A Simple Hearty Minestrone

I don't know about you but at this time of the year I could pretty much skip dinner altogether most evenings. Maybe it's overindulging during the day so there's no appetite left at night or I'm tired and/or lazy or I'd just rather be bakin' instead of cookin'. Whatever the reason, the last thing I want to do is make dinner. But with the eldest home from university and craving home-cooked meals and drinking us out of house and home in terms of milk but who's keeping track of these things, it still seems to be a priority (to him, at least) and order-in or take-out aren't viable options right now.
So, on one busy Friday afternoon, this minestrone soup pretty much made itself and hit the spot for all of us, as we all came and went at different times. Chopped up some veggies, got the onions and garlic a-going, and then threw it all in the pot and walked away for the good part of an hour. I waited til almost dinnertime to add the pasta so it wouldn't be too soggy once we made it to the table. Good, stick-to-your-ribs fare that will tide us over til the next piece of shortbread.

Hale and Hearty Minestrone Soup
serves 6 to 8

2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 dried bay leaf
1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes, with their liquid
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
1 cup dried penne pasta

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until translucent.
Add the broth, tomato paste, parsley, basil, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and tomatoes along with their juice and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked tender.
Add the kidney beans and pasta at the very end, and simmer for another 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Rest of the week

Dec 6 Bubble chicken with salad

Dec 7 Barbecued ribs w mashed potatoes and broccoli

Dec 8 Linguine with pesto and veggies

Dec 9 Minestrone with cheese sticks