Minestrone with Garlic Croutons

Bring a touch of Italy to your dinner table with homemade minestrone that's ready in less than an hour.

Yield

6 servings

Croutons Ingredients

2 cups cubed (1/2 to 3/4 inch) French bread
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Soup Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups frozen bell pepper and onion stir-fry (from 1-pound bag)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
3 1/2 cups beef flavored broth (from 32-ounce carton) (e.g. Progresso®)
1/2 cup uncooked small pasta shells (2 ounces)
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained, rinsed (e.g. Progresso®)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). In medium bowl, mix crouton ingredients until bread is well coated. In ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan, spread croutons.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring and turning occasionally, until golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add stir-fry vegetables. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in mixed vegetables, tomatoes and beef broth. Heat to boiling, breaking up tomatoes with spoon as mixture cooks. Stir in pasta. Cook uncovered over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and pasta are tender.

Stir in beans. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated. Top each serving with warm croutons.

Estimated Time

Preparation/Total Time: 45 minutes

Additional Information

The fresh croutons are wonderful, but if you don't feel like making them, use purchased garlic or Parmesan croutons instead.

For a heartier soup, you can add cooked Italian sausage or diced cooked beef with the beans.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving: Calories 350 (Calories from Fat 100), Total Fat 11 g (Saturated Fat 5 g, Trans Fat 0 g), Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 1100 mg; Total Carbohydrate 51 g (Dietary Fiber 9 g, Sugars 13 g), Protein 12 g; Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 2 Vegetable; 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 2 Fat; Carbohydrate Choices: 3 1/2

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