Apron Free Cooking ~ Beef Vegetable Soup
By Noel Lizotte
Keeping in mind that I’m trying to help stretch our budget dollars this month, I’ve decided that we’ll continue to eat soups. Soups are good at this time of year because the cold weather makes warm soup a favorite meal. Soups are also good since you can stretch a pot of soup into a couple of day’s worth of meals.
I often put together a pot of soup in the morning and let it simmer all day long. This is a handy trick for weekends when people are busy with activities and want to be able to help themselves to a hot bowl of soup during breaks. I don’t have to worry about my family eating a balanced meal if I plan the soup to include meats and veggies.
It’s funny how sometimes my kids will pick veggies out of a dish and other times, eat them right up. I have yet to figure out the kid logic that makes corn or peas on a plate icky. While in a soup with alphabet letter noodles, the very same vegetables are yummy.
Beef Vegetable Soup
1 bottle (32 oz) tomato and mixed vegetable juice
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 package (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup alphabet noodles
In a large pan on the stove, bring the chicken broth to a boil and cook the alphabet noodles in it. Add the browned hamburger, mixed vegetables and the vegetable juice to the pot. Simmer until hot through.
Approximate Nutritional Values: Servings 18, Calories 110, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 28mg, Sodium 159mg, Total Carbohydrates 6g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 2g, Protein 11g. Note that these values are approximate and will vary based on the ingredients you select.
Make it a meal: Serve with a sandwich or salad. Also good with biscuits or crackers on the side, if you just want to make a snack of a bowl of soup.
As a variation, I’ve replaced the ground beef with chunks of beef cut as for stew. My sister uses venison in her recipe. I have a friend who replaces ground beef with ground turkey. If you have some left over roast beef, that would make a nice addition to this soup. Maybe you’d like to just have peas and corn in your soup. If you prefer to use a different mix of vegetables than the typical mixed batch available at the store, I say go for it!
I’ve tried adding a can of mushrooms and diced tomatoes, but the picky eaters in my family have picked those out. So in order to get my money’s worth and avoid the wasted veggies, I stick with the simple mixed vegetable package in the freezer case.
This recipe converts to a slow cooker easily enough. If you brown the meat and cook the noodles ahead of time, you can toss all the ingredients in the slow cooker and set it on low. In that case, the slow cooker is simply a means of keeping the soup warm and not the cooking method.
Either way you prepare the beef vegetable soup, be prepared to set some aside for another meal later in the week. This recipe is a great way to stretch your grocery budget and make two meals out of one set of ingredients.
Noel Lizotte is breaking free of corporate stress with convenience cooking! www.apronfreecooking.com.