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Um so it happened.  I’ve heard about this happening before in great detail from others, but never could relate because I hadn’t experienced it before.  So what was said horrifying experience??

I dreamt that my blog had been entirely DELETED!!
(Gasp!)

Yes it was horrible, awful and maybe even a little crazy that I actually dreamed about my blog, but the worst part was…some girl had taken it over and changed my own password!  I of course then tried to sue her and decided (in my dream) that this MUST be a dream so I attempted to wake up.  When I couldn’t wake up (in my dream) I then came to the realization that this was all REAL and my blog was now lost forever.  So long dreams of having my very own cookbook someday or getting published in a magazine…time to actually put in work at my real job.Well thank goodness I actually woke up.

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Ok enough about how crazy I am, I did actually make a recipe.  And, um, let me just go ahead and say that if anyone has been to Olive Garden and hasn’t tried their minestrone soup yet, well then frankly you just haven’t lived.  It’s always my go-to meal anytime we go (that and breadsticks…duh) and let’s be honest, it’s probably the healthiest thing on their menu.  Lucky for me it just so happens to be my favorite too.
 This dish has such a medley of flavors and the perfect marriage of ingredients.  They compliment each other so well and the best part was I made this on Sunday and so far it’s lasted me ALL week for lunch!  I get so excited when I find new staple recipes I love that are healthy and super nutritious, I’ll definitely be adding this to my bi-weekly menu.  This also freezes really well too if you want to make a few batches to keep on hand…trust me, you’ll want to!To make this dish completely clean and even less calories, feel free to omit the tiny pasta shells.  I try to eat clean as much as possible, but I do love pasta from time to time…so sue me.  But really, how can you go wrong with all fresh ingredients, tons of veggies and spices such as thyme, basil and oregano?  It’s also the perfect little pick-me-up on a freezing cold December day.

Hint, hint.

So I urge you to make some this weekend, I would even go as far to say that this is better than Olive Garden.  Yep, totally just went there.

Feel free to prove me wrong.

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Olive Garden Inspired Minestrone Soup

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 1/4 cup celery, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can small white beans, drained
  • 1/2 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup small pasta shells

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and saute onion, celery, garlic, zucchini and green beans, about 5 minutes.
  2. Then add vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water and spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, allowing soup to simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add baby spinach leaves and pasta, cooking an additional 20 minutes, then serve. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups • Calories: 190 • Fat: 4 g • Carbs: 30.4 g • Fiber: 9 g • Protein: 8.9 g • WW Points+: 4 pts

http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2012/12/olive-garden-inspired-minestrone-soup.html

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Here’s to saving money at our favorite restaurants and still fitting in our skinny jeans!
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