We’re all about quick, filling eats around here.
Preparing for the big move this weekend has meant our dinners are a little . . . unusual here at the Johnson residence. We spend most after-work evenings taking carloads of stuff to the new house, where we scrub and sand and shuffle before eventually pouring ourselves home around 10 p.m. Sometimes we meet at the apartment, eat first and head over. Other times we go straight to the house . . . where we lack food. Unless you count Fig Newtons and diet soda, which I don’t.
So all that has translated to oddball concoctions, like boxed mac and cheese with a ham steak added in, or take-out. Not great for the waistline, but definitely helpful for a tired couple trying to bring order to their universe. It’s so much easier to grab Chick-Fil-A than it is to dirty pots and pans and labor over a hot stove. (I haven’t packed up the kitchen yet, by the way. Just don’t have the stomach for it.) (See what I did there?!) (Okay, sorry. Sorry.)
But we’re trying to stay healthy. When our home isn’t in an uproar, Spence and I have gotten into the habit of cooking big meals on Monday evenings so we have leftovers for lunch throughout the week. The slow cooker has been our best buddy.
Regardless of the weather, I’m a big soup girl — filling, inexpensive, made in bulk. On our list of meals that provide ample leftovers for two hungry adults is this steak and vegetable soup, concocted from a recipe shared by my good friend Sandy. Bonus? It ain’t bad for you. And that’s important, too.
It’s one of the first recipes of our young marriage happily added “into the rotation,” and we usually make it once a month. Thrown in a slow cooker before work, it requires about 10-15 minutes of prep for a gigantic serving of soup ready when you get home. It’s simple, flavorful and built largely by ingredients you may already have — and even uses canned vegetables! Especially fantastic when you’re moving the contents of your pantry. Six less cans to haul is a good thing.
You can add to this, take away from it, throw in some other veggies, add spices to your heart’s content. My favorite recipes are becoming ones I can play with, and this steak and veggie soup? It’s where it’s at, friends. Totally buildable.
Could you use fresh vegetables instead of canned? Maybe. I’ve added fresh celery to supplement the canned veggies, but I think the texture of the canned vegetables actually works well in this soup. Because it’s cooking all day, you’d think they get extra mushy — but they don’t! Soup magic? I don’t know.
Whatever it is, it’s good.
(P.S. Do not drain your canned vegetables before adding them to the pot; the water makes up part of your liquid. If you like your soup soupier, add an additional 1/2 cup of water. If you prefer more of a stew, prepare as follows.)
Slow cooker steak and veggie soup
1 lb. stew beef (or chuck roast)
1 large can (28 oz.) tomatoes, crushed
1 can (14.5 oz.) cut green beans
1 can (14.5 oz.) sliced carrots
1 can (14.5 oz.) sliced potatoes
1 can (14.5 oz.) of corn
1 can (4 oz.) mushrooms
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 cube of beef bouillon, dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chopped onion, dried
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop beef into bite-sized pieces and layer in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add crushed tomatoes, covering the beef. Add green beans, carrots, potatoes, corn and mushrooms WITH liquids, stirring gently. Add beef bouillon dissolved in water with onion soup mix and bay leaf. Flavor with Italian seasoning and chopped onion, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Cook in slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours, then remove bay leaf. Serve and enjoy!