Try Homemade Italian Soup for Satisfying Winter Meal

With much of the country currently in the clutches of "Old Man Winter," and sweaters and jackets necessary even for Nevada residents, hearty dinners of homemade soup and fresh bread can be delicious and comforting.  Comfort food is even better when it’s quick and simple.  Try this version, which can even be adapted to serve a crowd.

Italian Hearty Soup

1/2 pound mild Italian sausage (bulk, or removed from casing)

Several cloves of garlic, minced

1 onion, 3 or 4 medium carrots, 2 stalks celery, including leaves, chopped

1 can white kidney beans, partially drained

3 to 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium

Cabbage, 1/3 to 1/2 head — cut into about 1 inch chunks

Fresh spinach – 4 to 5 ounces

Saute the garlic in a little olive oil; add sausage and cook gently; add chopped vegetables in batches and continue to saute until all is mixed and starting to get tender.  Add salt, parsley, Italian seasoning and pepper to taste.  You can also add some dried sage and basil if you wish.

Turn heat to medium, add broth and beans, and continue to cook on medium or medium low until vegetables are tender.  If needed, add a little water or a bit more broth; but the soup should thicken slightly because of the beans.  Add the cabbage and continue cooking until tender. It can be turned to low and kept warm until ready to serve.

Just before ladling into serving bowls, turn heat up to medium, add spinach and stir just until wilted.

Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese and warm, crusty bread.  The whole family will love staying home for this hearty, nutritious, easy to prepare dinner.

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