Monday, March 14, 2011

Making An Effort Monday

In an effort to make more of the things I love -- good food, pretty things, and organized spaces -- I bring you Making An Effort Monday!

I LOVE soup.  I know, I know, sodium, but I try my hardest to lower the sodium in every soup recipe I come across so I feel less guilty about eating soup all the time.

I just tried this new soup, and I was geeked because the ingredients include KALE!!  I haven't had yummy soup with kale since I spent the summer living on Cape Cod.  Yum.

Here's the recipe (slightly modified from a Family Circle recipe -- click HERE for the original):

Pasta Fagioli
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used EVOO)
1 onion, diced (I used a half of an onion and diced on the larger size)
3 cloves garlic (I used 5)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano (I used low-sodium version)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (I ended up having to add WAY more after I got all the ingredients in because there was NONE ... I got very angry.)
8 ounces (about 2 cups) small pasta shells (I used Barilla Plus -- with protein and Omega-3)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I make my own mix and probably added closer to 1 Tablespoon)
1 bunch fresh kale, tough stems discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces and washed (NOTE:  I thought maybe "removing the stems" meant just cutting off the bottom.  It doesn't.  Cut the stem out of the middle all the way up, essentially splitting the leaf in half.)
2 cans small white beans, drained and rinsed (I WANTED to use canellini or navy beans, but I happened to go on a day they were on sale and they were OUT, so I had to use one can of Great Northern beans and one can of Chick Peas -- while I love these beans, they were NOT the right flavor for this soup, and I think they cook much too slowly to be suitable for this soup.  If I use this recipe again, I will definitely use Navy beans, which cook the fastest and I think have the mildest flavor.)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Grated Parmesan, for serving

1.  Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook 5 minutes.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute.
2.  Stir in tomatoes, broth, and 3 cups water.  Bring to a simmer over high heat.  Add pasta and Italian seasoning.  Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
3.  Stir in kale; cook 5 minutes more.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in beans, tomato paste, salt, and pepper.  Heat through (Like I mentioned before, just "heating through" didn't work for the beans I used.  They did not taste very cooked).
Serves 8.

Here are the Nutrition Facts for the original recipe:

And here's how it looked:

Veronica's final rating: 3.5 stars.  If it had different beans and I could figure out how to have enough broth without having to add it in at the end and lose all the flavor, then my rating would be higher.  I might mess around with it a bit.

Jeremy's final rating:

I was hoping for a new, easy, go-to Italian soup.  Meh.  It made me long for my favorite Italian soup.


Tortellini Soup 
(adapted from Taste of Home Heart-Warming Soups - book I bought in the checkout line at Kroger 5 years ago)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cans (14.5 ounces each) low-sodium vegetable broth
1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
3 large handfuls fresh spinach (or 1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)

In a saucepan, saute the garlic in the olive oil until tender.  Stir in the broth.  Bring to boil.  Stir in tortellini; cook for 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in tomatoes and spinach; heat through.

Super easy and DELICIOUS!

Brag about your own efforts in the comments!  Happy Monday!


  1. Thanks for not letting me down. I just settled in for the night and thought "Self, I wonder if Veronica made an effort today." Thanks for not disappointing myself.

  2. Different brands of beans have different tenderness levels naturally. Some assume that you are going to give them further cooking (as opposed to heating) and some add the salt too early, which toughens them. If you want to make a BIG effort some week, you can cook a big pot of dried beans to the level of done-ness you like and then freeze them in can-sized quantities. A bonus is that you can leave out the salt altogether.

  3. Oh, Miranda. Tell yourself I said hi.

    Mrs. T -- I tried dried beans last week, and I just followed the directions on the bag and assumed they were done ... and put them in a soup ... and they were NOT done. Excellent idea about canning and saving. I will definitely try that!


Every time you leave me a comment, an angel earns its wings.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...