Valentines’ Dinner-in for 2

February 14, 2008 at 7:39 pm 19 comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To all my readers: No matter what you choose to celebrate on this day, be it Valentines’ Day, Singles’ Awareness Day, whatever… I wanna thank all of you (the lurkers, the ones I know IRL and the ones I hope to meet someday) for your comments and support of my little foodie blog. I love you all. Its been real.

Since Valentines’ Day is on a Thursday this year, T and I decided to ditch all the holiday hoopla and eat dinner in. But I did want take advantage of the “love”ly day and make something special for my Valentine. ::cheese::

T’s favorite italian restaurant is Olive Garden and he always orders the same thing – Chicken Parmesan with Minestrone Soup. He absolutely raves about their minestrone soup and always has seconds. My go-to foodie friend, NB, found me a copy cat recipe by Todd Wilber online so I knew I had to try it for Valentines’ dinner.

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

(Recipe from | photos from me!)

Makes ~8 servings (1 serving = 1-1/2 cups of soup)
Calories/serving = 401
WW pts/serving = 8


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced white onions
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup frozen cut italian green beans
1/4 cup minced celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth (Do not use chicken broth!)
2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (15 ounce) cans small white beans or great northern beans, drained
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup carrots, julienned or shredded
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups hot water
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup small shell pasta (I added 1 cup)


Heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.

Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent. Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

I served with Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti.


Husband rating: A+++
He said it was BETTER than Olive Garden. w00t w00t!

Wifey rating: A
I thought it had a great flavor but its not my favorite soup. I prefer the Zuppa Toscana instead of the Minestrone. I am sure I would like it more *if* I liked beans though.


Entry filed under: pasta, soup, weight watcher.

[Chicken] Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna RR: Fish burrito

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. slush  |  February 14, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Wow! That is a serious ingredient list for some soup. Good for you. Its always nice when your hard work is appreciated. Your hubs is pretty smart.

  • 2. CB  |  February 14, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    SLUSH, tell me about it! You have NO IDEA how long it took me to find italian green beans!

  • 3. nikki57  |  February 14, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Yummy yummy! I adore minestrone soup!

  • 4. CB  |  February 14, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    NIKKI, Damn! Why you gotta live so far away! You could have totally come over. There is SO much leftover…

  • 5. Racheypoo  |  February 14, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    YUM! Great job. :)

  • 6. CB  |  February 14, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    RACHEYPOO, thanky! The recipe is a little intimidating but I just took it slow and its really not that hard. ;)

  • 7. BBKiddo  |  February 14, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Love the “LOVE”LY setup with the wedding pics and the soup looks yummers

  • 8. CB  |  February 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    BB, aawww thanks for noticing! Thats my ILs MP album that I made for them for xmas but I am borrowing it as a visual to put together our wedding album. Its coming along slowly b/c I have so many more pictures I want to put in ours and of course waiting for the 40-50% off coupon too. I have to admit I got a little mushy looking at our wedding pics with T after dinner. ♥

  • 9. April  |  February 15, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Aw, so cute! I love that you took so much work to make hubby his fave meal. :) Lucky guy!

  • 10. CB  |  February 15, 2008 at 7:10 am

    APRIL, well… we don’t have alot of money this year so all I can give him his my time you know? omg. major cheese. haha

  • 11. Melanie  |  February 15, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I loved the tabletop setting, too. Very lovely. And what a success to make a knock-off of a restaurant recipe and have it taste even better than the original. Not too bad, I would say!

  • 12. CB  |  February 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

    MELANIE, thanky! I think it came out pretty good if I do say so myself. As for “better than OG”, not sure if my hubs was being truthful or if I’ve trained him well. haha.

  • 13. Alanna  |  February 15, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Valentine’s Day is made of cheese.

  • 14. beth  |  February 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    nice job!! :)

  • 15. CB  |  February 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    ALANNA, its totally the cheesiest holiday. ;)

    BETH, thanky!! :)

  • 16. BBKiddo  |  February 15, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I have a 40% MP coupon if you want it

  • 17. CB  |  February 15, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    BB, SERIO?? Gimme! You are my new best friend. You know my email. mucho thanks love! :)

  • 18. beth  |  February 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    yum…zuppa toscana, my favorite. oh, wait we’re taking about minestrone

  • 19. CB  |  February 16, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    BETH, ::high soup five::, T has no freaking clue what soup is really the best. ;)


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