The following recipe is one that can be used to create an infinite number of soup variations. By using a different stock and meat combination, the style, taste and characteristics of the original are transformed into a brand new soup! I am including two ground beef variations. Whether making your own stock or buying one at the store, many options are readily available. In the organic section of the supermarket you can find not only beef and chicken stocks, but also vegetable, seafood and mushroom stocks. These are rich, not watery and ready to serve.
1 quart (or 2- 15 oz. cans) beef stock, preferably homemade
1 pound, lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 bag, frozen mixed vegetables (a mixture such as corn, carrots, and green beans)
2 cans, Italian stewed tomatoes
1 t. dried oregano
½ c. uncooked noodles, any type
Brown ground beef and onion in large soup pot. Drain and return to pot. Add all ingredients except noodles. Simmer 15 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender. Serve with salad and bread for a healthy, hearty meal.
variationsThe quantities in this soup recipe make it easy to substitute other items for a different result. As long as you stick with the amounts used, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity. This recipe serves four hearty eaters or six smaller appetites. Since most of the ingredients are cooked, canned or frozen, it can be easily doubled or tripled.
southwestern beefSubstitute plain or southwest style stewed tomatoes for Italian tomatoes in original recipe. Add 1 can of chili beans instead of mixed veggies. Omit oregano and add some cumin and/or fresh cilantro. If you wish, you can use rice instead of noodles or pasta.
Note: If you are not a fan of the cow, this recipe can be altered. Ground turkey may be used instead of the pound of ground beef in any variation. Frozen, fajita-seasoned chicken breast is readily available in the freezer section of the food stores. This meat gives great flavor to Mexican or southwestern inspired dishes, is quick and convenient. You will want to adjust broth selection to match meat. Any soup can be made into a meatless or vegetarian meal. Vegetable or mushroom broth is an alternative to chicken or beef stock. Beans are a great source of protein and can be a substitute for meat.