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)


  • 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


  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).
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


  • 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)


  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.

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.

Sausage, Cauliflower and Kale Potpie

Sausage, Cauliflower and Kale Pot Pie

Twice a year our wonderful friend, Kathi, comes to San Francisco for work.  The best news is, she’s coming to work with me.  Because she has a very busy schedule and since our visits require a fair amount of bureaucratic hooping-jumping, it’s necessary to plan her trips well in advance.  While this makes us particularly effective in the professional capacity (if I do say so myself), it also allows us to carefully plot a week’s worth of culinary decadence — both in the kitchen as well as in the never-ending smorgasbord of San Francisco restaurants.  We spend months gathering recipes.

On this trip, Kathi shared this amazing potpie recipe she’d found on Real Simple.  We made a few adjustments in an effort to avoid the constant threat of elastic waistbands and the result was delicious.  We served the potpie with sides of extremely labor-intensive, but very tasty, fava beans and a new ingredient: leek flowers.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sausage (we used basil chicken sausage, though next time, and believe me, there will be a next time, we’ll opt for the hot italian turkey variety)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, each cut into 4 rectangles


  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large bowl.
  2. Add the onions, rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the drippings in the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the kale, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing, until the kale is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the kale mixture and cauliflower to the sausage and toss to combine. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch or some other 3-quart baking dish and top with the puff pastry, overlapping the rectangles slightly.
  4. Bake until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Fava Beans

Sautéed Fava Beans

We used 3 pounds of fava beans, which, when shucked and boiled and shocked and peeled comes out to a much smaller quantity.  We sautéed them with olive oil, red onion, fresh sage and fresh mint.  As in the previous post about fava beans, we await the exact proportions from Brian.  I’ll start nagging him.

Leek Flowers

Sautéed Leek Flowers

I’d never met a leek flower before we went to the Alemeny Famers Market on Saturday.  They’re just what they sound like: the upper stem and flower bud from a leek plant.  When you try them raw, they have a hot, oniony taste, but once sautéed , they transform into an earthy asparagus flavor.  Very tasty.

  • 2 bunches of leek flowers chopped diagonally into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan until shimmering
  2. Add leek flowers and sauté until tender (about 8 minutes)
  3. Season with salt and pepper.