A Christmas Eve tradtion, from my home to yours

I have no idea when this started, but my family has a tradition. You know how we pig out on Christmas day? My family does that, but we eat soup on Christmas Eve.  I don’t know why or when it started.  But it came about as a simple dinner the night before Christmas, when that day was spent cooking. I remember my mom making grilled cheese and Campbell’s soup out of the package. A little high in salt for me, but I want to keep that tradition going.  I asked my husband for ideas and he asked for Minestrone soup.  So a search on Allrecipes and I find one that I can alter to a lower sodium content.

Here is the original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tortellini-minestrone/detail.aspx

  • 1 1/4 pounds Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (I used hot sausage)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 1/2 cups water with 6 packets Herbox no sodium bullion (originally calls for reduced-sodium beef broth)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used no sodium added Hunts Diced)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup ketchup (Again, no sodium added Hunts)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I added in some extra oregano as well)
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen cheese tortellini (My silly self bought meat tortellini, oops)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

The first step was browning the turkey sausage, onion, and garlic. I used a large dutch oven for this, and continued with the same pot for the entire meal.

Turkey Sausage, casings removed with onion & garlic

Looks so yummy, right?  Well I can say once the onion started cooking it smelled divine. My husband found his way into the kitchen from the smell just to take a peek.

After browning, I removed and rinsed all the fat, before adding it all back to the pot. Next I added the beef broth, tomato, carrot, celery, ketchup, and spices.

First ingredients all combined

Fresh ingredientsProcessed ingredients, both low or no sodium

These all need to simmer for about 20 minutes to cook the veggies.  Next is adding more fresh veggies, the zucchini and green bell pepper.

More fresh veggies!

Once these are in they will simmer for 5-7 minutes to soften.  At this point my pot was pretty full and my house was smelling pretty delicious. That resulted in 1 beagle at my feet, Nikki was hunting for scraps and sniffing the air. Next is adding the fresh parsley and the tortellini. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn to a simmer.  They only need to cook for about 5 minutes before you can remove from the heat.  You’ll get a little extra cooking while the soup sits.

Last but not least, serve with a little bit of Parmesan cheese. We needed a big spoon to eat this, it was definitely very hearty.

The final delicious product

The original recipe has a sodium content that reaches into the crazy range.  Allrecipes lists this recipe as 9 servings, with each serving containing 247 calories and 1179mg of sodium. With the simple changes that I made (and trust me they do not cause a lack of flavor), dividing the recipe into 8 servings gives 237 calories and 457mg of sodium. This would be reduced much more if I had a lower sodium Italian sausage. When you are trying to eat low sodium with a max of 1500mg a day, this isn’t a bad option. Plus it was yummy and full of fresh veggies.

Yes, it is more work than a Campbell’s soup and grilled cheese, but it was amazingly delicious.  Next time I’ll have to find something to serve with it. Low sodium of course.  It’s extremely filling, but low on the calories.

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