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).
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Spaghetti Alla Primavera

Spaghetti Alla Primavera

Spaghetti Alla Primavera

Spaghetti Alla Primavera

After reading all the delicious recipes in October’s Saveur magazine and riding our bikes to the farmers’ market this weekend, it seemed like primavera was the perfect choice the the pre-election countdown.  I made a few adjustments to try and curb the point value: half and half for heavy cream and 4 Tbsp of olive oil instead of 6 and whole wheat pasta.  I also left out the pine nuts, much to my chagrin.  Didn’t really get to a low point value on this one, but it’s filled with delicious and healthy veggies and works as a great choice if you have saved up for the day and are ready to splurge on dinner.

Weight Watchers Points Plus Value:  11

SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup asparagus tips, blanched
1 cup small broccoli florets, blanched
½ cup frozen peas, blanched
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise, cut to 1″ lengths, blanched
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente
1 cup half and half
⅔ cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. thinly shredded basil

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add ⅔ of the garlic; cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus, broccoli, peas, and zucchini; cook 3 minutes. Add pasta, cream, Parmesan, and butter, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine; transfer to a platter.

2. Bring remaining oil and garlic, tomatoes, and basil to a simmer over medium heat; pour over pasta.

 

Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

Friday’s dinner selection brought to you courtesy of a use-it-or-lose-it round of clean out the refrigerator.  Riding bikes down to the Civic Center Farmers Market on Sunday afternoons has become a favorite habit — we get to use fresh, local ingredients that are in season, and we get a little exercise in the process.  This past week, birthday celebrations and <cough> even a little nightlife interrupted our culinary intentions and left last week’s bounty wilting in the fridge.  A little emergency cleaning, chopping and baking and Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms were born.  I adapted Ina Garten’s Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms recipe to the ingredients we had.  Cleaning out the fridge has never tasted so good.

Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 3 links of spicy italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 6 baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed and reserved
  • 2 tbsp marsala wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup pecorino cheese, grated
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Arrange mushroom caps in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and marsala wine.
  3. In a non-stick pan, bring 1/3 cup water to a boil and add finely chopped broccoli.  Cover and steam until broccoli is very tender.  Add more water as necessary.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick skillet until shimmering, add sausage and brown, breaking up with spatula.  Cook about 8 minutes until completely brown.
  5. Stir in garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add broccoli and bread crumbs and stir until all ingredients are well-mixed.  Stir in ricotta, milk and a pinch of pecorino and cook until mixture is creamy.
  6. Generously fill each mushroom cap with sausage mixture and top with remaining pecorino.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes

We served the stuffed mushrooms with a simple arugula salad tossed with diced roma tomatoes and a simple white balsamic vinaigrette.  Pairs very nicely with Zinfandel.