This one is started in the Instant Pot for quick cooking and may be transferred to a larger slow cooker if you opt to double it, as I do. It is so good that a single recipe never seems to be enough! Included are links for the products I use. Feel free to substitute as needed. These are readily available at my location and make an inexpensive and tasty meal which is so easy to prepare, I feel like I'm cheating! Divide quantities listed in half for single recipe but, like I said, you'll want to double it. Ground beef may be omitted for a vegetarian version (I haven't tried it but it should be fine).
2 of this: Vegetables for soup, 28 oz frozen
Optional but recommended Baby Lima Beans 12 oz frozen
One is enough Vegetable Juice 64 oz
Beef baseThis is optional (recommended) and there is a vegetarian version if that's your thing. Use a tablespoon dissolved in 1/2 cup water for double batch.
Ground beef, lean, 2.25 lbs
Prep: Put frozen vegetables and lima beans in Instant Pot and pour in enough vegetable juice to cover. I use the whole 64 oz bottle of veggie juice for the doubled batch in my 6 qt. instant pot. Add the dissolved beef base and place lid on Instant Pot. Make sure vent is closed and set "Manual" on 30 minutes (the default setting on mine). Now brown the ground beef in a large skillet on medium high heat. Here is where I spend a little extra time and break the ground beef into little bite-size pieces as I add it. It makes the texture of the beef chunky, which I like. If you are adding fresh or powdered garlic add it to the beef now. Cover the skillet and wait to stir the beef until it is all browned (no red). Once timer sounds on the Instant Pot, carefully open the vent to "Quick Release". Now, (carefully - it's HOT!) transfer contents of Instant Pot and browned beef into a large slow cooker (or a stock pot), set on "Low" or "Keep Warm" and enjoy! This last step is only necessary if you make a batch too large for the Instant Pot. If you do the 1/2 batch it won't be needed (or if you have a Monster Pressure cooker like Rancid_Pickle's).
Optional seasonings include fresh ground black pepper, salt (careful, the beef base contains salt), bay leaf, basil, garlic (fresh or powdered). I like to add a small can of Rotel because we like it spicy!
This makes a hearty meal by itself but a fresh batch of cornbread goes well or crackers of your choice, fresh french or italian bread. We even enjoy ours with tortilla chips, sometimes.
Is it soup yet? YES!