Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Beef and Very Veggie Soup (Slow Cooker)

Beef and Very Veggie Soup

Our family was struck down by the cruddiest cold EVER over the holidays. Ron got it first, then me, and then Zach.  It was the weirdest thing, but we really did not feel that badly for the first few days and then BAM! It got bad.  Ron seemed to be a few days ahead of me in the course of the illness since he got sick first. Since the writing was on the wall (I knew it was going to get worse for me too before it got better), I high tailed it to the grocery store to get ingredients to make myself some soup. I wanted it to be like the Hearty Turkey and Vegetable Soup I made a few weeks ago (see it HERE), but I wanted to swap out ground beef for the turkey and beef broth for chicken broth.  By the time I got home from picking up the groceries for the soup, I was feeling so poorly that I did not want to stand over the stove and make soup.  I chopped up the veggies and cooked up the ground beef in a skillet, and threw it ALL in a slow cooker (Crock Pot).  This recipe made a ton of soup and for days I joked, "This could be the BEST soup I've ever made or this could be the most DISGUSTING soup EVER, because I just can't taste a darn thing!"

Believe it or not, I still cannot taste very well... these cold symptoms are sort of lingering... STILL.  But I've decided this recipe is a keeper.  The soup is so good that I ate it two times a day for a number of days. 

If you are one to want or need very precise measurements, this is not a recipe for you.  I am pretty much writing this down how I made it a week or so ago so that I can make this again some time in the future.  You can feel good about eating this hearty soup, as it's full of lean protein and a TON of fresh vegetables.  Soup is so handy to have on hand when you are feeling poorly.

Beef and Very Veggie Soup (Slow Cooker)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 96 percent lean
6 cups beef broth
Celery, 3-4 ribs, chopped
Carrots 3-4 carrots, chopped or 2 cups baby carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (no salt added)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh tender spinach, 10 - 16 ounces
Black pepper

In a large non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet, cook/brown/crumble the ground beef over medium high to high heat. Try to cook it on a high temperature so the beef really caramelizes.

Add in the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker EXCEPT for the spinach, salt and pepper(crock pot).  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (or until carrots are desired tenderness).  Stir in the spinach (you may just wish to use a few handfuls of spinach but I used 1 1/2 bags of tender spinach, which was approximately a pound of spinach).  After adding in the spinach, allow to simmer for about 30 minutes longer.  Taste for seasoning. Add in additional Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, as you feel is needed. 

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