I found something in grocery store that stopped me dead in my tracks.
It seemed quite mundane at the time. I glanced over at this simple box of alphabet pasta. The pasta box was lying there among hundreds of other kinds of pasta and Asian noodles. There were so many types of pasta to choose from but this one was different. I felt moved and sentimental and then it happened…I day dreamed of a day very very VERY long ago….
I was sitting in the middle of the living room floor with my son teaching him his ABC’s. I used to draw the letters of the alphabet on flash cards and place them in a circle on the floor. My son, maybe around 3 years at the time, would drive his choo choo train around and around the center of the circle rug.
I would say a letter of the alphabet and then my son would identify the letter of the alphabet and drive his little choo choo train up to the letter and put it in the train as fast as he could. Of course, all of this happened with all the very cool boy car noises such as the pretend screeching sounds around the corners and full spit spraying raspberry sounds as he took off with the train.
Then I was abruptly awakened from my day-dream as some lady rammed into the back of my Achilles tendon with her grocery cart at full turbo speed. Back to reality and what should I make with the gluten-free alphabet pasta?
The new school year is upon us and it is a great time for reflection and for looking into the future. It is the time of the year when everyone has a fresh new start for a great year of learning, getting projects done and most of all getting into a healthy eating routine. After all we have brand new pencils, books, calendars and crayons why not a new healthy snack routine to boot.
My boys like after school snacks but sometimes their snacks are more like meals. I am sure I have told you about the time when my eldest teenager came home from school and helped himself to the entire family roast in the crock pot and said, “Sorry mom, I needed a little snack.” He left only a small scrap of meat and a lonely carrot behind.
My boys need hearty, healthy and filling snacks when they come home from school. A great snack or even a quick light dinner is soup. What could be better to start the new school year then a Zippy Veggie ABC Soup. Nourish their minds and their souls with this fun alphabet soup.
Give them some oyster crackers and let them dunk away or sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese for a little extra zip. Little kids love finding the letters, older kids love spelling words, teenagers like it because it is hearty and tasty and moms like it because it is healthy for them. Working moms also love this one because it is a crock pot friendly recipe.
Come follow along to learn how to make this yummy Zippy Veggie ABC Soup in a flash….
Zippy Veggie ABC Soup
Serves 4 adults or 1 hungry teenager
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrot, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped (I used chinese cabbage as I was out of the usual celery)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 mild green chili finely chopped (optional my boys like it zippy)
- 1 cup boneless skinless chicken cut up into small cubes (optional)
- 4 cups vegetarian broth ( or chicken broth)
- 1 can of lentils rinsed
- 1 (398 ml) can tomatoes, cut up or puree as my boys do not like chunks of tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 packet of sweet n low or teaspoon or agave syrup or other sugar alternative (helps mellow the taste of tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup mixed frozen veggies (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup dry alphabet pasta (gluten free is great if you can find that)
- grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Step 1: In a medium to large saucepan place olive oil and when temperature is medium add onions, carrots, celery, mild green chilies, garlic and ginger and gently saute until aromatic and slightly softened.
Step 2: If you want to add chicken you add it now and cook gently until no longer pink.
Step 3: Add vegetarian broth, lentils, tomatoes, italian herb seasoning, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, sugar alternative, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn soup down to a simmer allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
(If you are doing this in a crock pot, you can put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker except pasta and frozen veggies and cook over slow heat while you are at work and when you come home turn it on high and add alphabet pasta and frozen veggies and cook for about 7-8 minutes or per the instructions on your pasta)
Step 4: Add your alphabet pasta and frozen veggies and cook for about 7-8 minutes until the pasta is tender.
Step 5: Serve this yummy Zippy Veggie ABC Soup with a little grated parmesan cheese on top and some oyster crackers to dunk. Leftover Zippy Veggie ABC Soup is great in school lunches, just do a quick heat in the morning and pop into their thermos before they head off to school.
Have a great day,