Yesterday I made a big potful of minestrone, which Mr. Fixit calls Hamburger Soup. So what's in a name, right? Ponytails said it smelled like restaurant soup, which is a compliment.
This is what I did: browned a pound of ground beef, drained off most of the fat, added in some chopped onion and celery and let them cook a few minutes. Added a can of pasta sauce and several cans of water; when it boiled, I added a cupful of what the grocery store packaged as "soup mix." That is, a mixture of lentils, grains, and small beans. I let that simmer for a couple of hours, stirring it to keep from sticking, adding water if it needed it. You could probably do it in the slow cooker too.
Later I added chopped zucchini, a few mushrooms, and pasta bowties, along with extra basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. That's it, and it made a lot. Something for the freezer!