Monday, January 21, 2013

Vegetable Beef Soup

I love soup! I love stew! I love chowder! I am a cold weather, comfort food junkie! As far as I am concerned soups, stews, chowders and other heavy foods are the only good thing about winter! ;-) I also like my soups and stews to be easy to put together and take very little of my time. We have been making this vegetable beef soup for years. It is one of our favorites and I especially love that I can brown the ground beef, put it in the slow cooker and let the flavors meld together for hours. By dinner time all I have to do is put some rolls or biscuits in the oven and we're ready! Gotta love that!

Here's what you need:

1 lb ground beef (or chuck, sirloin, etc. Your preference) 
1 can beans (again your preference here. I usually use black but didn't have any. So I chose pinto this time.), 1 can each peas, green beans, corn, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes (I usually use diced potatoes but all I had were whole, so I just took a few minutes to dice them. And again I only had crushed tomatoes but usually I use diced.)
Bay leaves
Minced garlic (don't you just love jarred minced garlic!? It's one of my favorite kitchen helps!)
Beef bouillon (I use a Beef Base from GFS. More about that later.)
1 bottle V8 Vegetable juice
Dried Parsley flakes (not pictured)
Dried Minced Onions (also not pictured!)

As you can see this is really a throw-in-whatever-you-like-because-you-are-the-one-who-has-to-eat-it kind of recipe! What can be easier than that?!?!

1. In a skillet add the ground beef. Sprinkle in some parsley and dried onion. I find it just gives the beef a little more flavor before you put it into the slow cooker. Cook until thoroughly browned. Drain but do not rinse.

2. While beef is browning drain and rinse beans. Add to slow cooker (or pot if you are cooking this quickly on the stove top.)

3. Add the tomatoes with the juice.

4. Add in the cans of veggies. I drain a little juice off the top but keep most of it to add in the slow cooker (or pot). It gives the soup a little more flavor. 

5. After the beef is browned and drained add it to the slow cooker (or pot).

6. Fill up the slow cooker (or pot) with V8 Vegetable juice. Add a few teaspoons (or tablespoons) of minced garlic. I personally don't think there is such a thing as too much garlic, but others don't agree with me there! Also add in a few bay leaves.

7. Finally, I add in a few teaspoons of Beef Bouillon. I use a great Beef Base from GFS. If you have a GFS near you you must check this stuff out!

It comes in a rich paste so a little goes a long way!

8. Stir it all up, put on the lid and turn it on. I start it out on high to get it going and then turn it down to low to simmer away til dinner time. If you're cooking it on the stovetop bring it to a boil, then turn it down. Simmer for about 30 minutes to incorporate all the flavors. Serve with biscuits or rolls.

(As a side note, I choose not to put any salt in my soup. I don't buy low sodium vegetables or vegetable juice and the bouillon has quite a bit of salt in it. I figure if anyone finds it too bland they can add their own salt and pepper to taste.)

That's it! So easy but so satisfying on a day like today when the temp is barely reaching above freezing! Oh, and if you have any leftovers it is even better on the next day. Let me know if you try it and what you think. Like I said, it's one of our favorite winter dinners (or even lunches!)

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