Seriously, the irony is not lost on me that I am providing you with recipes. For a number of reasons I am about the last person to provide information on cooking. Here is why:
1. I generally do not like to spend more than thirty minutes in the kitchen as it does not take the people I cook for thirty minutes to eat what I have prepared. It takes them five minutes. I like a balance between the time I put into a project and what I get out of a project. (Yes, I call cooking a project). I will put in more time when I have company as the time it takes them to eat the food is more than five minutes.
2. I am a gourmet reader of cookbooks. I am not a gourmet cook. I am barely a cook. I hardly ever follow a recipe. The fact that I have fed my family for about thirty years and they have not died from malnutrition gives me a gold star in my book.
3. I generally do not use a recipe that calls for more than five ingredients or has more than three steps.
4. I hate to clean up after I cook.
So, what makes today’s recipe special (blissful even, since that is the topic of the year)? It has more than five ingredients. It has more than three steps. It is not quite gourmet but pretty darn close for me. But it is soup so it makes more than one meal. It is healthy and my husband likes it. Usually those two phrases do not go together.
I must warn you that when I provide recipes—they are sometimes written down quickly, the steps truncated, and they are not triple tested by me. They are maps, not definite trips. But I try to be as clear as I can be. Without further ado, here is a recipe I enjoyed at my sister’s, wrote down, and made. It is good and warming on a winter day:
White Bean and Spinach Soup
2 tsp. of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch hot pepper flakes
1 – 19 oz. can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups of chicken stock or 1 – 10 oz. tin chicken broth plus water to make up 5 cups
½ cup small pasta (macaroni, stars or wheels)
3/4 lb. fresh chopped spinach or 10 oz. frozen
1 tomato diced
Salt and pepper to taste (always feel so creative when something is to “taste”)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I used dried—certainly not 2 tbsp though)
1. Cook onion, garlic, and hot pepper flakes on low until tender (of course I cooked them on high—I cook everything on high—though I am learning to turn the heat down).
2. Add beans and stock—bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper “to taste”. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes.
3. Puree soup and return to heat. (I did not puree, but mashed it a bit). Add pasta and cook 5-10 minutes or until tender. Soup will thicken.
4. Add fresh spinach and cook until just wilted – 2 – 3 minutes. (Frozen—I suppose you thaw it out— I used fresh).
5. Add tomato.
I don’t know where the parsley came in— guess I did not write it down. Since I used dry—I am sure I just threw it in with the spinach. Most of you are more highly developed cooks then I, so you make the decision.
Makes six servings.
I love this soup, though I am pretty sure I only added about half of the fresh spinach. My husband loved it—so that was a super bonus. It is good for you too. Nutrition can be bliss.
Do you have a healthy recipe that tastes really, really good?