I was never much of a chef. Early experiments in the kitchen ended in disaster--and that's putting it mildly. It wasn't until I was out on my own, in the big bad city, when I was FORCED to not only cook but cook well enough to make something worth consuming.
However, I was a college student. I was paying sky-high city rent on waitress wages. I could not afford a pantry full of fancy ingredients, and most weeks I kept my grocery shopping to under $50. Breakfast was never a big meal for me, lunches were nibbled on throughout the day. Dinner was the big meal, and often when I finally got back to my apartment I would be pooped from 9 hours of class or 9 hours of waiting tables.
My advice to anyone in this situation: Cook big, cook ahead.
This soup is hearty, filling, and absolutely delicious. Add some bread and it's an entire meal. I would make a huge pot on Sunday and be happily fed all week with minimal effort the night of the nomming. Half would go into freezer bags for future meals.
A trip to Trader Joe's could complete the list for this meal for around $10, and I'm sure clever shopping and substituting could save you even more.
|I should just accept that this will be The Blog of Crappy Pictures... a food photographer I am not.|
Zesty Hamburger Soup
(Adapted from a Taste of Home Recipe)*
- 1 pound ground beef (also can substitute ground turkey, or leave it out entirely)
- 2 cups sliced celery
- 1 cup sliced baby carrots
- 1 cup onion
- 2 tsp garlic
- 4 cups hot chicken broth (substitute veg broth or water if you wish)
- 2 medium red potatoes
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 2 cups uncooked shell pasta
- 4 cups V8 juice
- 1.5 cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 tbs sugar
- Hot sauce (as much or as little as you'd like--I like it spicy so I use a lot, plus a little cayenne pepper)
-Cook beef, celery, carrots, and onion over medium heat until meat is browned. Add the garlic and mix in.
-Drain the fat, then mix in broth, potatoes, corn, hot sauce, and pasta.
-Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes and pasta are cooked to your liking (I'm not a fan of al dente so I go for the full 15 to get them a little softer)
-Add the rest of the ingredients (V8, diced tomatoes, and sugar) and heat over medium until heated through.
*I thiiiiink. My mom made this a bunch of times at home and I had a bad craving while at school. I vaguely remembered that it included V8 juice and hamburger, so I googled until I found the closest thing match.