Italian Chicken Minestrone Soup

By Valerie Savino

Chicken soup always make me feel better. It came in very handy this week as I navigated the health care system with my husband who had cardiac bypass surgery.

2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized cubes

2  14oz cans stewed tomatoes

2  15oz cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans) drained and rinsed

2  32oz cartons chicken stock or broth

1 medium onion, diced

2 ribs of celery plus the hearts of 1 entire stalk of celery with leaves, diced

1 clove of fresh garlic, chopped fine

Olive oil for browning chicken and vegetables

1 dried bay leaf

Fresh herbs:  thyme, basil and sage, minced. About 1 tsp of each

1 cup mixed frozen vegetables

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon Butter or dairy free substitute

1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese or dairy free substitute

1/3 cup Barilla macaroni, or gluten free substitute

In a large stock pot over medium heat, sauté cubed chicken in olive oil with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken starts to turn white.

Add onion and celery and continue to cook for about 10 minutes more, stirring as needed. Stir in garlic. Reduce heat to medium low.

Add tomatoes, chicken broth, beans and frozen vegetables. Cook for about 10 minutes to bring the temperature back up to medium low.

Add bay leaf and chopped herbs. Add butter and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Continue to cook over low heat for another 45 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to let the soup simmer, but not boil. Stir occasionally. Add Barilla pasta and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Soup can be frozen in individual serving containers.

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