In A Lunch Rut

Gina's Crockpot Minestrone Soup from

Gina’s Crockpot Minestrone Soup from

I fully admit it – I’m in a lunch rut!  I mean seriously, how many salads can a girl eat before the sight of lettuce causes a bit of a gag reflex?

And poor Deb, she’s a great sport, but she’s not the world’s biggest salad fan at any rate.

Here’s the thing… Lunches are easy when bread, crackers, cheese, etc. are options, but we are experimenting with limiting bread and dairy to free days only, so it does narrow our choices.

I love soup, and minestrone is one of those comfort foods that takes me back to my childhood.  My Nonni and my Mom made minestrone a staple during the fall and winter months and it was always so good. is one of my favorite recipe blogs on the internet.  I have yet to try one of Gina’s recipes that wasn’t really delicious and they are usually a great calorie/fat bargain.

Of course, she had a lovely minestrone recipe on her site, but it was vegetarian.  So, I tweaked it a little bit, added some chicken, cooked the soup in a big stock pot (because I was doubling the recipe so Deb and I could both have it all week and it overflowed my crock) instead of a slow cooker, just used the parmagiano reggiano rind for flavor instead of adding extra cheese, substituted whole grain egg noodles for the white pasta, and I chose not to puree the white beans.

The result is a hearty, flavorful soup that I am in love with!

Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Minestrone Soup

adapted from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz) can white beans, drained, rinsed (cannellini or navy)
  • 6 cups fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
  • chunk of good Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 3 cups cooked whole wheat egg noodles (cooked and stored separate from soup)

Rinse and drain beans.

In a large stock pot, combine chicken breasts, broth, tomatoes, pureed beans, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, Parmesan cheese rind, salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a slow simmer and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Forty minutes before the soup is done cooking remove chicken breast from pot and shred or dice into bits sized pieces.  Return chicken to pot, add zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprig, parmesan rind and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Place 1/2 cup egg noodles in the bottom of a soup bowl.  Ladle soup over noodles.  Enjoy!!