• 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 large onion
  • 10-12 baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cans (1 pound each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can (1 pound) beans navy, kidney, or garbanzo, rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces elbow macaroni or ziti pasta


  1. Place the ground meat in a large pot and brown over medium heat. Drain off excess fat if necessary.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, spices, garlic, and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the beans and the pasta to the pot, cover, and simmer for 7-9 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Do not overcook as pasta will continue to soften as long as it is in the hot soup.
  4. Ladle into bowls, topping with Parmesan cheese or fresh basil if desired.

Makes: 12 1-cup servings
Total Time: 45 minutes

About the Chef


Name of Chef: Jennifer Carvajal
Family: Husband – Sanford Carvajal, son – Connor Carvajal
Community: Carmel Mountain Ranch
Hobbies: Cooking and baking, paper crafts, reading, decorating
Favorite Local Activity: Going to Mt. Carmel High School football games when my son plays and my husband coaches
About the Recipe: This soup is a family favorite during cold winter weather. It’s easy and most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. The recipe is also very flexible – you can add more vegetables, throw in some zucchini, or even add some chopped fresh spinach. If you don’t have crushed tomatoes, then diced tomatoes or even a jar of spaghetti sauce are great substitutes. It’s also very low-fat if you use lean meat, which is great for everyone who made a New Year’s resolution to drop a few pounds.
About the Chef: Growing up, my family had dinner together at the table nearly every night. It’s hard to do while juggling everyone’s activities but I really feel like it’s an important part of every day. Sometimes dinner is a favorite that I’ve made over and over and sometimes it’s an experiment that flops horribly, but no matter what we are eating, it’s nice to all sit down together and talk about how everyone is doing.

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