If you like Potbelly’s garden vegetable soup (and if you haven’t been to Potbelly, which is apparently a chain of sandwich shops, you should be warned that they live up to their name and cause pot bellies quite effectively!), you might like my all-canned crock pot version.
I decided that I didn’t want to pay $4.50 for a small styrofoam container of the soup when it looked so much like what we used to make when I was a kid. It’s very chunky and delicious, IF you like vegetable stuff and you like canned veggies. (Some people hate them, and I know they have that problem with the plastic can liners–we’re pretending that doesn’t exist, for now.) This is something you can throw together in no time and have ready in twenty minutes.
I bought cans of
Del Monte Zucchini in Tomato Sauce (about .89 on special)
Del Monte Sweet Peas (around $1)
Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Oregano, and Garlic (~$1.25)
Diced new potatoes (~$1)–also Del Monte, I think, but others make ’em
Whole new potatoes (for chunkier potato bits) (~$1)-I quartered these to get large chunks.
Del Monte Half-Can of Lima Beans (I didn’t want it to become a bean soup) (this was almost $1, too)
. . . I think that’s all.
I already had some Texmati rice and vegetable-derived seasoning mix (it has dried red bell peppers, onions, sun-dried tomato flakes, and so forth.) I also had frozen yellow squash on hand, which I added on impulse after everything else was in, but wouldn’t add again next time, as it just didn’t do anything for the mixture, IMHO.
Open the cans and dump ’em into your crock pot, including all the liquid out of the cans. If you don’t think there’s enough liquid in there at the end, you can pour in some of that Swanson Vegetable Broth that comes in the aseptic box (no MSG) or some water or whatever you use as soup stock. I thought there was enough. Then I threw in about 1/2 cup of the Texmati mixed wild rice/brown rice/jasmine rice, raw. I considered throwing in some Cheerios, but resisted this urge. For seasoning, I decided to sprinkle in a couple of good shakes out of this vegetable seasoning all-natural mixture I had splurged on at the fancy grocery store. You could try Mrs. Dash (several varieties–my mother loves that stuff) or any other seasoning mixture you like. Don’t use cumin or chili powder the first time you make this stuff, because that will overpower every other flavor. (If you do decide to try that, pour in a little salsa or picante sauce, too.) Now just plug in the crock pot and set ‘er on “high” for a while, until everything is thoroughly heated. You can let this simmer, too, while the veggies get softer. They never got “too soft” for me, even though I think this stuff simmered a couple of hours after I’d tried a serving.
VERY FILLING. So just have a small bowl along with a grilled cheese sandwich or whatever other sandwich you like (not PBJ or BLT, though, as it’s too different!) Or with a small salad. Two “extra” bites after you’re full can lead to serious discomfort in the form of a bloated tummy!
The zucchini really “makes” this dish, so don’t omit it if you find it only at the fancy grocery store and it costs almost $2 a can (which it does when it isn’t on special.) Unless you hate zucchini. You could add canned spinach, turnip greens, or collard greens, but not an entire can!–maybe just a few pinches. If you like those, I mean. We couldn’t risk it, because my mother has kidney stones if she eats that stuff (and she does love it–she’s an old farm girl from way back underneath that city slicker veneer.) You could add dried lentils, too, as a thickener, instead of the rice. Don’t put too much, or you get bean soup instead.
My blood sugars have been insane because we’ve been relying far too much on take-out, fast food, burgers, and frozen dinners for the past month (a lot goin’ on.) I decided that I could make up some quick dinners that would serve us much better. I also think my version is cheaper per serving than the soup from the restaurants.
Let me know if you make it and how you like it!