Valentines’ Dinner-in for 2
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 recipezaar.com | 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.