Searching for Instant Gratification

Soups / January 22, 2016

You may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a ready-made binge. I don’t know why other than I’ve been in a hurry the last few nights to sate our collective appetites. I clearly wanted  DINNER.  RIGHT.   NOW. That’s why my quick soup starts with a box of Beef flavored Rice-A-Roni and gets all tender and yummy in a matter of about 30 minutes. Once in awhile it just makes sense to think fast.

Let’s break this down for a moment so you know I haven’t sold my soul to a large food conglomerate. I think cooking every meal with processed food  is akin to taking a blow-up doll on a date:  It looks good from the outside but what does it say about you when it’s time for meaningful conversation? (My sincerest apologies go out to all of you who perhaps have taken a polymer based companion as your significant other. Didn’t mean to step on your toes, or your air pump…) However! For those of you who always reach for processed food as your base, please listen!!!! It is so danged fun when you experiment! And your body will thank you.

So, given that this recipe is a bit of both processed and from-scratch food, I submit this is my way to bridge a gap between us. Please, start coming out of the dark and into the light. Try a little instant with a little slow; a bit of off-the-shelf with a little from-the-garden. I think you’ll find it’s worth it.

In the meantime  — soup’s on!!!!

Beautiful purple kale lends a nutritious and colorful element to this quick and hearty soup! By adding a bit of tomato juice and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, the flavors become very intertwined! If you’re willing to use good cuts of meat, lean and tender like sirloin, you won’t regret the tenderness you get in the end. Simply saute the vermicelli mixture and the meat in butter and oil for a QUICK start. Then add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 20 minutes.
You really don’t need anything else with this perfect winter meal. Except a companion across the table to share it with…hopefully one with a heart beat.

Rice-A-Roni Beef Vegetable Soup

Serves 4-6


1 lb sirloin or other tender stew cut, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 package Rice-A-Roni Beef flavored rice
3 medium carrots sliced
3 medium stalks of celery sliced
½ red pepper diced
1/3 yellow onion diced
1 C tomato juice
4 ½ C water (more if needed)
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 C purple kale, rough chopped
2 T butter
1 T oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese to garnish


  • In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and then add the oil. Add the rice mixture from the package and sauté for a minute or two until you see some browning of the vermicelli bits in the pan. Add the meat and continue to stir and brown the meat for only about 3 more minutes. You don’t want to burn the rice/vermicelli and you won’t be able to sear the meat. Just start the browning process. Then add the carrots, onion, red pepper and celery, Worcestershire, half the tomato juice, 3 C of the water and the packet contents on the Rice-A-Roni mix. Stir well and bring again to a boil. Cover with the lid sitting on the top askew a bit to allow a bit of steam to be released, and turn on low to let simmer for about 20 minutes. When you remove lid it will be more of a risotto looking soup. Add the rest of the water, and the rest of the tomato juice, taste and season. Then add the chopped kale, and return to a slow simmer only to bring to temperature, not to cook. When hot, serve! Can garnish with a little parmesan cheese if you like!

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