LET THEM EAT MORE (VEGETABLE) SOUP
It started innocently with my sister requesting a recipe. I thought she said “pea soup” But I learned the next day, I misunderstood. She was making a vegetable soup. I can’t imagine how I heard “pea” when she said “vegetable”.
While waiting for her to arrive at my place, I looked up and copied a slew of pea soup recipes. She didn’t want pea, she wanted vegetable. Oh, well, I said. Who really needs a recipe for making vegetable soup? You just toss whatever you have on hand into a pot, add water or some cans of vegetable broth – and voila! You have vegetable soup. Then, of course, I began searching through my soup files for vegetable soup recipes and, admittedly – there are a lot of varieties.
Then, today, I wanted to use up a lot of leftovers in the vegetable crisper so I decided to make chicken/vegetable/tortilla soup, I had some leftover chicken breasts, about half a head of cabbage, plenty of carrots and celery–I also had some slightly old flour tortillas that would work nicely in thin strips dried in the oven–and a package of taco seasoning mix for flavor. (My reasoning being: I am going on vacation in a week, and anything in the refrigerator that doesn’t get cooked, thrown out, or frozen – will be a soggy decayed mess when I get back). My chicken/vegetable/tortilla soup has turned out very nicely.
What you do is, fill a bowl with soup; sprinkle on some dried tortilla strips, and top it off with a sprinkling of grated cheese. A slice of avocado is also nice if you happen to have some on hand. It was a nice variation of my sister Becky’s clean-out-the-refrigerator-soup.
But getting back to vegetable soup – vegetable beef, vegetable chicken, plain vegetable soup – there are a lot of recipes from which to choose (My sister pointed out – I didn’t have a recipe for vegetable soup on my BLOG. MY BAD. Mea Culpa. So, brace yourself because I am about to rectify that omission.
This first one from my card file is very old, written in real ink and the card has yellowed. (I collect old, filled recipe boxes so sometimes there’s no telling where some of my recipes came from). No directions are provided. (Do you really need directions to make soup?)
To make this vegetable soup, you will need:
2 quarts quartered tomatoes
2 dozen medium carrots, sliced
2 quarts cut green beans
2 cups chopped celery
½ cup chopped parsley
1 small head cabbage, chopped
4 small onions, chopped
½ cup rice or barley
2 quarts hot water
Sandy’s Cooknote: I suspect this recipe was for canning vegetable soup. But in today’s world? Make it up and freeze it in batches suitable for your household. I absolutely love the Gladlock 2-quart rectangular plastic containers. Once you freeze the soup, pop it out of the plastic container and put it into a Ziplock bag, then label it with a black marker. At my house we call these “bricks”. (I trade my bricks to girlfriend MJ, in exchange for doing all my sewing and mending. I-do-not-sew. It’s a satisfactory barter system. She doesn’t like to cook).
And when a recipe for vegetable soup just provides you with the innocuous direction of “meat” – you can use a pound or two of stewing meat, almost any kind of beef cut – but my favorite meat to add to any vegetable soup is a 7-bone or chuck roast, already cooked and presented in one meal – then the leftovers cut up and turned into soup. Leftover gravy from the roast and any leftover vegetables can also be added.
Here is another old recipe called SKINNY SOUP for the simple reason that it’s made up mostly of vegetables, some high fiber, with a little leftover turkey meat, chopped up – if you have it on hand. If not, leave it out. It will be fewer calories.
To make SKINNY SOUP, you will need:
3 stalks celery, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 sweet onion, diced
½ head cabbage, sliced
½ pound fresh or frozen cauliflower cut up
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups water
2 cups leftover turkey meat, chopped (optional)
1 46-oz can tomato juice, preferably low sodium
2 TBSP fresh dill or 1 tsp dried
2 TBSP fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
Prepare all vegetables. Use a large soup pot. Add all vegetables, turkey (if using), water, tomato juice and spices. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered 45 minutes to an hour or until vegetables reach your desired tenderness. Top with Parmesan cheese when presenting in a soup bowl. Makes 10 servings.
LISA’S THREE INGREDIENT VEGETABLE SOUP
This recipe was sent to me by Lisa, a penpal who lives in Ithaca, New York. To make Lisa’s Three Ingredient Vegetable soup, all you will need is:
1 16-OZ pkg Bird’s eye frozen mixed vegetables*
1 46-oz can tomato juice
1 3-oz pkg ramen oriental noodles with beef flavoring
Mix vegetables and tomato juice in a 5 quart pot. Heat to boiling. Add noodles and flavor packet. Simmer 15 minutes; stirring occasionally. 8 servings. What could be easier?
*Sandy’s cooknote: Canned or frozen mixed vegetables are my culinary best friend; I like to keep a lot of them on hand; they’re great in all kinds of soups and stews.
ALL NEW BASIC SOUP
To make ALL NEW BASIC SOUP, you will need:
5 medium carrots cut into 1” slices
3 medium celery stalks, sliced
3 large onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cans (28 oz) tomatoes in juice
1 small head cabbage, sliced thin
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” slices*
2 pkgs (5 oz each) baby spinach leaves (or use 1 10-oz pkg chopped spinach
½ cup fresh parsley or ¼ cup dried parsley
2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
12 cups water
Coat an 8-qt pot with Pam. Over medium-high heat, add carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork or side of a spoon. Add the cabbage, parsnips, bouillon cubes, salt & pepper and water. Heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until all vegetables are tender. Add more salt & pepper if desired. Makes about 25 cups.
*Sandy’s cooknote: I am not fond of parsnips. Ditto turnips. I would use a couple of medium size potatoes instead.
This next one is titled Mexican Vegetable Soup and appears to be a promotional recipe card from French’s since it called for an envelope of French’s Chili-O Mix. Use a package of what ever chili seasoning mix you prefer.
To make MEXICAN VEGETABLE SOUP, you will need:
2 pounds beef soup meat plus soup bone (if you can find a soup bone nowadays! – back in the day, my childhood, you could get a soup bone from the butcher free)
2 TBSP salad oil
1 envelope chili seasoning mix
6 cups water
1 1-lb can tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 1-lb can cream style corn
1 small summer squash, peeled and sliced
Cut meat in 1” cubes. Brown in oil in soup kettle or Dutch oven type pan. Add chili seasoning mix, water, tomatoes and broth; cover and simmer 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender. Add corn, carrots and squash; cover again and simmer 30 minutes. Remove soup bone. 6-8 servings.
Sandy’s cooknote: If you can’t lay your hands on a soup bone, don’t worry about it. Just leave it out. And if you don’t have any canned beef broth – dissolve 1 or 2 beef bouillon cubes in hot water and use that instead (TIP: Always keep chicken and beef bouillon cubes on hand!)
The following is a simple vegetable beef soup that is made with ¾ of a pound of extra lean ground beef. Three quarters of a pound? Why such an odd amount? I would use a pound of ground beef. This recipe would be easy enough to throw together for a quick dinner – ready in an hour; serve with crackers or garlic bread.
VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP
To make VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP, you will need:
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 large potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, with tops, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
About 3 cups shredded green cabbage (1/2 head)
¾ (or 1 lb) extra lean ground beef
1 quart tomato juice (low sodium if you are watching your salt)
dashes of Tabasco sauce (optional)
Combine carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, cabbage, ground beef (uncooked), salt and pepper in a large soup pot. Add enough water just to cover the vegetables and ground beef. Add tomato juice last and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer at least 1 hour. Meat should be cooked and vegetables tender. Stir soup occasionally to break up the ground beef. Add a few squirts of Tabasco sauce if you want to give it a little zing.
Makes 10 servings.
This next recipe contains uncooked broken spaghetti, which is a twist – but reminded me that my sister Becky, whenever she made her clean-out-the-refrigerator-soup, would chop up any leftover spaghetti and add it to the post near the end of cooking time.
To make MULTI-VEGETABLE SOUP you will need:
2 TBSP butter or margarine
2 TBSP cooking oil
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 large onion, chopped
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp salt
8 cups boiling water
1 tsp Accent (optional)
1 can (16 oz) stewed tomatoes
¼ cup uncooked broken spaghetti
½ tsp thyme
Heat the butter or margarine and oil in a pot. Add carrots, zucchini, celery, cabbage and onion; cook uncovered abut 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bouillon cubes, water, salt and Accent (if you are using it) to the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, about 30 minutes. Stir in the stewed tomatoes, spaghetti and thyme. Cook 20 minutes. Serve hot from a tureen. You can serve with a bowl of shredded parmesan cheese- personally, I like to have some hot garlic bread as an accompaniment. Makes about 2 quarts soup.
This next recipe sounds like something someone created when the vegetable garden was overflowing. You could make the soup with or without meat – if without, add a few beef bouillon cubes for flavoring.
To make GRANDMA’S HARVEST SOUP, you will need:
1 ½ pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cubed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled and cut up
2 cups tomato juice
2 medium size onions, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp salt (optional)
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 carrots, cleaned and sliced
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
2 cups frozen or fresh green beans
2 cups frozen peas
3 ribs celery, sliced
1 cup sliced butternut squash
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley (or 1/8 cup of dried)
1 tsp sugar
In a Dutch oven, brown meat in oil over medium high heat. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, onions, garlic, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.
Now add potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, peas, and celery. Cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Add squash and simmer 10-15 minutes more or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley and sugar. Makes 8-12 servings.
Sandy’s cooknote: Well, I think that’s enough of vegetable soup–it should give you something to work with. Don’t be afraid to use what you have on hand. And when you are chopping up celery or carrots (I like to have the Food Network or Oprah on while I am puttering around in the kitchen), chop extra and freeze it in 1 cup portions in plastic ziplock sandwich bags–then when you are ready to make some soup, you already have some of the ingredients on hand and can just toss them into the pot. My sister Becky used to dump small amounts of leftover vegetables into a large plastic container and kept it in the freezer for making pots of soup.
I’ll work on some pea soup recipes for another post.