My husband has been away for work the last couple of days (in NJ and Philly eating good pizza and cheesesteaks – lucky him!!) and I’ll admit, when he’s away I really don’t cook too much. I wish I could tell you that my kids love my cooking and eat what I make them, but they don’t. My daughter is young enough to try almost anything and eat it happily, but my 4 year old will not budge when I beg and plead with him to try something new. So I really don’t make too much of an effort to do any major cooking when its just me and the kids. We eat lots of sandwiches and English Muffin pizzas and such. Nothing special.
Today, something got me in the mood to cook. Maybe it’s knowing that Larry will be home late tonight and will probably be hungry after his flight. Maybe it was the lack of cooking for the past 3 days…and the fully stocked veggie drawer calling my name. But let’s be real, it doesn’t take much to get me in the mood to cook. I had picked up some zucchini, squash and fresh spinach at the farmer’s market over the weekend and it was time to cook it up. I needed some good comfort food and minestrone soup was it.
Have you ever tried this polenta?
You can find it in the produce section of your grocery store. I discovered it years ago but haven’t bought it in a while. I had some in the fridge for a recipe that I didn’t get to…it went perfectly with my soup tonight. I grew up eating homemade polenta that my Nonno made, but have never made it myself. This product definitely doesn’t compare to homemade polenta, but it works for a quick side to a meal like this.
Recipe by Aggie
1 TB olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
2 – 3 carrots, chopped
small palm full dried oregano
small palm full dried thyme
small palm full dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large zucchini, chopped
2 squash, chopped
2 cans Italian diced tomatoes with liquid
1 can water (swirl around tomato cans)
1 can red kidney beans with liquid
1 can cannellini (white kidney) beans with liquid
4 – 5 cups fresh spinach
Polenta, sliced about 1/4″ thick
In large soup pot, heat 1 TB olive oil over medium high. Add onion, garlic, and ground beef to pot and start to brown. Add carrots and continue to cook until beef is completely cooked through and carrots are starting to soften. Add spices. Add salt and pepper, continuing to add and taste as you go along.
Add chopped vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes, adding a little more salt and pepper to taste. Add tomatoes and beans and stir to combine. Bring to boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Add spinach and stir so that it begins to wilt in the soup. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
In small nonstick pan, add sliced polenta rounds. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and cook for a few minutes on each side until slightly browned and crisp.
Serve soup with polenta rounds and Parmesan cheese.
PS…my daughter gobbled this soup up! My son tried it and cringed, then settled for English Muffin pizza stating that the soup was “grown up food” so he couldn’t eat it because he was only 4 years old.