Only Grandma's Vegetable Soup Will Do!

Something happened to me on Sunday! After a glorious dinner with friends at the wonderful Lebanese restaurant, Sitti, in downtown Raleigh,  I woke up to a ticklish throat, and that irritating run-down, achy feeling.   You know, it's the feeling where you're not really sick enough not to go on with your usual activities, but you don't want to do your usual activities either.  It's probably my allergies having its last "Hurrah!"

Vegetable Beef Soup

Feeling like this makes me crave my Grandma Powell's homemade Vegetable-beef soup.  I don't really think of making soup in the warmer months, but when I'm "under the weather",  I want to break out my pot, bags of frozen vegetables, and stir up a scrumptious, hearty vegetable delicacy reminisce of the past.

 I was fortunate that I descended from a long line of soup makers.  My Grandpa on my mom's side made delicious vegetable-beef soup using stew beef as the base.  Grandma Powell, on the other hand, used fresh vegetables from her garden and used ground beef as her beef base.

 Both soups were equally delicious even though different in style.  Coincidentally, these two grandparents died within a year from each other during the early eighties, but their soup still lives on in this century.

 Fast forward thirty years, and I'm now making a similar soup for my family adapted from their recipes. I know some of you have written me, and told me that you would love to see a photo of my grandma when I share her recipes.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find one in my home in time for this post, but I will keep searching.  My mom has some boxed in her attic, and I'm sure my cousins do, too.

 I, did, however, find this photo of me at about the age where I started enjoying my grandparent's soup.

Grandma Powell and Grandpa Delmus made soup quite often, and I think they would be thrilled to know that I'm doing the same for my family.   The following is the best of both of their recipes.

My Family's Zesty Vegetable-Beef Soup
(Note, you can make this soup by omitting the beef or you could use ground turkey instead of ground beef)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 package of dry onion soup mix
4 cups of water
1 cup of V8 juice
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
2 large cans of diced tomatoes (I like to use 28 ounces of Hunts Basil, Garlic and Oregano)
2 or 3 teaspoons of sugar
Dash of garlic, salt, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce
2 bags of frozen soup mix vegetables (I like for my vegetables to have diced potatoes, okra, carrots, butterbeans, corn, and green beans)
One cup of sweet corn or butterbeans (Optional)
Teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 cup of pasta (I typically use elbows, but only had Farfalle on hand for last batch, and my mom said it was the best soup ever with pasta)

In large pot, brown ground beef and add chili powder to beef while browning.  Discard any grease.  Add all other ingredients to pot except pasta.   Cook for a couple of hours on low/simmer.  About thirty minutes before serving, add cup of pasta.  Note, if you are making this soup without beef, just add the chili powder to the soup.  You can add more or less depending on your preferences.

To reheat soup on another night, add some water and a little V8 juice to soup when heating.  Sometimes, I even add some additional pasta.

Ironically, Sitti where we ate over the weekend, means grandmother in Lebanese.  Sitti's website states that the "the most important, beloved figure in any Lebanese family is the grandmother, or sitti. "

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