Homemade minestrone blows away anything you'd ever get from a can. Sure, that might seem obvious, and true of most food. But it seems especially apparent with minestrone, because a good bowl should be overflowing with vegetables of all different kinds, and a range of textures. Crisp-tender zucchini and al dente pasta is he idea, not something simmered for so long that everything tastes the same. This makes it ideal for a weeknight dinner.
Minestrone is commonly vegetarian, but I was drawn to this recipe from Everyday Food. Though chicken is not a normal addition to minestrone, it makes this soup more substantial, and it's also a lot richer considering the chicken broth, which simmers with a leftover Parmesan rind (I always keep them in a bag in the freezer) to round out the flavor. Still, there are plenty of vegetables. It's a light, yet satisfying winter meal.