Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Part of being more conscious about what we’re eating involves making sure that we’re using the things we have in the fridge.  A while back we bought some spicy chicken sausage thinking we needed to supplement an impromptu dinner party for last-minute guests.  As it turned out, the guests decided at the last-minute that they weren’t coming.  We’re not really grill up a sausage and eat it kinda guys so we opted for soup. I’ve been making soup long enough to know that as long as you have tasty ingredients and you give mind to equal distribution of ingredients for bites, you can pretty much throw it together and it’ll work.  That’s your cue to go crazy with your pantry and my way of saying that the amounts of particular ingredients here should be used as a guideline; add what you have, skip what you don’t and taste throughout the cooking process and you’ll be happy.

Soup for me needs bread and as we were sitting down to eat, the garlic butter toast I had in mind didn’t pan out because I forgot to buy butter.  We’ve said for ages that avocado is nature’s butter and so instead of slathering the toast with butter, we just mashed up an avocado and voila!  All the time we’ve been right!

Weight Watchers Points:  7 (not including toast or avocado)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4  pre-cooked spicy chicken sausages, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil (olive oil will work too)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 2 pint containers of Shitake mushrooms, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 8 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large pot until shimmering.  Add onions and sautee until beginning to be translucent, about 5 minutes.  In a separate pan, heat sausage until it starts to sweat.
  2. Add sausage, garlic, celery, oregano, thyme and mushrooms.  Stir until mushrooms become tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add white beans and kale and cook until kale starts to wilt.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve.  (Grate a little parmesan or pecorino cheese over the top as a finishing touch).
Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza – Bacon, Egg and Kale

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

Bacon, Egg and Kale Pizza

Though a few extra minutes in bed win out over a morning meal during the week, Saturdays and Sundays are all about breakfast in our house.  My ideal weekend drips faithfully to life with the pre-programmed coffee pot (still one my all-time favorite inventions).  The smell of potential and weekend freedom inspires the great untangling of covers, cats and still gently-snoring snugging.  I trudge to the kitchen, pop open the fridge and pull half and half and some ingredients from the fridge, pour a cup and start breakfast.

Ever since we discovered the nifty trick of cast iron skillet pizza, we’ve been a bit obsessed.  That together with my love of pizza for breakfast made this combination inevitable.  We had a package of Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough, we had kale left over from salad, we always have bacon and we always have eggs.  Inspiration struck before the second cup.

The baking time gives you the perfect amount of time to grab a shower and make a bloody mary.  Weekend starts now!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package pre-made whole wheat pizza dough (Trader Joe’s has great dough).
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp, drained and blotted
  • 3 – 4 cups of kale
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced and divided 4 to 1
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • flour for forming pizza dough
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese, grated

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Pull pizza dough out of the oven and let it rest and room temperature.
  3. In a non-stick pan add a small drizzle of olive oil and heat to shimmering.  Add bacon strips (in batches if you have to) and cook until crispy.  Drain grease from strips into pan and remove to a paper towel lined plate and blot additional grease.
  4. Heat a drizzle of olive oil (or a little of the bacon grease if you’re feeling sassy) in a non-stick skillet until shimmering.  Add onion and cook until translucent (about 8 minutes).  Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook an additional minute.  Add kale, vinegar and water, stir and cover for 3-4 minutes, stirring occassionally  until kale begins to wilt.
  5. Brush a cast iron skillet sides and bottom with olive oil.  Lightly flour hands and work pizza dough to a circle slightly larger than the bottom of the cast iron skillet.  Place the dough in the skillet and push border down with fingers to form roughly a 1 inch border around the pan.  Brush the dough with olive oil and add the remaining garlic so it’s evenly distributed.  Add kale and arrange bacon strips in spokes.  Gently crack eggs on top of bacon and cook on stove top over medium high heat for about 6 minutes until the bottom starts to brown slightly.
  6. Carefully transfer skillet to oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until eggs are set.
  7. Remove skillet from oven and transfer pizza to baking sheet with a spatula (comes out easily), add grated parmesan cheese.  Cut into pieces and serve immediately with coffee and bloody marys.
Broccoli Kale Soup

Broccoli Kale Soup

Broccoli Kale Soup

Broccoli Kale Soup

As promised, here is the recipe for the broccoli kale soup that we paired with our pan bagnat.

1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 T Sherry Vinegar
1/2-1 t kosher salt
1/2 t red chili flakes
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried oregano
2 small potatoes, diced
3 stalks of broccoli, stems peeled & diced, florets broken
approx. 4 c good vegetable or chicken stock
2 bunches kale, rinsed and chopped
1 T dijon mustard
1/3 c grated parmesean cheese 

In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic and celery over medium heat in the olive oil until soft. Deglaze the pan with Sherry.  Sprinkle in the salt, chili and herbs and stir in the potatoes and broccoli. Pour in enough stock to cover all the vegetables in the pot (don’t add in too much!), put a lid on it, and let is simmer away until potatoes are tender. Add in the kale and stir in the mustard. Blend well using an immersion blender or pour soup in batches into a blender to get it very smooth. Stir in the cheese and blend well. If you find your soup is too thick, add in more stock or add in a bit of milk. Makes 4 large portions.

 

 

Delicata Squash stuffed with Kale and Sausage

Delicata Squash stuffed with Kale and Sausage

Delicata Squash stuffed with Kale and Sausage

Delicata Squash stuffed with Kale and Sausage

Despite the fact that San Francisco is giving us gorgeous summer weather in November, our food cravings have been shifting in the autumnal direction lately.  I’ve never met a squash I didn’t like, so when we discovered the delicata variety, we couldn’t help but give it a try.  As it turns out, though it’s considered a winter squash, it belongs to the same species as the summer squashes, so it worked as an appropriate seasonal bridge for our summer in November.

We were a little unsure about just what to do with them but a quick Google search acquainted us with Mountain Mama Cooks and this delicious recipe with kale and sausage.   Mmmmm kale.  Mmmmmm sausage.

The great thing is this recipe makes enough for 8 servings and they’re guilt free.  After plugging all the ingredients into the handy dandy Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, the verdict is 5, count ’em, FIVE points per serving.  The leftovers are packed up and waiting to brighten our Monday afternoon lunch breaks.

By the way, don’t throw away the seeds, we roasted them with some Savory Spice Shop Thai green curry powder and snacked on them while dinner was in the oven.

Weight Watchers Points Plus Value: 5 points per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 medium delicata squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb Italian style ground turkey
  • 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (3 peppers, not 3 cans)
  • 1  onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup grated part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional)

Instructions

  1. To prepare squash, preheat oven to 375F degrees. Place halved and seeded squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with a touch of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  2. While squash is roasting, prepare filling. In a small saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add turkey, chipotles, dried sage and onion, cooking until sausage is cooked through and onions are soft about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir sage, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper into the sausage mixture. Add chopped kale, sherry, and water. Give a good stir and then cover pan with a lid for 3-5 minutes, stirring a few times, until kale is starting to wilt and most of the moisture has evaporated. Remove filling from the stove and let cool 10 minutes.
  3. Lastly stir in both cheese and taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary.
  4. Split the mixture among the 4 divided squash and top with a tablespoon of breadcrumbs if desired. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes until filling is heated through and squash is completely cooked. Remove from oven and enjoy as a meal or hearty side dish.