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updated 2/14/2011 8:26:53 PM ET 2011-02-15T01:26:53

Recipe: Beef and cannellini bean minestrone

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 rib celery, trimmed and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces lean (8% fat) ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Increase the heat to high and add the ground beef and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until the beef is browned and cooked through.

Stir in the tomato paste until combined. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Serving Size

Serves 4-6. Prep time: 12 minutes. Cook time: 40 to 45 minutes.

Recipe: Grilled vegetable, herb and goat cheese sandwiches

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 zucchini, ends trimmed and discarded, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, ends trimmed and discarded, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 (12 1/2 ounces) baguette, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup ( 6 1/2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper. Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture in a medium bowl. Add the zucchini and eggplant to the medium bowl and toss until coated. Place the vegetables on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until tender.

While the vegetables are cooking, spread the olive oil mixture on the baguette halves. Using a spatula, spread the goat cheese over the olive oil mixture. Place the cooked vegetables on the bottom half of the baguette. Arrange the spinach on top of the vegetables. Place the top half of the baguette on top of the filling.

To serve, cut the baguette into 4 sandwiches. Serve immediately or wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Serving Size

Makes: 4 sandwiches. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 6 to 8 minutes.

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