Company arrival and the preparation of Easy Vegetable Soup--they seem to accompany each other like the moon and the stars.
That's how I first got onto this delightful and welcome soup, which bespeaks of comfort food and health and hearty flavors. I was getting ready for company--not just any company, but the very first visit of my birthfamily to Texas. This happened more than 30 years ago, when I had the good fortune to locate my birthmother and her husband, who wanted to travel to see us. They brought with them my birth sister and her fiance. What an amazing time we had! Although this visit happened in the middle of summer, this most fall-like dish was a joyful accompaniment and always will be remembered for that momentous time.
Now my kitchen's the scene of much busy hubbub as we anticipate another red-letter visit--the arrival of our kids from Arizona to meet our newest family member, that sweet grandson who was born in Texas just a few weeks ago. Three little cousins, all under 5, will have their first chance to play. Into the kettle on the stove again go the familiar ingredients for this scrumptious dish, which I want to have on hand to welcome our guests. Healthy, soothing vegetable soup seems to be a great first meal to serve once they arrive from their plane flight.
For the frozen veggies in the recipe, I rely on an airtight plastic bowl I keep in my freezer. After a meal, if I have any vegetable leftovers, I scoop them into the bowl and freeze them. When I'm preparing Easy Vegetable Soup, I already have my frozen veggies collected for it--a great way to recycle.
My hands can hardly grasp the utensils because I'm so jittery from excitement, but somehow I manage to get the dish put together and put away for our welcome time a few days hence. At least I can relax in knowing that a healthy dinner already is prepared and that I won't have to spend precious family moments slaving away in the kitchen over a meal. Thanks to Easy Vegetable Soup, a most healthy and colorful one awaits!
Easy Vegetable Soup
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup uncooked regular rice
2 (16-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
3 1/2 cups water
5 beef bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt (I use salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, unthawed
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can low-sodium tomato soup
Cook ground beef or turkey; drain fat. Add all ingredients except frozen vegetables and tomato soup. Cook covered for 40 minutes. Add frozen vegetables and tomato soup. Cook additional 10 minutes. Serves 10-12.