Craving some soup? You might have all the canned ingredients you need to make one | arts and culture


My son and daughter-in-law knocked it out of the park this Christmas, giving me a robot vacuum and an air fryer. I am intrigued by the void. How does he know where he’s been and where to go next? And how does he know where and when to return to his base? I could sit and watch it for hours – which may be a reflection of how boring my social life is these days. I’m trying to figure out how to get him to open the pantry door and bring me a snack while I watch TV at night.

The air fryer is also fantastic. They gave me an Instant Pot two Christmases ago, and it’s been sitting in the same spot on my kitchen counter ever since, awaiting its maiden voyage. They claim I said I couldn’t live without it – I claim they gave it to the wrong mother. Of course, I can do without it.

I’m fairly new to the air fryer game. I only ventured into the realm of frozen appetizers and side dishes from the supermarket – to the delight of my taste buds and the disappearance of any semblance of waistline. Frozen toddlers? The crispiest I’ve ever had, with regular fries, sweet potato fries, jalapeno poppers, and my new addiction, loaded potato skins. I googled air fryer recipes and there are millions of them. So, I’m asking readers to email me their favorite recipes for real food made in the air fryer – before my cholesterol hit Mars. I will share them later.

During the recent cold spell, I craved homemade soup, but also because of the weather, I had migraines and no ambition to make homemade soup. As I was looking through my pantry for canned soup, I remembered a recipe that pioneer woman Ree Drummond had made years ago that involved raiding the pantry and emptying the contents of the cans into a large saucepan and simmering it before adding a piece of Velveeta cheese. And even though I didn’t have all the ingredients for her recipe, I had seven boxes that I could use in their place. I used his technique and adapted it to my pantry – a large can of cooked chicken, a can of mixed Chinese vegetables, a packet of pre-cooked rice, a can of crushed tomatoes, a container of chicken broth, a box of shiitake mushrooms and a box of water chestnuts. I didn’t have Velveeta, but added a half and half dose.


(Courtesy of

Total: 25 minutes

Active: 10 mins

Yield: 6 servings


A 15.25 ounce can of corn with red and green peppers, such as Del Monte Fiesta Corn

One 15-ounce can of meat-only chili

A 15 ounce can of kidney beans

A 15 ounce can of pinto beans

A 15 ounce can of black beans

A 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes

A 10-ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, such as Ro-Tel

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces processed cheese, such as Velveeta, cubed


Empty the corn, chili, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, tomatoes and tomatoes with green chiles, including liquid, into a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to combine all the flavors. Salt and pepper as needed.

Dice the cheese and stir it into the soup until melted. Serve immediately.


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