The nights have definitely been cooling off, the Canadian geese look like they're getting ready for a journey south and my iced coffees are now just coffee - yes it's 'back-to-school' time for most people. I have a few teachers in my life, so it's back to work for them too.
I often feel that September is a time to get back in the kitchen, get back into activities, and get re-organized as lake time comes to an end. The ladies at the Recipe ReDux were thinking the same things, since this month's theme is:
Back to the Dinner Table - After the hustle and bustle of the holiday/vacation season, August is the time many families get ‘back to routine.’ Show us your favorite recipe to help families get ‘back to the dinner table.’ It might be a favorite family recipe from your childhood that you’ve ReDuxed; or maybe it’s your family’s current favorite. Let’s all gather back at the table!
Right away I thought of big batch cooking, as I prefer to prep and cook once and eat multiple times when things get busy, or freeze some for a later date. Perhaps family members will have to eat at different times, or maybe a big batch is the way to sneak in a sit down family meal. Since I also had family on my mind, I decided to tweak one of my mom's recipes. As I said, it's getting colder here, so I'm more open to warm dishes like hearty soups.
I started with my mom's hamburger soup and added lentils and a more few vegetables to 'beef it up". I also thought it was funny that I 'beefed it up" by adding lentils! This way I feel like soup can become a meal and I find it's a great way to get more vegetables in, or even to use up your garden goodies. I used ground beef, but I'm sure you could use chicken or turkey as well. I also usually make it on the stove (as a one pot meal), but I'm sure I successfully made the original version in the slow cooker once too.
Beefed Up Hamburger Soup
0.5 to 1.0 lbs of lean or extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
28 oz (796 ml) can diced tomatoes, no salt added
3 medium carrots, diced
2 zucchini, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup barley, rinsed
1/2 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups of water
4 cups of beef broth/stock
salt & pepper to taste
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Brown the meat and cook the onions (3-5 minutes), drain fat.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients (nice and easy).
3. Bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 1.5 - 2 hours, stirring often.
I did have a little 'help' in the kitchen this month too!
Steph Langdon, RD