Willy Strange Soup – Fall Festival Recipe Exchange

Posted 14 October, 2010 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 21 Comments


Ever since it turned October I’ve been anticipating My Friend Amy’s Fall Festival Recipe Exchange.  Loved it so much last year!  Amy tells us: “We’ve spent all year dieting away so we can enjoy October-December guilt free. The very most yummiest foods come out these months, foods that make us think of words like comfort!”

Last year I posted Coconut Oatmeal Cookies, but since I’ve recently posted a cookie recipe and have one to post, I thought I’d post something a little cozier–SOUP!  What gets you in the mood for cold weather better than a hot bowl of soup and a hunk of bread?

Scott loooooooves soup, so when my mom invited us for dinner to watch Glee this week, I requested she make soup.  She suggested Willy Strange Soup.  Yes, that’s what she really called it.  Not sure where this recipe originates from–I’m guessing church–but it is yummmmmmmmmy.  Should be called Willy Yummy Soup! (Original name is Willy Strange’s Good Soup)


2 cans Minestrone soup
1 can Ranch Style beans (15 oz)
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes (10 oz)
2 cans water
1/4 cup ketchup
1 pound hamburger
1 small diced onion

(links above take you to shopping results for the brand names in case you need to find something similar due to availability).

1. Saute the onion in a dutch oven or stock pot
2. Add hamburger and brown. Drain off fat
3. Add remaining ingredients and heat

Makes about 8 hearty servings (maybe more?)

Spice is controlled by the Rotel (mild or hot), but I might even add a bit of chili powder or Cayenne or Tabasco for some more heat–but this has a bite that will sneak up on you!

The Willy Strange Soup was a hit–in fact, we brought home the rest and ate it for left overs tonight.  Unheard of for Scott!

I hope you’ll pop over Amy’s Fall Festival Recipe Exchange and share a recipe!

Bon Appetite!

Edited Note: Per Kate’s comment below (Kate=my mom), Willy Strange is possibly a real person.  After a bit of Googling I found this recipe–same as the one here.  The owner of the website, Lenny Taylor, emailed me a few months ago to share the story of the soup. A church group was performing a service act locally in Dallas and the lady whom they were helping shared this soup with them in thanks of their service.  Looks like one of those recipes that just passes from hand to hand because it’s so dang good!

21 Responses to “Willy Strange Soup – Fall Festival Recipe Exchange”

  1. My soup has to be spicy, so this appeals to me. Although I don’t know what Rotel tomatoes are so will have to look them up. Probably like our tinned tomatoes with chillies in!

  2. *Violet – If you can find the ingredients, it’s an easy and satisfying recipe!

    *Viv – I’m glad you could find an equivalent to the Rotel. Rotel is great in casseroles, chili, and queso dip–it does have a nice bite to it!

    *Rhapsody – LOL! Isn’t it a fun name? I don’t know the origins but I wonder if Willy Strange might just be a real person!

    *Erin – Very hearty–and you could add your own veggies as well (though the Minestrone has plenty).

    *Word Lily – Can’t wait to see your soup recipe!

    *Chris – It does have a spiciness that sneaks up on you–but if you use mild Rotel (basically tomatoes and green chilies) then it isn’t as spicy. ;) We Texans like it hot!

  3. I feel honored that you would put a picture of the soup I made on your blog. Willy Strange (according to Keith Taylor), is a real person who provided him with the recipe. Keith then provided it to me, and now I’ve given to you and you’ve given it to your blog friends. It is SO easy, I love it! Hope y’all love it too.

  4. Sounds yum! And I love the possible story behind it too. Oh and how great that your Mom reads and comments on your blog!!! :-)

  5. Rich absolutely LOVES soup, too, but I rarely think to make it. This totally sounds like something he’d love. I’m definitely going to try this (though I’ll have to substitute something for the meat). Thanks Trish!

  6. *Bermuda – Other than browning the meat, there’s not a whole lot of effort!

    *Amused – I hope you like it–it was definitely a crowd pleasure for us!

    *Kate/Mom – Thanks for passing on the information about Willy Strange. But why would a mother name her son such? ;) Love you and thanks for sharing this!

    *Lisa – Rotel too spicy?? He wouldn’t last a day down here in Texas! :P Maybe substitute diced tomatoes?

    *Gerbera Daisy – Exactly, little homemade, little ready to go–easy peasy. Thanks for coming by.

    *Joanna – Well, to be fair I have to tell my mom when there’s a post up I think she should read…she doesn’t read it regularly. :) But yes, she is very sweet.

    *Debi – I emailed you, but for anyone else…perhaps Lentil Beans could substitute for the hamburger? Or if you still want meat, I bet ground turkey would also be really good. There’s definitely enough veggies (and more can be added) that the meat wouldn’t be “missing.”

  7. Yummy. We had this soup tonight and most of the family loved it. (You can’t really please a 4year old.) I added extra pasta and it was perfect for this cold night. Thank you.

  8. I know where the name originated: When I was a child our church did a service project for Ms. Willie Strange. She had a family cemetery, and we helped clean it up and trim around the gravestones, etc. As a thank you, she gave everyone in the congregation her soup recipe. It was published in our church bulletin. It has spread like wildfire ever since. I was just about to make it, but was too lazy to pull out my recipe box, and I knew it would be somewhere on the internet. My mom also started adding a can of tomato soup and an extra 1/2 can of water.

    • Kelly2 – I believe that the man who passed the recipe on to my mom was part of the service project. He actually emailed me a few months ago–had a website that was recently deleted. I love how the story and recipe of this soup has continued to pass on and on.

      • Lenny Taylor

        im the one who originally posted this to the web after getting the recipe at the service project. My daughter, Kelly (Kelly2) has had this soup more times than I can remember as it was a family favorite of ours!