Minestrone Soup & Cranberry-Walnut Muffins

Minestrone Soup

Warning – this is one of those recipes in which you have to be an active player and adjust the ingredients to your own personal taste.  I’m not a big garlic or onion fan, and I go easy on the salt, so you may need to increase those enhancements to please your own palate.  Plus the measurements are given the way my grandmother use to cook – estimates.  But I promise you, if you give yourself to making this soup your own, it will be a marvelous creation.  Don’t forget to share with friends!  And always use organic or fresh ingredients when possible.


Empty two cans (28 ounces each)  of Jersey Fresh Crushed Tomatoes into a  two-gallon soup pot.  Add three cans of water and bring to a boil, lower to a mild simmer.


(No leeway here – trust me – fresh celery and parsley ARE CRUCIAL – the magic taste comes from the amazing synergy of the celery and parsley hitting the simmering tomato base at the same time – the fragrance will inspire you!)
  • Three stalks of diced organic celery
  • A half bunch of chopped curly parsley
  • Three diced shallots or sweet onion
  • Continue to simmer adding water as needed


  • One bag of frozen peas unless fresh peas are available
  • One bag of frozen corn – fresh corn for the really determined!
  • Four diced carrots (I don’t peel them – your choice)
  • Fresh string beans broken into short spoon-size pieces – about two handfuls
  • Two cups of cooked kidney beans

Don’t forget to keep adding water!

Now that everything is nicely simmering, add freshly ground black pepper, basil, oregano, 1 tsp diced garlic and 1/2 cup of red wine or red wine vinegar.

About the salt – hold off – the celery adds a lot of flavor.  After an hour of simmering, taste and add LESS  salt than you think is needed, because you may want to put grated cheese on top of the soup, which is salty.

Let the soup simmer on low for two hours or longer if you want.  I usually let it simmer for a half day.

Serve with pasta – all kinds work depending on you mood.  A few croutons and grated cheese on top finish it off.  I hope you enjoy it!

Cranberry-Walnut Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line or butter 12 muffin cups

Mix dry ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup organic unbleached white flour
  • 1/3 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Stir into the dry mixture separately and slowly 

  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh unsweetened Florida orange juice
  • Add one beaten egg (local and organic, of course!)
  • 1/2 stick of melted local butter (4 ounces)

Be sure ingredients are well mixed but not overbeaten

  • Add one cup or more (to taste) of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Add one cup or more (to taste) of chopped walnuts saving 2 tblspns for top
  • Place in muffin cups
  • Add remaining walnuts to top
  • Bake 30 minutes at 400

Serve warm with a good mild cheese