Texas Minestrone & My Favorite Can Opener

Texas Minestrone-12.jpg

This spicy version of minestrone uses mostly canned food. Leave the meat out for a hearty vegetarian meal.

I‘m not too proud to admit that preparing this recipe is going to require a can opener.  Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Anybody who will eat chopped romaine lettuce stored in a vacuum-packed Mason jar every day for lunch obviously doesn’t need gourmet food at every meal, although I wouldn’t mind if didn’t affect my waistline.

There are those days. Surely you have them, too–days when you just don’t have the energy or motivation to cook a nice meal. Not always, but I frequently prefer to throw something together at home rather than eat out, even if it’s not fresh and/or fancy. I know, I know. Canned beans, canned vegetables, and condensed soups often contain too much sodium, but they usually have fewer calories and more nutrition than the hamburger and french fries at the local drive-thru.

Thanks to my friend Joan who gave me this recipe, this soup has become a cool-weather staple at our house and the perfect candidate for my new “Super Simple Suppers” category. All the ingredients can be stored in the pantry and/or freezer, making it easy to keep on hand. If your family is small, you could eat it for days. Thankfully, it freezes well, so you have that option.

hamilton beach can opener

My favorite can opener by Hamilton Beach

Talking about canned goods reminds me of my favorite can opener, a Hamilton Beach 76606Z Smooth Touch Can Opener. I used to have a hand-held Krups I loved because of the way it cut the lid off from the side instead of the blade going down into the can and possibly contaminating the food. I owned two and they both broke which is probably why they’re no longer sold.

When I found this particular model by Hamilton Beach, I was ecstatic because it cuts lids off in the same way with no rough edges to snag food, your fingers, or your spatula as you empty the can. I’ve owned it for several years now, and it’s still working great.

Notice the smooth edges. The top will fit perfectly for short-term refrigerator storage if needed.

Just so you know, I was not paid to say this, and sadly, no one sent me one to give away. I just happen to love it and wanted to share with you in case you need a new can opener.

Texas Minestrone
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 onion, chopped (I sub frozen chopped onions)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3-11 oz. cans Minestrone soup
  • 2-15 oz. cans Ranch Style beans
  • 1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1-10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 -1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon concentrate
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef and onion in a large pot. Add garlic and cook another minute or two.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Heat for 10-15 minutes.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

sis March 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Made this last night, but didn’t want to eat leftovers for 3 days, so I omitted one can of minestrone and the can of diced tomatoes. It turned out great, and just the right amount of leftover soup. Our family does not like a strong tomato base anyway, so the one can of Rotel was just right. Take care of my kids tonight!

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Betty March 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I’m coveting your can opener. 🙂 I love the ones that cut the lids right off and don’t leave sharp edges. The soup looks great- good quick suppers are appreciated here. 🙂

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Jocelyn March 20, 2013 at 7:20 am

Thanks for the recipe and the review on the can opener. I broke my right wrist three months ago, and I still need others to open cans for me. I will be checking out this little beauty 😉

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Thekitchwitch March 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

Soaking/boiling beans is a pain in the arse. I always use canned, without shame!

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Natasha March 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

So isn’t this a coincidence: I am looking for a good can opener, an electric one, I’m always scared of cutting my fingers on the lid and my birthday’s comming up.
I know what I’ll be getting!
Hamilton Beach should be very grateful to you (as am I)

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Paula March 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

That does look like on hearty minestrone! Thanks for the unsolicited review of the can opener. We still use a manual one but have been looking for an electric lately. I like the look of the sleek lines of this Hamilton Beach and the fact that you’ve been using it for years with no problems!

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Lauren @ Dallas Duo Bakes March 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm

That soup looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it! Plus, I love the name “Texas” Minestrone 🙂

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Paula March 17, 2013 at 7:26 am

Hi Lauren,
Thanks for writing. I like the name, too, and it is deserved. The original recipe called for two cans of tomatoes with green chilis but I like it better with one can of regular diced tomatoes and one can of Rotel tomatoes. This Indiana girl can eat spicy stuff but I have limits. 🙂

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Lois March 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Paula, I don’t have the Hamilton Beach can opener. I do have a hand held Tupperware can opener that cuts the lid the same way! I love it!

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Paula March 17, 2013 at 7:24 am

Hi Lois,
I did not realize Tupperware had one. Is it electric or manual?

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Vicki March 16, 2013 at 9:11 am

I have a manuel can opener that I purchased from Wal-Mart 8 years ago that does the same thing. Thankfully it is still working like a champ!

Thank you for the new recipe! In my neck of the woods, we just got past some really nasty weather and lots of folks were without power for several days. So, it is a wise and good thing to be able to prepare a few meals (that also taste good) from canned foods. So whether it’s a time crunched day or a day without power, it’s good to be prepared!

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Paula March 17, 2013 at 7:17 am

Hi Vicki,
So glad you brought up the preparedness issue. This is a perfect recipe for that. If you leave out the meat, it can all come out of cans.

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Vicki March 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

Paula,
Funny you should mention that. I’ve seen quite a few posts and videos about heat canning your own ground beef, beef cubes, and chicken. I think I just may give it a try – in small batches – to taste test the results. I’ll let you know how they turn out…
Vicki

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Vicki March 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

And I just had to add that although many kitchens enjoy electric can openers, always have a manual one as a back up to be able to open cans in a power outage.

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Paula March 19, 2013 at 9:11 am

Hi Vicki,
Hope yours tastes better than my mom’s did many years ago. 🙂

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Alice March 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

For throw it together meals, I sometimes use the canned beef from Costco. Haven’t seen it anywhere else, but it is just chunks of beef in broth packed tightly, sort of like they do canned chicken. Makes a good pantry staple and good chili mixed with canned beans and tomatoes.
I have canned venison, both ground and cubed. It worked well, but the pressure canners needed are large and pricey; and the time involved is considerable. If you try canning meat you need to use the latest USDA or Ball canning books and follow their instructions.

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Gaila C March 16, 2013 at 7:58 am

I have the same can opener. I had been jealous of my daughters for a couple of years and she gave me one for Christmas. I absolutely love it.

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Rozann March 16, 2013 at 7:28 am

Yummy recipe, thanks for sharing. I’ve been wanting a “pantry” minestrone recipe. Just FYI, the can opener doesn’t cut the can, it breaks the seal, leaving no sharp edges. I have a hand held model that I love.

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Paula March 16, 2013 at 7:37 am

Rozann,
Very interesting comment about the can opener. On the Hamilton Beach website, it says “No more sharp lid edges—cuts can along the side for smooth, touchable lid.” But I am incline to believe you are right because sometimes, I can see (barely) the glue strands as I pull the lid off. Maybe the company says it that way so we can relate it to other can openers. Thanks for writing.

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Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) March 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

That is an amazing can opener. The minestrone looks great. Easy is good!

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Lorraine March 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Oh, I have no problem using pantry items especially when the finish result looks as good as your minestrone!

Nice can opener!

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