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A quick, easy and healthy gift idea for those blustery Winter days. A very hearty soup that's full of taste, yet low calorie and full of fiber. A good base soup mix that lends itself to other variations, which I have listed. Or create your own.
DRY SOUP MIX
- 1⁄4 cup dried split peas (I used green)
- 1⁄4 cup red lentil (can use yellow or brown ones)
- 1⁄4 cup orzo pasta (I used multi-colored orzo)
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons low-sodium beef bouillon powder
- 2 tablespoons pearl barley
- 2 tablespoons dried chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar or 1⁄2 teaspoon Splenda granular (not packets)
- 8 ounces lean ground beef or 8 ounces venison or 8 ounces bulk sausage
- 1 (10 ounce) cantomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel brand) or 1 (10 ounce) can canned tomatoes
- 2 quarts water
- 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans (I used Bush's) (optional)
- NOTE: Ingredients do not contain salt, which allows recipient to salt to taste.
- Mix all dry ingredients together and pour into a sealable jar or plastic bag.
- Enclose Cooking Instructions (see below).
- Slip into a decorative celophane bag and attach a bow.
- Give as a hostess gift or add to a gift basket.
- COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
- Add Dry Package Mix and tomatoes with green chilis.
- Stir and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until lentils and barley are tender.
- While soup is cooking, brown ground beef in a hot skillet until no longer pink, breaking up beef as you brown it.
- Pour beef into a colander and rinse under hot water.
- Drain well.
- Add to soup mixture.
- Add chili beans and continue to cook until beans are hot.
- Taste for seasonings, adding a little salt if needed.
- TO SERVE: Ladle into large bowls and serve with crackers, cornbread, or toasted sourdough bread.
- OPTIONAL GARNISHES: Top each serving with any or all of the following: grated cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, chopped pickled jalapenos.
- VARIATIONS: (1) You can add or substitute (for the chili beans), any of the following: canned black beans, great northern beans, navy beans, kidney beans, or corn.
- You may need to add an additional cup or 2 of water.
- (2) Bulk sausage (beef or venison) can be substituted for the lean ground beef.
- NOTE: If you use plain canned tomatoes instead of tomatoes with green chilis, you will need to add a can chopped green chilies, or about 1/8-1/4 tsp.
- crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to compensate for the heat nd flavor or the tomato/green chili mixture.