Soup on a Chilly Day! Hamburger-Vegetable Soup

      A hearty, meaty soup perfect for a chilly winter day (or chilly spring day!!!), and so easy to make. Just turn on the crock-pot and let it cook for a few hours, or prepare it on the stovetop.
     This is a quick but basic soup – feel free to add to the ingredient and seasoning list . . . to suit your own tastes. For instance, on this chilly day in May, I chopped a handful of fresh herbs from our garden and used them in place of the Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano & parsley). I also added diced onions.

Hamburger-Vegetable Soup       Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 pint bag (2 cups) Ground Beef Mix, thawed
1 cup each of diced potatoes and  sliced carrots
2 (14.5 to 16 oz.) cans of tomatoes
1 cup of sliced celery
1/4 cup of rice or barley
3 cups of water or beef broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste (we prefer Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper)

1.     In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.
Crock pot Alternative:  Add ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

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