Veggie Beef Soup

veggiebeefsoup

There is this restaurant that we like going to from time to time that used to serve this veggie beef soup. It was so good! One bite, and I was hooked. The last time we went, I ordered my soup as normal only to be served simply veggie soup, so I asked what happened. I was informed that they never served veggie beef soup. I know that they did, I had it many times before. Instead of arguing with the manager I just said okay and moved on.

But this got me thinking about how hard would it be to make veggie beef soup. I started looking at recipe after recipe. No two were the same. The basics were about the same, veggies and beef but nothing else. So I combines several different recipes with the parts that I liked and threw everything into my slow cooker and walked away.

Now you may have notice that I love my slow cooker, I won’t deny it. But with this soup it makes even the toughest of beefs just melt in your mouth. You don’t even need to chew the meat… okay maybe a little so you don’t choke. ūüôā

Veggie Beef Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef tips
  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb green beans, make sure to cut the tips off
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 Knorr beef cube
  • 1 Tbs parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts pepper

Directions:

Tip: Make sure to have big chunks of the veggies. Having small sizes can cause the carrots and potatoes turn into mush. And you don’t want to eat mush for soup.

  1. Put everything into the slow cooker. Make sure to add the salt and pepper this will help bring the flavors together. Adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
  2. On low for 8-10 hours or high 6-8 hours. I prefer high temp, I think it gets the meat more tender then the low setting. But that is really up to you.

Tip:¬†You can¬†substitute¬†the tomatoes, paste, and Italian seasoning for 1 16oz jar of pasta sauce. This will work but¬†you won’t have that fresh from the garden taste.

See another easy meal to have ready for you when you walk through the door after a long day at work. You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to have a hot meal ready these days just need to learn to make what you have work for you not against.

Stocking up on Chicken Stock

9 jars of canned chicken stock

9 jars of canned chicken stock

We all have roasted a chicken or turkey at some point. Whether it is for a big Thanksgiving day meal or a simple Sunday dinner. But did you know that throwing away the bones you are throwing away money?! I know crazy thought but it is true. You can take those bones and turn them into chicken/turkey stock for your next soup, gravy, etc. And stretch you money even further.¬†I know what you are thinking, you don’t have time to slave over a hot stove all day. Well guess what, you don’t have to. Follow these very simple steps and I promise you are not going to buy stock or bouillon again.

I made this batch of chicken stock from my BBQ pulled chicken we had for dinner last night. I just boiled the chicken first then separated the meat from the bones. Put the bones back in and shredded the chicken for what I want. Waste not want not.

Simple Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs
  • 16 cups water
  • 2 stalks celery
  • bundle of ¬†parsley
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 large carrots

Directions:

  1. Combine chicken and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove from heat. Skim off foam.DSC_0019
  2. Remove chicken from stock, reserving chicken for another use. DSC_0020After taking all the meat off the bones put all the remains back into the stock. Let simmer for 1 hour. DSC_0022Strain stock through a sieve or several layers of cheesecloth.DSC_0031
  3. You may have to do this a couple of times to get everything out.
  4. Allow stock to cool until fat solidifies. Skim off fat. <- This is important. you don’t want to can fat, it is not safe for canning. But if you are going to place it in the freezer, this step would be up to you.
  5. Heat stock to a boil. <- At this point you can either  freeze your stock or you can can it. I prefer canning. Follow the directions below for canning.

For canning the stock:

  1. Prepare pressure canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

    DSC_0036

    Heat jars and lids in the canner for 10 minutes.

  2. Ladle hot stock into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.DSC_0037
  3. Process filled jars in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

See I told you would not be in the kitchen all day making this stock. There are so many benefits to making your own stock 1) it is healthier than store bought 2) you know everything that went into making it 3) will help cut down on cooking time 4) has a much better flavor 5) you are not wasting money by buying something you can do yourself 6) it cost a fraction of the store bought. I can go on forever talking about the money you can save by canning and making things at home. ūüôā

Okay let’s look at the break down of making the chicken stock:

$2 for the chicken bones + $0.15 for the carrots + $0.25 for the celery + $0.60 for the onion + $0.10 for the parsley = total is $3.10 to make one large pot stock. That break done to $0.45 for every 16 oz jar canned (about every 2 cups). Try going to the store and buying it at that price to make that much, I bet you can’t. And your homemade stock is sooo much better.

Rememeber: these are only estimates for the area that I live in. Your prices maybe be different.

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

There is this restaurant near us that serves this loaded potato soup that everyone in the family but me loves. I swear they eat just about every time we go. I’m sorry there is just something wrong about eating a soup that has french fries. French fries needs either ketchup or honey mustard do dip it.

I wanted to make a soup that was healthier and that had a lot a veggies in it but still tasted like the soup that they love. After looking at a few dozen recipes and finding nothing that I liked. So I took pieces of recipes that I like and just combined them to make this soup and added cheese. The trick to making this soup healthier is not using flour to thicken it, you are just pureeing potatoes and that does the thickening for you. Add you can even use fat free cheese to make it even healthier, the texture of the soup does change just a little but it is still amazing.

If you put this great soup in a bread bowl you get a filling and satisfying meal, with no dishes to clean up afterwards. That is a win win!  I better you never though that eating your vegetable could taste so good.

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 potatoes, medium to large size
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 ts Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 c milk

Directions:

  1. Dice up carrots, onion, and celery. Place in medium pot. Cook until the onions are tanslucent.
  2. Add potatoes, 3/4 cup broccoli, and water. Cover, cooking until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Using a hand blender smooth potatoes and broccoli. Once smooth cooke for another 10 minutes. Add the rest of the broccoli and Worcestershire sauce, cook until tender.
  4. Add milk. Slowly add cheese in, make sure to stir after each addition. Salt and pepper to taste.

**If desired serve in a toasted bread bowl topped with bacon and extra cheese.