These are the three soups that I make regularly, and as such I have no recipe for any of them -- I don't measure, I just make, and it always turns out good. In the interest of preserving these methods for the ages, or at least for when my kids move out and want to know how to do it for themselves, this page now exists.

Beef Vegetable Soup

Into your very large pot put: 1 bag frozen corn, 1 bag frozen peas, 1 bag frozen lima beans, 1 bag frozen green beans (cut), 1 bag frozen sliced okra if you can get it. Add a bunch of carrots and turnips and parsnips and zucchini and yellow squash, sliced/diced. (I used to add potatoes, but they get spongy and tasteless when you freeze them, so I don't use them any more.) Thoroughly cover all with liquid (your custom combination of canned broth, V8 juice, and water), and bring to a boil. When the soup is bubbling nicely, stir in a few pounds of stew beef cubes which you have cut into 2-3 pieces each; add in batches and allow the soup to return to a boil between batches. Once all of the meat has been added, boil another few minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour. Season to taste (I use salt & pepper, a little bit of onion powder and garlic powder, and sometimes thyme). The longer you cook it, the better it will be (to a point, of course), and the leftovers are even tastier.

Chicken Corn Soup

First make the stock by cooking a whole chicken (I like to buy a whole chicken, cut up, because it's a bit easier to handle) in enough water to cover, until the chicken is cooked through (the longer you simmer the chicken, the better). Pour the liquid into one container and put the chicken into another and refrigerate both at least a couple hours, or overnight. When the chicken is cooled enough to work with, or the next day, remove and discard skin, bones, and other nasty bits, and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Into your very large pot put: 3 or 4 bags of frozen corn; the chicken meat; a bunch of carrots and celery, sliced; the stock (remove and discard the solidified fat from the top before using); and 5 or 6 hard-boiled eggs (dice the whites, crumble in the yolks). Add enough liquid (some combo of water and canned broth) to cover all plus another inch or two. Bring to a low boil, them simmer for an hour or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You might also like to add rivels. I know I do.

Split Pea Soup

Thoroughly* rinse and sort 3 or 4 bags of split peas (I like to use a combination of green and yellow). Dump them into your very large pot with a lot of carrots and celery, sliced, and a whole bunch of ham, diced. Add enough liquid (water, canned stock, etc.) to cover all,plus another couple of inches, and bring to a boil. If you get some foam accumulating on top during the boil/simmer transition, you can skim that off if you're feeling ambitious (but I don't think it'll kill you if you leave it there.) Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring often and adding more liquid if necessary, until everything is soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper and lots of curry powder.

*I once found boll weevils in a bag of split peas!! And there is usually a tiny rock or two in there, as well...

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