Now that fall is officially here, I'm back in the cooking mode, especially when it comes to soups and stews. My daughter Kara and I have a goal to make a soup a week for go-to lunches and dinner on the run. Here are two standbys that feature lentils, a good source of inexpensive protein. One is from a college roommate  (don't have to tell you how long that's been in my recipe file!) and one from a professor friend. Is there a theme here? The first is tomato based and more like a stew, while the second is lighter and uses marjoram, giving it a fresh taste. In both recipes, you may want to play with the consistency by adding a bit more water or broth.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

2 c lentils
5 c water
1/2 c onion
1/2 c celery
1/2 c carrots
3 T parsley
1 clove garlic (1/2 t prepared garlic)
2 1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t oregano

Put all ingredients in large pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, diced
2 T vinegar

Simmer another 1/2 hour. Serve hot.

Crystal's Lentil Soup

2 c lentils
5 c water
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 t basil
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped

Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

1 lb kielbasa, cut in small rounds
2 t marjoram
1 box frozen spinach (optional)

Simmer additional 30 minutes.

Note: We are trying to go with organic meat, so I used chicken/feta/spinach sausage that I had cooked up earlier and put it in at the last minute.

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