Although it was bizaredly warm and we spent the day outside walking around a community farm (baby pigs couldn't possibly be any cuter), we're still smack dab in the middle of soup season.
This is a hearty (non-boring) minestrone with a funky and surprising twist: pesto. It's delicious, filling, low fat, and can be completely vegetarian/vegan if you opt for vegetable broth.
1 large onion, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pound (any variety) potatoes, cut in 1-inch chunks (no need to peel)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans beans (undrained; your choice, I used black and kidney)
1 (11-ounce) container prepared pesto (or a cup or so homemade)
4 cups chicken broth (can use vegetable)
1 cup frozen peas (to add later)
1 handful baby spinach (to add later)
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the veggies into the bottom of your slow cooker and add the entire can of tomatoes and both cans of beans. Pour in the pesto and broth. No additional seasoning is needed. Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the vegetables have fully cooked and softened and flavors have melded completely. stir well, and add frozen peas and a handful of spinach. Cook on high for another 10-15 min or until the peas are fully hot and the spinach has wilted.
I love how the pesto flavors this soup so fully---I didn't want to sprinkle on a bunch of cheese the way I sometimes do when eating soup. I first had pesto minestrone soup at an Italian restaurant on vacation--it was a starter, and I liked it better than the meal and knew I needed to make it at home.
I prefer to use spinach rather than kale in my minestrone (Adam hates kale. I can't persuade him otherwise, and have decided it's not something to fuss about) but if you'd like to use kale (it's traditional), the directions are exactly the same.
I have completed the very first webTV interview with Kim Demmon, of Today's Creative Blog. It took a while to figure out the software, but Kim was SO wonderfully patient, and hopefully things will continue to get easier and easier.
Thank you for your suggestions for interviewees---I've got them all written down and plan on making my way down the list.
Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and emails about my Good Morning America appearance. I had the best time ever, and am so happy that it went smoothly on all accounts and that I'm home again with the kids.
and the laundry.