Beefy Southwest Vegetable Soup!

This is a kicked up version of vegetable soup that really puts a whole new spin on it!   We love vegetable soup and it's a good way to get my husband to actually eat vegetables.   It makes no sense to me that the same things he will not touch food wise, can be put in a vegetable soup and he eats it like he loves it.   However, you can only serve so much vegetable soup, so I created this recipe to change it up a bit. 

You can prepare this on the stove top or in the slow cooker and I will give you directions for both. 

 Here is what you will need:

2 lbs. round steak or sirloin, cut in bite size cubes (can use stew meat)
1 large onion, diced
3 Tbs. oil
1 large (28 oz.) can of stewed tomatoes
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
1 (14.5 oz,) can tomato sauce
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (12 oz.) bag of frozen vegetable soup mix vegetables (can use mixed vegetables)
1 (12 oz.) bag of frozen corn niblets
1 (21.5 oz.) can of Bush's Sweet Mesquite black beans, undrained  (can substitute other types of black beans)
2 Tbs. beef bouillon granules or 4 beef bouillon cubes
8 cups water
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning  (I use Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
dash of hot sauce to your taste (optional)
1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked

Brown the meat along with the diced onion in the 3 Tbs. oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot.  Once brown, add the stewed tomatoes, Rotel, and tomato sauce.  Reduce the heat to just a low simmer, cover and simmer for 2 hours.  Stir about halfway through.  This ensures your meat is tender.  Nothing ruins vegetable soup for me more than tough meat.

After the meat has cooked for 2 hours, add all of the other ingredients, except the macaroni.  Simmer covered for 1 hour.   Add the macaroni and turn the heat up just a little and cook for about 30 more minutes or until the macaroni is just tender.  Once the macaroni is added, I don't like to cook it too much longer, because you don't want your pasta overcooked. 

 I recommend the Bush's Sweet Mesquite black beans like these for this, because they are in a really good smoky sauce that gives the soup an excellent flavor. I have never been a huge fan of black beans until I tried these.  These are one of their "Grillin' Beans" products.  If you can't find these in your area, use an equal amount of another type of canned black beans.

Slow Cooker Directions

In a skillet, on the stove top, brown the meat in the oil. 

In a large slow cooker (5 to 6 quart size)  layer the diced onion and potatoes, browned meat and all of the other ingredients, except the macaroni.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  Stir in the macaroni about an hour before serving and turn the slow cooker on high.  Cook just until the pasta is tender.  Different slow cookers cook at different temps, so if high really gets it hot quickly and it starts bubbling, you will only need to cook with the pasta about 30 minutes.  Use your own discretion.

This is really good served with the Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread or Aunt Vel's Sour Cream Cornbread!

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