Speaking of food I thought I'd better get this recipe down while I remember it. So after all the brew pub burgers and diner fare we enjoyed while traveling through Northern California last week I figured it was time to dial things back about 4 notches and get a little dietary repair work done. Since we hadn't gone grocery shopping since getting back home this soup ended up being a tasty conglomeration of leftover veggies and freezer stash foods. It's a variation of the old classic "brown up some hamburger and toss in a bunch of veggies with some tomato product" that we all know and love. Allen and I both really enjoyed this soup. It's filling but light. I think between the two of us we ate half the pot. I was also excited to see an actual brothy soup emerge instead of the wet casseroles I often make (yeah, umm, I've made soups that have ended up thicker than most stews. It's a habit I'm trying to break.)
1 1/2lb ground beef
1 large onion (think cat head large)
6 or so carrots
1/2 bag frozen spinach
1/2 bag frozen corn (I used trader joe's roasted corn which I love because you get a great roasted/smokey/char flavor in soups without having to actually roast/smoke/char anything yourself)
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
2lbs (approx) of peeled, diced sweet potatoes
any other veg you can scrounge out of the fridge (in my case one zucchini and a bell pepper)
seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, beef stock
Just about what you'd expect. Brown your meat together with the onion and quickly saute your veg to start them cooking. I sauteed the sweet potato in a separate pan with some butter, salt, garlic, cumin, and coriander thinking that getting them a little brown might help the flavor, but I can't tell how well that worked. Anyway, once your onion is soft pour in the can of tomatoes, add your frozen veg, stir in a tablespoon of bullion, fill up with water, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.
For seasoning I started with basic salt, pepper, and garlic powder (I was out of fresh) to taste and then started playing around with the cumin and coriander. You want enough cumin so that you get a earthy, smoky sort of heat without it going full on tex-mex. I'd start with 3/4 tsp and go from there. Ditto for the coriander. You should taste the coriander but not be overwhelmed by it. Toss in some cayenne to taste.
Serve with some cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.