Friday, December 30, 2011

Pizza Soup

Thanks to my best friend's children (sleeping over for the night) for cleverly naming this soup. It was YUM and easily fed the three extra mouths in my house.  Did I mention they all belonged to teenagers?!  TWO boys and a girl?  I know... brave.

1 lb Italian Sausage, bulk or removed from casings (I used mild since I'm feeding kids)
1/4 lb pepperoni (I used the slices and quartered them for soup size)
1/2 lb ham, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 quart diced tomatoes (yes... they were home canned)
6 cups chicken stock
6 cups water
1 bouillon cube (I used beef because I was out of chicken)
2 cups shaped pasta, such as elbow or fusilli
1/2 small bunch of kale, destemmed & roughly chopped into small pieces

Heat a 6 quart soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add sausage, breaking up with spoon.  Cook until browned.  Add pepperoni & ham.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add bell peppers & onions.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, water & bouillon cube.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in pasta & kale.  Cook for 8 minutes.

I served this with Italian bread, sliced, brushed with garlic powder, oregano & olive oil and toasted under the broiler in the oven.  This recipe fed three adults, three teenagers, one 8yo & a 4yo with leftovers.  To make it thicker and serve a "normal" family, leave out the 6 cups of water and drop the pasta to only one cup.

A note about bell peppers & onions:  To make your life WAY easier and dinner prep WAY faster, chop or dice these both in bulk and freeze.  Neither bell peppers nor onions need any sort of blanching to freeze.  Just cut to the size you want, lay out on a cookie sheet and freeze for an hour.  Transfer flash frozen onions or peppers to zip-top bags or freezer containers.  When you need them, take out just what you need and return the rest to the freezer.  You will need to add a minute or two of cooking time when starting with frozen veggies.  That takes far less time than cutting them every time you need them and frees you up to do something else. It also gives you the chance to buy local and/or organic in the summer and freeze for the year.  I buy seconds at my farmer's market and pay a fraction of grocery store prices.  Saving time AND saving money.  Win-win.

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