I created this soup after becoming tired of the excess salt and lack of veggies in canned minestrone. I recalled a great bowl of minestrone that was overflowing with rich vegetables at the 'Sheepherder's Inn' in Sacramento, California. Great with a hearty bread, romaine salad and a nice Merlot!
Perfect little rolled tortilla appetizers shaped like firecrackers have a zesty Mexican-inspired flavor, thanks to taco seasoning, guacamole, refried beans, and a wick made from a thin strip of red pepper.
Mashed potatoes can be made almost completely ahead. Do nearly everything - boil, peel and mash; stir in milk and salt - up to two days ahead. Before serving, reheat. Adding butter at the last minute makes them taste freshly mashed.