First things first. Run a sink full of hot sudsy water so we can wash up as we go--this makes clean up a snap.
And if you want, light a fall scented candle--I'm currently enjoying Caramel Apple. And if you are a music lover put on some good music. Brew yourself a cup of tea too--Constant Comment is nice this time of year. (Find the fun in a chore. Relax to the rhythm of your work. It's all good.)
Now lets get out our chopping board and chop some onion--about a cup. And wash and peel 3 or so medium potatoes and a couple of carrots. Prep some celery--don't forget to string it--a rib or two. Dice the potatoes, cut the carrots, slice the celery.
Next, heat a large non-reactive* pot and add a little oil in the bottom. When your oil is hot add your onions and throw in some dried minced garlic. When the onions begin to soften, add one pound of lean ground turkey or lean ground beef--preferably organic.
Break that up with your big wooden spoon and when it's well browned add your potatoes and carrots; one large can petite diced tomatoes including the liquid, 3 cups of frozen mixed vegetables and 3 cups of V8.
Now for the seasonings. Break up a couple or three beef bouillon cubes--this replaces the salt. Add some black pepper to taste. And definitely add some Louisiana hot sauce to kick things up a notch. Not too much though. A little is good--too much not so good. Those who like it hotter can add it to their bowl.
Time to add some water. Add enough water to cover everything with about an inch above the top. The vegetables will release their juices and some liquid will evaporate during the cooking process.
Bring the pot to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook covered, until the vegetables are tender to your liking. Check now to see if it needs salt. If it does, add it now.
All these ingredients are easy to keep on hand so that you can whip up a pot of delicious soup at a moments notice.
Serve simply with some crackers. Or if you're inclined make a pan of corn bread. To expand on a simple meal, some olives, cubes of cheddar cheese and a nice crusty loaf are good additions. Place them on a rustic wooden bread board for a country look.
And for a quick pantry dessert, whip up my chocolate cobbler. You can go here for the recipe.
That cobbler is pure comfort food. It's cute served in small coffee cups and needs no other adornment, though whipped cream or ice cream don't hurt it any. But they are not necessary. Sometimes simple is best, ya know?
See--you don't need Martha or a degree is food science to make some lovely food.
Eat. Enjoy. Have fun.
*Non-reactive: stainless steel, porcelain, ceramic, non-stick, but not aluminum or cast iron--or any metal that might react with the acidity of the tomato products.