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This soup is similar to the one in the famous red and white can, but has more antioxidants, less sodium, fresh produce, and best, you control the ingredients and seasonings.    It's often more economical, too.

Terrific Tomato Soup for Two or Three

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 of a small onion
2-inch piece of celery with a leaf or two
2-inch piece of a medium-thick carrot
2 medium-large ripe tomatoes
dash of paprika

black pepper to taste
seasonings to taste; (Note #1) try:  pinch of dried oregano
and dried basil plus a shake of garlic powder,
OR large pinch of dried dill
,
OR pinch of dried thyme
, shake of garlic powder, plus pinch of dried oregano,
OR large pinch of salsa seasoning
,
OR large pinch or two of Italian seasoning

1 1/4 cups reduced-fat or skim milk  (Note #2)
1 tablespoon corn starch (Note #3)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon
salt (or salt substitute)
1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (bottled is fine)

Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Cut onion, celery and carrot into several pieces.   Sauté until onion becomes soft, stirring frequently. Do not brown.

Chop tomatoes coarsely (Note #4).  Add to pan of veggies.   Continue to sauté, stirring, until tomatoes are heated through.  Add seasonings.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes.

Place about 1/4 cup of the milk into a food processor or blender.  Add tomato mixture.   Blend well until liquefied.  Dissolve the cornstarch into the remaining milk with a whisk or fork.  Add to the blended tomatoes.  Add the tomato paste and process briefly again. 

Strain back into the pan (Note #4).   Add salt and sugar.  Heat on medium-high, stirring constantly.  Let it come to a full boil, then reduce heat to low.  Taste:  you may wish to add salt, sugar, black pepper or a little more seasoning.   

Serve immediately for a nutritious, delicious and comforting treat.  Makes about three cups, depending on size of tomatoes.


* Note #1:   This is a delicate flavored soup; be careful not to overdo the spices until you have tried it.

* Note #2:   If you cannot drink milk, soup can be made with water, but the flavor suffers for it.

* Note #3: If you are allergic to corn, substitute 2 tablespoons unbleached wheat flour.

* Note #4:  Straining isn't required, but if you don't plan to do so, either peel the tomatoes or cut into very small pieces, or the soup will be full of unpleasant large tomato skin pieces.  

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