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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Quick soup makes filling winter fare

Thursday, January 11, 2001

Tested by Rebecca Sodergren

Last Saturday the Post-Gazette reported that November and December of 2000 were the coldest on record for the United States.

With that kind of weather bombarding us this winter, we think of one thing only: soup. Gaze at the snowflakes outside the window while sipping a hot bowl of soup and you won't even feel the cold.

Thankfully, our backlog of Countdown recipes yielded one for soup, submitted by Mary Mannella of Penn Hills. This is her fourth recipe to be featured in the Countdown to Dinner section.

We found that the great thing about this soup recipe is that it can be adapted to suit your tastes. Any can of mixed vegetables will do. And 20 minutes is long enough to cook some fresh vegetables and other items if you want to pitch them in, too (we added a potato, chopped into small cubes while the ground beef was browning, and a couple handfuls of frozen French-cut green beans).

One note: We used 3/4 of the onion soup mix packet but thought half would have been enough.

Mannella is vice president of the PTA at Dible Elementary School, where son Christopher is in third grade. Husband Ed is regional director of finance for DiCesare-Engler.

For submitting a recipe that was chosen for the column, Mannella wins a cookbook. You could, too -- just follow the directions at the end of this column.

Quick Vegetable Beef Soup

1 pound ground beef
14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes
15-ounce can tomato sauce
3 cups water
14.5-ounce can VEG ALL vegetables
1/2 to 1 envelope (1 3/8 ounces) dry onion soup mix

In large sauce pan or Dutch oven, brown ground beef. Drain off fat. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, vegetables and onion soup mix. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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