Halloween Minestrone Soup

Happy Halloween!  I got to spend today with some amazing children who made me feel like a kid all over again.  It was such an incredible experience to celebrate a fun holiday with children gabbing about their costumes and saying how they will be bringing the biggest pillowcase they have to go Trick-or-Treating.  The best part of my days at fieldwork is always walking into the kindergarten classroom and being attacked by kids screaming “Miss Laura! Miss Laura is here!!” as they clamber their way through the group to hug fiercely at my legs and never let go until I pry them off.  We got to break from the usual routine of me playing the OT and them learning sensory-integration skills to being scary monsters at the Halloween party.  Costume choices this year range from the classic Spiderman to the latest Draculaura, a vegan vampire on Monster High.  My favorite; a young kindergartener excitedly told me she will be dressing as Nicki Minaj – yikes!  The party began with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as the kids ran around fighting for a seat in a frightful game of musical chairs.  We even had a wild dance party where some break dancing kids showed off their moves.  Funfetti cake with Halloween sprinkles was enjoyed and grapes were eaten as though they were tasty eyeballs.  All I could say while I was there, and still have continued to say since I have returned home, is, “This is the BEST day EVER!”  I don’t think I could have enjoyed myself more and I will always remember these amazing kids and the thrill of Halloween that sparked such elation.

To finish off the already perfect day I decided to make a soup that I have eaten for as long as I can remember on Halloween.  Every year my mom has made Minestrone soup for us to devour before we paraded out into the night.  And I couldn’t go without it tonight.

Ingredients:
2 large carrots
3 celery stalks
2 onions
3 tbs olive oil
2 cans (48 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (15.5 oz) cannellini beans
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, including juice
2 slices smoked ham, about 1/4″ thick
2 heaping tbs pesto
Siracha or Tabasco, to taste
Shell shaped pasta

Mise en place!

Chop up the carrots, celery, and onions into uniform size pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add chopped vegetables.  Saute until soft and the bottom of the pan browns.  Brown is flavor!

Add in the chicken broth and stir the bottom to scrape up all the flavor.  Add in the beans and tomatoes.

Cube the smoked ham and add that into the soup as well.

Bring the soup to a boil and reduce to simmer for at least 1 hour.

As the soup is coming to the end of simmering, cook up the pasta.

To the soup, add in the pesto and Siracha.  I used about 1 tsp of Siracha, but add it to your taste.

Add the pasta to your bowl individually rather than mixing it into the pot.  That way if there are leftovers the noodles won’t absorb all the broth and get soggy.  This freezes very well (without the pasta).  Don’t forget to add parmesan to your bowl!
Happy Halloween!
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