When I was about to have Fiona two years ago, I did something I considered quite daring: I asked for help for my meal making in that last month. I was as huge as a heifer, my right leg perpetually swollen, everyone telling me to have a seat, but I still needed my family fed. Someone told me about Mealbaby and this is the post I wrote about this wonderful site created to help people in need when babies or sicknesses or a death in the family disrupts their life routine.

shalagh and newborn  Fiona on Shalavee.com

Although it requires you to ask for help which is very hard for some of us, suddenly you have people who you never realized cared so much signing up and showing up. People who aren’t caterers bringing you wonderful balanced meals and you feel oh so grateful.

One of these meals was this minestrone soup. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a high opinion of this soup. But this version is almost like a tomato vegetable stew with seashell pasta. Lovely fresh basil notes, a little wine, and Eamon was immediately a huge fan. So I was too.

Another minestrone soup makings on Shalavee.com

Jamie’s Minestrone Soup  (Jamie’s Minestrone Recipe – Allrecipes.com via Shalavee.com)


Original recipe makes 8 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 cups chopped celery

5 carrots, sliced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

4 cups tomato sauce

1/2 cup red wine 

1 cup canned light kidney beans, drained (but you could use a white bean like a cannelini bean too)

1 (15 ounce) can green beans (but I always use frozen or fresh)

2 cups baby spinach, rinsed

3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (dried is fine if you have the fresh basil)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or a good dollop of the basil paste in a tube from the produce section)

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup small seashell pasta (but we prefer to cook the box and then add what we want to the bowl)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)


  1. In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.
  3. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
  4. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and serve.

Seriously, this soup and chili are the only two opportunities I have to urge large quantities of vegetables plus the dreaded “bean” down my kids throat. And if you made it with veggie stock, it would be vegetarian so keep it in mind for the fall I suppose. I promise the seldom recipes I do share will be the best I’ve got.

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