Rainy Day Dinner- Homemade Veggie Soup

I think that women just have a primeval instinct to make soup, which they will try to foist on anybody who looks like a likely candidate.
-Dylan Moran

April Showers Bring May Flowers!
Yes, even here in the beautiful, sunny Southern California, it rains.
Sorry to burst your bubble but every so often, even Hollywierd needs a good shower.
If you have not yet had the pleasure to experience crawling down the 405 freeway in rush hour under dry conditions, it won’t be the high point of your So Cal vacation. Add just a little bit of water to the roads and people out here suddenly act like their wires are crossed and they’ve forgotten how to drive all together. Always when your running late, will a dab of moisture come and the 101 starts to looks more like an ice skating rink full of cats, trying not to get their paws wet. Californians… we are a funny breed.
We actually need the rain. I live in a high fire area and we know too well first hand, the devastating effects/inconvenience of a wildfire.
Let the rain fall and make So Cal a surprisingly green lush and bountiful place to be.
From the time I can remember, soups of all variety have been a staple of my diet and a part of the traditions in my life. Comfortable like those funky sweats you try not to be caught in but they are SO awesome and comfy you almost skip home to hop into them.
OK, so maybe I’m the only one with an unnatural relationship with my yoga gear and tanks/PJ pants. I’ll seek help someday. 🙂
I grew up in a coastal town in very top of Northern California. A beautiful lush land, where the trees are huge, the pristine breath taking beaches are vast, and the livestock out numbers the population of humans. The soils must be rich and fertile because anything that can tolerate lots of moisture will thrive when planted there. Many of our neighbors and friends had gardens as we did as well, in their backyards. Veggies were plentiful. If we didn’t grow it, we could bet a friend does or has canned some to share.
I don’t recall anyone being wealthy, most lived a paycheck away from financial disaster. We all had what we had and most of the time we all had enough, making extra to share.  My Mom was always such an example of quietly sacrificing so that magically she could do for others. For a woman who do not like to cook, no one ever went away from her hungry. When it’s cold AND you are trying to stretch a dollar, soup is the hearty way to go!
Some call this GARDEN SOUP… I call it Throw Together All The Leftover Veggies In My Fridge And Make It Taste Awesome For Dinner Soup… My Prince calls it, The Only Veggie Soup He’ll Tolerate (Not a soup fan but even he looks for this on a cold day). Inexpensive. Easy to tweak to fit the ingredients you have on hand in your pantry or fridge. Takes less in an hour to make… I like to let the cooking process take longer but that’s because I really do savor the time and the build up of the swirling flavors that sweep down the hallways and tease children, puppies and small kittens from their exile to fill the kitchen table with chatter.
I kid you not, I make a great big pot of soup and every time my people eat it for almost every meal until not a slice of potato or noodle is left. Each time I think I’m going to freeze a buch for another time… Poof, gone!
Not complaining! Who else has kids that argue over the last scoop filled with zucchini, beans and celery!?
They grew up seeing a variety of foods and will eat anything as long as the flavor is right. This soup is an excellent way to slide some new veggies past kiddos or just keep them seeing and being comfortable with so many colors and flavors. Super healthy souper easy! 🙂
Grab a fairly large or good size pot ( this soup can end up making a ton depending on how much “stuff” goes in)
1lb ground beef/turkey or chicken
1 small onion chopped
Spices- Lowery’s Seasoned Salt & Garlic Salts, Pepper & some fresh crushed garlic

Lookie here… the veggies I had hanging around & some other good friends. Soon they are going to leap into the boiling spa of my blue pot, make friends, fall in love and the flavors are going to be independent but so smooth and compliment one another. YUMMY!!!! 5 of 6 of us LOVE it!

In your pot toss in your onion and ground meat to brown together. I am one of those a dash of this a smidgen of that kinda bad cooks. When someone asks for a recipe & wants it to be specific, I almost have to make the recipe over so I can measure. Measuring and being so careful stifles my creative process. Sorry, born color-er outside the liner. Pusher of envelopes, buck-er of the system… measuring is a very good thing but I look at cooking as an adventure. Sometimes I want a little like this or that. Sometimes my mood calls for an extra dash or I feel like trying a new little trick. I blaze it my own way after looking over the suggestions, make it your own and give it flair. This recipe totally allows for it!

Season your meat. I like to add 1tsp or more or minced or crushed garlic. I do love garlic though. Stick around me long enough and no vampires will fall in love with you either. 😉

Lazy People of the World Unite & don’t feel bad about buying pre minced or crushed garlic!! I get this great Organic Garlic and it saves me a lot of time and trouble. Yes, fresh is great but easy is too so I ALWAYS have this snuggled in my fridge door. Thank you Vons!

I poked through the fridge and snagged all the veggies that needed to be used and then hunted the pantry. I recently had gotten great coupons from Libby’s so I knew I was bound to find some gems.

Let’s build that rich broth that is going to be the vehicle in which your flavor is so beautifully melted together.

Hello Divine Swanson Beef Cooking Stock! I like to make and freeze my own cooking stock but when I can get a great deal on brands I trust, I like to stock up. Stock up on stock… I might need help…

Swanson Broth

Pour the whole container into your pot with your meat. If you used ground turkey or chicken you certainly can use a chicken stock or chicken broth instead or as well. I’ve made this MANY times with nothing but chicken broth because that’s what I had on hand. It gives it an odd in a good way zest. Almost like you can quite put your finger on why it’s different but it still tastes amazing. You can make a special trip to the store or make do with what we have on hand. Up to you my dear. It’s all good!

Here’s where it gets challenging…. what veggies do you have on hand in your fridge? Now let’s check out your pantry. Anything look good, sound good or you know you should try to eat more of it BUT it’s not really your favorite. This is the place to try it out… all the lovely flavors mesh so well that you’ll not have tasted the zucchini or spinach in this way. Here’s what I found and went right into my pot.

Fresh Green Beans

http://www.greenlinefoods.com/gl/ Even though it says they are trimmed, I still wash them and go through snapping off the ends. Maybe it’s a wasteful practise but I my personal experience is that any opportunity I have to cook with an item that has been freshly chopped, it allows the item more room to let it’s fullest flavor come out. Maybe I’m goofy but it’s the way I do it. When I use these and steam them it the bag, they are delicious as well.

A little organic carrot action… I scored this bag for .60. Always get excited about organics on the cheap!


Open bag, pour desired amount right into your pot. If you have someone who is not a carrot fan, try the carrot chips or shreds. I find the shreds work really well for a kiddo who doesn’t enjoy it a ton to eat it happily. 

Celery, Zucchini and Onion


Chop your zucchini into small chunks, no wider than the width of your pinkie finger if you can help it. Pull the strings off your celery and chop it into the size you desire.

Hitting up my pantry of some yummy canned veggies


Del Monte Zucchini with Italian-Style Tomato Sauce… LOVE this stuff! Open the can and pour it all right on into your pot.

Holy Pototo!


Del Monte Potatoes coming through  for me again! Drain and toss contents into pot too.


Wax Beans! We all LOVE wax beans… for reasons none of us can really explain


Open, drain and toss into your pot.



 Again with the open, drain and pour into the pot. The presence of corn at our dinner table ALWAYS without fail causes our dinner conversation towards genetically modified foods and/ or poop. Poop/ bodily functions always finds it’s way into our family discussions. Alas, they take the free to be you and be a bit too freely sometimes. 😉

Thank you Hunts Tomatoes! I love keeping these and other flavors on hand. It compliments dishes and can rescue others if you get in trouble.


 All this can opening is simply exhausting… I don’t know how we’ll all continue on. Open and pour into your growing mountains of veggies in your pot.

At this time, let us pause and view our soup pot. How are we feeling about what we have working here? Is there a something we’ve missed that you’d like to include? My guess is that your pot is getting pretty full. It’s a beautiful thing!

Happy Box of Organic Beef Broth!


For my next trick… I will add another box of broth or stock. http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/nutrition-calories/food/safeway-o-organics/chicken-broth-low-sodium/ Check out the stats on this broth. It’s really neat how they track it. If you really like broth and your pot will allow for the room, you can add another box or can of broth or fix a box or can with water and dump it in. It my pot I’m at capacity but it’s a really awesome place to be. I like to add another shake or two of my seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper right about now. Your soup is about to sit there and simmer it’s way to goodness. Let’s give it something to make it taste better than your mama’s ever did!

Bring your pot to a nice cozy boil. Turn it down and leave it to simmer for about 25 minutes. Every so often just stir to avoid any burning on the bottom. I like to eat it just like that right there. HOWEVER, I’ve learned to get my Handsome Prince and the kids, when they were little to eat it happily, it needs to contain noodles.

Noodles are a universal food!


I toss my noodles right into my pot. The noodles will soak up your broth so you may find you’ll want to add a can or two of water to your pot to offer you more both in at the end. I’ve known people that swear by boiling their noodles in a seperate pot and then adding them to their soup. I look at it as yet another pot to have to wash. I toss them on in and in 8-10 minutes your soup is done and reasy to be served!


Pass the cheese please!


Sprinkle with your favorite cheese. I like fresh parmesan, this fresh Kraft Italian Blend I’ve tossed a colby jack blend on top too and it was great too!

I started making The Pioneer Woman’s “The Bread” Oh My Heavens! Too good to be true! Might not meet my idea of watching what you eat but heck, a good soup deserves something exceptional to dip into it!

Bread, croutons, crackers, by it’s self, with a salad… this is guaranteed to please a fill happy tummies everywhere!

K eats this for EVERY SINGLE MEAL until every last drop is gone!

Veggies are a great thing! Even if your soup have a few things your people may try to say no to, it is still rather easy to eat and avoid one item. Before you know it, your kids, Prince or Princess will be eating ALL of it and begging for you to make it again.

Like I said, I’ve been trying to put some in the freezer for a quick hearty freezer meal to fall back on. I can’t get any in there before it gets eaten. Thrilled to share my love of veggies with those I love so much. 🙂

Our Rainy Day Dinner Is Served!


So maybe we don’t have very many days that the weather makes us want to curl up in front of the fire with a hot bowl of hot fresh vegetable soup but when they happen our way, why not celebrate the day!

Curl up with the ones you love and for heavens sake, make your people soup!

Enjoying a cozy day in the kitchen,

Meg xoxo



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1 comment

  1. Sounds yummy! I love using up odds and ends in a yummy soup.

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