I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I have been a bit begrudging towards the change in seasons. I've never been one to truly hate winter, but after last winter where I was stuck inside with 3 boys for what seemed like an eternity, I have learned that summer (and the outside) is my best friend as a boy mom.
With that little truth nugget out of the way, I would also like to tell you one of my saving graces in the fall/winter months: soups. They are relatively easy to make, and super easy to double and put away in the freezer for another meal later on. There's always a silver lining, isn't there? ;) A few days ago I posted a picture of my vegetable beef stew on social media and had so many people ask about it that I thought I'd post it here. This is the easiest soup I make, makes a TON and is family friendly, which is always nice to know that you won't have to deal with dinner drama.
6 stalks celery, chopped
6 whole, large carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 size B red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2lb bag of frozen mixed veggies
2 cups frozen lima beans
2 cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
32oz tomato juice
2-3 Tablespoons beef base, dissolved in 2 cups water
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
dash of cayenne pepper
Tony Chaceres, to taste
Seasoned salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot (I use a Betty Crocker brand stock pot that is unmarked for size, but I think it's 10-12quarts). Once all of the above ingredients are in the pot, add enough water for it there to be about half an inch to one inch of liquid over the ingredients. I prefer my soups (and food in general) to be pretty salty, so I use 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt (like Lowry's), and then about a teaspoon of Tony Chaceres (which is a cajun seasoning). This soup definitely has a little kick to it from Tony Chaceres and the cayenne, but we tend to prefer things to bit spicier (I blame my Louisiana roots). Bring the soup to a boil, and then let it simmer, covered, for about 2 hours. This makes A LOT of soup, so it works well for large groups, or if you're wanting it for just your family, it's great to serve for dinner and then freeze the leftovers for one of those winter days where you don't feel like cooking. We love to garnish the soup with shredded cheese (mozzarella is pictured), but this is completely optional. Happy soup making!
(This post is linked up on Lamberts Lately: Create It Thursday)
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