Grandma’s Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup Recipe

Grandma's Vegtable Beef Soup cooking
With the cold weather we have been having lately, I have made my version Grandma Parrish’s soup.  Below I will give both my grandmother’s version and my quick-and-easy pantry version.  First I have to give a little history and math lessons. 

History included my mother making her own version of the soup, which stumped me because they did not seem the same to me.  So I asked grandma why at various times when she would serve her soup.  First, her soup broth seemed thicker and redder, why?  She said she included a can of store-bought condensed tomato soup for added flavor – the redness was just a bonus.  To make the soup thicker, about 10 minutes before serving she mashed a few of the potatoes on the side of the pan and stirred it back in.  Second, I thought her soup was neat because she used the pretty seashell style macaroni and mom used elbow.  Grandma said the pasta type did not matter; it was just a way to stretch the number of servings the soup made.  Then there was the beef.  I asked why Mom sometimes used chopped up stew meat instead of ground hamburger.  Grandma said she used that sometimes too, whichever she had on hand was what she was used.  However, she felt the benefit of using ground meat over cuts was that you get meat in almost every bite.

Now for the math lesson!  Grandma and grandpa had a large garden so she canned most of her own vegetables.  So her recipe says a pint since she either used a small canning jar, used half of a large quart (2 pints are in a quart).  A pint equals 16 ounces. Also, there are 8 ounces in a standard measuring cup.   So if you are buying from the store, look for cans close to the correct size. 

Grandma Parrish’s Vegetable Beef Soup

1 pint tomatoes and juices
4 cups beef broth
1 cans 10-oz condensed tomato soup
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch thick circles
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately 1-inch squares
1 pint green beans
1 cup celery cut into ½ inch thick moons
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup uncooked macaroni/pasta
1 lb. beef (browned in skillet and grease drained before adding to soup)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste when served

Steps:  Another secret Grandma shared was to prep and add vegetables to the broth and tomatoes according to cook time.  Carrots take the longest to cook, so they go in large stock pot first.  Then cut potatoes and add next. Then add the other veggies.  Add browned meat, cover and let all cook together for 20-30 minutes.  Bring to a boil, add the macaroni and let cook 10 minutes more than time listed on package.  Mash a few spoons of potatoes into soup, cover pot, and let set for 10 minutes before serving.

Shirley’s 30-minute Pantry Vegetable Beef Soup 

1 lb. ground beef or stew meat (browned in skillet and grease drained before adding to soup)
1 14.5-oz can stewed or diced tomatoes with juices
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
2 14-oz cans beef broth (or make 4 cups using bouillon cubes and water)
2 15-oz cans mixed vegetables, drained
1 14.5-oz can green beans, drained (or corn or add your favorite vegetable instead)
¼ cup minced dried onions
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup uncooked macaroni/pasta
Optional: ½ teaspoon ground oregano
Salt and pepper to taste when served

Steps:  Brown meat in bottom of pot and drain off all grease.  Add all canned items and dried herbs to pot.  Bring to a boil and then add macaroni.   Let cook 10 minutes more than time listed on macaroni package.  If you want to thicken broth, stir in 1 tablespoon instant mashed potato flakes and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Hints for pantry version:
  1. If creating my own broth from bullion, I use the water I drain from the canned vegetables as well as tap water to make the 4 cups. I feel like this helps to keep some of the vitamins that typically get lost when draining the canned vegetables.
  2. If using hamburger, after draining the grease I put the hamburger meat on a cheap  unwaxed paper plate placed on top of a china plate.  This pulls more grease out of the meat and into the paper plate for easy disposal.  I then use a paper towel to wipe the warm pot free of grease before adding ingrediants for soup.

My mom says my quickie version reminds her of her mother’s soup. She loves eating it! Try both recipes and let me know which you like the best.

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