first taste. I realized very quickly that this soup is just a vegetable soup with Italian-style seasonings. I like to use marina sauce in the base to give it a rich flavor. The most important part of this recipe however, is the cheese that I stir in to the broth at the end of cooking. It gives the broth a rich, salty complexity.

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      This soup can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock. It can be gluten free if you just leave out the pasta (I like it better that way). This soup freezes well and makes an excellent work lunch.

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      Minestrone Soup

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Cook Time: 2 hours

      Ingredients (8-12 servings)

      • 1 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 onion, diced
      • 2-3 carrots diced
      • orange pepper, diced
      • yellow pepper, diced
      • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
      • 1 Idaho potato, chopped
      • 1 sweet potato, chopped
      • 16 oz marinara sauce
      • 4 cups vegetable or chicen stock
      • 12 ounces green beans
      • 1/2 bag veggies for soup
      • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
      • salt to taste
      • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
      • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
      • parmesan cheese rind
      • 2 handfuls parmesan cheese


      In a medium stockpot, cook onion over medium until tender in olive oil. Add carrot and cook until tender. Add peppers and mushrooms, cooking until softened.

      Add potatoes, green beans, marinara, paprika, chili flakes, and stock. Cook until heated then add veggies for soup.

      Allow to simmer with the parmesan rind until all veggies are cooked through.

      Add parmesan stirring constantly when combining and beans and cook an additional 10- 20 minutes.

      Stir in pre cooked pasta like ditalini before serving.

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