a childhood flashback

It all started when I posted this picture over the weekend.

Childhood artwork, circa 1990’s

Normally, I can’t stand the thought of mushy spaghetti and meatballs being stored in a shelf stable can.  Really now, who had the imagination to come up with the idea of storing spaghetti in a can??  A can! Not to mention the mystery meat.

But this silly little drawing left me smiling.  It also left me in the mood for tomato smothered noodles.  And soup too.  I’m not sure if Chef Boyardee has come up with this sort of thing yet (spaghetti & meatball soup?) but this recipe from Moosewood Restaurant’s Cookbook brought me instantly back to my childhood.

You know.  In a totally delicious, non-canned, sort of way.

I like to think this is the grown up, healthified, adult version of an old childhood favorite.

Only there’s more vegetables.  No mystery meat.  Much less salt.  And a lot more flavor.

I think you’ll enjoy it. 😀

Moosewood’s Eastern European Minestrone—as seen on this website.

Minestrone soups will always leave you with countless options, and you can change the ingredients to fit your own personal taste preferences.  Broccoli would make a nice addition, as would water chestnuts, asparagus tips, and/or beets.  Use whatever your kitchen happens to have on hand, and you really can’t go wrong.

I highly recommend doubling this recipe, as it freezes well and can be used for lunches throughout the week.  Serve with a warm, crusty hunk of bread and enjoy! 😀

  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground caraway seeds
  • 1 cup diced  carrots
  • 3/4 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled turnips
  • 3/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart (4 cups) water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 1-inch long pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  1. In a large soup pot on medium heat, cook the onions, garlic, and celery in the olive oil for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the paprika and caraway, and stir for a minute.
  2. Add the carrots, green beans, turnips and bell peppers, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the white beans, tomatoes, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the pasta pieces, cover and simmer on medium heat until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in the dill.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: What were some of your favorite school lunches when you were small?  Do you still enjoy them or have your tastebuds changed over the years?

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