good old reliable friend

with the colder days here, i have found myself cozying into our home more.  things often get out of control, schedules are tiring, and daily responsibilities take its toll.  i wish i had more control over balancing it all, but it's always a struggle.
i have pulled out my trusty slow cooker at least once a week though, and it is like an old reliable friend. and one that i don't feel guilty asking for help from.  one of my trusted recipes is this delicious soup, which i am overly excited that both the boys will gladly eat (let's just say we have problems in the vegetable department in our house lately).

it was inspired by a minestrone soup recipe i saw on pinterest, but i tweaked a bit for our own liking.
basically, the only real work involved here in in the chopping.  and the trick with my boys is keeping all of the vegetables to a very similar, smallish size (no large chunks).

here is my recipe for our favorite minestrone in the slow cooker

2-3 carrots, chopped small (or diced largely)
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes, with juice (28oz)
1-2 cartons of beef broth
1 14oz can kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
1 pound of stewing beef, cut into small pieces
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup dried bow tie pasta (or whatever type you like)
1 large zucchini, chopped
handful of frozen corn and/or frozen peas each

combine all ingredients except the pasta, zucchini, peas and corn in the crock pot.  cook on low for 8-9 hours, or high 4 or so hours.  add the pasta, zucchini, peas and corn to the crock pot, cover and cook 30-45 minutes longer.
serve with loads of grated Parmesan (this is ESSENTIAL!) and a crusty loaf of bread.

it's amazing how much joy it brings me to see the boys eat this many vegetables and beans in one bowl!

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