I like the vegetables cut uniform, that way you get a little of everything on your spoon. This beautiful quartet is added to the bottom of the 6 qt. crockpot.
Looks good already, but there is more.
I bunch of kale, also cut in an easy to manage size.
Here is a guideline of what I did for this soup, however soup is very easy to personalize. You can have meat, lots of meat or no meat. You can use different vegetables, or (gasp) no vegetables! You will notice that I do not put potatoes in soup, because I do not like the texture of them when the soup is thawed. But I do have a potato idea that I will share.
Layered Beef Vegetable and Barley soup
2 pounds lean ground beef, made into a large patty and browned well, set aside to cool.
1 red onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
5 carrots, diced
1 bunch kale, diced
1/3 - 1/2 c barley
1 T homemade bay leaf seasoning OR 2 Bay Leaves
2 cloves garlic minced
2 t salt
1 16 oz can ready cut tomatoes, do not drain
beef stock base for approximately 2 quarts of stock
Place diced vegetables in bottom of crockpot, sprinkle with the barley and seasonings.
When the large meat patty has cooled enough to handle, dice it into 3/4-1 inch pieces. Add the diced meat to the crockpot.
Add tomatoes and their liquid. Add stock to come within 1 inch of the top, cover and cook on high for 6 hours.
This process makes 6 quarts of meaty dinner soup. This soup freezes well, and will be enjoyed again for an easy dinner, when time is tight.
Potato idea: When we have baked potatoes, I always bake up more than we need for that meal. I like them pan fried the next day. This is great for soup night. When you are having soup for dinner have a baked potato ready to pan fry, add that browned crispy fried potato to the bottom of the soup bowl, ladle on your soup. I think you will enjoy this as much as we do!
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