When we lived in Edmonton, one of our family night traditions was to head to West Edmonton Mall, park at the “Bourbon Street” entrance and head to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. No matter what meal you order at Old Spaghetti Factory, it comes with soup or salad to start and dessert. My girls love Caesar salad, but my son always ordered the minestrone soup which thrilled me because it is full of veggies!
Since moving back to Ontario, our trips to Old Spaghetti Factory are limited, but on a recent mini-family getaway to visit Ripley's Aquarium, we made a point of heading to the Old Spaghetti Factory downtown Toronto where my son ate not one but two bowls of minestrone soup before asking if I could “puh-lease” make this soup at home.
How could I resist when clearly he loves it this much?
Simply cook ground beef and chop your veggies.
Toss cooked ground beef, veggies and kidney beans into slow cooker.
Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth and Italian spices, stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Stir in cooked pasta and enjoy!
1 lb. ground beef
2-3 cups veggies, chopped (I used zucchini, green beans and carrots but you can use whichever ones your kids will eat)
1 can red kidney beans (approx. 540mL)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (approx. 596mL)
1 jar tomato sauce (approx. 700mL)
1 carton of beef broth (approx. 900mL)
1 tbsp. Italian herb mix
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups small/short pasta
Cook ground beef in skillet, breaking up into small pieces until no longer pink.
Add ground beef, veggies, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, herbs and salt and pepper into slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Just before serving, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and stir desired amount into soup.
Serve with your favourite bread and enjoy!
BUSY MOM TIPS: Use whatever veggies your kids will eat including frozen chopped veggie mix right from your freezer. You can also cook the beef and chop the veggies the night before then toss everything into the slow cooker right from the refrigerator before you head to work the next morning.
MAKE IT VEGETARIAN: To make a vegetarian version of this soup, omit the ground beef and add another can of your favourite beans (ex: navy beans) or chickpeas and substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth.