Tomato Vegetable Soup ~gluten free

We have a Sunday tradition in our home.  After church the whole family is welcome to come over for a light lunch and dessert.  I’m not sure why, but the tradition in our families is that as soon as you get home, coffee is made and a dessert such as cake or other baking is served.  This is around noon.  Then about two hours later a late lunch is served.  In our home this is usually a homemade soup with buns, a casserole or something else that is easy.  I find with a house full of at least 16 people it’s important to keep it simple.
Tomato Vegetable Soup ~gluten free if using rice noodles:
Ingredients:
1lb ground beef
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste (optional – makes the broth have more body)
11/2 cup celery, finely sliced
2-3 carrots, shredded, about 1 1/2 cups
4 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 bay leaf
2 tbsp. flaked dry parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
12-14 cups water.
rice or wheat vermicelli
Method:
In large soup pot, brown ground beef, making it crumbly and light brown.  Place 12 cups water, canned tomatoes and spices into pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. If you are making tiny meatballs instead of beef crumble, this is the time to add them to the soup.  Take the raw ground beef and either form into tiny meatballs or pinch of tiny pieces and drop into the simmering soup.  Simmer covered loosely with lid about 1 hour.  During the last 10 minutes of cooking time, break in a handful or so of fine noodles.  I use the rice noodles from the asian store and they are great as they do not get soggy.  Some of the water will have evaporated so you can add 1-2 cups of water at this point.  Serve.  This soup freezes well especially if you use rice noodles as they do not deteriorate.

finely slice the celery
3 medium carrots = about 1 1/2 cup shredded

oriental rice noodles, there are about 6 sections to a pkg. I use 1 section and place in a plastic bag to crush a bit with a rolling pin.  Place it in the bag helps to keep the mess contained from breaking the noodles up.

P.S.  Feel free to add leftover chili, spagettii sauce or even diced leftover vegetables (corn, beans, peas) to this soup.

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