Italian Vegetable Soup

Living in Iowa teaches you to respect the weather. It was in the 40’s yesterday … a gorgeous day that makes you think of spring and grilling. Today, we woke up to a full-blown blizzard with 6-12 inches of snow on the way … which would be fun if it weren’t for the 30-35 mph wind gusts. That’s not grilling weather … that’s soup weather!

When the forecast predicted this storm, I made sure the ingredients to make this soup were on hand.

SOUP TIP: Almost all soup is better if it is allowed to rest for one day.

For many people, days like these require …

– leaving earlier than usual to account for their increased commute time to work
– putting in a full day at work
– arriving home later than usual to clear their driveways and sidewalks

Sitting down to a bowl of hearty, healthy, HOT soup defines comfort.

I credit this recipe to my mother-in-law. She introduced me to all kinds of new recipes and I loved adding her discoveries to my collection. I have modified this one over the years, but I always think of the first time she made this for us. It is my go-to recipe to make and deliver to friends who are going through difficult times. Never underestimate the power of prayer and a warm meal … especially a warm meal that has been blessed by prayer.


Italian Vegetable Soup

1 lb ground beef (or Italian sausage)
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp pepper

1 can (28-32 oz) tomatoes, diced, crushed or stewed
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1-2 can(s) (15 oz) beef broth
1 cup water
1 can (15 oz) cannellini, pinto, red kidney beans or any other canned bean
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (15 oz) green beans
1-2 cups shredded cabbage or chopped kale (optional)
Favorite pasta (fettuccine, penne, or whatever you have on hand)
Parmesan Cheese

Brown ground beef with onion and a little salt and pepper; drain. Add all ingredients except cabbage/kale, green beans (do include the liquid), pasta and Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covering pot partially with lid) for 20 minutes. Add cabbage (do not add kale at this point if substituting) and green beans. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender (about another 20 minutes). Cook pasta separately according to package directions and drain well. When ready to serve, place pasta (and a small handful of kale, if using) in soup bowl and cover with soup (separating the pasta from the soup keeps it from getting overcooked in the leftovers). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Side Note:  Just before publishing this blog, my editor (a.k.a. my oldest son) made a change that I almost didn’t find.  It looked like this …

1-2 cups shredded cabbage or chopped kale (optional … but, ew!)

My family isn’t always fond of all my healthy discoveries/modifications.  That’s why the kale is added into individual bowls.  There are enough vegetables is this soup … I won’t force them to eat kale.  They’ll come around eventually.

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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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