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Dinner Guests…Soup to the rescue!

At Elevate, we make friends who become family, and occasionally we are blessed with the time to get together for what we call “family dinner.” Someone will say “We need family dinner” and that means we go to someone’s house for a casual, family style meal and soul filling conversation. (Trying to stay away from work talk is hard!) 


I love when I get to host family dinner at my house, but the truth is, pre-planned “dinner parties” stress me out. I’m not a Pinterest- worthy table setter, and usually my house looks like a tornado hovered inside of it for a day or two! Thanks to today’s recipe, our last family dinner was a huge so-stress success. I made the soup on Monday and hid it in the garage refrigerator. Dinner on Wednesday was a breeze and the leftovers were perfect to take to work for lunch the next day. Win-win!


My co-worker Dr. Kyle Buth and his wife Dr.Kelsie Buth were my family dinner guests, bringing a healthy-ish dessert of fresh fruit dipped in the most sinfully delicious melted Ghirardelli dark chocolate! (True story – Kyle and Kelsie’s first home in Las Vegas was with me, so family dinners were an almost daily thing!) 
This recipe was a family dinner homerun. 


Continuing the February theme of soup, this minestrone soup is loaded with fresh vegetables and seasoned with tasty herbs and spices. It also includes small shaped pasta. I’m not a pasta fan, so I didn’t add the pasta into the soup, but served it on the side for those who wanted it – a good tip for anyone trying to lower their carb intake. I did the same with cooked, cut up chicken breast meat for an optional extra protein punch. 


Take the time to bring back the tradition of family dinner with those VIPs in your life. It’s important. And serve soup!

MINESTRONE SOUP

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 ounces canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups low sodium vegetable stock or low sodium chicken stock
30 ounces canned no salt added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 TBLSP tomato paste
2 TBLSP minced dried basil
2 TBLSP minced dried oregano
2 TBLSP minced Italian parlsey
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage*
3/4 cup diced zucchini *
1 tsp salt (optional - plenty of salt in the canned ingredient)
1/2 tsp pepper
8 ounces small cooked pasta (elbow macaroni, bow ties/farfalle, rotini/fusilli, or penne)**

Directions:
-Add the garlic, diced and crushed tomato, celery, onions, carrots, stock, beans, tomato paste, basil and spices to a 4 quart slow cooker. 
- Cook on low heat for 6 - 8 hours. 
- Add the shredded cabbage and zucchini, and turn on high for the last hour.
- Stir in salt and pepper.
- Add pasta before serving, or leave it out as a option for a lower carb soup.

* I’m pretty sure I added almost twice as much cabbage and zucchini as called for because I’m a vegetable-aholic. 
**I used Penne pasta made with chickpea flour from Banza

This recipe is from the “Everything Healthy SLow Cooker Cookbook” by Rachel Rappaport, with B.E. Horton, MS, RD

Zoe AlbrightComment