Growing up, school lunch was my usual choice because our lunch ladies really knew how to make tasty meals. This Vegetable Beef Soup and Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich was a delicious combo that I looked forward to. With so many food allergies, schools have removed peanut butter from their lunchrooms, but this is a very nostalgic lunch that I recreate in my own home for my family.
Vegetable Beef Soup is one of my favorites to make for a meal prep option since my husband isn’t much of a soup eater. I enjoy soup anytime of the year, but he’s more of a soup in the winter person. No complaints here. This recipe fed us dinner, and then was portioned out into four days worth of lunches for me. It freezes well, so I often freeze individual portions too.
I add a few fresh veggies into my Vegetable Beef Soup since I usually always have a potato and a couple of tomatoes that need to be used up, but feel free to solely use the frozen vegetable mix and canned tomatoes.
This soup uses a beef bouillon cube and water rather than beef broth in a can since I prefer to keep the cubes rather than cans in the house. Substitute one for the other based on what you have. Broth and bouillon contain quite a bit of salt so only add a small amount of salt before the Vegetable Beef Soup simmers for 25 minutes, taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning at the end of the cook time if it is necessary.
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Wash the produce and then dice the potato and tomatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and the onion into 1/4 inch small pieces. I remove the seeds and the core from the tomatoes and chop 1 or 2, depending on how many tomatoes that I have in my fruit bowl when this soup is made.
In a large nonstick soup pot, brown the ground beef. I add the onion after I start to break the meat apart so that it cooks with the meat. As the meat browns, add the onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley flakes, oregano and beef bouillon cube. Break up the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Note – if you prefer, substitute the beef bouillon cube for canned beef broth, but reduce the amount of water used.
I used lean ground beef so my meat didn’t release very much fat, but if you have lots of grease drain the meat after it is browned.
Once the meat is browned, add the frozen mixed vegetables, can of green beans (drained), diced potatoes (mine totaled about 1 and 1/2 cups once diced), the Roma tomato, can of stewed tomatoes (I chop them up into bite sized pieces and add their juice to the pot), the water, and sugar.
Bring the soup mixture up to a low boil and then reduce the heat so that the soup simmers. Cover the pot with a lid. I check my soup about every 10 minutes and stir it well to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot. After 25 minutes the potatoes should be tender, but cook until they are. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Turn off the heat and serve.
Note – if you feel that there isn’t enough broth once the ingredients are in the pot, add extra water or broth. Also, if you like a thicker soup that is similar to chili add in a can of tomato sauce before the soup is simmered.