An old standby - North Woods Bean Soup

Last night we had an old family favorite, which I've prepared dozens of times over the years. Originally a Cooking Light recipe, I've modified it over the years, and it can be changed up based on what you may have in the frig. From the cook's perspective, I like it because it's really simple to prepare, fairly budget-conscience, and an easy clean up. It's also a way to get veggies into Connor as well as non-meat protein. I served it with a lowfat Waldorf salad.

(Photo from Cooking Light)
North Woods Bean Soup
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped onion **I used red onion because I already had some in the frig
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced mushrooms
12 ounces Polish sausage, sliced into 1/2" rounds - turkey kielbasa works too
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth **I used homemade corned beef broth that needed to be used
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and well-rinsed
1 6-ounce bag fresh baby spinach leaves

Heat a Dutch oven coated with olive oil cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and mushrooms and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add sausage; saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Place 2 cups of soup in a blender or using a stick blender, process until smooth. If using a blender, return the pureed mixture to pan. Simmer an additional 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.

Generously serves 5.

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