Vegetable Beef Soup

There is nothing so comforting as a bowl of hearty, delicious, hot soup. I submit that if food could be compared to a hug, a bowl of soup might just be the right comparison. Anyway, moving on.

There are a million different ways you can make soup, which is one thing I love about it. To a certain extent, there is no way to screw up soup. Well, as long as you have a basic sense of cooking haha.

One thing that is great about this soup is that you can chop and freeze the veggies in advance, which makes this a great crockpot meal. It also works well for vegetarians as you can certainly leave the beef out and still have a wonderful, hearty vegetable soup.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef (omit for just vegetable soup)
3 cups of diced carrots
3 cups sliced celery
1 large onion
2 Tbsp diced garlic
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 zucchinis, diced
1 red bell pepper
1-29 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can cannelini beans, drained & rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
4 c. vegetable broth
4 c. beef broth
1 Tbsp pepper
2 Tbsp salt
2-3 Tbsp olive oil (for frying)

Stove top Directions:
Chop the carrots, celery, onion, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Fry the ground beef in the olive oil, breaking it up gently. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook over medium to high heat for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened and the meat is cooked. Add the bell peppers, zucchini and garlic and cook for another five minutes. (I used a lid during this process to help speed up the cooking.) Add the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, crushed tomatoes, and broth. Stir together and boil for about 15-20 minutes. Serve, and enjoy!

Crockpot directions:
Chop the carrots, celery, onion, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Put the veggies in a freezer bag with the salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the drained, rinsed beans and freeze. When ready to cook, put the frozen veggies, crushed tomatoes and broth in a crockpot and cook on low for up to 12 hours if needed. If using ground beef, thaw the night before and break it up, putting it in the bottom of the crockpot, and the veggies and liquid on top. Make sure to break up the cooked beef before serving.

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