Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In the Kitchen: Super Easy Vegetable Beef Soup

The weather is getting cooler and my throat is starting to get scratchy. If my impending doom is a seasonal cold I want to be prepared by making a big pot of soup ahead of time so I don't have to worry about meals for a week (this can also be frozen and reheated as needed). It's quick and easy and is great alone or alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. It's loaded with veggies too so it's a great dinner choice.
1 large can tomato puree
1 small cans stewed tomatoes
1 large can VegAll brand mixed vegetables (you can use frozen vegetables if you prefer)
1 cup of barley 1 pound of lean ground beef (I only use about half a pound but my mom uses the whole pound)
salt and pepper to taste
*optional - 2 potatoes washed and cubed
Quick Stovetop Instructions
Brown the beef and drain remaining fat. Cook barley to package directions in a seperate pot. If using canned vegetable mix pour off the liquid and rinse, frozen veggies can go immediately into the pot. If using potatoes go ahead and start boiling them until slightly less than fork tender. Place cooked meat in a large pot along with the veggies (and potatoes if using them). Pour in tomato puree and stewed tomatoes, use water to thin the soup as much as you'd like. I like mine thin so I use almost the same amount of water as tomato puree. Cook on medium to low at least a half hour until warmed though, potatoes should finish cooking and if using frozen veggies they should be completely cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.
I like to cook this over night on low in the crock pot as well. No precooking needed, just dump all ingredients in raw and make sure you keep checking the consistency to see if you need to add more water. I cook it on low for about 4 hours but it's ready whenever the meat is cooked ant the vegetables are fork tender. Cooking it on low seems to give a better flavor. This is easy, inexpensive and it yields several days worth of meals.

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