Saturday, February 2, 2013

Slow Cooker Beef and Vegetable Soup

I have discovered a new passion in the kitchen - freezer to crockpot meals.  In coming weeks, expect to see a lot of posts with recipes for such foods; I have been discovering and modifying dozens and dozens of recipes to suit my tastes.

This, however, is a long-time favorite of mine.  I learned how to make the base recipe from an ex-boyfriend's boss, of all things, and then of course made it my own.  I absolutely adore it in the wintertime, and even often in the summer.  It's so easy – just throw it all in the slow cooker in the morning, and it's ready for dinner.  The secret ingredient that really sets it apart from similar recipes, I think, is the mustard.

All spice measurements (everything after the cloves of garlic) are rough estimates, don't worry about exact measuring.  It is designed for my large, 8 quart crockpot; it should be easy to cut in half for a smaller, standard-sized (4-5 qt.) slow cooker.


  • 2 lbs. ground beef (I prefer chuck)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 c. stock - either chicken, vegetable or beef will work
  • 1 large can or 2 normal cans veg-all or similar soup vegetable medley
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can cut green beans
  • 1 can mexicorn
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs turmeric
  • 2 Tbs mustard (I prefer spicy mustard)
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 2 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs mustard seeds


  1. In a pan large enough for onions and meat, saute onions on med-low heat (about 4-5 on most stoves) in a little vegetable oil until translucent and just starting to brown.
  2. Raise heat to med-high (about 7) and add beef.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, mustard seeds, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook until beef is mostly browned.  Drain excess grease, and dump into slow cooker.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, and about 2-3 c. water, enough to just cover everything in liquid.
  4. Cook on high for 8 hours or so, until everything cooks together well.  Stir well but infrequently, if possible, every 2-3 hours or so (if you are leaving it to cook while you are out of the house, it will cook fine without being stirred.)

If you wish to use this as a freezer-to-crockpot meal, use a half recipe, brown meat and onions and allow to cool, then combine all ingredients except stock and water in large freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze flat.  Then when ready to cook, remove from freezer the night before to thaw in the fridge, then add the bag, stock and water to the crockpot in the morning.

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