Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: Denise's Tomato and Bean Soup

OK, you guys.  I completely renamed this one.  The original recipe is called My Mom's 15-Minute Tomato and Bean Stoup.

Not only is stoup not a word, but the only way this takes 15 minutes is if you've spent 20 minutes before that peeling, and chopping, and preparing.  It's Rachael Ray with more of her tricky tricks, and I'm not going to let you guys fall for it.

So, I'm dedicating this soup (SOUP) to my aunt, who gave me this cookbook, and who I mentioned in yesterday's post.  This soup is delicious!  And if you use vegetable stock/broth instead of chicken, it's vegetarian, too.

My aunt didn't ever have any kids, so my sister and I were what she had.  As a result, whenever we'd see her, she'd spoil us a little -- we always knew it was coming, but we always enjoyed it nonetheless.

She was a big fan of going to concerts, and she took my sister and me along often. Meatloaf and Michael Bolton were two of her favorite artists -- I looked for a meatloaf recipe in this book, but Rachael Ray let me down.

It's actually because of her that I can say I have, in my life, seen the 90's Pop Trifecta -- Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and NSync -- in concert.  Britney and BSB, I saw in my adulthood, but Denise bought tickets to an NSync show for me to go to back in 2000, not terribly long before the group stopped performing together.  She actually got sick the night of the show, so Katie and I went with. . .our father and grandfather.  A motley crew, for sure.

The thing was, though, Denise was a force to be reckoned with.  She wanted what she wanted the way she wanted it, and now.  It wasn't until I was older (well, she died when I was 22, so "older" is relative, I guess) that I was able to more or less say "No.  No, that's not what I want to do."

The best example I have is being. . .I don't know.  12, 13?  And she took me bra shopping.  Yeah.  That was mortifying enough.  Except the thing was, she insisted on seeing how it fit, and she wasn't going to go into a fitting room with me, so she made me try on a bra over my clothes in the middle of the store.

Imagine being 12, barely needing a bra anyway, but having to try one on in public over your clothes.

It might not sound so bad, but trust me.  Just trust me.

So despite that, here's a soup, dedicated to Denise, an NSync concert, and the worst bra shopping experience I've ever had.

Denise's Tomato and Bean Soup
Makes 4 servings (can be frozen)
From Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: a Year of Deliciously Different Dinners


2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (use half of this if you don't like things spicy)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
2 cups chicken stock or broth (use vegetable to make this soup vegetarian)
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 bag frozen green beans
Salt and pepper
1 cup basil leaves, torn (about 20 leaves)
Parmesan cheese for the top

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stir a few times, then add the onion, carrots, celery, and zucchini.  Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the broth/stock, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans.

Heat the soup to bubbling and add salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in basil. 

Ladle into bowls and top with cheese.

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