In the past, we’ve made the trek to a Christmas tree farm, but since we are a little late on that expedition, we are staying very local.
This will help maximize our time stringing the lights, pulling out decorations, sipping cocoa and listening to Christmas music.
My boys are looking forward to digging through our ornament collection which is filled with many sentimental things, including a few that their mom made in elementary school and of course, beaded candy canes, pine cones dipped in glitter and other special creations made by tiny hands over the years.
I just love those!
I confess that I really enjoy these types of evenings and even more so than the frenzy of Christmas morning. It’s a slower pace and sometimes I just slip the ornament holders on, hand them each and ornament and watch them decorate our tree, finding just the right spot for each little decoration.
It’s the perfect, cozy family evening.
Speaking of slowing down, we’ll be enjoying this simple minestrone soup this week. I made it earlier in the week and made another batch last night. It’s really quite easy and a great little recipe to have on hand this winter.
Thanks for being forgiving for that iPhone pic above. I realized I never took a “beauty shot” of the finished minestrone.
And yet another iPhone pic! Sorry about that. You’re really patient with me today.
You’ll need 1 large zucchini, diced, 1 leek cleaned and chopped, 1 diced onion, 3 minced garlic cloves and 2 tsp of fresh thyme, chopped.
Begin by placing a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and sautéing the ingredients in 2 tbsp of olive oil. You’ll also need 2 stalks of diced celery and 2 carrots, peeled and diced. The vegetables should be softened, but not browned (approximately 8 minutes).
To the vegetables add 1 28 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 bay leaf and 6 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Check that the carrots are tender.
Discard the bay leaf. Rinse and drain 1 can of great northern beans and add 2 cups of cooked, small pasta and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sometimes I’ll prepare each serving by adding a couple of large spoonfuls of cooked pasta to each soup bowl, ladle the soup over the pasta and stir to distribute the pasta throughout the bowl.
I’ll be back again tomorrow with a new Monday’s on Main St. recipe for you to try.
I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I know we did.
Simple Minestrone Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large zucchini, diced
1 large leek, cleaned and diced
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, cleaned and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
1 15 ounce can great northern beans, rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta (I used farfallini)
Over medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil to a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the diced zucchini and the next 6 ingredients. Cook and stir occasionally until vegetables are softened or about 8 minutes. Add 1 tbsp kosher salt, the petite diced tomatoes, the bay leaf and the chicken stock. Raise the heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and the cooked pasta and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding additional kosher salt if necessary and some freshly ground black pepper to taste.