Great Garden Soup USDA Recipe for Family Child Care

Age Group: Ages 3-5
Serving Size: 6
This soup is reminiscent of chili. It is a traditional Native American stew consisting of squash, corn, and beans. Native American stories of the Three Sisters refer to a tradition of planting corn, beans, and squash together in the garden, which was good for the soil and yielded healthy vegetables.
²⁄3 cup provides legume as meat alternate: 1¹⁄2 oz equivalent meat/meat alternate and ¹⁄4 cup vegetable; or legume as vegetable: ¹⁄4 oz meat and ¹⁄2 cup vegetable.
Team Nutrition CACFP Multicultural Recipe Project.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • Coat a medium skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Heat the skillet on medium–high heat.
  • Add ground beef, and brown. Heat to 165 °F or higher for at least 15 seconds. Drain.
  • In a medium stockpot, add browned beef, onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers, butternut squash, green beans, corn, and thyme. Cook for 4–6 minutes on medium–high heat. Stir occasionally until onions and peppers are tender. (If using a slow cooker, see instructions in chef tips below).
  • Add summer squash, zucchini, kidney beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes with juice, and water. Stir well. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir often. Heat to 140 °F or higher for 15 seconds.
  • Serve ²⁄3 cup.
    Critical Control Point: Hold at 140 °F or higher.


Nutrition Facts
Great Garden Soup USDA Recipe for Family Child Care
Amount Per Serving 0 ²⁄3 cup
Calories 120 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 12mg4%
Sodium 214mg9%
Total Carbohydrate 16g5%
Dietary Fiber 5g21%
Total Sugars 2g2%
Protein 9g18%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 2mg11%
*Marketing Guide
For optimal browning and taste:
1) do not rinse ground beef;
2) do not crowd ground beef (crowding may cause the juices to pool around the meat).
If ground beef is frozen, defrost in the refrigerator for 1 day per 1–5 pounds. Store raw beef at 40 °F or lower. If using a slow cooker, add browned beef and vegetable mixture along with remaining ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
Slow Cooker and Food Safety Tips
Slow cookers cook food slowly at a low temperature—generally between 170 °F and 280 °F. The low heat helps less expensive, leaner cuts of meat become tender and shrink less. If you cut up the meat and vegetables in advance, store them separately in the refrigerator. Always thaw meat or poultry before putting it into the slow cooker.
Tips for Soaking Dry Beans
1 lb dry kidney beans = about 2½ cups dry or 6¼ cups cooked kidney beans.
Overnight Method: Add 1¾ qts cold water to every 1 lb of dry beans. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Discard the water. Proceed with recipe.
Quick-Soak Method: Boil 1¾ qts of water for each 1 lb of dry beans. Add beans, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to soak for 1 hour. Discard the water. Proceed with recipe.
Tips for Cooking Dry Beans
Once the beans have been soaked, add 1³⁄4 qts water for each 1 lb of dry beans. Boil gently with lid tilted until tender, about 2 hours.
Use cooked beans immediately.
Yield / Volume