Soup's on again: Italian Beef and Bean

I've been worried about a friend and my worry translated into making myself a comforting pot of soup. I know bad, bad, bad seeking comfort in food but hey it was soup not a donut right? This is a total Grandma soup. Grandma Soup = warm, comforting, full of flavor, lots going on (aka everything but the kitchen sink). I hope you enjoy it.

I used a combo of cannelini beans and a can of Tuscan Bean Medley which is a combo of cannellini beans and chestnut limas (Trader Joe's). If you don't have a TJ's near you could certainly just use all cannelini. I topped the soup with my favorite Italian cheese ever. It's actually Sicilian like me if you want to get specific. It's called Ricotta Salata. It's basically regular Ricotta cheese that has been dried with salt (think the Italian version of Feta cheese). My friends back East will have no problems locating this but us left coasters will have a little more difficulty. Try and find some. It's worth it. I promise. A good Italian food store will carry it. If they don't, they are NOT a good Italian food store. BTW.

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Shelly's Italian Beef & Bean Soup

1 lb. Ground Beef (or Turkey)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 large Onion, chopped
2 Green Onions, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (Oregano, Basil, Marjoram)
2 15 oz cans of beans (I used a combo of cannelini and a Tuscan Bean Medley)
3 cups Beef Stock or Broth
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 cup frozen (or fresh) Spinach
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
3 ounces Ricotta Salata, crumbled (or use Parmesan)

Brown ground beef and drain any fats. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute onions in butter/oil and cook until golden about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasonings and stir to coat the onions. Let cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the seasonings will not burn. Add the beef, beans, stock, tomato sauce, paste and spinach. Add salt and pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer gently, about 1/2 hour. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Garnish with crumbled Ricotta Salata (note: this is not the ricotta used in lasagna it is a harder/salty cheese) or shaved Parmesan. This makes a lot of soup. You can certainly half the recipe but it freezes well or keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Update on me...

I haven't updated my plastics recovery in awhile... I'm 8 weeks out from a Lower Body Lift, Breast Lift and Augmentation and Arm Lift. Week 6 was a huge turning point for me. I felt like a completely different person. I have more stamina and the swelling has gone waaaaaay down. I still get puffy at the end of the day on one side of my Lower Body Lift scar but not too bad. I'm sleeping with my binder on. It helps. I get random sharp pains which I'm told are nerve endings coming back. Whoa! they catch you by surprise and some take your breath away. The scars itch so bad sometimes I want throw myself off a cliff but I know that's a good healing sign. Overall, I'm amazed at how good I am after all that work only 8 weeks ago.

I already mentioned all the health issues that led me to get plastics have been resolved and now I'm really loving the physical results. I have a flat belly. I have better boobs then I had when I was 16! My arms well... I traded batwings for scary scars but hey you can't win them all. The scars will fade I'm sure but I'm still not comfortable with them. Yet. I'm working on it. This is an amazing physical journey but do not underestimate the emotional journey. Long after the scale reaches your magic number you will be dealing with your head.

Listening to: "Ghost in you" The Psychedelic Furs