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Friday, January 18, 2013
Once upon a time, many years ago, there lived a little girl. Like many little girls, she was picky, and didn't like many things. "Eww" was her favorite phrase when food was presented. When the family went to a local restaurant, she finally found something she liked--and it wasn't a hamburger! *gasp* It was soup, a wonderful, flavorful and hearty soup, which she devoured every time they went to this place.
But after a few years, the restaurant was sold to a new owner, and the recipe for the soup changed as well. And not for the good. So the little girl said goodbye to the soup, and though she longed for it now and then, she all about forgot about it.
Years later, as a grown woman, she realized she could try making the soup herself. And, after a few trials and errors, she hit on a soup that tastes as good, if not better, than that from her youth.
I've learned a few tricks with this soup, and my first few batches were okay, but had issues (bland, over cooked, too thick, etc). Now, after adjusting the recipe a few times, I think I've finally found the perfect combination. It's soooo good. And it warms up beautifully the next day (or two). If you have any leftovers, that is....
So, here's what you need to make Tomato Mac Soup:
- Celery, chopped
- Carrots, chopped
- Hamburger, browned (and drained of fat, if need be) *not pictured*
- Tomato Soup
- Chicken Stock (unsalted)
- Sugar (just a pinch--it's the secret ingredient)
- Elbow macaroni
- Seasoning "Mix"
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
First, brown your hamburger over medium/medium-high heat. Add about half of the total seasonings to the hamburger.
If you use a fatty hamburger, you may want to drain any fat off before adding it to the soup. This time I used 93% lean, so there wasn't any fat, but I've done it with 85% before, and there was some extra fat to drain off.
Grab your slow cooker. Combine the soups. Slowly, very slowly, stir in the milk and stock. This is the key to smooth soup! If you just dump it all in and then stir, you'll regret it... Believe me, I know this from experience. *sigh*
Ignore my crappy picture. o.0 I'm not sure what happened, but I assure you that's some funky shadow, not the actual color of the soup...
Once the liquids are all blended together, throw in the celery, carrots and corn, as well as the rest of the seasoning "mix" and the sugar. Make sure every thing is mixed, cover it, and let it cook for 5-6 hours on LOW. Although, really, more time will only make it better (to a degree, of course--I'm sure it would burn if left for too many hours).
Now, when you are about 30 or so minutes away from serving the soup, add the pasta. I learned this the hard way; if you add the pasta too soon, it turns mushy and expands so much the soup becomes a really thick stew. You can control how much pasta you want in--if you want it to be more of a thin soup, add less. If you like it a little thicker, like me, add more. :)
When the pasta is tender, and the house smells divine, it's time to taste the soup. You may have to adjust the seasonings (it happens!). I found that I had to add a touch more this time, but not because it was bland; there was just a little something missing.
Dish yourself up a big bowl and dig in!
This makes a lot of soup--personally, when I pull out the slow cooker, especially for soup, I make a big batch and put the leftovers up for lunch that week, or freeze them. This freezes pretty well, but know that the pasta will be a bit more....mushy when thawed and reheated. I don't mind it, but I think the soup peaks around the second day in the fridge.
- This is not the healthiest of soups, mainly because of the sodium. Now, you can help bring this down by seeking out a low-sodium tomato soup OR even making your own tomato soup base. I need to look into both options, myself, as I shudder every time I make this, thinking of my sodium level. Why must it taste so good..and be so bad? ;)
- Remember, you can always add other vegetables. Make it your own, use the ingredients you like! I'm partial to the more "traditional" celery, carrot and corn.
- I'm not a big fan of cooking with onions and garlic. Hence the powders. But I'm odd like that! You could always use fresh instead.
- Adjust the amount of pasta if need be. And you could use any shape of pasta, make it fun!
Here's the complete recipe:
Tomato Mac Soup
- 2 cups corn [I use frozen white corn]
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 3 cups carrots, chopped
- 1 lb. hamburger
- (2) 26 oz. cans tomato soup
- 26 oz milk [use the soup cans to measure]
- 26 oz low sodium chicken broth [use the soup cans to measure]
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups dry macaroni pasta
- Seasoning Mix
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
- 2 tablespoons Onion Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Brown hamburger in a skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add half of the total "seasoning mix" to the hamburger while it's cooking. Drain off any fat once cooked.
- Pour both cans of tomato soup into the slow cooker. Slowly add the milk and broth, stirring well to ensure it's smooth!
- Add the vegetables, sugar, hamburger and the remaining seasoning mix. Stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.
- About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, add the pasta and allow it to cook. When the pasta is tender, taste the soup and correct the seasonings if need be. Dish up a bowl and enjoy!
- Once the leftovers have cooled, put in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. May be frozen, but know that it will be thicker and the pasta a bit more mushy once thawed and reheated.
Do you have a recipe similar to this one?
Winter is the best time for soups, and slow cooker recipes in general. What's your favorite soup to make? I'm always on the look out for a good recipe to try!
Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!
Labels: Recipe Share
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