Alicia Ross
Universal Uclick

Several years ago I read a report that said more people cook between Thanksgiving Day and New Yearís Day than any other time of year. Itís not surprising, really. Planning a special menu during the holiday season is fun and festive.

But itís not the special menu that stresses me out. Itís dinner tonight! It seems I get even more desperate around those big ďcookingĒ days than I do on the big day itself. I feel as if I spend so much time planning the special meal that my everyday dinners suffer.

Todayís recipe for a super-quick Cream of Vegetable Soup is just the ticket for a stress-free midweek dinner. Itís sized for two, although easily doubled or tripled if need be. It flies together start to finish in just 15 minutes, and it will soothe the soul and feed the hungriest of households.

Easy Cream of

Vegetable Soup

2 tsp. vegetable oil

1 cup each finely chopped onion, finely chopped carrots and finely chopped mushrooms, for 3 cups chopped mixed vegetables (see Note)

1 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken or vegetable broth

ľ tsp. salt

? tsp. ground black pepper

1 cup low-fat milk

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (Italian-style preferred)

In a medium saucepan, saute the vegetables in the oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add milk; simmer to combine flavors. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: Peppers and celery in combination with other vegetables are also delicious. Just make sure you have 3 cups of finely chopped vegetables for each 2 servings.

Each serving has about 165 calories, 7 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams dietary fiber, 770 milligrams sodium.

Alicia Ross is the co-author of three cookbooks. Contact her c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, email tellus@kitchenscoop.com, or visit http://kitchenscoop.com.