Merry Frugal Christmas! Homemade Soup As Thrift-minded Gifts from the Heart « Frugal Café Blog Zone

Merry Frugal Christmas! Homemade Soup As Thrift-minded Gifts from the Heart

Posted By on December 23, 2009

Homemade soup is a gift from the heart that won't break your budget... I'm excited about the batches I'll be giving as frugal gifts this Christmas

Homemade soup is a gift from the heart that won't break your budget... I'm excited about the batches I'll be giving as frugal gifts this Christmas

I’ve mentioned before how much I love soup. I’m quite passionate about it… both making and eating (or sipping) it. Because soup is usually served piping hot, it gives us all a chance to slow down for a bit, relax, decompress, as we slowly eat it. Inhaling the herbed and spiced steam of a big mug of flavorful soup is therapeutic for me. And it is so cheap to make, I’m still surprised when I hear that so many people are clueless that they can make their own soup at home for mere pennies a serving. Chic but cheap.

Yep, I love soup.

Our family has a limited budget for Christmas this year, so I was up until after midnight last night finalizing the creation of the last of four huge, delectable batches of homemade soup to give as extra-frugal Christmas gifts to my extended family.

I’m so pleased with how they turned out… all are delicious.

I made 4-Cheese Chicken and Shell Pasta Fiesta Soup (a new concoction), Pork Loin and Potato Soup (another new concoction), and Gordon Ramsey’s Broccoli Soup. This fresh broccoli soup is 100 percent vegan and fat-free… super easy and fast to make. Instructions for making it are on the Frugal Café main website… click here for text and video instructions for the broccoli soup.

ronald-reaganLast night, I finished making the one I was most excited (and a bit leery) about… Ronald Reagan’s Hamburger Soup.

The recipe for the Gipper’s soup is below.

Ronald Reagan’s Hamburger Soup

(Recipe from PR Newswire, March 11, 1986)
Original Source:

Preface from

There’s been speculation that this first made news after President Reagan innocently announced his liking for fancy French soups… and was immediately accused of being elitist. Whatever.

It’s definitely a homespun, plain soup, and not as bad as you might think when you discover that there’s hominy in it. This corn product—with an Algonquin Native American name—was an important food to early U.S. pioneers. It’s a nice firm little ball in the soup—almost dumpling-like. Serve the soup as a lunch meal to 4-6 people with lots of cornbread, cold milk, and maybe a big American pie for dessert.

Here’s the recipe… note the non-elitist allowance for canned foods and bouillon cubes.

  • 2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 T. butter or margarine
  • 2 c. diced onions
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1-1/2 c. sliced carrots
  • 2 c. sliced celery
  • 1 c. diced green peppers
  • 3 qt. (12 c.) beef broth, beef stock, or water with 8 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 16 oz. (1 lb) chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 10 oz. canned hominy, drained

Brown ground beef in butter (or margarine) in 6-quart sauce pan or soup pot. Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and green peppers. Simmer 10 minutes with the pan covered.

Add beef broth/stock or water with bouillon cubes. Add chopped tomatoes and black pepper. Simmer soup on low heat for 35 minutes. Add drained hominy. Boil hamburger soup for 10 minutes more.

Makes 4 quarts.

Serves 4-6.

I made a small change with this batch to save some money and decrease fat, substituting 1 pound of ground chicken from the 99 Cent Only Store for 1 of the pounds of ground beef. Can’t tell the difference. I refrigerated the batch overnight so as to easily skim the fat this morning. Also, I despise hominy, but I followed the recipe and included it, despite my hesitation.

And, WOW! I’ve been wanting to make this soup (even with the hominy) for quite some time now and was totally bowled over. Brilliant. I couldn’t believe how homey-yet-fabulous this Reagan soup is… maybe hominy isn’t so bad after all. So, if you’re going to make this, YOU MUST INCLUDE THE HOMINY. I guarantee you will love this, even if you hate hominy as much as I do. If you like hominy, you’ll really love this soup.

I printed out snazzy labels with the appropriate soup titles on them to adhere to the containers and have frozen all the filled Tupperware-type plastic containers so that transport of the different soups would be less precarious. I won’t be wrapping them, since they need to be put into the refrigerator or freezer once I deliver them tomorrow, so I’ll just slap a bow on the top of each container, then put them into large Christmas bags with a bit of tissue paper.

For other cheap-but-delicious soup, chowder, and stew recipes to give as thrifty, last-minute gifts or to make for your family by yourself on a Saturday morning or with a homeschooling group, Sunday School class, or Scout troop, you can check out these recipes:

Celebrity Recipes: Casey Kasem’s Vegetarian Soup

Celebrity Recipes: Malcolm Forbes’ Warm Pumpkin Soup with Sauteed Lobster

Frugal Versions of Famous Soups: Red Lobster’s New England Clam Chowder

Thai Coconut-Curry Soup

Frugal Versions of Famous Soups: The Soup Nazi’s® Cream of Sweet Potato Soup

Frugal Versions of Famous Soups: Hard Rock Café’s Potato Soup

Frugal Versions of Famous Soups: El Pollo’s Peruvian Chicken Soup

Frugal Versions of Famous Soups: U.S. Senate Bean Soup

Mushroom-Barley Soup

2 Classic French Onion Soup Recipes

Celebrity Recipes: Julia Child’s Grand Central Oyster Stew, Vintage 1937

Celebrity Recipes: Peter Max’s Maui Onion Soup

Celebrity Recipes: Rascal Flatts’ Chicken Noodle Soup

Celebrity Recipes: Dick Clark’s Cajun Corn Chowder

Celebrity Recipes: Martina McBride’s Tortilla Soup

Celebrity Recipes: Maya Angelou’s Groundnut Stew

Celebrity Recipes: Maya Angelou’s Menudoes (Tripe Stew)

Celebrity Recipes: William Shatner’s Carrot Vichyssoise

Celebrity Recipes: Rachael Ray’s Chicken Cacciatore Stoup (“stoup” isn’t a typo, heh heh)

Rochester Sweet and Sour Lentils

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About the author

I'm a conservative frugalist. My priorities: Watchdogging the government, making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely, living within our budgets (at home and in Washington, DC), and adhering to our Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it was developed by our founding fathers. Also, loving God, my family, and my country. Be wise, be frugal. God bless America!      


6 Responses to “Merry Frugal Christmas! Homemade Soup As Thrift-minded Gifts from the Heart”

  1. Amaryllis says:

    Last year I made a cake for my boyfriend. Making delicious food is always a good idea for Christmas gifts! I also plan to write him a love letter. Both of the two gifts aren’t expensive at all, but I do think they’re unique and perfect gifts.

  2. mofenia says:

    Christmas is coming! I am looking for some homecooking recipes. I love soup.
    Celebrity Recipes: Peter Max’s Maui Onion Soup
    Frugal Versions of Famous Soups: Hard Rock Café’s Potato Soup
    Those two look nice. I will try them. and this Christmas, we will have nice soup.
    Thank you very much.

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  5. Parent says:

    Thank You for this post.

  6. I always have fun cooking. Thanks for this writing.