Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vegetable Beef Soup..Beach House Style

Vegetable Beef Soup

1-2 pds of round beef steak cubed

1 cup diced onion

1 cup of carrots sliced thin

1 cup celery chopped

1 tbsp butter

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

6 cups of beef broth (or water 4 bullion cubes or 4 tsps)

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp Worcester sauce

1 tbsp of cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1/2 tbsp of chili powder or you can use like I have in a pinch "famous Daves" rib rub or some other rub.(seriously)

salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large soup pot cook the onions in the butter over a med. heat until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the veggies. Cook about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the meat and brown on all sides...stirring occasionally.

2. Add the Beef Broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcester, and the garlic (peel off the skin...but do not crush). Add the spices...I let them cook about 10 minutes, stir and taste then add more to taste.

3. Bring to a boil, stir and then simmer until the meat falls apart and the carrots are soft. I like to simmer covered at least an hour. Uncovered about an hour. You can also brown everything and then put in a crock pot.

Creative living

If you ever want to see what things you have in your kitchen and pantry that you really don't need or use, go away for a month. Stay in a beach cottage that has almost all the necessities...like plates, utensils, pots, pans, furniture, and beds. Go shopping for food and staples, then when you attempt to cook your family a meal, realize that all the things you usually use are not available or you forgot to buy.

We are lucky enough to be staying at the beach in Southern California for a month. Lucky to have a wonderful two bedroom beach cottage with almost everything including cable. Our first day was anything but ideal, as Cookie promptly puked at a local restaurant (her turn with the tummy flu that nearly did Hubby in as soon as we arrived in L.A....another story for another time maybe). When I finally did get out that evening for food staples I decided to go to a Super Target because upon arriving at said beach house, I realized that my number one mistake was not making sure it had a bathtub. 18 month olds simply do not appreciate a nice shower. So not wanting to go to multiple places, and we desperately needed food staples, I went to Super Target for food and a blow up kiddie pool to place in the shower.

I am not a huge fan of Target's grocery selection. In fact I am a little leery of it. I bought some chicken tenders which I had intended on making my infamous Frosted Flake chicken with the following night for dinner...but when one fails to buy Frosted Flakes (oops) and Hubby has the car (nobody walks in L.A....that and where the house is there is really nothing close enough or safe enough to walk to with two kids), ....creativity comes in. The pantry was pretty paltry anyway, bare bones, to be exact, as I was intending on going to the regular grocery store later in the week....I decided to use Ritz crackers as bread crumbs...a good choice as I also realized that we had no salt, just pepper for seasoning. Score one point for Mom. I realize that crackers are something others use regularly for bread crumbs...just that my Mom and Dad never did, so I felt pretty creative and the Hubby and non sick kid ate them.

Night two on my dinner menu (still have not gotten to the real grocery store) Vegetable Beef Soup. Things I did manage to get at Target, carrots, celery, and beef. However I had failed to get beef broth or any other kind of spices I usually use. Problem solved with a Beef Top Ramen packet. No Chili Powder or bay leaf....Cinnamon (who knows why I bought Cinnamon, because I don't know what I was thinking). One of the best beef soups I have made in a long time. Although cutting the beef into cubes was tougher than usual since I discovered that there was no butcher knife, just steak knives. Really, who stocks a kitchen and does not include at least one butcher knife but buys a rice cooker. I mean I use a rice cooker at least 3 times a week so score for me, but seriously. Recipe of soup to follow.

Things I have in my kitchen that I have discovered and rendered useless, Butcher knives who needs them, just tear the meat. Spices other than Cinnamon...okay salt is good and pepper too, but those others are just expensive and take up room in your cupboards and pantries. Baking trays, just use tin foil. Tupperware...eat everything if you make it. Bread crumbs, seriously just buy one kind of cracker and use those for everything, finger sandwiches, croutons, you get the gist. Spaghetti spoon. Dishwasher, use your hands. Dust Pan, just sweep the dirt outside. These are just some of the things I have discovered I've been doing wrong.