Serving dinner to a family of five on a tight budget can be difficult. I often struggle trying to find affordable meals to put on the table for my family that are delicious and healthy. I came across this recipe in Taste of Home. I actually gave this soup away as Christmas gifts by putting the beans, pasta and spices in a mason jar with directions attached (the idea is on the website above). This is by far the cheapest meal I serve my family...but one of the best! We can get two nights from this meal for the two adults and three young children in our family. It is also extremelely filling!
If you have any CHEAP and HEALTHY recipes, please share them!
14 cups of water, divided, 6 cups for boiling and 8 cups for soup
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 inch slice thick piece of pancetta, diced
1 tsp salt
1 cup small pasta like mini shells or ditalini
3/4 cup great northern beans
3/4 cup light red kidney beans
3/4 cup pinto beans
seasoning: 1/4 cup minced onion, 1 bay leaf, 3 TBS parsley, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp oregano
1. Put beans in large pot and add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 4 hours. Drain and discard liquid.
2. Return beans to pot and add seasoning and remaining 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 1 hour.
3. In a separate skillet cook pancetta until crispy. Drain and reserve.
4. After the 1 hour of simmering, add to the bean mixture the pancetta, tomatoes, carrot, celery, and salt. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in pasta and cook 5-10 minutes until pasta is al dente. Remove bay leaf before serving. Add lots of Parmesan cheese to the top of the bowl!