Brrr! It’s getting chilly down here in Melbourne, and I’m not sure about you, but I’m not a fan of the cold weather. But there are a few things I enjoy about Winter: being able to wear my Ugg boots all day, snuggling under blankets for a weekend movie marathon, and enjoying hearty winter comfort food.
There is nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup for dinner on a winter’s evening, and it just so happens that making soup is my superpower. I may not be the best baker, or fryer of chips (I’m terrible at frying), but when it comes to soup, I am renowned (amongst my immediate family anyway) for making the best soup around*.
*(Except for my mother’s chicken soup, just in case she is reading here.)
The thing I love about soup is that you can make it out of practically anything you have leftover in the fridge at the end of the week. In fact, my most famous soup recipe is called Fridge Soup – it’s different every time so sadly I can’t share it with you. But I’ll let you in on my secret, there really isn’t a recipe. Leftover roast chicken, that wilted bit of celery in the crisper drawer, a bit of dried out bacon, just throw it all in and it turns into a delicious meal. I’ve even been known to make lettuce soup, and guess what, it’s really good.
You may have noticed by now that I’ve been partnering with ALDI to bring you some great cooking inspiration, and this month is no different.
ALDI has a great range of Soup & Steam Special Buy products, available this week including a very well-priced selection of kitchen ware and cook books perfect for whipping up delicious and comforting winter meals with ease. They sent me a range of items to try including utensils and a cookbook, which will be available for sale on Wednesday 13th June. I thought I’d give some of the items a test run in my kitchen.
Instead of making my famous Fridge Soup, I thought you’d enjoy my next most popular soup recipe (as voted on by the kiddo because it has spiral pasta), Cinti’s Family Favourite Minestrone Soup.
Minestrone Soup is such a classic, and is the perfect veggie-filled nourishing meal to fill the family up quickly and easily. You can add whatever veggies you like or have on hand, but the classic, carrot, potato, zucchini and celery is always a good start. ALDI has a great range of fresh fruit and veggies on offer; make sure you check it out!
If you aren’t a fan of chopping up vegetables, get yourself one of these handy Multipurpose Dicer chopping contraptions on sale at ALDI this week for only $12.99. I must admit I was skeptical when I saw it, and would probably have never bought it, but after using it once, I’m hooked.
It makes super quick work of dicing up all the veggies and once you work out the right sized pieces to pop in the top, it works really well. I think it’s great for kids to use too.
I was on a such roll with the chopping that I cut up extra veggies and bagged them up to freeze for later. I always do this when I have a little extra time on my hands to save on meal prep at a later date. It took practically no extra time at all and because this contraption is a bit of a pain to clean (that’s the downside), it’s worth using it for bulk chopping when you have it out.
Now I have pre-diced veggies to add into soup or casseroles when I’m running short on time, feeling lazy, or haven’t been shopping in a while.
Anyway, back to the Minestrone Soup. You’ll need a pretty big pot, because this recipe makes a ton of soup. I always like to make a big batch so we can enjoy leftovers the next day.
You can use any type of stock you prefer. Homemade is great if you have it, but a really good liquid or powdered stock is just as good. I’ve used liquid chicken stock this time, but usually I use vegetable stock cubes because they take up less space in the pantry.
Beans and pasta make this a really filling dish. If you are on a gluten-free diet, substitute the pasta for rice instead.
Top with grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
What’s the verdict? Delicious of course!
Here are some more soup recipes to try:
ALDI Soup & Steam Special Buy range available on Wednesday 13th June, has everything you need to create a delicious homemade winter comfort food, with great quality and affordable veggies, kitchen tools and utensils.
- 2 small onions
- 2 leek (optional)
- 2 large carrots
- 2 large or 4 small potatoes
- 2-3 zucchinis
- 3 celery stalks
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 400g tin diced tomato
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
- 1 425gram can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2L chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup spiral pasta (or pasta of choice)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to adjust seasoning
- extra boiling water if required
- grated Parmesan cheese to serve
- Peel and dice all the vegetables. You can leave the skin on the carrot and potato if you can't be bothered peeling those.
- In a large pot, warm up a drizzle of olive oil and gently sauté the onions, leek and garlic until soft.
- Add the rest of the vegetables, tinned tomato, and stock.
- If you like your minestrone quite tomatoey, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste.
- The liquid should cover all the vegetables, if it doesn't, top up with a little bit of boiling water.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until veggies are just tender.
- Add cannellini beans and pasta, continue to cook on a medium heat until pasta is tender.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if required.
- Turn off heat and stir through baby spinach.
- Serve with grated parmesan and crusty bread.