Monday, November 4, 2013

Plan-Overs: Hearty Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

This excellent dinner soup is quick and easy to prepare - as long as you think ahead. The last time I made meatballs and scramble-fried ground beef, I made extra for the freezer. Taking those few 
additional minutes saved me a great deal of time later, when I made this recipe. 

This soup contains plenty of vegetables. That means plenty of vitamins and minerals - but plenty of peeling and chopping, too. I saved time on this step, as well. Did I prepare the veggies the night before, when I should have been broadening my mind by playing computer Solitaire? Nope. I asked Ron to help out, which he did. Then I played computer Solitaire.

Always ask for help when you need it. That’s what kids, friends, lovers, and spouses are for. You’ve got none of the above? Prepare the veggies the night before.

Not only are the meatballs in this soup a Plan-Over, but so is the soup, itself. Packaging, labeling, and freezing the leftovers will give you meals for another day. Did I remember to say this soup is delicious? Because it is!

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Meatballs:

1 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 or 4 large carrots, coarsely chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced in ¾-in. chunks
1 large potato, in ¾-in. dice
1 - 28-oz. (796 mL) can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 c. chicken or other stock (see Note)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp, dried oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Meatballs as required, prepared about 1-in. in diameter (see Further Note)
1 c. pasta shells or bows

In large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat, melt butter or margarine and a little oil until sizzling. Sauté all prepared vegetables except tomatoes for 10 min., stirring frequently. Add tomatoes with juice, stock, and seasonings. Bring just to the boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer 30 min., stirring occasionally (see One Last Note). Add cooked meatballs or ground beef and pasta. Cover, simmer, and stir occasionally, a further 20 min., or until pasta is tender. Serves 6-to-8.

Note: Check the Index for How to Make Stock.

Further Note: You’ll find my Meatball recipe indexed under Main Dish: Beef (Sophia’s Meatballs).

One Last Note: Thawed meatballs can be baked at 350 deg. F. for about 20 min., or fried. Drain and blot fat away fat before adding meatballs to soup. If you’re seriously pressed for time, use commercially prepared, unsauced meatballs. Using previously cooked, frozen ground beef is even simpler. I keep some bagged and labeled in the freezer as a future Plan-Over. Should you do that, add it to the soup as you stir in pasta shells or bows. 

Here’s what you need:

Fresh veggies

Diced canned (or fresh) tomatoes with juice

Poultry, beef or vegetable stock (see Note)

Meatballs (see Further Note and One Last Note)

Here’s what you do:

Peel and chop

Sauté veggies in hot butter or margarine 

Here’s what you add:

Small shell or bow pasta

Meatballs fried ...

… or baked. Protect the skillet handle with foil 

Here’s what you get:

Hot soup and plenty of it! Let its fragrance embrace you.

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