Easy Italian Sausage-Vegetable Soup

1/2 Lb. bulk Italian pork sausage
1 cup sliced fresh carrots
1 large baking potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cans (14 oz. each) beef broth
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) pasta-style chunky tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 cup julienne-cut zucchini
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, if desired

1. In large skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink, stiring frequently. Drain
2. In 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine cooked sausage and all remaining ingredients except zucchini and cheese; stir gently to mix.
3. Cover; cook on Low setting 7-9 hours.
4. About 30 minutes before serving, remove and discard bay leaf from soup. Gently stir in zuccini, Cover; cook 30 minutes longer or until zucchini is tender. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving: ( 1 1/2 Cup) Calories 220; Total Fat 9g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 1000mg; Total Carbohydrate 27g (Dietary Fiber 6g, Sugars 4g);Protein 14g.

Brenda Found this recipe in the casserole and slow cooker magazine from Pillsbury.

The variations that we did for Thanksgiving is: We boiled it for about 20-30 minutes instead of putting it in the slow cooker. I also did not put in the water called for and I don't think I doubled the beef broth totally. (I thought it looked kinda thick, but after cooking, it thinned out) Anyway, it was a great soup!!

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