Here’s a recipe for a hearty winter meal that further debunks the myth that cooking is difficult and expensive. The following made about eight portions and cost $9. (Had I not used mostly organic ingredients, it would have totaled $5.) Prep time was 10 minutes and cooking time (mostly unattended) was roughly an hour.
HEARTY WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP
I chopped two onions, two garlic cloves, two carrots, four stalks of celery and four small potatoes and sautéed them in olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat for eight minutes (until the onions were soft).
I then added a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes and enough water (about 20 ounces) to cover the vegetables. I added a bay leaf and some peppercorns, brought the mixture to a boil, returned it to a simmer, covered the pot and let the soup simmer until the potatoes and carrots just softened (about 45 minutes).
I turned off the heat and added a can of chickpeas and some leftover kidney beans I had, plus some chopped parsley. I let the soup sit covered for about 15 minutes, and then added unrefined sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
After ladling a portion into a bowl, I grated some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the soup.
Feel free to use any vegetables you like or have in your refrigerator. For more substance, add cooked whole wheat pasta, cooked whole grains or chunks of whole grain bread to your bowl of soup.
You do not need to be a chef, grandmother or have slept in a Holiday Inn Express to be able to make this. The flavor, nutrition and sense of accomplishment will be much better than anything from a can.