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HEARTY BEAN-N-VEGETABLE SOUP WITH BEEF 
WITH BEEF:

8 oz (1/2 of a 1 lb pkg) dried beans or 1 1/3 cups soup mix (below)
8 cups beef stock (or 8 cups reconstituted beef soup base)
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
5 large carrots, thinly sliced (or 1 lb. baby carrots)
5 stalks celery, chopped (leaves included)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 lbs. lean ground beef or pork
1/2 tsp. dried or 1 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or 5 cloves fresh, minced (for soup)
2 cloves minced garlic (for sauteing beef or pork)
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced or 1 tsp. dried

Bring beef stock to a boil. Reduce heat and add package of dried beans, 1 of the onions, celery, and seasonings and simmer for 30 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and tomato sauce and simmer for an additional hour or until vegetables are tender. You may added greens to the soup near the end of cooking, if desired. Tougher greens such as kale or collards or escarole should be added 30-40 minutes before serving, while tender greens such as spinach or chard will only require 10-15 minutes to become tender.

Sauté ground beef or pork in a large skillet with remaining onion and 2 minced garlic cloves. When soup is fully cooked, mix in cooked meat. Serve.

Cooks Note: If you prefer, the ground meat may be made up into meat balls before cooking by adding 2 cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp. fresh parsley (minced), 1/2 tsp. each salt, pepper and garlic powder, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan) - mix well, form into balls and brown in olive oil flavored with whole cloves garlic before adding to soup.

This is a very thick soup. If you prefer it a little less thick, add some more broth or water to your preferred consistency. Top with shredded cheese or grated Parmesan, if desired.

Be versatile - try adding different vegetables and seasonings. Mixed soup beans may be used for variety.

WITH CHICKEN:

To make soup with chicken, simply follow these steps:
- Use chicken stock in place of beef stock
- Omit the tomato sauce
- Use one 28 oz. can crushed tomato
- Omit ground beef
- Use half pound diced chicken or ground turkey
- Omit seasonings above and use the following:

1 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
4 tsp. black pepper or lemon pepper

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DRIED BEAN MIXTURE:

1 16 oz. pkg. green split peas, dried
1 16 oz. pkg. macaroni
1 16 oz. pkg. lentils, dried
1 3/4 cups barley
2 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked

1. Mix all ingredients in a large container.
2. Store in an air tight container, canning jars, or zip lock bags.
3. Use 1 1/3 C of dried bean mixture for one soup recipe.

Dehydrated vegetable powders are a wonderful addition to soups. You can make your own or buy them, but be sure they have no additives or preservatives in the ingredients list. Celery, mushrooms, carrots, beans, parsley and other herbs, onions, garlic and tomatoes all dry well. Once fully dehydrated, keep them away from moisture and air (vacuum sealing is best). They may be added to this dry soup mix for convenience and extra flavor.

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