Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homemade Sausage and Cabbage Soup

 It's almost April, and Easter is this weekend, but it still feels like winter here.  There's still snow on the ground and it has been so cold.  I really hope it warms up soon, I can't wait until spring arrives!  But in the meantime, I keep making warm and hearty soups for dinner.  

This sausage and cabbage soup started out with me saying "I have sausage in the freezer and leftover cabbage...what can I make with that??"  I came up with this soup, and to be honest I was a little iffy about it as I was cooking.  I was doubting if my family was going to eat it.  But, I should have had more faith in my cooking abilities:  both of the boys loved it.  And my husband gobbled it up and told me that I should add cabbage to my chicken noodle soup, too.  I don't think I'll be adding cabbage to all my soups, but it does taste good in this one!
 What you need:  for about 10 servings
  • 8 oz Great Northern beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked according to package directions
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 12 oz cooked sausage, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small head of cabbage (about 1/2 of a medium or large head)  Remove outer leaves and core, then chop
  • 4 cups water
  • 14 oz can diced unsalted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
Let's get cooking:
1.   Drain soaked beans, then add to a medium pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours until soft.

2.  Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients to a stockpot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour.

3.  Drain beans, then add to the stockpot.
 Enjoy your delicious soup for dinner!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Made-from-Scratch Homemade Chili Recipe

Even though it's March, it was snowing yesterday--and we have about a foot of snow still on the ground!  Weather like this makes me crave comfort foods like this yummy chili.  It's warm, hearty, and so delicious.  

Mmm, peppers, tomatoes, onions--chili has lots of veggie goodness, plus plenty of healthy and filling beans.  I like to start with dried beans because I like to control the salt in my dishes, and because I like texture better.  But, if you're in a hurry you can substitute canned beans.  You can also make it in the crockpot all day and come home to delicious chili waiting for you.

 Ingredients:  For about 8 servings
  • 8 oz dried kidney beans
  • 4 oz dried Great Northern beans
  • 4 oz dried black beans
  • 12 oz ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Two 14.5 oz cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt (if using canned beans, I would start with 1/2 tsp and add more if needed)
  • 1 to 3 tsp chili powder, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • hot sauce to taste
Note:  if using canned beans, substitute two 15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

 Let's get cooking:
1.  Rinse and soak dry beans overnight (or quick soak) according to package directions.  Drain beans, then place in a pot with enough water to cover the beans by at least 1 inch.  Bring to a boil, then simmer about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until soft.

2.  In a large skillet, cook the ground beef until meat is cooked through.  Drain fat.  Remove from skillet.

3.  In skillet, cook onions, peppers, and garlic until soft.

4.  In a stockpot, combine the ground beef, onion, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and tomato sauce.  Add the cooked beans and spices.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Simmer 1 hour. 

Slow-cooker directions:  Follow directions as above.  In step four, combine the ingredients in a slow-cooker.  Cook on high for 8 hours or on low 4 hours.
Since I have one- and three-year-olds, I don't make my chili very spicy.  Instead, after we've dished up our chili, my husband and I add hot sauce to taste.  This way, each person controls how spicy it is.

Enjoy your hot, hearty, homemade chili!

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