Rantoul Press columnist

Captain’s Soup is an easy peasy cold weather dinner that cooks up in the slow cooker and is ready to go the moment you hit the door, which is a recipe I use often because my children are still in a phase of wanting to eat within five seconds of arriving home.

I’ve tried snacks right away, but that weirdly pushes when they want an actual meal back to about 8 p.m., so I’ve resigned myself to hitting the door and morphing into a contestant on Iron Chef: grabbing bowls, throwing stuff in the microwave and assembling a full meal in what I feel is world record speed.

Meanwhile, my children are walking around wild-eyed saying things like, "Fine, I can’t wait. I will just eat THIS!" and grabbing anything in sight.  

The other day I thought, "Ha! I’ll beat them at their own game and order a pizza and pick it up on the way home, and then dinner will be ready immediately."  

In the one minute we were at the pizza place, both my children circled the counter like sharks and had their heads stuck in the Coke cooler (for laughs?! I don’t know), and I think the cashier sensed he better get that pizza ready on the double or my children were going to finish the closing shift with him, he-he.

So I’d still say I won that round. But it can’t be pizza every night, so I love Captain’s Soup — it cooks all day and is ready to go within seconds of arriving home (the hallmark of any great recipe in my opinion). It’s loaded with veggies and specifically calls for frozen ones, so no prepping or chopping from you.

Captain’s Soup


One pound of ground beef, browned and drained

Two cans "cream of" soup (I’ve used different varieties here; no rules on this one)

One-half bag potatoes O’Brien

One large bag of frozen mixed veggies (I used the California medley)

One 54-ounce container of V8


Add everything in the slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours (this recipe is super forgiving, and I’ve had it in for 10 hours, and it still turned out great.)

Carissa Nelson of Rantoul also blogs about easy recipes, fashion and style at