1 lb beef stew meat
3 celery ribs
10 baby carrots (or a couple regular carrots)
2 potatoes (peeled if you like)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 (14-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
3 1⁄2 cups beef broth (or 2 14-oz cans)
2 small bay leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil (or any cooking oil)
4 cups water
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (optional)
Cut meat into small, bite-size (1/2″) pieces.
In a large pot or dutch oven, saute meat in 1 T oil on medium-high heat until all sides are brown.
Set aside on a plate.
Chop celery, onion, potatoes, and carrots into bite-size pieces.
Saute celery and onion in the remaining 1 T oil until the onion is golden (about 10 minutes).
Add browned beef, water, broth, tomatoes with juices, carrots, potatoes, corn, bay leaves, and garlic.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until beef is almost tender, about an hour.
Add peas and hot sauce to the soup.
Cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 30 minutes longer.
Serve and season with freshly ground black pepper, hot sauce, or crumbled saltines, if desired.