Nadine Silverthorne is one of the many amazing women that I've met since we've launched SPC. She's smart, funny and stylish. And I'm not just saying that because she emailed me before our first in person meeting to let me know that she's my "blunt-banged, red-lipsticked doppelganger." She's also the editor of SweetMama (the fab parenting arm of the SweetSpot empire) and mother of two. Plus, she makes her own soup? Come on, it's ridiculous! - C.M.
My kids kinda, sorta pick at eat everything. But there are some meals that have them effortlessly cleaning their plates. One of the easiest meals made (and received) is a modified version of minestrone soup I cribbed from my mother. What I love about this recipe is that it's as homemade (or as cheated) as you want it to be.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, diced (ish)
2 stalks celery, diced (ish)
1 can diced tomatoes
4–6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, heated to a boil (1 tetra pack of broth will usually do, but some families prefer a brothier soup)
1 cup of small, dry pasta (like elbow, shell or tubetti)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese (I like parmegiano reggiano the best)
1/2 cup of well-rinsed, canned chick peas
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup of frozen corn (not very Italian, but makes my kids eat more as they dive for corn kernels)
5–10 button mushrooms, sliced
Heat the oil on medium heat in a large soup or stock pot. Add onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until they start to soften — about 5 minutes. In a small pot, heat stock to a boil in the meantime.
Add carrots and celery and continue to sauté for another 5minutes. Add can of diced tomatoes, reduce heat slightly and stir for an additional 5 minutes.
Pour in hot stock and bring contents of pot to a boil. Add pasta and continue to cook on high heat until pasta softens (8−10 minutes). Add additional/optional veggies, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season to your family's palate.
- I find small, diced veggies work best, but if your kids hate a certain vegetable (or all veggies), you can pulverize them in the food processor to make them less detectable.
- If you're short on time, you can use frozen, pre-diced veggies to replace any of the veggies in this recipe.
- I prefer homemade chicken stock (often made after we've eaten a roast chicken by boiling the carcass with some veggies), but tetra pack stock is good too — I love PC Organics version — provided you choose a low sodium option.
- You can play with the vegetable offering here to suit your kid's likes and dislikes. I find that as they go fishing for the ones they like, they end up consuming other veggies that might not be favourites, but still taste good and provide good vitamin content.