This is based on a soup Donald's family ate when he was growing up. It's simple fare, but easy and good on a chilly day. We like it with a cheese sandwich on the side.
Donald originally called it "Ground Beef Soup", but since we generally don't use ground beef in it, these days, I'm renaming it "Carrot-Tato Soup". We typically use ground turkey, which is fine. Once I had a little leftover beef pot roast (and gravy) that I shredded and used as the protein. That was the best version of this soup I've ever tasted.
1 lb ground meat (beef or turkey)
2 large potatoes, cut into quarters and sliced thinly
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped
5 cups water
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp beef bouillon granules (or comparable number of cubes)
spices (seasoned salt, black pepper, paprika, Mrs. Dash, parsley, chives, etc.)
1 or 2 Tbsp butter (or margarine)
optional: celery, tomatoes
Fry potatoes and carrots in small amount of butter. (I like to fry them in the same pot I'll be making the soup in. No extra pan to wash and any bits that stick can be deglazed as the soup simmers.)
Optional: If you have other fresh or frozen (or canned) vegetables on hand, you can toss them into the soup, too. I often add a little frozen chopped celery and a handful of frozen cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters), because that's something we have plenty of in the freezer.
Add water and beef granules to pot. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
Meanwhile, fry the ground meat and onion. Drain fat (if necessary) and add the browned meat and onion to the soup pot.
Add tomato paste to the soup.
Add spices to taste. (These can be tweaked as wished. Instead of seasoned salt, you can add your own personal mix of seasonings along with salt.)
Simmer until potatoes are cooked. (20 minutes? Maybe longer...)
This soup is very thin and watery. You can thicken it up with a roux, if you prefer.