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Thursday, October 17, 2013

happy food: easy cheeseburger soup recipe

It wasn't long after we had moved across the country from Connecticut into our new home in Seattle that we hosted an autumn party out on the lawn on a crisp  fall day. We lived on a cul-de-sac and a party seemed like a good way to get to know our neighbors. I knew exactly what I would make: Cheeseburger Soup.

When Larry and I were first married I made something that started out as a fluke really-- Cheeseburger Soup. I came up with it one day as a newlywed when I just couldn't think of another way to cook chicken breast.  I had cans of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup on hand along with a package of ground beef and some half and half. I mixed the ingredients together, added some condiments and it was easy comfort food that made us feel warm, cozy and happy.  (There's something weirdly rewarding about pouring ketchup, mustard and relish in a soup.) Cheeseburger Soup also became the go-to meal for football games (portable in thermoses), New Year's Eve potlucks and impromptu visits from friends. And that first autumn party on the cul-de-sac? Well,  it was just the first of many block parties that bonded neighbors as a family.

Yesterday, was a long, intense day at work and I didn't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. It was also a cloudy, damp, cool day just made for soup. I stopped by the market on the way home and in less than 30 minutes Larry and I were tucking into bowls of warm Cheeseburger Soup before curling up in front of the fire and an Xbox game.

I wish you many cozy evenings this autumn season!

happy food: cheeseburger soup recipe

The brilliant thing about Cheeseburger Soup is how versatile it is. You can make it the traditional way or low-fat, with ground turkey instead of ground beef and fat-free half-and-half.  It's a basic recipe that is easily adapted. Here is the general recipe: 


1 pound of ground beef
2 cans of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 cups of whole milk
2 cups of half-and-half
to taste: hot dog relish, mustard and ketchup
topping: crushed potato chips or cooked bacon


In a large pot set on medium heat, cook ground beef until browned and drain. 

Return ground beef to pot. Add 2 cans of Cheddar Cheese soup, milk and half-and-half.  Once combined begin adding hot dog relish, mustard and ketchup 2 tablespoons at a time to taste. I usually add about 1/4 cup each but feel free to experiment. 

When combined and hot, pour into bowls and serve with crushed potato chips or crumbled bacon with a warm pretzel roll on the side.

The Lighter Version Ingredients

1 pound of ground turkey breast
2 cans of low-fat Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
4 cups of fat-free half-and half
to taste: hot dog relish, mustard and ketchup
topping: crushed low-fat potato chips or cooked turkey bacon

Refrigerate leftover soup and use it to top baked potatoes or as a dip for tortilla chips. It also freezes well.

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