Sausage, spinach and white bean soup

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I love soup. I just wanted to put it out there. As ridiculous as it is to be wanting soup in the summer, there is something about a nice filling bowl of soup that makes me want to have it all year round. The struggle for me is usually to find a filling soup that is also not laden in enough calories to have me running on the treadmill for a week straight. My neighbor and I are always trading recipes, and he happened to recommend to me a white bean and spinach soup that he found on pinterest. I tried it, and we loved it, but my hubby who is not a huge fan of soup commented that he might have liked it a little more if it had some meat in it. This is a spin off from the recipe I tried, and we all enjoyed it greatly. I used sweet Italian sausage since it is what I had on hand this time, but I am curious to try a spicy turkey sausage to make it even healthier next time. All in all, it made for a really good dinner. I wanted a good balance on the ingredients, so I decided to go with  3 links of sausage. I wanted just enough to add some meaty texture, but not too much to take over the lovely bean and spinach flavor. The recipe calls for 7 cups of fresh spinach added in towards the end of the cook time. No… it’s not a typo. Trust me. I was starting to doubt myself as I was adding it in, but it wilts down to almost nothing! I would almost consider increasing the amount, on days I’m wanting more of a veggie soup.

I can’t say enough good things about this soup. It was pretty easy to throw together, and would make a great week night meal. It would be just as good as a starter but is fulling enough to hold it’s own as a main meal. Just add a salad or a buttered crusty piece of bread for a stress free dinner. It also reheats very well, so make a double batch and you can have lunches for the week covered as well. I might do this next time and freeze individual portions for quick and yummy lunches.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 link sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes(optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-ounce cans cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can tomato puree
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning(or just dried basil)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken broth
7 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a stock pot over medium high heat. Crumble the sausage and brown for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the onion, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions start to soften up.
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Add the beans, tomato puree, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium heat for 35-40 minutes. (You want the beans to soften up a little more, and the flavors to marry together).
Add the chopped spinach (I had small leaves and skipped the chopping part) and the Parmesan. cook uncovered for a minute or two until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper if needed. (I do this at the very end to avoid over-salting since depending on the broth and Parmesan used, the saltiness may vary).
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Devotion For The Day:
I was reading from Joshua 10, and I’m amazed at how God has a way of bringing to me exactly what I need at just the right moment. I have had a roller coaster week, and I really needed to be reminded that God is more than capable of handling even the situations that seem impossible to man. In Joshua 10, the Israelites had already entered their promised land of Canaan, and people in the neighboring regions were fearful of the Israelites after they heard of the defeat of the Canaanites. The Gibeonites who occupied the land close to the Israelites had made a treaty with Israel to ensure their survival, and this made the other nearby kings angry and they decided to attack Gibeon. When the Gibeonites learned of this, they approached the Israelites to help save them. So, Joshua and his entire army went to battle. I verse 8, the Lord said to Joshua, “do not be afraid of them, for I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you”. 
The Israelites surprised the opposing armies and defeated them in Gibeon, and the armies were thrown into great confusion. As they tried to flee, the Israelites pursued them and killed some by the sword, and as they fled, the Lord hurled large hailstones that killed even more of the army. During the battle, Joshua prayed a prayer to God asking him to make the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the Valley of Aijalon until the battle was completed. This is the part of the story that I love the most. Verse 14 says, the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down for a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since. a day that the Lord listened to a man. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!
I was so encouraged when I read of this encounter. It was a reminder to me that my Daddy is more than able to take care of me, and fight for me. Nothing is impossible.