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So Simple I Can Make It -- Vegetable Soup

1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1 (16 ounce) can of sliced potatoes
1 (16 ounce) can of sliced green beans
1 (16 ounce) can green peas
1 (16 ounce) can lima beans
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb cubed beef or 1 lb chicken
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 Open all of the cans and do NOT drain off juices. This is the most time consuming step of this dish. I find that it is easier to cut off both ends of the tomato paste and use one end of the can to push the paste through the can and into the pot.
2 In a 4 quart (or larger) pot combine everything.
3 Bring to a boil.
4 Reduce heat and cover. Stir occasionally and let simmer for at least two hours (the longer the better).
5 **If you want to add meat, cook the meat in the pot before combining the rest of the ingredients.
6 **If you want a thicker soup/stew, add the uncooked rice, tomato sauce and water.
7 In a larger pot, I have been known to add any or all of the following to the soup -- garbanzo beans, butter beans, red beans, black beans, northern beans, wax beans & black-eyed peas.
8 This recipe easily doubles, triples, etc -- as long as your pot is big enough ;-).
9 Serve with fresh cornbread, hot and buttered, of course.
10 This dish can be prepared in a crockpot very easily.
11 Omit the chicken and beef for Vegetarian. Also if serving omit the butter on the cornbread for Vegan.

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