I call this cheater beef vegetable soup since I use mostly canned vegetables and frozen for this recipe. Feel free to replace with fresh vegetables if you like. I use canned because the potatoes hold up way better during the slow simmer.
If you opt to use fresh vegetables for this recipe, I recommend par cooking your potatoes and carrots prior to peeling and dicing. They will hold their shape a bit better like the canned vegetables would. I have done this with decent results, but it is time consuming. As long-time readers of the blog already know, I am lazy sometimes and prefer to skip steps that I don’t find necessary for producing great tasting food.
Canned vegetables are readily available these days with reduced sodium and even some with no salt or sugar added. These are great shortcuts for this beef vegetable soup for those on controlled sodium and sugar diets.
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Slow Cooker Beef Stew is one of my absolute favorite meals to cook when the weather turns cooler. It is easy to put together and the smell coming from the kitchen reminds you there is going to be something yummy served up.
Beef stew is fairly adaptable too. I stick with the traditional potatoes, carrots, and peas because that’s what I like. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas or any other sturdy vegetable could be added.
I do not use any tomato base in mine, but feel free to add it. I prefer the pure beef flavor that shines through without it.
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Chicken noodle soup is probably my favorite food. Chicken and dumplings run a close second. My mom told me once that when I was barely old enough to hold a spoon she left me home alone with my dad and told him to feed me a can of chicken noodle soup for dinner. He opened the can, plopped a spoon in it and gave it to me. I guess that moment is when my love affair with chicken noodle soup started.
I can still eat it from a can (water added now and heated – not actually out of the can), at a restaurant, but homemade is preferred with chicken pieces, swimming in a golden broth, surrounded by carrots slices and noodles. When I make it, I usually start it in the late morning so I eat some for a late lunch, again for dinner, then put some in the refrigerator for lunch for a few days, and some in the freezer for later. Later is usually a day or two after my refrigerator stash has been consumed.
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I cook soups frequently. They are easy to make, easy to tweak, and hard to mess up.
Cooking Hint: I did NOT say soup is impossible to mess up. I have proven it is, in fact, possible. I have scorched chicken on the bottom of a pot before I even got started doing anything besides boiling a whole chicken. Words of wisdom, don’t be like me and try to salvage it. Throw it away! Or better yet, prevent a disaster before it happens and do not start anything on scorching high heat and walk away. See that tiniest bit of black stuff on the bottom of the meat? Do not even try to pick it off and rinse it off. That not-so-flavorful taste will permeate the entire dish.
Continue reading “Minestrone”