Hearty Hot Dog and Vegetable Soup With Pasta: A Speedy Meal

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When I was growing up we ate lots of soup, probably because it is an economical meal and filling. My mother made clam chowder, vegetable soup, chicken-noodle soup, to name a few. All of her soups were made from scratch and labor intensive. Thanks to new products, however, soup can be a quick meal.

For example, I always have a carton of unsalted chicken broth on the shelf. I use it for sauces, soups, and casseroles. Unsalted beef broth comes in handy too, although I don’t use it as much as chicken broth. Grocery stores also carry unsalted bouillon cubes and I always keep them on hand. We don’t eat many canned soups, but I always have mushroom and celery in the pantry.

Recently I purchased a package of reduced fat, reduced salt hot dogs, and we had them for lunch. My husband didn’t like the taste. “These have hardly any flavor,” he commented. “What brand are they?” He was right. The hot dogs had little flavor and were a different brand, one I don’t usually buy.

Fat adds flavor to food. If the manufacturer reduces the fat content, herbs and seasonings may be added for flavor. Some of these products, such as the variety of chicken hots dogs, are really good. But I still had the rest of the hot dogs and wondered what I could do with them.

Because I’m a thrifty person, I decided to use them in soup. It was a good decision. The soup was tasty and my husband enjoyed it. To prevent the pasta from being overcooked, I cooked it ahead of time and added it to the soup at the last minute. Cooked rice may be substituted for pasta. Stumped on dinner? Make soup tonight!

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 can (10 1/2 ounces) celery soup (I( used the reduced fat and salt kind.)

1 carton (32 ounces) unsalted chicken broth

1 pound package of hot dogs (your choice)

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin (or 1/2 if you want more smokiness)

1 cup pre-cooked small pasta (tubes, shells, macaroni)

METHOD

1. Pour olive oil into soup pot. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft.
2. Stir in celery soup and chicken stock.
3. Cut hot dogs into thin slices and add to soup.
4. Add all remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer over lowest heat for 1 hour, or transfer to show cooker, set on low, and simmer 6-8 hours.
5. Uncover soup and add cooked pasta. Heat 10 more minutes.
6. Serve with crackers, bread sticks, or crusty bread. Makes about 8 servings.

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