WOYP Day #68 Quick & Easy Minestrone


We’ve had cooler days and a lot of rain these past couple of weeks and I feel Fall is coming too early! This year sees to have whooshed by.. can’t believe we are already halfway through September!!

It was pouring cats and dogs all day today and all I could think of was Soup!! My first choice was this Tomato soup but then I began to crave something more filling and hearty…in comes a family fav.. Minestrone! This is my only soup of choice whenever I visit Olive Garden.

I couldn’t thank my stars enough for making me pick up Zucchini & Spinach on my grocery run yesterday, Minestrone today was meant to be haha! And I’m always stocked on canned beans so this was easy peasy. You also get a fair share of veggies and carbs, all in one big comforting bowl...yumm!

You will need:

2 tbsp Olive oil (I use extra-virgin)
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 Red onion, chopped (can use yellow or white onion)
1/2 cup Green beans, cut into 1” pieces (or smaller)
1 (8oz) can Red Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 large Roma tomatoes, cubed
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach, washed
1/2 cup Zucchini, cut into thin discs
1/2 cup Macaroni pasta (or any small pasta)
Salt to taste
1 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Black pepper
Water as needed (or Vegetable stock if available)

Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Usually the pasta is cooked along with the rest of the ingredients but to speed things up I had the pasta cooking on one burner while I sautéed veggies on another burner.  Two pots I know, but I really needed this soup quick! :D I cooked the pasta only for 8 minutes in salted boiling water since the pasta will continue to cook in the soup. You don’t want over cooked mushy pasta!! Save the pasta water to thin the soup out. 

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds, taking care not to burn it. Add the chopped carrots and onions. Saute until onions are soft. Now add the green beans (I used frozen) and cubed tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Now stir in the red kidney beans and zucchini. Cook for a minute, then add plain water and pasta water (or vegetable stock) as needed and the cooked pasta. Season with salt to taste, pepper and the oregano. Remember the pasta water has salt too, so check for salt before adding more. Combine and bring to a rolling bowl on medium heat. Lower heat and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Lastly stir in the spinach and turn off heat. The hot soup will cook the spinach. 



Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese if using. Serve warm. This was soooo comforting and perfect for the rainy evening. Enjoyed every bit of it though I did miss the Garlic breadsticks to dunk in the soup, hmmm that is for another day! :D 

Another version of the Minestrone here.

WOYP Day #67 Red Beans,Chickpeas& Oats Burgers with Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges

It’s been a while since I made burgers and even longer since I made Potato wedges so last night we had these wholesome Red Beans, Chickpeas and Oats Burgers and Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges on the side. My boys ate 2 burgers each and I didn’t hear any complaints about any of the ingredients so this was a big win haha! I often eat Whole Grain Rolled Oats for breakfast, soaked in milk and topped with loads of fresh fruit, honey and chopped nuts- almonds/ roasted cashews or unsalted pistachios. The boys don't like the texture and simply won't take a bite so I figured a great way to get in the goodness of Oats is to disguise it and give it to them in something they love - Burgers! :D 

If you own a food processor, and have canned beans on hand, this comes together in less than 10 minutes. If you don't have a food processor, you will need to chop the onions, garlic and grate the carrots. The beans are mashable by hand using a potato masher. The rolled Oats can be pulsed in a blender.

Red beans, Chickpeas & Oats Burgers:
You will need:

1 (8oz) can Red kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8oz) can Chickpeas (Garbanzo), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup red onion
4 pods Garlic (I used 3 large cut into pieces)
1 small carrot, peeled
1 tsp Black pepper powder
1 tsp Red chili flakes
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Oregano
3 tbsp Organic Whole grain rolled Oats (regular if you don’t have Organic)
2 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped

Panko Japanese style bread crumbs
Oil for shallow frying

Burger buns
Unsalted Butter,as needed
Cheese slices (Cheddar or any variety)
Fresh Avacado, thinly sliced
Tomato, sliced
Hot sauce (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor, using the shredder blade, grate the carrot. Add the onion and pulse. Now add the drained, rinsed red kidney beans and chickpeas, garlic, salt, red chili flakes,black pepper powder, oregano and Oats. Run on low speed for 15-20 seconds until everything is combined. Remove to a bowl and stir in the chopped cilantro. Refrigerate the mix for an hour. 

Butter the buns and toast on a pan. Shape the burger mix into patties. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan. Roll each patty in panko bread crumbs and place in the hot oil. Panko bread crumbs are larger crumbs and make for a crisp coating when cooked. Cook each patty on medium heat for 1-2  minutes on each side, until crisp. 

Remove to a plate. If assembling burgers immediately, place a slice of cheese on the hot patty.

To assemble - Spread two teaspoons of mayonnaise and hot sauce (is using) on the bun halves. Place 3 slices of tomato on the bottom half of the bun, top with the prepared burger patty with the cheese. Top with sliced avocado and then place the other half of the burger bun on top. Serve warm.

Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges:
These gorgeous wedges are hard to resist! Leaving the skins on makes them rustic and crispy. 

You will need:
4 medium Potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Unsalted butter
1 tbsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Black pepper powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Oregano
2 tbsp Parmesan, grated
2 tsp Cilantro chopped

Preheat oven to 400F.

Scrub the potatoes with the skins on, using a food scrubber under running water. Pat dry with a paper towel. Slice each potato lengthwise into 4 and then cut each piece into 3-4 wedges. 

Place wedges in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a smaller bowl. Add the oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, black pepper powder and oregano. Whisk to combine and pour over the wedges. Combine to coat evenly. Spread the wedges on a large baking sheet. Do not overcrowd and spread them out in a single layer. This will help crisp the wedges evenly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, flipping the wedges halfway through the baking. Remove from oven, sprinkle with parmesan while still hot and toss. Top with chopped cilantro. 

Serve warm with Burgers and a side of ketchup. 

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