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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Easy Slow Cooker Beef & Tomato Macaroni Soup

I have been in a total food rut lately. Looking back over my grocery bills, I can see that at least one meal each day has consisted of a pre-packaged frozen meal. While they've been organic, healthy meals like Amy's Kitchen and Evol, to do them every single day really puts a dent in the budget. So, I've been kicking myself in the rear and trying to get myself back in the habit of making actual meals again. Cooking for one is hard, but I'm making sure I have plenty of containers on hand so I can take the leftovers and create my own frozen meals. This recipe saved me massive dollars in the pre-packaged food department - even using all organic ingredients.

BTW - I made this and took it in for my coworkers to try. It got total rave reviews. It's one of the finest soups I've ever made!

Beef and Tomato Macaroni Soup
5 Weight Watchers Points+ for a 1 cup serving

8 cups beef broth, divided
1lb ground beef (I used 85/15)
28oz diced tomatoes in tomato juice
6oz tomato paste
1 cup frozen chopped onions (or one large onion, chopped)
10oz sliced mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 cup uncooked macaroni noodles

Place all ingredients in large slow cooker, except for 1 cup of beef broth and the uncooked macaroni noodles. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in uncooked macaroni noodles and reserved beef broth. Stir, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

* No need to cook the beef ahead of time - it cooks in the soup

* Make it gluten free by using gluten free beef broth and gluten free macaroni noodles, like Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta. 

* Fresh is always better, but you can use 2 Tbls dried basil in place of fresh basil.

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