Donna Anderson, a SNAP-Ed educator with the University of Minnesota Extension office in Park Rapids, shares these soup recipes perfect for the cold winter months.

Adding navy beans increases plant-based protein. If using hamburger, cook and rinse under warm water to remove as much fat as possible before adding. Vegetables or whole wheat pasta eliminate the need for meat in the heart-healthy minestrone.

These recipes can be made ahead and frozen for a quick meal to take to work or after a long day of running with children.

The soup stock recipe can be made by saving vegetable trimmings and used instead of canned stock.

These recipes provide a healthy way of incorporating all the foods in Go to their website for more information. Find more Extension Center for Family Development recipes at

Basic Vegetable Stock

4 lbs. chicken bones (necks, backs, wings or feet)

1 carrot (optional)

1 celery stock

1 unpeeled garlic clove (optional)

1/2 onion, 1/2 cup leek greens or 1 shallot (optional)

Place scraps in medium-size saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Add bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Slowly bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and gently simmer for one hour. Remove from heat and strain through a colander into a heat-proof bowl.. Compost the used vegetables. Set the stock aside to cool to room temperature and allow any grit to settle. Carefully pour of the broth, leaving any sediment behind. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. If pressure canned, stock will be shelf stable for up to 1 year.

Heart-Healthy Minestrone Soup

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 or 3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 14.5-ounce cans low sodium broth

16-ounce can stewed or diced tomatoes

16-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

10-ounce package frozen vegetables

1 teaspoon dried basil, oregano, or Italian seasoning

1 cup uncooked whole wheat pasta such as rotini, macaroni, or small shells

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Sauté onion and garlic until onions are softened. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, vegetables, and seasonings. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir in pasta. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer about 20 minutes until the pasta is tender.

Pumpkin Potato Soup

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of chopped garlic

Optional: 1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree

4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk

1-1/2 cups water

1 cup dehydrated potato flakes

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped apple

Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Sauté onion in oil until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger (if using) and cook for another minute. Add pumpkin and broth, bring to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

In a separate pan, mix the nonfat dry milk with the water. Heat and mix in the dehydrated potato flakes. Slowly add the milk-potato mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. If the soup is too thick, stir in more water. If desired, serve topped with chopped apple and parsley.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.