I remember the glorious day that my mom made minestrone for the first time. I believe it was somewhere in the middle of my high school years that she came across the recipe and thought, “Why not give it a try?”

Since that day that my taste buds first experienced the comforting flavors of this delicious, hearty soup, I was hooked. I love it, too, because it’s versatile in the method you can use to cook it. If you need it quickly, you can have it done in 30-40 minutes, or if you want to make it earlier in the day and enjoy the scents it exudes while it simmers in a crock pot, you can do that, too!

Here’s what you need to make your own:

1 lb. hamburger (I’ve also used                                  1 tsp. Italian seasoning
ground turkey, and it was yummy, too!)                     2 med. stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 c.)
1/2 c. onion, chopped                                                 1 small zucchini, sliced (1 c.)
1 c. shredded cabbage                                              1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I like
1 1/4 c. water                                                              the Italian flavored ones)
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules                                        1 can corn (I’ve also used frozen)   1/2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni                               salt & pepper to taste
1 can black or kidney beans (rinsed)

Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet. If you’re going with the stove-top method of cooking the soup, add the beef mixture plus all of the other ingredients except the elbow macaroni to a pot and heat to boiling. Once it’s reached boiling, reduce heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add macaroni 10 minutes before serving.

Crock pot method: Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet. Add beef mixture plus all other ingredients except the macaroni to the crock pot. Simmer on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Add macaroni in the last 30 minutes before serving.

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