Mother's Beef Minestrone Soup

Mother's Beef Minestrone Soup
Mother has made this soup for years and it has evolved from whatever it's origins were!!  One of our sons had dinner with her last week and she had made it and he shouted rave reviews which made me think of making it this weekend.

Here is how it goes:

1 lb. ground round
1 C. diced onion
6 C. water
1 C. cubed potatoes
1 can diced tomatoes or 4 c. chopped tomato
2 C. chopped cabbage
1 C. sliced carrots
1/2 C. diced celery
1/4 C. uncooked rice
1/2 t. dry or 2 t. shredded fresh basil
1/2 t. dry or 2 t, torn fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 C. diced bell pepper
1 can corn or 2 C. fresh corn cut from the cob
2 C. frozen mixed vegetables
1 T. garlic powder or 5-6 crushed fresh garlic cloves
7-8 chicken bouillon cubes
2 T. sugar
1 C. ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef and onions in the bottom of a heavy bottomed soup kettle and add salt and pepper.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 2-3 hours until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded.  Serve topped with shredded cheese and saltine crackers.

Please feel free to substitute vegetables and beans you have on hand for the ones that are given.  This recipe is better when you make to your own using you favorites to make up the soup.

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