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Quick Easy Hot Hearty Winter Soup

You love hearty, hot soup on a cold winter day, AND you are really busy and work time seems like all the time. OK. Here’s a recipe for simple soup that you can whomp together in minutes and it tastes great. You can plan ahead and have the ingredients on hand, or fly through the market and pick ’em up on the way home.

The ingredients are highly variable and may be shifted around to suit your personal tastes, with a full range of free substitution. For solo or couple meals, purchase the half-sized cans; family serving calls for the standard 15 oz. size.

One can of whole kernel corn
One can of beans (kidney, pinto, black, great northern, white, and lima for example)
One can of tomatoes (whole, half, diced, mixed with stuff, etc.)
A stick or ring of sausage (pepperoni, Polish, kielbasa, etc.)
A medium onion
A few olives (2 or 3 ounces for small recipe, 8 or more for large)
A teaspoon of your favorite all-around spice (taco seasoning, seasoned salt, garlic or onion powder, etc.)
A loaf of your favorite bread (French, Italian, Pugliese, Russian, etc.)

Pull out 2 saucepans, then open the cans. Drain the corn and bean liquid into one pan, dump both vegetables into the other. Put the entire can of tomatoes, liquid and all, in with the corn and beans, then add the olives. Place both pans on stove burners at medium heat. Chop, dice, or mince the onion and slide it into the pan of corn, bean, and tomatoes. Stir the teaspoon of spice(s) into your pan of vegetables, mixing thoroughly. Cut your sausage into small chunks (about a half inch, or so), estimating about 8 ounces for the half recipe of small cans, or about a pound for the large portion. Put the meat into the liquid stock. Turn both burners down to simmer, cover the saucepans, and now you have about 10 minutes to go change clothes or start a load of laundry or take out the trash, etc.

Back at the stove, turn off the burners, set aside the lids, drain the liquid stock from the meat, put the sausage into the lovely vegetables and stir vigorously. Put the lid back on the saucepan of soup and prepare your bread. With warm bread at the table, serve the soup in heavy bowls. You may choose to sprinkle some grated cheese on top. Any leftovers can be saved for reheating in the microwave (covered dish, of course, because beans may “explode”).