Soup of the Week — Week 1

Cooler temperatures mean warm, hearty meals.  This season I want to challenge myself (and you) to create a different soup each week.  No set rules, no set day, just one different soup each week.  If you try one of my recipes be sure to let me know how you like it (or don’t like it).  If you create your own recipe, please share more about it so we can maybe try it too.

To kick of the challenge, this week is just your tomato soup.  When I was a kid, my mom loved that white and red label soup that was “mmm mmm good”.  I hated it.  We’d have it quite often though as it was affordable, quick, and easy.  As I grew older, I tolerated the soup and found myself feeding it to my family for the same reasons.  With as many people as we have in our family, and prices of food going up, I was finding that it wasn’t so affordable or quite so filling.  However, tomatoes are really good for us.  Considered both a fruit and a vegetable they are full of antioxidants, are good for the skin, lower cholesterol, help with hypertension and diabetes, and the list goes on.  So I was in search for a great home made tomato soup recipe.  I think I found it.

Remember, I cook for an army so you may have to adjust your amounts accordingly.

3 quarts tomato puree

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion diced

1/2 large green bell pepper diced

2 stalks of celery diced

2 cloves crushed garlic

6 cups water

3 to 4 tablespoons dried oregano

2 cups milk (I used whole milk)

In large stock pot, melt butter and cook onions and peppers until the onions are translucent.  Add tomato puree, celery, garlic, oregano, and water.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook.  I had mine cook for several hours (I supposed you could move it to a slow cooker at this point and just forget about it).  If you want a chunky soup, leave it as it is, but my kids thought it would be similar to eating warmed up salsa, so I used a stick blender to totally blend everything together to make it creamier.

** As it is, you could just stop now, can it up and use it later.  (Ball Blue Book would recommend this type of soup to be done in a pressure canner, 10 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes for quarts)  When ready to eat follow to the next step adjust milk accordingly (I’d estimate about 1/4 to a 1/3 a cup of milk per quart but you’d have to play around with that a little bit).

Add 2 cups of milk and stir well.  Let simmer until ready to eat.

I added freshly made whole wheat croutons and fresh queso blanco (white cheese) to balance it all out.

Normally my family will eat 2 or 3 bowls of that store bought  soup and still feel hungry.  Only 2 people went back for seconds and all the rest declared themselves quite full.

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Overall Review:

  • thumbs up from all members of the family (that’s always a good thing)
  • taste was far superior then store bought canned soup and much more satisfying
  • cheaper to make (average store bought can costs about $1.00.  Our family needs about 8 or 9 cans then add in the cost of the milk).  Even if you bought a #10 can of tomatoes  at a bulk store, you would be saving roughly $6.00.
  • healthier  since you know exactly what you are putting in there and if you grew it in your garden, exactly where it all came from
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