I don't like to use the word "budget" because I think it has negative connotations, but I am also one who calls a spade a spade. This is budget soup. The ingredients are inexpensive to buy, and when feeding a large family that's something.
Though it is far from haute cuisine, it is most edible, and, in fact, quite tasty, and I would definitely make it over and over. I found the recipe after a friend told me she had purchased a jar of soup ingredients at a holiday craft sale. She mentioned the name of the woman who put the soups together, and I remembered that I had seen this same person's recipe in a school cookbook. The recipe was originally created to assemble a jar of it and give it someone else. The only thing the jar needs in addition to the ingredients in the jar, is a pound of ground meat and a can of tomatoes. I never assembled it in a jar, just measured the ingredients as listed and dumped them in a pot.
The leftovers were great for lunch on the go.
The recipe gives the option of using chili powder for seasoning or Italian seasoning. I used my own combination of Italian herbs, shown below. I did not have barley or split peas when I made it so I subbed more lentils for the peas and more rice for the barley. I also used all star shaped pasta instead of the recommended ABC pasta and additional shaped pasta. I wouldn't mind using the other ingredients, but it's all grain and I think you would be fine with almost any combination.
I ate the leftovers for lunch several days later (as well as took two jars to my neighbors) and it was a little more like stew left over -- the grains swelled and absorbed the broth. You could add more broth or another can of tomatoes, but it was really very good like that.
(aka Love Soup -- I guess for when you are giving it away)
1/3 cup beef boullion or soup base (see note)
1 T. chili powder OR 1 1/2 T. Italian seasoning (see note)
1/4 cup onion flakes (see note)
1/2 cup split peas
1/2 cup ABC macaroni
1/4 cup barley
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup rice
pasta (any shape)
1 pound ground meat (I used ground chuck)
1 can chopped tomatoes (see note)
salt and pepper
To give away in a jar: Layer ingredients, in order listed, in a 1-quart jar. Use shaped pasta to fill the top. Close jar with a ring and cap. Add preparation instructions on a tag.
To prepare: brown 1 lb ground meat ; drain.
Reserve shaped pasta to add later. Add remaining ingredients to beef and add 12 cups water. Add can of tomatoes with juice. Simmer for 45 minutes. Taste and season. Add reserved pasta and cook until pasta is tender, 10 to 15 minutes, Serve.
If you prefer not to use soup base, you can use beef broth, but that will raise the cost. You'll also have to adjust seasoning.
For Italian seasoning, use equal amounts of dried basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and marjoram to equal 1 1/2 tablespoons.
I used 3 T. onion powder instead of onion flakes.
The recipe called for 28 oz. of tomatoes, however to reduce acid I used a 14 oz can with fine results. Use whatever suits your taste.
Meat can be left out for vegetarian soup.
Source: St. Paul School cookbook