1/2 cup uncooked alphabet pasta or other small pasta
1 pound ground beef (90% lean)
3 quarts water
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
In a 1-1/2-pint jar, layer the first seven ingredients in the order listed. Wrap pasta in a small sheet of plastic wrap; add to jar. Seal tightly. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
To prepare soup: Remove pasta from jar and set aside. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the beef until no longer pink; drain. Add the water, tomatoes and soup mix; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the reserved pasta; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the pasta, peas, barley and lentils are tender.