Transforming entrees into something souper

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My mother-in-law's dear friend Cheryl Gilges lives in Gulf Shores, Ala., and they email each other every day. Once in a while these emails include a recipe. Cheryl's lasagna soup with spicy sausage and melted cheese sounds inviting, and I look forward to giving it a try. When I got her recipe I thought about other foods we typically serve as an entree and found recipes where people had put those entree favorites into a soup. I decided to share those with you today.

Lasagna Soup

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

2 cups onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, diced

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

4 cups chicken broth

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, chopped

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup mafalda pasta

2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1 cup provolone cheese or fresh mozzarella, diced

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

4 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Brown sausage in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots, saute 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic, and saute another 3 minutes. Add broth, stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil. Drop in pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Place 1/4 cup cheese into serving bowls and pour hot soup on top. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and basil. Serve with a crisp for a complete dinner. Makes 8 cups.

Note: If you cannot find mafalda pasta, which look like little miniature lasagna noodles, you can substitute campanella or penne pasta.

Cabbage Roll Soup

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 (12-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup Minute Rice

1 small head cabbage

1 teaspoon sugar

Brown the ground beef and chopped onion. Drain grease. Add tomato sauce, rice and shredded cabbage. Add sugar, pepper and salt to taste. Cook until cabbage and rice are done. Serve piping hot.

Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 package dry taco seasoning mix

1 package dry Ranch dressing mix

1 can corn, undrained

1 can Mexican corn, undrained

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 can chili hot beans

1 can pinto beans

Brown the ground beef and chopped onion in a large soup pot. Drain off any fat. Add the taco seasoning and the Ranch dressing mixes to the beef. Add the corn, tomatoes and beans. Simmer 1 hour. Serve hot garnished with crushed corn chips, shredded cheese, sour cream or any garnish you desire. You can also substitute black beans in for the pinto beans if you prefer.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 onion, chopped

1 carrot, shredded

2 ribs celery, chopped

5 cups water

1 (12-ounce) package frozen tortellini with cheese filling

2 cups milk

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup Cheez Whiz

2 to 3 cups diced, cooked chicken

Melt butter or margarine in large pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and saute until tender. Add water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini noodles and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Reduce heat and add milk, cream, Cheez Whiz and chicken. Stir constantly over low heat until cheese is melted. Simmer on low until thoroughly heated. Garnish and serve piping hot.

Hearty Steak Soup

1 pound ground round or stew meat

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

2 tablespoons flour

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can beef broth

1 (14-ounce) can chopped Italian tomatoes with juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1 cup water

Brown ground beef and set aside. If using stew meat, brown and simmer slow until cooked and tender; set aside. Add oil to the same pan and add carrots, onions and celery. Cover; cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute more. Gradually add beef broth, tomatoes with juice, 1 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Return browned beef to soup pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Stir in peas and simmer another 5 minutes.

Chicken and Rice Casserole Soup

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups water

1 (6-ounce) package long grain and wild rice mix

2 1/2 cups cooked and diced chicken

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

In soup pot, saute mushrooms and onions in oil for 3 minutes. Stir in broth and water. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice mix. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in diced chicken and vegetables. Cook 5 minutes longer until rice and vegetables are tender.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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