“Have you ever heard of cheeseburger soup?” I asked a friend.
“Sure,” she said. “It’s good. I asked other friends the same question and all were familiar with cheeseburger soup. Apparently I was one of the last people in America to learn about this recipe. The first time I tried it was in a hospital cafeteria and the soup hit the spot on a sub-zero day. But there was little hamburger in it and every time I found a chunk I felt like I had found a gold nugget.
The soup also contained too many potatoes and seemed more like potato soup than cheeseburger soup. Curiosity got the best of me and I looked on the Internet for recipes. Some recipes were more complicated than others. As much as I craved the soup, I didn’t have much time to make it, and would have to take some short-cuts. If I was going to take short-cuts, I reasoned, they may as well be healthy ones.
I started with the basic recipe and substituted low-fat ground beef for the higher fat kind. To get more vegetables I doubled the carrots. In addition, I added more chicken broth and a can of cheddar cheese soup. To reduce the fat content more, I used reduced fat cheddar cheese. Because cheese tends to be salty I didn’t add any salt to the soup. Instead of peeling and chopping potatoes, I tossed in some frozen potatoes O’Brien.
The preparation time for this recipe is about 15 minutes and it serves eight. Though there are only two of us home now, I made the entire recipe and planned to serve it for two lunches. Cheddar cheese can be tricky and if you let the soup boil the soup may “break.” In other words, it will lose its thickness.
Keep stirring when you add the cheese to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. This recipe may be made in a slow cooker or soup kettle. Are you extra busy these days? Wondering what to have for dinner? Try this reduced fat recipe.
1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1/4 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. celery
1 1/2 c. shredded carrots
1 tsp. dried basil
4 cups no-salt chicken broth
10 3/4-ounce can cheddar cheese soup
1 1/2 c. frozen potatoes O’Brien
8-ounce package shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/3 c. Wondra flour
1/2 c. cold water
Reduced fat sour cream (optional)
In a large skilled, cook the beef over medium heat, breaking it up as the meat browns. Add onions, celery, carrots, and parsley. Transfer mixture to a soup pan and turn heat on low. Add chicken broth, cheddar cheese soup, shredded Cheddar cheese, and potatoes. Cover and simmer for a half hour. Whisk cold water into Wondra flour. Stirring constantly, slowly add this mixture to the soup. Simmer over medium heat until soup thickens. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream if desired. Serve with crusty bread or saltines. Makes 8 servings.