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Here we are, getting ready for another winter season. Some days we need our comfort food and my friend Lori at More with Less Today has given me a fitting example of just such a meal. She knows that, as we get older, we don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen to serve a tasty lunch or dinner for ourselves and/or guests. She suggested the following recipe as a go-to delicious meal. I know you will enjoy it as much as we have.

Hearty Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups beef broth

1 - 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed

1 - 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

1 - 14 oz. can Italian Style diced tomatoes

1 – 15 oz. can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons sugar (or substitute)

1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

1 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables (or vegies of your choice)

1 - 10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, chopped or whole leaf

2 cups cooked pasta shells (small variety)

Parmesan cheese (for serving) – I like the grated variety

Instructions:

- Combine all ingredients, except pasta, into a slow cooker or 5 qt. Dutch oven. Mix well.

- Set the cooker on low for 4-6 hours; or, if you are using the Dutch oven, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 2-3 hours.

- Minutes before serving, stir in the pre-cooked pasta.

- Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

- Toasty garlic bread is a fine accompaniment.

You can round out the meal with a crispy green salad; and a lemon pudding for dessert would go well.

Note: If you like an even heartier dish, you can add black beans or white cannelloni beans also.