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1/2 pound meat
3 cups water
1 can chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce -- 8 oz
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 onion -- chopped
6 cups vegetables -- frozen
Worcestershire sauce -- to taste
salt and pepper -- to taste
sugar -- to taste
basil -- to taste
thyme -- to taste

Into an electric slow cooker that holds 3 quarts or more, put half a pound of extra-lean meat (frozen is fine), such as round steak, hamburger or boneless and skinless chicken. Add 3 cups of water, a can of chicken broth and, if you have it, the contents of an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce. You can also add a can of crushed or stewed tomatoes if you like. Quickly peel and coarsely chop an onion and throw it in. That chopping is the only real work you have to do.

Add 6 cups of assorted frozen vegetables, such as corn, peas, beans, potatoes and carrots. To make this step simpler, look for the large bags of assorted frozen vegetables labeled especially for soup or stew in the freezer section of the supermarket. You can use whatever frozen or canned vegetables you have on hand in any combination, but we find that vegetables with a strong taste, including broccoli, brussels sprouts and spinach, overpower this recipe.

Season the soup with a couple of teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, half a teaspoon of dried basil and a pinch of dried thyme.

Cook on Low for a full 8 to 10 hours. When the soup is cooked, you may want to remove any large pieces of meat, shred them and stir them back into the pot. This makes enough soup to feed eight adults, and it's good for leftovers, too, since the flavor improves when it's been in the refrigerator for several days.

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