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When It’s This Cold, It Has to Be Soup or Stew. This Time It’s Stew…

Yikes it has been crazy cold here the last few days. I get up and start working at about 5:30 AM and for the last few days it has been zero or less outside when I get up. it has been so cold I have been using fingerless gloves while I type in the morning just to keep my hands warm! Anyway, when the weather is this cold all you want to eat is something warm and hearty, and for us that means soup or stew. I found this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network about a week ago and it seemed perfect to make when it was this frosty outside. it is for a cannellini and sausage stew. The recipe is easy, it uses easy ingredients and you can have the whole thing done in about 35 or 40 minutes, so you can’t ask for a meal much better than that!

Cannellini and Sausage Stew

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium fennel bulbs, outer layers removed, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

One 15-ounce can cannellini beans

One 10-ounce bunch kale, center rib removed, leaves chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup chicken broth

4 turkey or chicken Italian sausage links

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a grill pan with the vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel bulbs, onion and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes plus the juices, the cannellini beans, the kale and the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook the stew until the vegetables are tender and the kale has wilted, about 25 to 30 minutes.

While the stew is cooking, place the grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages to the grill pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the sausages are cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the sausages and cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices and set them aside,

Remove the pot from the oven and add the cooked sausage slices to the stew. Season the stew with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Spoon the stew into bowls and serve.

I did make a few minor changes to the recipe. Instead of using kale, I had spinach on hand and used that instead. I actually prefer the flavor of spinach to the kale and I think it worked just as well in the stew, so the choice is yours as to which you like better. Giada also puts in 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, which I left out. My family is not too big on the heat so I didn’t see the need to put the flakes in, but if you like the stew a little hot (and I think it would be good with some heat) I think you could put it in or even use hot sausage instead of regular sausage. I loved the flavor you got from the mix of the beans, sausage and spinach and the tomatoes and broth added just enough liquid to the mix. The fennel gave the whole dish a great flavor too. I will definitely be making this one again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I actually have a soup recipe I am making tonight that I’ll be happy to share. It’s Alton Brown’s take on lentil soup and it smells pretty darn good right now. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day, try to stay warm and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Sausage, Soups & Stews

 

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Nothing Like a Home Cooked Meal

It’s Saturday and we had several inches of snow here, so there’s not much going on today. It is a good day for some home cooking, and a really good day for some home cooking classic comfort food. Today was Michelle’s choice on the menu, so we are having Chicken Parmesan with Pasta and steamed mixed vegetables. I am also going to make some Italian Sausage and Peppers with rice, well, because I have the ingredients and I really like it :).

I am pretty sure everyone has made Chicken Parmesan at some point. It’s relatively easy to make and doesn’t really take much time to cook. I use a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network. Hey, if anyone knows how to cook Italian, it’s Giada, right? I’ll be using the leftover tomato sauce from the spaghetti meatballs earlier in the week (and I used some for the pizza last night too, that’s great!) so there’s really not much to this meal. This is a good recipe to get the assembly going if you have some helpers in the kitchen.

Chicken Parmesan

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs ( I am using my own, but you could use panko or other store-bought if you like)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

3 large egg whites

1 tablespoon water

Cooking spray

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets

2 cups Simple Tomato Sauce (see Monday’s blog for this recipe, or click here https://onedadskitchen.com/2012/01/16/enter-the-meal-plan/)

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella

1 teaspoon minced fresh basil

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees F. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

On a rimmed baking sheet with a rack (or casserole or baking pan), spray with cooking spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs. Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack (or in the pan). Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the sauce over and around each cutlet and top the sauce with the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.

We’ll be serving the chicken with pasta tonight. Nothing special, just basic spaghetti. As I said earlier in the week when we made just spaghetti and meatballs, I think just about everyone can make spaghetti or has the own way of making it, so I will leave that to you (if you’re using boxed spaghetti and feel really lost, follow the directions on the box).

I am also making simple steamed vegetables tonight. I have a scattering of different vegetables available right now, so we are having, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. As I wrote earlier in the week, I do use a steaming basket in my dutch oven to do this, Placing the basket in with water just to the bottom of it, bringing the water to a boil and then adding the vegetables. Steam the vegetables for about 5 to 7 minutes until you get the bright colors you want and the vegetables are tender. Add some more water if you find that the water is boiling away before the vegetables are done.

Lastly today, I have decided today to add in some sausage and peppers to make. I have some extra Italian sausage in the freezer, so why not?

Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onions

1 pound fresh Italian sausage links, sweet or hot

2 cups sliced onions

2-3 bell peppers of any color, cored, seeded and cut into strips

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Prick the sausage in a few places with a fork to allow excess fat to escape and turn the sausage frequently (if you want to slice the sausage into chunks before cooking, which I often do, it’s much easier to do while the sausage is a little frozen still.) Cook until nicely browned all over. Total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the sausages; the best way to see this (if you haven’t cut them into chunks) is to cut into one- when barest trace of pink remains, they are done. Drain the sausages on a paper towel and cover.

Place the onions in the same skillet you used for the sausage over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, undisturbed, until softening. Add the peppers and salt and pepper to taste.Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers have softened, about 8 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and mix with the vegetables, about 1 minute. Serve on a roll or bun or with pasta (it’s also good over white rice, too).

Wow, we actually did a whole week’s worth of meals and not a lot of work had to be put into it. Not too shabby at all. Tomorrow is Sunday, the one day of the week I usually try to do an elaborate meal, but we are going out tomorrow to my in-laws to celebrate a birthday (Happy Birthday Cathy!) so there’s no cooking this week. Instead, tomorrow I will write about the meal plan for next week (Here’s the planner if you want to use it:family_meal_planner) and I may throw in some lunchbox ideas for the kids (or adults) to use. Stay warm and enjoy your Saturday night; make some popcorn and watch a movie. That reminds me, that will be a good thing to write about, snacks to make for movie watching, I’ll have to remember that! Do you have any suggestions for good movie snacks? Pass them along!

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Pasta, Pork, Poultry, Sauce, Vegetables

 

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