A Valentine’s Dinner To Warm You Up

Treating that special someone in your life to a delicious meal can be done any time of the year, but is especially poignant and romantic on Valentine’s Day. Even though plenty of people may be tempted to dish up gourmet fare, comfort foods can be equally appealing, especially on a cold February day.

Soup can be both filling, tasty and customized with individuals’ favorite flavors. Italian seasonings and ingredients are on display in this recipe for “Hearty Tuscan Soup” from “Season’s Best: Fast, Fun & Fabulous” by The Pampered Chef™ Test Kitchens. Try it for a satisfying Valentine’s meal for two or more.

Hearty Tuscan Soup
Serves 8

2 15-ounce cans reduced-sodium pinto beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces Italian turkey sausage (about 2 links), casings removed
1 large onion
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
4 garlic cloves
4 cups unsalted chicken stock or chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon Pampered Chef™ Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1 package fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
16 melba toast rounds
3 tablespoons shredded Italian cheese blend

1. Drain and rinse pinto beans in a small colander. Transfer half of the beans to a food processor; process until almost smooth. Set aside both whole and mashed beans.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until shimmering. Cook sausage 4 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles.

3. Wedge onion, then chop. Cut sweet potato into chunks, then coarsely chop. Add onion, sweet potato and garlic to Dutch oven; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is softened.

4. Stir all beans, chicken stock, tomatoes, seasoning mix, and pepper into Dutch oven. Cover; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, covered, 10 minutes.

5. Preheat broiler. Remove Dutch oven from heat; add spinach. Cover; let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Top soup with melba rounds; sprinkle with cheese.

6. Place Dutch oven 2 to 4 inches from heating element. Broil 2 to 4 minutes or until croutons and cheese are lightly browned. Ladle soup and croutons into bowls.

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