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Italian-Style Bean Soup Mix - Gift Jar

Yield: makes one 1-quart gift jar

To prepare mix in a jar:

1-1/2 cups dried Great Northern or navy beans
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes, unwrapped
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cup uncooked medium shells pasta

Place Great Northern beans in 1-quart food storage jar with tight-fitting lid. Combine onion, basil, bouillon cubes, parsley, garlic and pepper in small food storage bag. Close bag. Place cheese in small food storage bag. Close bag. Place seasoning and cheese packets in jar spreading out to cover beans; add pasta shells. Close jar.

Cover top of jar with fabric; attach gift tag with raffia or ribbon.

Recipe to accompany gift jar:

Italian-Style Bean Soup

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 jar Italian-Style Bean Soup Mix
5 to 6 cups water
1 cup pasta sauce
8 ounces baby spinach leaves (optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Remove pasta, cheese and seasoning packets from jar; set aside.
2. Place beans in large bowl; cover with water. Soak 6 to 8 hours or overnight. (To quick soak beans, place beans in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let soak, covered, 1 hour.) Drain beans; discard water.
3. Combine soaked beans, water, pasta sauce and contents of seasoning packet in Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until tender.
2. Add shells and spinach, if desired, to Dutch oven. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season to taste. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Variations:
Add 8 slices crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled or 1 package (15-ounces) frozen precooked Italian style meatballs (not in sauce).

Source: Gifts From a Jar: Soups, Chilis & More - Buy this book!

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