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Easy, hearty, pasta-vegetable soup is most welcome on a winter night.

Imagine a soup that provides a whole meal in one bowl and takes only 30 minutes to make. That's the beauty of this winter casserole soup, a thick and hearty soup made with vegetables, pasta and red kidney beans.

Soup is a great way to brighten up a winter evening. I find that my family loves a bowl of soup, no matter what the weather. You can make this a vegetarian meal by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

I find that this tastes great the second day. You can make double the recipe and have another quick meal waiting for you. If you make it in advance or are rewarming on the second night, it may become thick. Just add more broth while rewarming.

Hints:

Onion, carrots and celery can be bought already sliced in the produce section or slice all of the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a thick slicing blade.

A few drops of hot pepper sauce can be used instead of horseradish.

Any type of cheese can be substituted for the cheddar cheese.

> Winter Casserole Soup

2 cups fat-free, low-salt chicken broth

1 cup water

2 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes (including juice)

1 cup sliced yellow onion

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1 cup sliced celery stalks

1 cup sliced white cabbage

2 ounces uncooked fusilli pasta (1 cup)

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 cups fresh washed, ready-to-eat spinach

1 1/2 cups rinsed and drained canned red kidney beans

2 ounces shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese ( 1/2 cup)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sourdough or whole grain bread

Preheat oven to warm bread. Bring chicken broth, water and tomatoes to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cover, lower heat to medium-high, and cook 5 minutes. Add cabbage and fusilli and boil, uncovered, 10 minutes. Mix horseradish and vinegar together. Add to soup with spinach and beans. Boil 1 minute. Pasta will be cooked. Spinach will just be wilted. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Place bread in oven to warm. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 535 calories (12 percent from fat), 7g fat (3.1g saturated, 1.9g monounsaturated), 15mg cholesterol, 30.4g protein, 92.6g carbohydrates, 20.8g fiber, 1,585mg sodium.