Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Budget-Stretching Minestrone Soup

When you're short on groceries with hungry tummies to feed, this is an easy-fix soup that doesn't take a lot of time. This is a recipe that uses up all those bits and pieces a frugal kitchen has in the freezer or pantry, such as pasta, canned beans or cooked from dry, broth made from leftover chicken & beef bits, tomato sauce, and small amounts of leftover vegetables.

Ministrone Soup
serves 6-8

8 cups of broth (I used 6 cups beef and 2 cups chicken made from a combination of homemade from the freezer and instant bullion)
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce (or leftover spaghetti sauce)
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, or about 2 cups cooked beans made from dry
olive oil
1 pound italian sausage in casing (I used medium spicy)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup frozen green beans
2 cups dry pasta, any shape you like (I used campanelle)

In a soup pot, combine broth, tomato sauce and beans. Set over a low flame.

Meanwhile, set a saucepan over medium heat and fry sausage in olive oil until well browned. Remove sausage to a cutting board; add onion to saucepan to saute. Cut sausage into slices and add to broth mixture.

When onion is transparent, add garlic and oregano; saute for one minute longer then ladle some of the broth mixture into the saucepan. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return everything to the soup pot.

Add green beans (and any additional vegetables you may wish); bring to a boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until pasta is done (refer to pasta package directions for exact timing).

Serve and enjoy.

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