Vegetarian! Delicious! Inexpensive: around $2 a pot.
I served this last night with grilled cheese sandwiches and butter round (Ritz off-brand) crackers and it was a crowd pleaser; even my 2 year old liked dipping his sandwich and crackers in the soup. Feel free to sub fresh spices for dried if you don't mind having chewy bits. This recipe creates a smooth consistency similar to the leading canned brand.
2 Cans Tomato Sauce (unflavored)
1 Cup Water
1/2 Tbsp Onion Powder
1/2 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
Pinch of ground italian seasonings (just a pinch! this isn't marinara!)
1 tsp Salt (to taste)
Several dashes of pepper (to taste)
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
Pour tomato sauce, water, and all seasonings in a pan. On low heat warm until very hot. Don't rush this with high heat or you'll be splattered by tomato bubbles. Season to taste, add a little more salt or pepper, then add the cream cheese with a whire wisk. Be patient and stir it until it's all melted smooth. Serve hot! Makes about five big bowls. This soup reheats really well.
PS - Trying "Grandma Ellen's" Chili recipe today!