To me, nothing soothes falling temperature better than a nice warm bowl of soup! Here in Chicagoland we had an amazing streak of warm weather for November. I think on Election day it even got into the 70’s! But now that streak is gone, and we might even be getting some flurries tonight. So since it feels more like fall here again, I thought I’d share some soups I made recently.

All these soups are super quick to make because I used box stocks, and canned beans. I love the convenience of the stocks, and always keep quite a few in my pantry. Gone are the days of the high sodium ones! Although nothing beats a good homemade stock, in a pinch you can have a good quality meal using these, and no one would know that you didn’t simmer it for hours!

Minestrone is a soup where any vegetable of your choice would be good. I always like to start out with my ” soffritto” of garlic, onions, carrots, and celery sauteed in olive oil. Add the herbs of your choice, and then, every thing else. My ingredients here were… 1 1/2 cans of cannellini beans… 1/2 can of chickpeas, all being rinsed and drained…1 14 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes… 4 0r 5 diced zucchini… 1 diced potato… baby spinach or chard…2 boxes of chicken stock, or veggie, (each box is 1 quart)… 1 cup or more, of parmesan cheese… dried thyme and a little rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, along with a little frozen pesto I had. When everything is all cooked together, in the end I would add your cooked pasta. Here I used ditalini.

Always finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and more grated cheese, a dollop of pesto or fresh basil!

Here you can use some leftover cooked ham, pancetta, or in this case I purchased a cooked ham steak, one that was good quality and not salty. Same “soffritto” as above… dried rosemary, basil, and thyme… 1 small can of fire roasted, or diced tomatoes… 2 boxes of stock… 2 to 3 cans of beans… I used great northern white beans, but navy would be good also… As it simmers the beans thicken the soup. Garnish with grated cheese and basil.

A 12 0z. bag of frozen artichoke hearts were used here, tossed in a pot with garlic and onion…
Seasoned with, salt, pepper and a little basil… Toss in about a box and a half of stock, or a quart and a half… Simmer till tender and soft. Pour everything into your food processor and puree it all till it’s nice and smooth. You can strain it if you want, I didn’t, but I like the texture, and besides it’s quicker!
Garnish with a dollop of pesto, and a reserved artichoke heart.
Have a great weekend, and Buon Appetito!