Start with garden fresh vegetables and spice up this stew with Italian sausage.

1 tablespoon canola oil 1 large onion, diced 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 large green pepper, diced 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms 1 pound low-fat Italian sausage* 1 cup diced carrot 3 small zucchini, sliced 1 can (48 ounces) fat-free chicken broth 1 can (28 ounces) petite diced seasoned tomatoes 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried basil 2 cups dried tortellini salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Remove from pan and set aside. Add garlic, pepper, and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are tender. Remove from pan and set aside. Add sausage to pan and cook over medium-hot heat until brown. Stir to crumble meat and discard any fat. Add reserved cooked vegetables. Add carrots, zucchini, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to boil gently until vegetables are tender and flavors have blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook dried tortellini in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to soup pot when ready to serve.

*Choose either mild or hot sausage to suit your taste. Turkey sausage is also an option.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information per serving:

Calories: 300 Fat, gm.: 23 Protein, gm.: 34 Carbs, gm.: 15 Cholesterol, mg.: 4.3 Fiber, gm.: 8