Donna’s pasta and bean soup made from your pantry

Donna’s pasta and bean soup made from your pantry
Pasta and bean soup made from your pantry

Choose ingredients that you have on hand in your pantry and freezer
to make your own soup creation.

1 cup pasta shells or any pasta of your choice*
1/2 tablespoon canola oil 1 large onion, diced 3 cups diced vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, celery, peppers, zucchini, squash, rutabaga
1/2 pound lean ground beef or Italian sausage; or diced beef, pork, chicken or brats 1 can (28 ounces) diced or crushed tomatoes 6 cups fat-free chicken, beef or vegetable broth, divided (or use bouillon cubes) 1 cup salsa, marinara, pizza or spaghetti sauce, optional 2 cans (15 ounces each) black, white or red beans, drained 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 1/2 teaspoon fennel, optional salt and pepper to taste

Topping ideas:
grated cheese of your choice; dollop of sour cream; diced white, red or green onions; diced avocado; diced fresh tomatoes; chopped parsley

In a small medium saucepan, cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set pasta aside.

In a large soup pot, heat oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Remove from pan and set aside. Add diced vegetables and cook until beginning to be tender. Remove from pan and set aside. Add meat and cook over medium-hot heat until brown. It may be best to cook in 2 batches (meat browns better in small batches).

Add reserved onions and vegetables to pan. Add canned tomatoes, broth, salsa, beans, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil very gently for 30 – 60 minutes or until flavors have blended.

When ready to serve, add reserved pasta and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in individual bowls and add toppings of your choice.

Notes: If desired, add extra beans to suit your taste. If a thinner soup is desired, add additional broth.

Hint: Do not add pasta to the soup pot until ready to serve. If there is left-over soup, pasta will soak up some of the broth and the pasta will become swollen and soggy when refrigerated. Store pasta separately and add to the soup when ready to serve.

Estimated nutritional information per serving:
Calories: 340
Fat, gm.: 7
Protein, gm.: 20
Carbs, gm.: 50
Cholesterol, mg.: 25
Fiber, gm.: 5.0