FEEL BETTER SOUP
3 tablespoons olive oil (canola oil if you don't have olive)
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper (I buy red and green peppers chopped in the freezer section)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced (I buy it already minced in a jar)
2 stalks celery, chopped (include the green tops)
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste (you can beat the squeeze tubes of tomato paste!)
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cooked chicken breasts halves or cutlets, diced (from my packet chicken, last post!)
12 turns ground black pepper
a couple of shakes of salt
half a bag of frozen leaf spinach
1 cup elbow macaroni
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
In a large pot or dutch oven on top of your stove, over medium to medium-high heat, warm up the oil and add the onions, red and green peppers, celery, and carrots. Cook for five minutes until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have given off a bit of liquid. Add the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two (don't let it brown). Stir in the tomato paste and mix well. Add chicken stock, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil. Add frozen spinach and return to a boil. Simmer for a while until the carrots are cooked through and the flavors have had a chance to meld, at least a half-hour.
While the soup is simmering, in a quart saucepan, cook the macaroni separately to al-dente stage (firm). Drain macaroni and add to cooked soup or put some macaroni in a bowl and ladle soup over top. I like the macaroni in the soup and I don't mind if it blows up a bit and gets soft, but if you want your macaroni firm, keep it separate until you serve the soup.
Sprinkle bowls of hot soup with cheese, and feel better soon!
If you'd like to make a vegetarian version of this soup, use vegetable stock and omit the chicken. Add beans or lentils for protein.
PS - thought I'd share a photo of the cake I made today for new mom Lindsey and her soon-to-arrive baby girl Alena, and a couple of Pete, my youngest kitchen apprentice!