Busy Day Soup is fuss-free comfort food, easily made on hectic weeknights. Made entirely in one pot, this flavorful soup doesn't require any chopping, sautéing, or browning - and it's ready to serve in about 30 minutes!
Busy Day Soup is a dump-and-go dinner recipe - made with frozen meatballs, frozen mixed vegetables, and canned tomatoes. Dry macaroni noodles are added at the end, and cooked right in the pot!
Similar recipes call for a packet of French Onion Soup mix. It's just as easy to add the dry onion soup spices yourself, making this recipe healthier and free of unnecessary additives.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Hearty ingredients: This soup is loaded with vegetables and includes plenty of protein and carbs. It's sure to fill you up!
- Quick: When time is tight, Busy Day Soup comes to the rescue! There are zero ingredients to prep, and you don't have to brown any ground beef in advance!
- Easy: You don't need any cooking skills to make this recipe!
- Rich flavors: Tomato paste, homemade onion soup mix, and beef bouillon add rich and savory flavors.
- Budget-friendly: Don't waste money on takeout when you can feed your family right from your freezer and pantry.
Frozen meatballs: You'll need Italian-seasoned frozen meatballs made with ground beef.
Frozen vegetables: Frozen mixed vegetables that contain cut green beans, diced carrots, yellow corn, and green peas are best. Any similar blend will work!
Diced tomatoes: My recipe calls for canned, petite-diced tomatoes without added seasonings, plus the juices from the can.
Macaroni noodles: Dry macaroni noodles (or elbows) are added towards the end of cooking time. I've tested the recipe with regular noodles and high-fiber noodles. Both will work!
Vegetable broth: I prefer to use low-sodium vegetable broth because you can always add more salt to taste if needed.
Onion soup mix: Homemade onion soup mix is so easy to make! You'll need onion flakes, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and beef bouillon. I used Better than Bouillon Beef Base.
Cleanup is a breeze with this soup recipe! All you need is a large stock pot to cook the soup in.
How to make Busy Day Soup
- Bring the vegetable stock and water to a boil.
- Mix in the seasonings.
- Add the frozen meatballs and vegetables and bring the soup back up to a boil.
- Add the dry pasta and continue cooking until the noodles are soft, about 15 minutes.
Step 1: Add the vegetable broth and water to a large soup pot and bring to a boil.
Step 2: Stir in the tomato paste, beef bouillon, onion flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and ground black pepper. Stir until dissolved.
Step 3: Add the meatballs, frozen vegetables, and canned tomatoes to the soup, and bring the soup back up to a boil.
Step 4: Once boiling, add the dry macaroni noodles. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
- Letting the soup simmer for 15 minutes will help the flavors meld together.
- I like to garnish my soup with a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese and a few soup crackers.
- Feel free to add fresh herbs for even more flavor! Chopped flat-leaf parsley or fresh basil would be delicious.
- You can customize the soup by adding other quick-cooking vegetables like chopped zucchini, frozen broccoli, or spinach.
- If the soup is too thick, add more water to thin it out.
Substitutions and variations
Meatballs: Many similar recipes call for ground beef, pork, or turkey. Frozen meatballs can be substituted with any of these options; however, you'll want to brown the ground meat in a skillet on the stovetop first.
Frozen vegetables: Frozen veggies are used so that you don't have to do any chopping. If you have a little extra time and extra veggies on hand, feel free to chop them up and add them to the soup.
Onion soup mix: All of the seasonings in the recipe can be replaced with a packet of Lipton onion soup mix.
How to store, freeze, and reheat
How to store: Store leftover busy soup in a glass, airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Soup can also be stored in large, ziplock freezer bags once it has fully cooled.
How to freeze: While the soup can be frozen, I don't recommend it. With so many previously frozen ingredients, the taste and texture will suffer if it's frozen, thawed, and reheated.
How to reheat: Leftover soup can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop in a small saucepan.
What to serve with
Busy Day Soup should be served with side dishes that are just as quick and easy to make! Dinner rolls, fresh bread, or garden salad are all great choices. I would also serve the soup with the following:
Frequently asked questions
"Busy Day Soup" typically refers to a simple and quick-to-make soup that you can prepare when you're short on time. While the exact recipe can vary, most Busy Day Soup recipes call for frozen vegetables, canned vegetables, and ground beef.
If you're serving a large group of people, I would add a side dish that is quick to prepare and very filling. Fresh bread, dinner rolls, or cornbread are all great options.
Yes, in this soup recipe, you can use canned vegetables instead of frozen. The texture of the vegetables might change slightly, though.
Yes! I think leftover turkey, especially Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, would be delicious! Instead of using frozen meatballs, use leftover shredded turkey instead.
Yes, potatoes are a versatile soup ingredient. Peeling and chopping fresh potatoes will add some prep time to the recipe though.
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