Comfort in the Cold

I found this recipe i had cut out of Family Circle mag, years ago....Minestrone Soup. I have a problem, though. There are only a few recipes i follow, most i alter....a bit more of this or less of that , I usually receive praise and empty plates/bowls i continue.

I will share both versions with you...the orignial
and the tweaked. Either way, both are good, one is just a bit thicker with a touch more herbs.

Two large onion, chopped fine, carrots cut into thin coins...2 or 3, 1 1/2 c. chopped celery, 2 med sized chopped zucchini,cut into 1/2 inch chunks= 1 1/2 cups, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/3 canola oil...i know it sounds like a lot, i drain the oil off and pat some of the oil off the veggies, 1 pkgs (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, 1 can (14-15 oz) Italian style tomatoes, i usually get diced ones, 1 can (14oz) of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed, 1/2 tsp black pepper, a pinch of salt( I skip it, you'll see why later)1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil, both dried, can use fresh, but use more, 1 can chicken broth, 1/2 c. parmesan cheese.

1. Saute onions, carrots, celery, zucchini in oil when they start to appear translucent, add minced
garlic. This step takes about 5min, then add garlic.
2. Remove veggies with a slotted spoon to a large pot, than add tomatoes and all the liquid, add spinach, beans, pepper and herbs and dash of salt, stir gently and put on low heat.
3. Now put in chicken broth...i use a bouillon cube and add a bit more water =3cups. Bring this
now to a boil; then lower heat and simmer on low for 30min. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and my family likes garlic bread.

Okay, I follow above guidelines, but i add a bag of frozen bell peppers, red, yellow and green and a small frozen bag of green beans, i don't add salt, i add 1/2 a jar of tomato sauce I use Classico
Tomato and Basil, i also add 1 1/2tsps of oregano and basil. I add all the ingredient in the soup,
but if i didn't have zucchini, i would substitute something else.

My family loves this soup, it is thick, chunky and satisfying. I thought i would hear complaints,
not a one. You could substitute pasta for beans, a different kind of bean, more or less veggies, different ones, that you like. I let it cook longer than, 30 min on low, and it still is good!

I hope you will try it, it does satisfy the soul, when the window panes are fogged and you are trying to eat more healthy, since the calendar turned.