CHUNKY TOMATO BASE

Makes 10 cups.

From "Soup, a Way of Life," by Barbara Kafka. Cost per cup: 61 cents.

• 2 medium onions, in 1/2-inch cubes

• 6 tbsp. olive oil

• 5 lb. ripe red tomatoes (about 15 to 20 medium tomatoes) , cored and cut in 1-in. cubes

Directions

Cook the onions and olive oil over low heat in a medium-sized stockpot, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and liquid. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to three days or freeze.

Nutrition information per 1-cup serving:

Calories 118 Fat 9 g Sodium 11 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 26 mg

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

MINESTRONE

Makes 13 cups.

Note: There are many recipes for this Italian soup; if you don't have all the ingredients listed here, improvise! From "Soup, a Way of Life," by Barbara Kafka. Cost per cup: 66 cents.

• 1 medium onion

• 3 medium carrots, peeled

• 2 large ribs celery, peeled if necessary

• 1/2 lb. firm potatoes, peeled

• 2/3 lb. white cabbage, cored

• 2 medium yellow squash, trimmed

• 1/2 c. plus 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

• 1/2 lb. Swiss chard, leaves cut in narrow strips, stems cut in slices

• 1 small bunch spinach, washed, stemmed and cut in narrow strips

• 6 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped, divided

• 1 c. chunky Tomato Base (see recipe at right)

• 5 c. water

• Rind from Parmesan cheese, optional

• Leaves from 2 medium bunches basil, washed and dried

• 1 c. cooked orzo (1/2 c. dry)

• 2 tbsp. kosher or other salt

• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

Cut the onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, cabbage and squash in 1/4-inch dice. In a medium stockpot, cook the onion and 1/2 cup oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and potatoes and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cabbage and squash and cook 5 minutes. Add the chard, spinach, half the garlic, the tomato base, water and cheese rind, if using. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, make pesto by puréeing the basil in a food processor. Transfer basil to a blender, add the remaining garlic and purée. With the blender running, slowly pour in the remaining oil. Blend until smooth.

Remove the cheese rind, if using, from the soup. Stir in the orzo. Heat the soup and stir in 1/4 cup pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve immediately, pass the remaining pesto and grated cheese. Refrigerate up to three days or freeze.

Nutrition information per 1-cup serving with 1 tablespoon Parmesan:

Calories 200 Fat 14 g Sodium 906 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 136 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 5 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 3 fat.

TOMATO SAUCE WITH BACON AND PARSLEY

Serves 4.

Note: This can also be made with a 28-ounce can of diced or whole tomatoes, drained and, if whole, diced, adding enough of the drained liquid to make tomatoes equal 2 cups. From "The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook," by Christopher Kimball. Cost per serving for sauce: 62 cents.

• 3 or four slices of thick-cut bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

• 2 medium garlic cloves, diced finely or pressed through a garlic press

• 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional

• 2 lb. fresh tomatoes, chopped (see Note)

• 1/4 tsp. sugar

• 1/2 tsp. salt, more if needed

• 2 tbsp. flat- leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, or use curly parsley

• 1 lb. pasta, optional

Directions

In a large skillet, fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet and add the garlic and red pepper, and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant but not brown. Add the tomatoes and simmer until thickened slightly, 10 minutes or more.

Stir in sugar, salt and parsley and heat for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bacon pieces and stir. If using immediately with pasta and the sauce is too thick, add a little of the water the pasta was cooked in. If freezing, you may need to dilute with a little water when reheating if it is too thick.

Nutrition information per serving without pasta:

Calories 150 Fat 11 g Sodium 514 mg

Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 27 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 16 mg Dietary fiber 3 g