Last week, my mom, sis, another cousin and I visited our cousin Patricia in LaGrange for a nice visit and vegetable soup luncheon. We already knew she was a really wonderful cook and when she said, "We're just having vegetable soup," we knew it would be a real treat. I think a great cook can take a simple dish and make it spectacular and Patricia is one of those cooks.
During the meal, she shared a special "secret" that made her soup easy and tasty. The secret ingredient surprisingly was, add a jar of spaghetti sauce to begin a pot of vegetable soup. Then add all the normal ingredients, veggies, a can of tomatoes, a bay leaf, salt and pepper and let it all simmer until flavors are combined and (if using frozen vegetables) the vegetables are soft, 30 to 45 minutes. I tried using the "secret" ingredient last night and found my cousin was right. It does take the flavor up a notch. So try it. It is surprisingly good -- and easy. And it didn't taste like spaghetti!
Very Veggie Soup
1 jar, any kind of spaghetti sauce (cheaper the better, but I like to use a no-sugar brand, I used Muir Glen for this batch)
2 bags frozen vegetable soup mix
1 bag frozen gumbo mix
(I love okra in my soup but if you don't like it, use mixed vegetables)
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 to 3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
Optional items: Brown ground beef or ground turkey with a clove of garlic before adding the spaghetti sauce.
Use this as an opportunity to clean out the fridge. Use any leftover vegetables, rice, leftover beef or chicken, chopped.
Any canned beans or vegetables of your choice.