(For Potato-Cheese Soup, go here.)
This is an adaptation of my paternal grandmother's recipe. She has been such a huge blessing to me. When I married I knew very little about cooking. She sweetly wrote out by hand a bunch of recipes on cards and gave them to me in a recipe box. This was one of them. I've used it a lot over the years, but my version is adapted quite a bit now because of our nutritional and taste preferences. This recipe is so very flexible and forgiving, as are many soup recipes -- you can make a lot of changes easily. I'm going to post it basically as it's written in my recipe book currently (because I can copy and paste :) ), and then in brackets I'll tell you about other potential modifications, as I actually do some things very different anymore (and probably should update it but... I'd rather do something else!).
Plaza III Soup
1 stick butter (1/2 C.)
1 C. whole wheat flour [you can omit the butter and flour if you want -- faster, but will make a thinner soup that's not as filling -- you can also use another type of flour -- Grandma used white flour]
7 C. water [or more -- add more to stretch farther, w/more veggies and/or rice -- use some beef bone broth and/or veggie broth for some of the water if you have it, especially the beef gives nice flavor and is excellent for the digestion and added nutrients]
2 C. tomato juice [I use tomato sauce, sometimes just one 15 oz. can, sometimes more, and sometimes have used some combination of tomato paste and sauce -- doesn't really matter, just something tomato-ey, ha -- if you like tomatoes, some diced ones would also be good in addition, but my husband doesn't care for them so I don't add them]
2 T. Worcestershire sauce [lately I substitute Thai Kitchen fish sauce because I think it's a better choice nutritionally, but I don't add quite as much for fear my family will notice and think it's fishy tasting, lol -- hasn't happened yet]
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained [you can do more if you want or substitute browned stew meat]
1 C. chopped onion, or onion powder to taste [my husband doesn't care for onion either, so I either puree my onion with the food processor and add *far less* or it's too much onion flavor, or else use powder -- which I do depends on whether I have some pureed onion on hand in the freezer for this purpose or have time to make some and whether I feel like it or not]
1 large potato, diced (opt.) [sometimes I add more than one]
1 one-pound pkg. mixed frozen veggies [or some kind of equivalent -- can chop your own or throw in any combination of veggies you like -- even some cooked beans if you want]
1/4 C. barley [Grandma used pearled barley sold in a box, and that's what I used at first too but that was the only thing I bought it for and eventually when I ran out I substituted brown rice because it's better nutritionally anyway -- I usually use at least a little more than this also]
dash Tabasco sauce (opt.)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in large pot over low heat.
2. Mix in flour to smooth paste.
3. Add water slowly and mix over medium heat.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.
5. Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or until veggies [and rice] are done.
This recipe is linked to "4 Moms, 35 Kids." Visit one of their sites for more recipe ideas for feeding a crowd:
Life In a Shoe
The Common Room