Vegetable Soup
Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times/MCT

With the arrival of cooler weather, my thoughts turn to hearty soups and stews. However, I am one of those people who can enjoy soups and stews any time of the year.

If you have youngsters who would prefer pizza to soup, serve them a bowl of the following pizza soup, and they will think they are eating liquid pizza. You might even get a request to make this again later. This soup is made with bulk sausage, but you can use ground beef, if preferred. I sometimes like to use both sausage and beef in this super soup.

If you are in the mood for vegetable soup but you don't have time to make it the old-fashioned way, how about a pot of my Lazy Man’s Low-Fat Vegetable Soup? The fact that it is low-fat is also a bonus. My mother usually put shredded fresh cabbage in her vegetable soup, so I decided to use some coleslaw mix in this easy soup.

For those who would like a special soup or stew for guests, my Pork Bar-B-Stew would be a good choice. If preferred, you can substitute chicken for the pork.

So you can see that there is a soup or stew for everyone’s palate.

PIZZA SOUP

  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 (2.5 ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) jar pizza sauce, flavored with pepperoni
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes (with basil, oregano and garlic)
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine sausage, onion and bell pepper in soup pot. Saute until sausage is fully cooked. Drain excess grease. Add mushrooms, pizza sauce, tomatoes and water. Cook over medium-high heat about 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and keep hot until time to serve. Top each serving with a generous sprinkling of Mozzarella cheese. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

LAZY MAN’S LOW-FAT VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen mixed vegetables for soup
  • 3 cups shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans beef broth
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking about 40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. A little old-fashioned pepper sauce is good with this soup.

PORK BAR-B-STEW

  • 1 ½ pounds pork, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can onion soup (not cream of onion soup)
  • 2 ¼ cups water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (taste before adding)
  • 3 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • ½ cup green bell pepper strips
  • 3 cups prepared barbecue sauce

In heavy soup pot, brown pork in oil. Add onion soup, 1 ¼ cups water, lemon juice and salt if needed. Simmer about 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and remaining 1 cup water. Increase heat to medium and cover. Cook about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at prudencehilburn@aol.com.