Monday, November 22, 2010

Alphabet Soup

I have to share this recipe.  It is a great go to meal for me during lunch.  And the kids LOVE it!  I told Bennett and Caden what we were having today and they both started celebrating!  It is nutritious and customizable to your likes and dislikes.  I found this recipe in "Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids."   I have the cookbook, but that is the link to the original recipe.  

Alphabet Soup
1 wedge Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup marinara or tomato sauce
5 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 cup alphabet pasta
1 cup frozen and/or fresh veggies
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic over medium heat about 2 - 3 minutes.  Add tomato sauce and stir.  Add chicken stock and stir.  Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling add alphabet pasta and cheese rind.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer.  Cook until the pasta letters are just tender, 6 - 7 minutes.  Add veggies and cook 2 - 3 minutes more.  DONE!!!!  Sooo good.

Now - I have made modifications.  I always add more veggies!  I have little kids and we like more of a stew versus a soup.  Little hands you know...  And I always chop up a fresh zucchini and add that.  I LOVE zucchini in vegetable soup.  I use frozen corn, peas and green beans.  I also add fresh carrots (chopped) but I add those when I add the pasta as they take longer to cook.  I also add Italian seasoning to the soup when I add the chicken stock.  I do about 1 Tb.  The cheese rind really makes a difference.  I got mine at Gateway Market as buying a whole thing of Parmigiano Reggiano at the store is too expensive for my budget (especially for kids - sorry kids!) just to cut the rind off of and then try and find other uses for it (obviously it's great shredded over spaghetti, but again, budget...).  At Gateway, they have containers of 'leftover' rinds that they sell for $3 - $4.  Awesome!  I found the alphabet pasta at Dahl's.  I haven't found a Hy-Vee that sells it, but I haven't been to all of them and I am sure they would get it if I asked.  The kids LOVE the alphabet letters.  Finding letters, recognizing letters, etc.  That is 60% of the appeal to the soup.  The added benefit is that they eat it as well!  It would be just as delicious with different pasta, but I don't know that they would eat it as well!

If you make this, please let me know what you think.  Did you change anything?  Happy eating!!!

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