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Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup

Ok!  So here's the post that was meant for Wednesday or Thursday... 

Creating the "Recipe Index" page brought me to a stark realization.  If you only knew me through the blog, then you would probably be under the impression that we eat only breakfast and dessert with an occasional real meal, maybe once a month or two.  Lol.  That is not the case.  We eat regular meals just as much as anybody else, but apparently I just never blog about them.  So!  In an attempt to round out the type of recipes I blog about, I've decided to share the delicious and super easy dinner we had Tuesday night.

Backstory: Before Thomas and I got married, my mom put together the most wonderful bridal shower gift ever.  She secretly gathered family favorite recipes and photos from our childhoods from both her stash and from my mother-in-law (to be).  She put all of this together into a cookbook and gave it to me for my bridal shower gift.  So, since then, I've had most of my favorite "Mom" recipes and Thomas' favorites from his childhood to cook anytime I want.  And I think that more than an extremely thoughtful gift, which it was, this cookbook helped make our new relationship a family and my unfamiliar apartment kitchen part of a home.  The recipes we grew up on are comforting many nights when our families aren't here to eat with us.  So, this now well-worn cookbook is very dear to me, as are all of the recipes, photos, and memories it contains.

So, now that the mushy-gushiness is taken care of, here's the reason for it: the recipe that I'm sharing in this post comes from that cookbook.  This recipe comes from Thomas' childhood, and it is a wonderful, comforting food!

One of the things I love about this meal is that you can change it up super-easily!  If your family doesn't like any of the ingredients in here, you can change it out for something else.  And if you're big on whole foods, just use fresh veggies instead of canned!  It's so, so versatile!

Beef Vegetable Stew
From: My mother-in-law
Servings: about 4
*Note: The recipe I given below is actually half of what my mother-in-law calls for.  An entire recipe of this meal makes enough food for an army.  Sometimes I make a whole batch (double of what you read here) and freeze the leftovers in a few containers, but I just bought my new 3.5 quart slow cooker, so half of the recipe is perfect for it.  (And I don't have enough room in my freezer for that many leftovers.)  If you're using a 6-7 quart slow cooker, I would recommend doubling everything below.

Ingredients:
 1/2 to 1 package of beef stew meat, cut into small chunks
1 small can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz.) corn
1 can (14.5 oz.) green beans
1 can (14.5 oz.) peas
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced potatoes
Water, optional

Directions:
Dump all the ingredients into the slow cooker.  *I drain all of the vegetables and add about 1 1/2 cups of water, but you can add some veggie juice instead if you want.
Stir everything really well a few times to break up the tomato paste.
Cook on low for 5-6 hours, stirring a few times during the cooking process.  (If you're not home to stir it though, it will be fine.)
Serve with some homemade buttered bread.  

*I have GOT to share the recipe for the bread pictured here, but I always forget to take a picture of it when it's just out of the oven and looking all beautiful.  Stay tuned though!


See, how easy is that?!  It's one of those great, toss it all together, and then come home and eat meals!  And now I have another food to add to the list of two main courses I've blogged about.  Woohoo.  Lol.

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