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Vegetable Beef Soup

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This is a great one-dish dinner -- ideal for cold winter evenings.

Ingredients:
 
1 lb. cubed beef (stewing beef works well)
1/2 Large Onion, chopped
1 C. Shredded Cabbage
2 12 oz. Cans of Diced Tomato
3-4 C. Mixed Vegetables, ideally containing green beans, peas, corn, lima beans & carrots (Frozen work well)
1 C. Frozen Corn
2 Carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 C. Beef Stock
1 46 oz. Bottle of Tomato Juice
2 C. Boiled and drained noodles
-or- 2-3 diced large potatoes
3 Bay Leaves
Salt, pepper to taste
 
* Optional additions that are also good: okra, zuccini, sugar snap peas, summer squash.

This soup makes a great meal, it goes well with a nice warm loaf of home made bread (try the Braided Sesame Bread) and while simple to make, produces a great soup that you can easily change.  For instance, if you have some left over vegetables, throw them in.  A few partial bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer that aren't enough to make and serve?  Dump them in this soup pot.  If there's a vegetable you like that isn't on this list, don't feel constrained... this is your soup, make it your way.

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Feel free to use your preferred brands of these ingredients

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Add a few tablespoons of oil to the beef and onions in the pot.

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Saute the beef cubes and onion, turning as needed till browned

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Just chop the cabbage with a knife, nothing fancy needed

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Peel and slice carrots

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Chop celery.

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Once beef cubes are browned on all sides, add tomato juice.

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Add fresh vegetables first.

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Add frozen vegetables

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Feel free to use fresh veggies you cut up yourself!

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Add beef broth -- notice that I'm not measuring these things... it's not necessary.

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Add bay leaves, salt and pepper (after cooking a while, stir & taste and adjust salt & pepper)

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Note: you can always add seasoning but you can't take away, go easy and taste after a bit of cooking

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Stir all ingredients together and then simmer for at least an hour...

This soup just gets better the longer it simmers.  Remember to stir occasionally so that it doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan.  If you are adding potatoes, add them at the same time as the carrots and celery.  If you're adding noodles or alphabet pastas, boil and partially cook, then drain, rinse and add to the soup pot.  You can make this as much as 4 hours in advance and simmer the whole time and it reheats well the following day.  Also, feel free to freeze portions for later use.
 
NOTE:  Remove bay leaves before serving.

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