What’s in the Crockpot? Part 12

It’s been a few months since our game of “What’s In The Crockpot” (check out Part 11 here). Are you ready to play?

WHAT’S IN THE CROCKPOT?

crockpot-with-liner

MINESTRONE STEW is in the crockpot!

crockpot-minestrone-stew

You’ll also notice is my crockpot has a liner. I completely forgot I had these, until I recently unearthed them at the bottom of a drawer. They’re plastic bags, especially designed for crockpots, that makes clean-up a breeze.

I had a few friends over for dinner recently, and wanted to make something that was easy, loaded with veggies, and healthy. Minestrone was the way to go! I call it stew instead of soup because it’s pretty loaded and thick. First things first: brown some ground turkey in a skillet. The package I used was a pound and a half, and I used Pam to grease the pan. You can use beef if you want, or leave out the meat for a vegetarian/vegan meal.

browned-ground-turkey

While that’s cooking, start chopping.  Start with one turnip and two parsnips, and chop ’em up into uniform pieces.

turnip-and-parsnips-knife

Turnips and parsnips are both root vegetables, and good alternatives to potato. A turnip, for example, has about 1/4 of the calories that a potato has. I’m not saying this because potatoes are a standard ingredients in minestrone, because they’re not – I just wanted wanted to load this dish with veggies, and these two are good, hearty, filling options.

Then, I chopped up two summer squash:

chopped-summer-squash

…and then I added 1/2 a white onion, 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery, all chopped:

chopped-onion-celery-carrotjpg

All these veggies went into the bottom of the crock, followed by the cooked turkey.

Here’s where time became an issue, and I kept forgetting to photograph things. Blogger fail!

After the turkey, add the following:

  • 2 cans of low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

At this point, the crock was super full, but there was room, in the nooks and crannies between the other ingredients, for 1 quart of low-sodium vegetable stock.

RELATED CONTENT: Check Out My Other Crockpot Recipes at the Bottom of My Recipe Page!

Cook it for 4-5 hours on high, or 8-9 hours on low. Before serving, boil water on the stove, and cook a pound of pasta. Shells are commonly used in minestrone, but I had gluten-free guests, so I used gluten-free penne, because I couldn’t find gluten-free shells. My original plan was to cook the penne, drain it, and stir it into the stew, but the crockpot was full and there wasn’t room. So, instead, I served the stew over the pasta, and that worked great.

Except that I don’t have a picture of that.  Just the stew in the crockpot:

Minestrone-Stew-Close-Up

It was fantastic – lots of raves from my dinner guests.  Flavorful, lots of different textures, and since it came from a crockpot, piping hot.  And the best part of minestrone is that historically, it’s a dish made from whatever veggies and ingredients you have on hand, so it’s easy to adapt and modify to your own tastes (and pantry ingredients). And soups and stews freeze well, so if you make a ton, you can enjoy it all winter long!

Keep it up, David!

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