Thursday, June 19, 2014

Never-Ending Vegetable Beef Soup (and a Menu Plan)

Our planned meals last week didn't go exactly to plan (which is fine - it's a plan, not a mandate), but other than one forgotten night out, planning did a good job of keeping me focused on necessary things like vegetables that needed to be used and freezer items that needed to be taken down and thawed.

Overall, it felt balanced and ranged between easy and fast to put together, and a couple new recipes and techniques to try, with varying results.

Last week's plan is here, but here is what it became in reality:

Monday 6/11
(Made a meat sauce that includes some collard greens in it)

There is no real recipe for this - the link there shows our usual way to make Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti. This time, I added in a bunch of collard greens (washed well, stems removed, and chopped) into the spaghetti sauce while it was simmering.  This is an easy way to get some nice nutrient-rich greens into a favorite standby!  And of course you can do this to your own favorite sauce and use actual pasta, if you prefer.

Thursday 6/12
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
Zucchini Spiral Cut 'Noodles'
Stir-Fried Mixed Veggies 
(onion, celery, carrots, snow peas)

This was going so well - the chicken cooked fine in the crockpot, the veggies stir-fried and tasty.  I used a Spiralizer on two zucchinis, and it worked like a charm!  Then I made the error of mixing the zucchini noodles into the stir-fried veggies, where they promptly got very mushy and ugly (so no pictures).  The taste was ok, but the texture was unpleasant - next time, I'm going to leave the zucchini noodles raw and just let the juices from the meal soften them up without making them mushy.

Friday 6/13
Sauteed Beet Greens
Roasted Asparagus

This is not a picture of mine - it's one of my daughter and son-in-law's version, and it is incredibly delicious. We used pure maple syrup and Siracha (because that's the hot sauce we had) and both the brats and bacon were locally sources.  We put ours up on a rack to cook and I suggest following their version and just flipping part way through - mine came out a little dry.

Saturday 6/14

Made a big tossed salad  for potluck, using a lot of our fresh veggies. Wound up buying a commercial vinaigrette.

Sunday 6/15
Neither of us were all that hungry - ate leftover salad, along with some cheese and rice crackers.

Monday 6/16
Pub Moot @ Dogfish Head Brewery
(I ate a big salad with grilled chicken, shrimp and bacon)

I forgot we had our monthly meet up so after this, the plan went pretty off-plan.

Tuesday 6/17
Use Up Your Veggies Beef & Veggie Soup

This. Was. Awesome. Recipe at the end of this entry.

Wednesday 6/18

We had to go vote during dinner prep time, so - More soup for dinner!

The soup is also spending time in a crockpot where more veggies and add-ins are going in as needed, so it's morphing as we go, available for lunches.



(I plan from Thursday - Wednesday because we get a locally sourced grocery delivery on Wednesday evenings):

Thursday 6/19
BOARD MEETING - Michael cooking

Tandoori Salmon 
(marinated in spiced yogurt - I have this prepped in the fridge, ready to be broiled)
Roasted Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
Cucumber Slices with Yogurt-Dill Sauce

Friday 6/20
Chile & Cheese Stuffed Chicken
Steamed Cauliflower

Saturday 6/21

Bringing a chopped salad: snow peas, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, grape tomatoes,tossed with a vinaigrette
(because we got two tons of snap peas in our box yesterday)

Sunday 6/22
Flank Steak with Mushrooms
Assorted Veggies

Monday 6/23
Chicken Soup and Veggies
(make enough for lunch leftovers)
Same plan as last week's soup, only with chicken

Tuesday 6/24
(eating out)

Wednesday 6/25
Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Cole Slaw


I wanted to share what we did for the soup this week.  This is a template - use any proteins you have on hand, any vegtables you have available.  Add broth, water, anything from the pantry that sounds good and finish with seasonings of your choice.  The one below is just what I did this time - it turned out great, but by all means, mix it up to suit your taste and needs.  You can find another variation of this sort of thing here: Clean Out Your Larder Slow Cooker Meatball Soup.

Use Up Your Veggies Beef and Veggie Soup

1 lb ground beef
3 T. fat (coconut oil, tallow, lard or olive oil)
3 cups (at least) chopped vegetables - I used onion, carrots, celery, green beans and zucchini
1/4 cups grain (I used brown rice.  Barley, millet, quinoa, etc, would also do.  Optional!)
1 large can roasted diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
3 cups broth (I used homemade beef broth from my freezer)
spices to taste: red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning blend, parsley, salt and pepper
water as needed

Brown the ground beef in the fat in a large stock pot.  Once cooked through, add chopped veggies and saute until softened.  Add tomatoes and beans, then add broth and spices.  Throw in grains if you're using them. If it looks too thick to simmer, add water so that it can simmer and thicken.  As with most soups, this does better the more time you give it to simmer and meld.

Second day variation:
After a night in the refrigerator, Michael removed a portion for his lunch at work, and I turned the remainder into a slow cooker (and yes, I could have started there if I'd thought of it).  I added some more broth, and a bunch of chopped rainbow swiss chard (stems and all), along with a can of chickpeas, to simmer away for the day, and this became dinner.

Third day variation:
More broth, along with some red wine, and some sliced mushrooms, and more greens, along with some refreshing of the spices, and this will see is through lunches over tomorrow and Saturday, at least.

I am truly loving this never-ending soup pot!

TGIF Link Party

Shared with:
~ Creative Ways Link Party, Fabulously Frugal Link Party, Full Plate Thursday, Home & Garden Thursday, HomeAcre Hop, It's a Party, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Pennywise Platter, Share Your Cup Thursday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Time Travel Thursday, Time Travel Thursday
~ Anything Goes, BFF Open House, City of Links, Crafting Along, Fabulous Finds, Feathered Nest Friday, Fight Back Friday, Flaunt It Friday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday Linky Party, Freedom Friday, Friday Favorites, Pin Junkie Friday Link Party, Fridays Unfolded, Frugal Friday, Gluten-Free Friday, Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday, Let's Get Real Friday, LHITS DIY Linky, Old Fashioned Friday, The Party Bunch, Pinworthy Projects, Shabbilicious Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Unprocessed Fridays, Weekend Re-Treat.
~ Link Party Palooza, My Favorite ThingsNo-Rules Weekend, Say G'Day Saturday, Serenity Saturday, Show & Tell Saturday, Showstopper Saturday, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturday, Super Saturday, Weekend Potluck, Weekend Wind Down
~ Creative Collection Link PartyDIY Sunday Showcase, Our Sunday Best ShowcaseNifty Thrifty Sunday, Share Your Creativity, Silver Pennies Sundays, Submarine Sunday, Think Pink Sunday.
~ A Round Tuit, Amaze Me Monday, Block Party, Busy Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Craftastic Monday, Frugal Crafty Home, Homemade Mondays, Inspiration Monday, Mad Skills Party, Making Your Home Sing Monday, Masterpiece Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Mommy Monday, Monday Funday, Motivation Monday, Much Ado About Monday, Real Food Recipe Roundup, Recipe Sharing Monday, Sweet Sharing Monday
~ Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Backyard Farming Connection, Be Inspired, Brag About It, Create - Link - Inspire, Do Tell TuesdayFat Tuesday, From Dream to Reality, Good Tips Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Healthy Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Made By ME, One Project at a TimeShow and Share Link Party, The Scoop, Share It Link Party, Share Your Stuff Tuesday, Take a Look Tuesday, Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday, Turn It Up Tuesday, Time To Sparkle, Tip Me Tuesday, Too Cute Tuesday, Totally Talented Tuesday, Treasure Box Tuesday, Tuesday To Do, Tuesdays At Our Home, Inspire Me Monday, Tutorial Tuesday, Two Cup Tuesday, You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
~ Cast Party Wednesday, Centerpiece Wednesday, Fluster's Creative Muster, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Homemaking Link Up, Inspiration Board, Lovely Ladies Linky, Mommy Club Wednesday, Party On the Porch, Penny Pinching Party, Pretty Wednesday, Show + Tell, Wake Up Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Wellness Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, What's It Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays, Work It Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Your Whims Wednesday.             


  1. Wow - so many goodies! Thanks for sharing at the #WWDParty.

  2. This is full of great ideas! I'm all about the collard tomato sauce.

  3. What great menu ideas and your soup looks delicious! Your place at our table is very special and thanks so much for sharing your wonderful food with all of us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a fantastic week and come back real soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. I love never-ending soup! I've only tried it with chicken though; this sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop; I hope you'll join us again this Thursday.
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

  5. Awesome recipe and great menu! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  6. Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream's City of Links on Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)

  7. Thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday! Since, I'm trying to stay Paleo these days, I can eat lots of the items on your menu. The beef and vegetable soup look wonderful, all I would have to do is remove the beans & grain, then BOOM… PALEO.

  8. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  9. I never realized how much better soup is with a homemade broth until I had it at a restaurant - what an awakening! I would love to try this with homemade broth!

  10. Never-Ending Vegetable Beef Soup sounds wonderful for a cool fall day! I would also like the Zucchini Spiral Cut 'Noodles'
    twinkle at optonline dot net