Here’s the lesson of the week: never pack your laptop in checked luggage.
It all started with a trip to beautiful Napa, California. I go there every other month to visit my aging grandmother, which is not exactly a hardship for a food and wine lover such as myself. On this trip, my cousin and her husband from my mother’s side of the family were also there on holiday and so we met up to tour some wineries and taste some delicious wine.
Of course as a result of these excursions I came home with some wine, as well as some delicious, high quality balsamic vinegar from Olivier. I packed these carefully into my carry-on, which means that I had to check my bag as the liquids would never make it past security. With a severe case of Sunday lazies after a busy weekend with my family, I decided to squeeze my laptop into my carry-on as well. I just didn’t feel like toting it around.
Can you guess what happened? Somewhere in between being squished in my luggage and being thrown around by the baggage handlers when I checked it, the screen was damaged. When I turn my laptop on, I see only a series of rapidly flashing streaks of color.
All of this is my way of explaining to you why you haven’t heard from me in a while. I was fully ready to share this recipe for Slow Cooker Parmesan Bean and Spinach Soup with you last weekend, only to discover my laptop was not cooperating. While it is almost 4 years old and I could certainly use an upgrade, for now I’ve connected it up to a monitor that I picked up on the cheap at Goodwill and am making do.
I suppose this soup is a way of making do as well. I mean, what do you do with leftover parmesan cheese rinds except throw them away? I always thought that is such a shame, after all a good block of parmesano reggiano is so good and there’s so much flavor still left in that hard rind. So I decided to use the rinds as a base for a soup, injecting a unique flavor into the broth without all of the heavy calories of actual cheese.
I added some cannellini beans, onion, sundried tomatoes and herbs to round out the flavors and give the soup some bulk. Then at the end I throw in some fresh baby spinach for a pretty pop of color and additional nutritional value. With a hunk of crusty bread for dunking, it’s a deliciously easy dinner.
- Serves: 6
- Serving size: 1½ cups
- Calories: 208.0
- Fat: 2.2
- Saturated fat: 0.4
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2
- Carbohydrates: 33.3
- Sugar: 2.2
- Sodium: 130.3
- Fiber: 5.4
- Protein: 14.8
- Cholesterol: 134.0
- 2 parmesan cheese rinds
- 1½ cups dry cannellini beans, cooked
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ⅓ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 4 cups homemade, salt-free vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅛ tsp red chile pepper flakes
- pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- Place the parmesan cheese rinds at the bottom of a slow cooker pot.
- Add in the cannellini beans, onion, sundried tomatoes, broth, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf, red chile pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
- Stir, cover and cook in the slow cooker for 8 hours.
- Remove the parmesan rinds and bay leaf from the soup.
- Stir in the baby spinach leaves, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.