There’s nothing better for warming up kids who are off school for a snow day than a hot, steaming bowl of soup and a hot sandwich. But, if you’re tired of the same tomato or chicken noodle soup and want to try something a little different, I’ve got a couple of recipes for you.

Kids usually always like spaghetti, so why not try Spaghetti Soup for a change? And, most kids love sloppy joes and pizza, so why not combine the two and serve them these Pizza Joes, too?

The Spaghetti Soup can be ready in less than half an hour, but the Pizza Joes are made in a crockpot, so you may want to get that mixture started during breakfast so it’s hot and ready to serve by lunch.

Both freeze well, so if you don’t use all the servings the first day, pop the remainder in the freezer and you’re ready for the next round of snow days!


1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups beef broth

1 (14-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced peeled, tomatoes, undrained

1 (4.5-ounce) jar or can of sliced mushrooms, drained

3/4 cup uncooked rotini (spiral pasta)

1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper

1/2 cup thinly sliced zucchini (optional)

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Brown the ground beef with onions in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat; drain.

Add remaining ingredients, except Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until rotini and vegetables are tender.

Immediately sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top; then add an extra sprinkle on each serving.

Makes 5 (1 ¼-cup) servings.


2 pounds lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 (14-ounce) jars pizza sauce

3/4 cup sliced pepperoni, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

18 sandwich buns, split

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded Mozzarella cheese

In 12-inch skillet, cook ground beef and onions over medium-high heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

Spray 3 ½-to-4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon beef mixture into sprayed slow cooker. Add bell pepper, pizza sauce, pepperoni, basil and oregano, mix well. Cover; cook on low setting 3-4 hours.

To assemble sandwiches, spoon beef mixture onto bottom half of buns and top each with a few tablespoons of shredded cheese and cover with top halves of buns. Makes 18 sandwiches.

Brotherton offers website readers one stellar recipe a week in the “My Leader Yummy” feature.

Looking for a recipe you can’t find? Email me at and I’ll see if I have it.