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Effortless Vegetable Soup

Let's be honest, in unseasonably icy weather like this, you can never have enough winning soup recipes. A hearty vegetable soup is always a hit, but who has the time and inclination to stand in a cold kitchen chopping vegetables, especially when there are alternative preparation methods at hand? Bingo! Chop up a couple of onions, reach for a bag of frozen vegetables, open a can of beans, and then return to the couch to eat chocolate while your meal-in-a-bowl looks after itself. Let winter do its're armed with the ultimate weapon against the cold.

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil 2 medium onions, finely chopped 2 teaspoons (10 ml) crushed garlic 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano/basil, 500 gram frozen mixed vegetables 1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine or Kiddush wine 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sugar 5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 can (410 grams) crushed tomatoes 1/2 cup (125 ml) uncooked small pasta Handful chopped parsley 1 can baked beans in tomato sauce* Basil pesto to serve (optional) 1: Fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes till softened, add the dried herbs and toss through, then add frozen vegetables, wine, salt, sugar, stock and crushed tomatoes. 2: Bring to the boil, add the pasta and chopped parsley, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. 3: Add the beans in their sauce, simmer a further 10 minutes, and then check seasoning before serving topped with a spoon of parve basil pesto if desired. COOK'S NOTES: Any frozen vegetable mix - including stir-fry mix - will do though vegetables shouldn't be too large. I always combine dried oregano and dried basil to make up Italian Herbs. Use small pasta - or vermicelli pasta - or it will absorb too much liquid and add extra stock if needed. Heinz Beans are not yet back in stock but any baked bean in tomato sauce works fine. You could also add a chili kick by using red beans in slightly spicy Mexican sauce. Recipe serves 6 to 8.

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