I'm a native Texan with a passion for good food and Texas history. Tex-Mex is a way of life for me, and so is baking!
When I was a kid, many a weeknight dinner started with a jar of, as many of us Southerners term it, “Spaghetti Sauce”.
It wasn’t until I moved to the East Coast that I learned a few things about my beloved Spaghetti Sauce. (Or as Davey and Ava like to call it, “Basketti Sauce”.)
‘Round here, it’s just “sauce” or “gravy”. And people sorta judge you if your sauce comes from a store-bought jar.
Well, I’m here to say that while I’m fully capable of making my own “gravy”, there are just some nights when it is not going to happen.
Sometimes you’ve got to choose between giving into a drive-thru, or pulling a jar out of the pantry. I guarantee you, pulling the jar out of the pantry will result in less calories every time.
I’m also going to let you in on a little secret: That jar of pasta sauce doesn’t have to be relegated to just covering pasta. It can be the start to some pretty spectacular soups too. You can use it in recipes just like you would a good box of stock.
Now, my personal favorite is a brand called Classico. I’ve bought it for years.
(And no, this isn’t a sponsored or even a review post – I’m just tellin’ ya what you’ll find in my pantry.)
The Classico Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic is my favorite for everything from pizza to garlic bread dipping sauce, to of course, spaghetti bolognese.
And, like their catch phrase says, they make it like *I’d* make it. No high fructose corn syrup here, thank you very much!
But I’m here to clue you in on my favorite use for that sauce: Turkey Burger Soup. A jar of Classico, some ground meat, a couple of potatoes and a bag of organic mixed vegetables, you, my friends, have dinner on the table, full of flavor and goodness, in under an hour.
With plenty of delicious leftovers too!
When I was a kid, my mom often made this soup, which she called Hamburger Soup, with sautéed hamburger. I’ve lightened the soup up by using sautéed ground turkey instead, but feel free to use whatever you’d like. Ground pork would be equally delicious.
You can also go sans meat all together and beef (hah!) up the vegetable content. Add in whatever vegetables you fancy: mushrooms, zucchini, squash, even cabbage, are fabulous here.
The bottom line is, between the pasta sauce and the stock, you get a robust savory simmered-for-hours flavor, without having to simmer for hours. (Unless you want to, which will only make the soup better.)
Turkey Burger Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided
1 package ground turkey (or beef or pork) (roughly 1.3 lbs)
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 16 oz bag frozen mixed organic vegetables (The mix I get at my grocery store includes green beans, sweet corn, carrots, and peas, but use any mix you like. Lima beans are also a tasty addition.)
3 medium red bliss or Yukon gold potatoes, diced into bite-size pieces
1 24 oz jar of pasta sauce (I used Classico Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic)
1 32 oz box of Organic Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
2 tablespoons Bouquet Garni (or equal parts parsley, thyme, tarragon, and rosemary, and 1 bay leaf)
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add ground turkey and brown thoroughly, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Remove meat from pot and set aside.
Heat second tablespoon of oil in the pot, then add diced onion and celery. Allow to sweat down until onions are transluscent, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.
Add ground turkey (or pork or beef) back to the pot, then the frozen vegetables and potatoes, then cover with the jar of pasta sauce and the entire box of chicken or vegetable stock. Add in the Bouquet Garni, and stir well so that all ingredients mix and combine (most specifically the stock and pasta sauce).
Simmer on medium-low heat with a lid on for 30 minutes to an hour, until potatoes are cooked all the way through. (They should be soft enough to pierce with a fork.) Taste the broth and adjust salt and pepper as needed for your preference.
This recipe may also be prepared in a slow cooker. Simply add all ingredients to the slow cooker without cooking or browning. Cook on low for at least 4 hours.