‘Soup’er Sundays

Long relaxing weekends are a thing of the past. With two kids and a mortgage, weekends call for laundry, cleaning house, groceries, lawn work – this list goes on and on. Then throw in all the unexpected to-dos and by Sunday, you are wondering where the break from the long week went.

Years ago, when I had some free time, I thought about ways to stretch my weekend. Less sleep made me cranky and babies promised less sleep no matter what I needed or wanted. Although chores needed to be done, a little less often would be okay if it meant more quality family time. I could also stretch the weekend by making Sunday something to look forward to.  It is then that ‘Souper’ Sundays were created.

The cool nights of fall call for the return of this tradition. This year I started things off with a double header. Vegetable Beef Soup and Beef Stew. One for dinner and the other to freeze for later. Two soups – too easy! These particular two had similar ingredient lists, which made my time at the grocery store a happy time for my wallet.

Below you will find step-by-step instructions for, not one, but two yummy soups. Scattered in the directions, in orange, will be the steps I took to making one while prepping the freezer meal. A bonus for both meals – you will fill multiple Pyrex containers for easy weekday lunches. Another thing to make your wallet happy.

Classic Vegetable Beef Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, or beef stew meat cut into about 1″ pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 lb. potatoes peeled and diced
  • 6 tsp Better than Bouillon – roasted beef base. Find some at ThriveMarket.com
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Directions: 

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and 1 tsp worcestershire sauce. Brown. Remove the steak, leaving juices behind and transfer to a separate bowls. Cook steak for both meals adding 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Once browned, remove the steak, leaving juices behind for Vegetable Beef Soup and transfer to a separate bowls.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes, and let vegetables soften for 5-10 minutes. While your vegetables for the Vegetable Beef Soup are cooking chopped the carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes for the Beef Stew recipe. Place vegetables directly into a ziplock freezer bag.

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Add the beef base, water, tomatoes, worcestershire, seasonings and steak to your soup and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally, then reduce heat and allow soup to simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the steak and vegetables are all tender.

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Remember to grab those bay leaves before serving.  I serve with a rustic bread and gold fish for the kiddos.   Also, pick the vegetables your kids will eat and use those. Zucchini, beans, or peas could also be added to this soup if your little eaters aren’t so picky.

Next up is a beef stew recipe that I found online at Dinner with Julie. It is simple, stick to your bones goodness.  I made a few changes to the recipe and I just adapted it so it could be frozen and reheated in a slow cooker to simplify a weeknight meal. Julie’s original recipe can be found here.

Beef Stew

  • 1 pound sirloin steak, or beef stew meat cut into about 1″ pieces
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large Russet potatoes,cut into about 1″ pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tsp Better than Bouillon – roasted beef base. Find some at ThriveMarket.com
  • 2 Sprigs fresh thyme or dried thyme for freezer version
  • 1 cup peas, frozen
  • 1/2 bottle red wine

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F.

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and 1 tsp worcestershire sauce. Brown. Remove from the pot and add the onion and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft and starting to loosen the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the vinegar and cook for another minute.

Add the beef base, water and red wine, cover and cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Add the potatoes, carrots, stir to coat everything well and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the peas in the last 5 minutes.

Your Ziplock freezer bag should already have carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes. To that add: half of your cooked steak, garlic, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, beef base, seasonings, and peas. Freeze. To cook: Add wine to slow cooker and cook down by bringing to a boil. Reduce heat. Add all ingredients, water and simmer until vegetables are tender and juices have thickened. 1-2 hours.

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We may or may not have slurped our soup and we definitely burned our tongues on the first eager bite, but that just means ‘Souper’ Sunday is back and we could not be more excited. We are ready for the change of seasons. If you are ready for vests and cider, warm blankets to snuggle into and walks with the leaves crunching under foot, you are also ready for soup. I hope this gets you excited for a few more of our family traditions.  Next week we go all out for pumpkin day and I can’t wait to share all of our fun adventures and projects.  It is a tradition that is too big for just one day. Happy Fall!

Cheers,
Kelly

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