The most beautiful green and yellow wax beans you've ever seen, admit it.

The most beautiful green and yellow wax beans you've ever seen, admit it.

I have become a total vegetable gardening dork. I’m obsessed. I order catalogs, I baby my plants every chance I get, I snarl at my children if they get too close. It’s sad. My husband actually said to me the other day that I’m not a dork until I start taking pictures.

See above.

Those are my first ever pole beans. They are, as is true of everything that you grow with your own hands and eat fresh off the vine, a revelation. Who knew green beans could be almost juicy? I’ve eaten some of them straight up, but I have enough now that I can play around with them and use them in recipes.

Yesterday was the last day of school for my first-grader, and to celebrate, I took him out for lunch and a movie. After having Johnny Rockets for lunch, I didn’t think my planned meatloaf for dinner would be a good idea, so I set about staring into the fridge for a while. What I had: leftover shredded chicken, green beans, zucchini (also homegrown), assorted other veggies. Soup! And cheap soup, since so much of it came from my backyard.


I was going to add pasta to this, but in the end threw in some frozen corn. I’m glad I did, as it kept the flavors much cleaner. Ideally, I would’ve had fresh corn but that corn plant my kid brought home from school isn’t ready yet.

Chicken vegetable soup

olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 large onion, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup green or wax beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cubed into 1/2″ pieces (this gave me about 2 cups cut-up zucchini)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh corn
8 cups chicken stock (because I like to have leftovers for work)
Shredded chicken, about 1 cup or as much as you like/have on hand
Seasonings of your choice (I used one cube of frozen parsley, a bay leaf, a bunch of Penzey’s poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. I also went out and picked some thyme to put in the pot, but then I got distracted and forgot about it.)

Splash some olive oil in a soup pot and heat over a low-medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Add the green beans and garlic, cook another 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and the corn and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Add the remain ingredients and adjust seasonings. Bring up the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. You want the green beans to be just cooked, not overcooked. The zucchini will be pretty soft, but that’s okay if you keep the green beans crispy.You can obviously leave the chicken out if you’re a vegetarian. You could also add some crunchy croutons or some pesto/pistou to fancify it up a bit. It’s a bowl of spring/summer, I tell you.

I served this with my first ever loaf of No-Knead Bread, which turned out really nicely, too. But I’m not bothering with that recipe because the entire Internet has already posted about it, and I’m just horribly behind the times.