Vegetable Beef Soup

Apparently when I told my sweet husband that this delight was on the menu for tonight, he was a bit worried. After all, it has veggies. He isn’t the biggest fan of a lot of vegetables and, to be quite honest, I am very selective in my choices of those little jewels as well (thankfully, our choices generally line up with each other — that has been a true blessing in this marriage :-P). However, there are some I will eat (granted, only in specific ways and only in small-ish amounts — no heaping servings of tomatoes, if you please).

I have grown up on several variations of this soup. Both my dad and his mother (where I assume he learned how to make it) made veggie beef soup all the time. Of course, they are more open-minded when it comes to vegetables and generally included more than I was willing to eat. You could usually find the plate that my bowl was sitting on full of “delicious yumminess” (as it was often referred to by my elders) that I refused to eat. This recipe that I will provide you with is super-easy to change. You can add what you like, subtract what you don’t and fiddle around with it until you get it how you like it. Tonight, I ate everything in there — and so did Jon. He said it was quite good…and even went back for seconds! (That’s the true litmus test around here.)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • Potatoes — about 4-6, peeled and diced
  • 1 can of diced carrots
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of green beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (I used one that had “Italian seasoning” in it — oregano, garlic and basil, I think)
  • Thyme — about 1 teaspoon (dried)
  • Basil — about 2 teaspoons (dried)
  • Pepper — to taste
  • Beef broth — about 4 cups

Here’s what you do with it:

Take the beef and brown it (for those of you [Jon] who don’t know what that means, cook it) in a fry pan. In a stock pot (4 quart was the right size for the listed ingredients), pour in about half of the beef broth and all of the potatoes. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, to include the rest of the beef broth. Be sure to drain the juice off of the carrots, corn and green beans, but not the tomato juice. Cover your stock pot and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Serve alongside of your favorite bread and enjoy!

Today is an in-between day for me on shifts and, as such, I made it really simple: every thing possible came from a can. It’s much less effort for me that way. Of course, feel free to use all fresh ingredients. I know it tastes even better that way (that’s how Grandma does it! — and Dad does a higher proportion of fresh ingredients than I happened to do today). Also, fiddle with the spices. Find ones you like. After I had put all of the ingredients in the pot this evening, I realized I had forgotten about spicing it up. I walked to the spice cabinet, spun the rack and pulled off a few that sounded good. There’s not truly wrong way to go about it. (However, as a disclaimer to that statement, I do suggest avoiding things like cinnamon or lemon zest. Use some common sense there. 😉 )

For the 2 of us, this meal works out perfectly. It feed us not only for one meal (even with the seconds Jon wanted…yes, wanted) but it also provides at least 1 additional meal for each of us tomorrow (perhaps more). This could easily feed a family of 4 (provided it’s not full of growing boys, I guess).

Although I have had variations of this recipe all of my life, this is the first time I have made it. I, and one of my toughest food critics, would call it a success. We hope that you can turn it into a success for you and your family.