Friendship Soup

As the weekend approaches, my thoughts turn towards hospitality.  It’s easy for me to make excuses to not have people over:  too tired, too busy, house too messy,   too limited with resources, etc. etc. etc.  But, I know that pushing through those excuses is good for both me and my family.

On the birth of my first child 13 years ago, I was given a gift basket which included this simple, humble soup mix.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this soup!  I don’t even know where it originated.  I’m assuming that it’s called Friendship Soup because it feeds so many.

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Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dry split peas

1/3 cup beef bouillon granules

1/4 cup pearl barley

1/4 cup onion flakes

2 teaspoons Italian-style seasoning

1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1/2 cup (or more) uncooked pasta

2 bay leaves

Directions:

1.) In a quart jar, layer the split peas, bouillon, barley, lentils, onion flakes, Italian seasonings, rice and bay leaves.  Place macaroni on top and seal tightly.

2.) Attach a label to the jar that reads:  “Additional Ingredients: 1lb. ground beef, 3 quarts (12 cups) water, 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained, 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste.”

Prepare Soup:

Remove macaroni from the top of jar and set aside.  In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef and drain excess fat.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and soup mix.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Add the reserved macaroni, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until macaroni is done.  Season to taste.  Note:  putting the macaroni in a sealed sandwich bag makes it so much easier to remove.  Also, I prefer to cook the macaroni separately (less mushy for leftovers!).

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So, push the clutter under the couch, dim the lights and invite your loved ones over for this simple yet satisfying meal.  You’ll be happy you did!

Elizabeth

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