Ground Beef Stew (with a secret!)


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My Grandaddy loved stews and soups. He had a special bowl that he liked to eat stew out of and Grandmama always served him in that bowl.

I do much the same thing with my coffee, even though I know it may seem a bit silly. One of my favorite things to do is get up a little earlier than everyone else and creep into the kitchen to make the first cup of coffee in my special cup, then go sit down in the sun room and look out to the trees in the back yard. It is a little ritual that helps to center me, kind of like taking a deep calming breath before the day begins.

I don’t get to do that very often though because my Katy (who has informed us that from here on out she is to be called by her first and middle name of “Katy Rose”) – excuse me, my Katy Rose is an even earlier riser than her Mama. Some mornings I get my coffee made and get ready to head out into the sun room and a little curly headed pixie pops into the kitchen, so I turn around and head to the recliner instead where she will curl up in my lap and let me stroke her hair while we talk about her dreams.

And that’s a pretty good way to start the day, too.

Grandaddy's Favorite Stew Bowl.  The pattern is called "Friendship" and is made by Pyrex.

I have one rule in my house about mornings, I don’t care how early you get up as long as you wake up happy. I don’t think this is very difficult to do, either, so I’m pretty serious about enforcing it. I have made my kids go back into their rooms when they emerge with sour faces and turn around and come back out again with a smile (surprisingly, it works!).

A positive attitude will bring you happiness every time, so why not start your day off with one? Even if you find yourself having to go back in your own bedroom and come out again! ~grins~

And to make your day a little brighter, here is a fuss free, economical, and delicious beef stew to warm you from the inside out. I just love stew weather! beefstew and hair bows 002

I decided to bring this stew to you using ground beef because it is so economical and most of us have it on hand. This stew is incredibly flavorful and easily adapted to what you have in your pantry and freezer.

I have one special ingredient that I do hope you’ll try though, and that is Spicy Hot V-8 juice. It is what gives my stew such a full bodied flavor without me having to cook it all day and add a gazillion different spices. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t make it hot at all – I promise!

Have you ever had the beef stew from Cracker Barrel? To me, beef stew made with this spicy V-8 tastes a lot like that. I used to have to buy a big old bottle of this juice whenever I needed some but this time I found a six pack of cans, which makes a lot more sense if you are going to put it in your pantry to cook with. If you see a generic spicy hot vegetable juice, that will work just fine (y’all know I love generics).

You’ll need: Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Diced tomatoes, Green Beans, Beef Bouillon Cubes,Ground Beef, and 1-2 cans of Spicy Hot V-8 juice.

You can use beef broth in place of the bouillon cubes but I prefer them because they are less expensive and take up less space  when storing them (a small container makes about as much broth as twenty five cans of beef broth). You can also substitute some other bean of your preference for the green beans or add any number of other vegetables.

Stews are great to tweak and really make them your own. Play! have fun!

When you’re done, you’ll still have supper. :)

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Peel and dice your carrots, potatoes, and onion. Place in a large pot.

As a shortcut you can use a bag of frozen cubed hash browns for the potatoes. :)

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Add can of tomatoes and bag of frozen green beans.

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Add four bouillon cubes and two cups of water.

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Add in your Spicy Hot V-8 juice.

I am using two cans in mine but you can use one and taste it to see if you want to use the second.

I used two and it still wasn’t hot, just very flavorful.

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Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat and cover and simmer for an hour or so, until vegetables are tender.

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Add ground beef.

My beef is already browned and waiting happily for me in the freezer to save making another mess.

To see how I process large quantities of ground beef with ease, click here.

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Stir in a teaspoon of salt.

You won’t need any pepper because of the V-8 juice but you should salt it to your personal taste. I like to salt it shortly before serving because that gives me a chance to taste the finished product and see about how much it needs.

Serve with crackers or cornbread. I’m using little pieces of Dixie Cornbread. Oh my goodness, this was a good supper!

These dishes are called “Flamingo Pink” by Pyrex. They were made in three different colors and some of them had a gold band around the outer edge. They are milk glass with a painted on pink. ~sighs contentedly~ I just love them.

Ground Beef Stew
  • 1-2 lbs ground beef, cooked and drained
  • Carrots, diced
  • Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5-6 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 Cups frozen green beans
  • 29 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 Cans Spicy Hot V-8 juice (I use two)
  • 2 C water
  • 4 Beef Boullion Cubes
  • 1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  1. Place everything in a pot except for ground beef. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmering. Cover and cook for an hour until vegetables are tender. Add ground beef, cook for another thirty minutes.

*This can be assembled in the morning and put in your slow cooker all day on low. If doing it this way, just go ahead and add the ground beef in at the start. I add it in last to keep it a little firmer.


BE the change you want to see in the World.

Submitted by Judy. To submit your quote, click here.

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity that I never thought I’d have and of course, I have you to thank for it. I had a chance to go back to the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama (where I graduated) and speak to the freshmen in my department. I also got to tour the new culinary school and their kitchen was the most impressive one I’ve ever seen.

I was so honored to be able to have this bit of time with them and am so grateful that they were kind enough to give an hour of their attention to me and what I had to say.

I told them the story of Southern Plate, how I got started and where it has led with all of the incredible opportunities that have come my way as a result. I told them all about you, my Southern Plate Family. How wonderful you are to me every day and how much all of you have given me.

But most importantly, while I had their ear, I told them what I feel are the three things in life that will guarantee success and happiness to anyone, no matter what you do or where you go. I don’t think this is any secret, but just three things that many of us take for granted from one time to another that really do determine our future.

Good Manners – Good Education- Positive attitude

So thanks to all of the students who listened to me yesterday. I’ve heard from many of you and am going to reply to your emails after I finish this post. I truly appreciate the time you gave me and can hardly wait to see how you are going to make the world a better place!


Christy :)


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  1. melanie says

    I was reading the story about your Ground Beef Stew, when I stoped and was looking at the picture of your Grandpa’s favorite soup bowl. My daddy’s favorite soup bowl is just like that one only it was white, with light green chickens, it was the only one he would est his soups, beans, stews and cereal out of.

  2. Lydia says

    I am having so much fun browzing through your site!! And getting more hungry by the second…lol…I make hamburger stew much like this quite often but have never used V-8..awesome idea!! Sometimes I make Big drop dumplings on the top of the stew , put the lid on and in about 15-20 min they are nice and puffy and cover the whole top pretty much…Yummy!!! Will try it with V-* juice next time I make it , I am not really a cold weather fan except for the “cold weather” foods, like soups, chilis, stews, pot roasts…yummy. Thanks again!!!

  3. Alice says

    Hiya LOVELY recipe, sounds like its going to turn out FAB. Can someone suggest an alternative to this V8 juice thing like tinned tomatoes and some form of spices?? I live in jolly old England and I’ve never ever heard of it. Also… Is ground meat the same as minced meat?? Going to make this for my mum visiting tomorrow… Hopefully Thanks X

    • says

      Hey Ann!
      V8 is tomato juice. The spicy version has dried herbs and a little heat to it. I’d get tomato juice and add either some crushed red pepper flakes (dried, 1/2 tsp or so) or a few splashes of liquid red hot sauce if y’all have that. I need to go check out a grocery store in England so I can be more helpful! The meat is a beef ground up, it may be called hamburger. However you can use small chunks of beef as well, just make sure they have time to get cooked through. I hope this helps! Have a great day :)

  4. Mary says

    Christy, I love Southern Plate n your recipes .
    I do substitute beef or chicken broth for the
    boullion cubes to cut down on the sodium.
    I have high blood pressure n heart probs
    n this definitely helps. As you say I make the
    recipes my own : – )) Thank you for all you do.

  5. Keyla Clark says

    Best recipe ever! I added a few extra vegetables instead of using the frozen green beans and can of diced tomatoe. I added zucchini to mine with real tomatoes, a few extra vegetables including carrots and potatoes of course and instead of the V-8 Spicy I used the regular original V-8 juice and it turned out perfect! I will definatley be using this again so thank you so very much!

  6. jim in calgary says

    Hi Christie;
    I read your recipe on the stew and using V8 juice. I found that using it in spaghetti and lasagna sauce gives it just that extra layer of flavor and havebeen using it for years.
    Coming up, Hamburger Stew!

    Jim in Calgary

  7. Frances Hughes says

    Christy, are the bowl and plate you show with the reddish band around them Pyrex? I have a partial set that looks just like this… you recall where you bought them? Thanks, girl, and we are proud of our Alabama girl who’s gone national!

  8. Randa Henderson says

    I’m making this tomorrow night! However, I was thinking of using my crockpot. Anyone done this yet? Thanks Christy for all of these wonderful ground beef recipes! Happy Fall :-)

  9. Stephanie says

    This looks SO yummy! I am making it tonight with some cheese cornbread. Question though – what size can? They have 5.5 ounce and 11 ounce. I have a six pack of the 5.5 ounce cans and hope you see this in time for me to use the right amount! :)

  10. Maggie Bailey says

    I am so making this tomorrow. It looks so yummy and is so easy. I am also going to send this recipe to my daughter-in-law cause it would be great for their family of 6. For the person who asked about putting in the noodles I would say cook them separately and add them before serving but that just my thought. I thought about adding rice, the boil in bag kind. Love to hear your thoughts on that.

  11. Karen Lee says

    Christy, I made this soup last weekend and it was a hit! The recipe was so easy and very flavorful. I tried putting half of the leftovers in the freezer for a later date but ended up thawing it out so that we could finish it off. I am on your site searching for another soup recipe to make this evening. I’m sure I will pick another winner!

  12. Johanna says

    Husband LOVES this meal!
    The recipe is easy, ingredients simple to work with, and it turns out delicious!
    After adding the ground beef, I simmer for a couple hours because my husband loves the rich flavors (I always tweak recipes to my husband’s liking)!
    THANK YOU for this simple, yet tasty recipe!

  13. Becky says

    Making this today on a cold and blustery February day! Fire in the fireplace, your beef stew on the stove and fresh bread baking. Thanks! This will smell SO delish when my boys get home tonight!

  14. Melody P. says

    I went to the grocery store yesterday and bought all the ingrediants. I’m going to make this tonight with some cornbread muffins. I’ve got a house full to feed tonight, it’s usually just me and my husband. But tonight I’ll have my two brothers, my sister and her boyfriend over and this seems like an easy, cheap and yummy way to feed everybody!

  15. Christy says

    We tried this and love it! We’ve been eating on it for about 3 We are finishing off the rest now. Next time I may half the recipe or freeze it but for some reason I’m funny about freezing things,lol. Thanks Christy for so many great recipes that I have gotten from you! I can’t wait till your next cookbook comes out…about when will that be?

  16. Deb Hutchison says

    Oh good gracious Christie, I just found your site while looking for a hamburger soup recipe my Mom used to make. I am so excited to have found your recipe. I am even more excited that The Good Lord sent me to your website. When my provider Shelia comes on Friday we’re gonna make this for my crock pot. (I’m disabled, which is why I mentioned Shelia.) I mention her because I’d like everyone to know what a blessing she is to me. If u care to please say a prayer of thanks for all the Shelias of the world. We need more of them. She’d do and does ANYTHING for me. Before her I was on the canned and frozen dinner diet. Which was ok but, nothing beats fresh food cooked with love. Plus my budget isn’t so tight. So I’ll have $$ for your book ! Right ? Thank u for your website. You are a Shelia ! I’m blessed to have found you. I can’t wait to buy your book ! I agree with your three things. In my book kindness is the most important thing. Their are alot of mean people in the world, seriously who has time for that ? Best Wishes !

    • says

      Ain’t nobody got time for that!! ~giggles~ I couldn’t resist saying that, now…WELCOME to Southern Plate!!!! I will put Shelia on my prayer list as well as those like her. They do make the world a better place!! And I am so excited you found me and are already enjoying the website! I hope you have a blessed day!!

  17. LouAnn Babka says

    Christy…. my husband hates all vegetables except corn. However I make this twice a month and use all the veggies pictured plus some corn (yea I cater to him) it is so fabulous !!!!! He loves it as much as I do. Oh & the grandkids that come by…. they love it too !!!!

  18. Peggy says

    This sounds delicious, but I cannot believe you add a spoonful of salt after using FOUR blocks of sodium (bouillon). The V-8 is also high in sodium. It is worth it to seek out low sodium beef base or make your own beef broth. Salt can be added to taste by each individual’s bowl if desired.

    I use V-8 spicy in my chili. It is a great addition. But again, I cook with very little sodium otherwise.

  19. Bruce Hill says

    This is a great recipe for me Christy as I can never eat too much beef stew! Great comfortfood! Also love freezing some for days like today(snowy) and love the spicey hot V-8 as well!
    Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  20. says

    My mom always made this but simmer the ground beef in water above the beef and added cabbage, about a small head after it simmered a couple hours adding a big can of tomatoe sauce. then added the rest after a couple hours no v8 though…its very good several people have asked for this recipe over the years..its wonderful…try it

    • Jen says

      I agree with your mom, BUT the secret awesome ingredient is V8! Try it your mom’s way, but then add V8. Heck, as far as that goes, make it your mom’s way, and then add the V8 extra. Sooo good! Each generation is supposed to improve on something from the past; yours could be this delicious recipe!

  21. Judi says

    I read through you Ground Beef Stew (with a secret!) and had previously read you recipe on your smoked burgers. Got a couple of really interesting ideas to try the next couple of times I make stew for my mom and I. Like smoking stew meat to give the stew a little different taste. Also, I grew up in Phoenix AZ, so I ate and made a lot of Mexican food. And I learned to make the meat for tacos with El Pato Sauce. So, replace part of the spicy V-8 juice with El Pato Sauce or replace all of the V-8 juice with the El Pato Sauce and an equivalent amount of crushed tomatoes, Fresh, canned yourself or from the store, any combination.

    Just some thoughts running through my head as I am reading your recipes.


    • Eva says

      Hey! I do this all the time, I get my V8 at thelocal cash and carry wholesaler as its hard to find on the shelf,I’ve never seen the spicy stuff up here, bottles or cans. I generally use the crockpot, buy it would be good. I add V8 to my chili sometimes, I can get the small 4 ounce cans called one shot (for 1 serving of vegetables) so use those along with a jar of salsa your choice of heat level when I do the chili.

  22. T King says

    This sounds delish! When I was a kid growing up in downtown Huntsville’s Twickenham district, I can remember my mama, anytime I got grouchy or complaining, to tell me to “go to your room and don’t come out until you are in a good humor”!! I enjoy your recipes from home in Kalamazoo, Michigan now:)

  23. Vicky says

    I thought I commented on this but maybe not. I made this last week and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Very filling with garlic bread or garlic cheese bread on the side. I did take a few teeny tiny liberties with your recipe by adding a bay leaf, crushed garlic, and a couple handfuls of frozen corn. I use 3 smallish potatoes. This is a wonderful soup/stew. I passed it on to 2 friends with another one in mind. Even with the bread, it is very diabetic friendly. I had a nice reading in the morning. I will definitely make this again.

  24. Jen says

    Hi! I finally got around to making your delicious recipe….yum! My only thing is, it was too much onion. Maybe it was the size of the onion? Next time (and yes! I plan to remake this soon!), I’m going to go with 1/4 onion, and see if I need extra. If so, I’ll just put in a pan with a tiny bit of water to cook then transfer.
    Other than that, we couldn’t get enough of it. I made double the recipe, and half is already gone! (Did I mention we’re a family of THREE!)

  25. Leah says

    Hey there! I have this simmering in my crock pot for my husband’s birthday tonight. He loves lima beans, so I substituted some of those for some of the green beans. Also, I added diced ham to the recipe. By the time I had all my veggies in, I needed more broth, so I added another can of Spicy V8 and another cup of water. Would this possibly end up making it spicy and should i need to add another bouillon cube?


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