"I" is for "Italian Veggie Soup"

I know, it's summertime and who eats soup over summer? We do actually! In fact, using your crockpot to warm up a batch of soup from the freezer is a great way to not heat up your kitchen (& makes for a super easy meal!)  I love making this over summer because all the veggies & herbs this recipe calls for can come fresh from my garden! It's also a warming soup for those cold winter days. This soup freezes well so I will often make a huge batch to have some for a meal, leftovers for lunch and several containers to put in the freezer.

1lb of italian loose sausage (I've used any kind of sausage I get on sale, spicy is my favorite!)
1 cup of diced onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups of beef stock (bouillon works as well to save a little $$)
1/3 cup of water
4-5 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup tomato sauce
1 medium zucchini, chopped (I cut the zuc into 4 quarters then slice thin)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (dry is fine as well)
grated parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

Place the sausage in a large pot over medium high heat & saute for 10 minutes. Add the onions & garlic and saute for 5 more minutes. Next add the beef stock to the pot along with the water, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, basil, oregano & tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low & simmer for 30 minutes. Add the zucchini & parsley to taste. Simmer for more 10 minutes (or until zucchini is softened).* Serve with optional parmesan cheese on top in individual bowls.

*optional ingredient, 8 oz of tortellini added into the soup the last 10 minutes of cooking.

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