I have been working on some new ideas for another cookbook and I usually start with soups and salads. I sometimes wonder if I will be able to come up with enough new ideas to make a cookbook interesting.
Over the years, I have used the pizza idea in many cooking contests, so it stands to reason that I would make a pizza soup. This is not my first pizza soup, but it is another version. A bowl of this soup served with some freshly baked Italian bread sticks really tastes like pizza. The Cooking Creme called for in the recipe is a wonderful new product that can be found near the cream cheese in the supermarket.
Vegetable soup has always been a favorite. Perhaps this is because it was one of the few soups that my mother often made for the family. We usually had fresh vegetables from the garden, and Mother could make those taste especially good in her soup pot.
More than 20 years ago, my husband tasted some vegetable beef soup at the deli in a little service station in Anniston. He described its “flavorful little kick,” which I feel sure came from the addition of hot pepper sauce. Of course, he wanted me to taste it and see if I could duplicate it. I don’t know if I ever got it just right, but he gave my version the thumbs up.
The experiments continue, and once again I am making pizza soup and vegetable beef soup. Just take a look into your kitchen pantry and see what you have on hand that would be good in soup. You might be surprised when you taste your new version and it becomes a family favorite.
NEW PIZZA SOUP
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (not links of smoked sausage)
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
1 can chopped or sliced black olives, drained
1 (6 ounce) can canned mushroom pieces, drained
1 (14 ounce) jar pizza sauce
1 can (about 15 ounce) diced Italian style tomatoes (with basil, oregano and garlic)
2 cups water (more, if needed)
1/2 cup Philadelphia brand Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme
Shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
Cook the sausage, onion and bell pepper in a soup pot until sausage is fully cooked and vegetables are tender but not browned. Add olives, mushrooms, pizza sauce, tomatoes and water. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in Cooking Creme until well-blended. Serve with the shredded cheese to sprinkle over top of each serving.
VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 cup chopped onion
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced “fire-roasted” tomatoes
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of potato soup
1 cup V8 juice
2 cups water
1 (16 ounce) can mixed vegetables
2 teaspoons Tabasco (or to taste)
Salt and black pepper, if needed
Cook the ground chuck and onions in soup pot until chuck is no longer pink and onions are tender but not browned. Add tomatoes, soup, V8 juice, water, mixed vegetables and Tabasco sauce. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and black pepper, if needed.