It’s finally starting to cool down and stay cool. Now that Fall is here, I’m ready to plant my face in bowls of all sorts of soup. This Sausage & Cannellini Cioppino is one of my absolute favorites because it’s a fast, easy one pot meal with a whole lot of healthy going on that doesn’t taste necessarily “healthy.” It’s bold flavors are given credit to the Italian sausage of course. I used TURKEY Italian sausage rather than pork to keep the grease level down. You really can not taste a difference whatsoever. They make a chicken Italian sausage too, I’m not a huge fan of it as I believe I CAN taste the difference but by all means, if you want to use it, do so!
For those who aren’t a fan of kale or never tried it, this is one of the best ways to try kale. Baby steps! It literally doesn’t have much of a flavor as it absorbs everything else in the soup but the importance of getting greens is huge. There are different kinds of kale, feel free to use any of them. The curly kale is great and more hearty than lacinto or dino kale but they all taste fairly similar. Swiss chard is also a great option in place of kale.
Also, extremely important! When buying broth, read the ingredients label. You will discover that most broth is hardly much REAL broth and riddled with MSG. The best way to get quality broth is to look at the ones packaged in a box and low-sodium. Pacific is one of my favorite brands. Just make sure it doesn’t have MSG and other additives that don’t sound like REAL FOOD. You can control your salt intake yourself very easily by just adding sea salt if needed.
Sometimes I love throwing in 1/2 pound of shrimp instead of beans or in addition to. Of course you can do whatever you want and make it your own as I always love to encourage that. If you’re new to cooking, it may be easiest for you to follow the recipe to get a feel for it and then next time make it by adding your own flare to it. Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy this cioppino as much as I do. It’s even better when you dunk homemade garlic bread or grilled cheese into it!
SAUSAGE & CANNELLINI CIOPPINO
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, garlic, onion, sea salt, and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened about 5 minutes.
Add the basil, thyme, sausage, and use a wood spoon to break the sausage up. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
Add the wine, stir by scrapping up the bits from the bottom of the pan then stir in the tomato paste, vegetable broth, stewed tomatoes, and bay leaf. Bring everything to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring once in a while.
Lastly, add the beans and kale. Stir and let cook for another five minutes. Remove the bay leaf, add more salt and pepper to taste.
I’m diving straight into this one quickly. You can usually find these baby carrots packaged in a microwaveable steam bag. BUT I never steam my veggies in a microwave! This is so much better. And same goes for these French green beans also known as haricot vert. They’re the best tasting green beans in my opinion. They’re thin, crispy and can be mildly sweet. If you can find either of these sold in bulk, even better… probably cheaper too! When it comes to healthy, flavorful veggies… the key is KEEP IT SIMPLE! Spices really do go a long way. You don’t need a crap ton of butter or canned cheese! Trust me.
I have made this recipe by tossing everything together into a baking dish and roasting them for about 12-15 minutes for when I don’t want to stand in front of the stove. They’re amazing. If you don’t want thyme, use Italian seasoning, or just rosemary. Honestly, you can use whatever herbs you like, even fresh. Experiment with it. Most times I’ll make a big batch of this, use for sides or simply rough chop some of it and toss into a salad.
When it comes to cooking your veggies, I truly believe using a quality salt (NOT table salt) is what really makes the natural flavor of the veggies pop. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on salt either, just get yourself a good kosher sea salt to start with. With that said, yummy veggies ready in ten minutes. Who said healthy cooking takes forever?
BABY CARROTS & GREEN BEANS
In a large skillet over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and start sautéing the carrots and French beans. After a couple of minutes add the minced garlic, dried thyme, sea salt and pepper. Stir.
Let sauté for a total of 10 minutes give or take, stirring often.
One of my favorite types of soups are bisques because they’re super warm in flavor (not just temperature), yield so much flavor, have a creamy factor without having to add cream or any dairy and can be rather good for you. So those who are lactose intolerance or vegetarian/vegan, this may be a go to for you! If you love roasted peppers then I promise you won’t be disappointed in this recipe. I put together a citrus lump crab salad to go with the soup but it’s not mandatory to make because you can do whatever you want. While the crab adds some elegance to the dish and would make for a great soup for guests, you can keep it casual like I did the other day. I paired it with a gruyere grilled cheese and it was so awesome! I’d imagine a quesadilla would do just as well too.
The brandy in the recipe is optional if you prefer to not cook with alcohol but it does make a subtle difference in depth of flavor. Keep in mind the alcohol does get cooked out. Also, depending on the size of your blender, you might have to puree in two separate batches. As always, I encourage you to make this recipe as fancy or casual as you like and please share what you come up with. I always love your new ideas. Enjoy!
CRAB & RED PEPPER BISQUE
In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the citrus crab salad and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the broiler on high. Place the 3 red bell peppers on a baking dish and broil until the skin is charred and blistered. Turn them often until all sides are done.
Remove the peppers from the oven and cover the peppers with a towel. Let cool.
Peel the skin from the peppers under cool water, remove the seeds, pat dry, rough chop and set aside.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat, then add 3 raw chopped bell peppers, leek, onion, garlic, and celery. Allow them to sweat for about 15 minutes, until very soft but not browned.
Add the bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper then stir. Pour the brandy into the pan, stir, increase the heat to medium-high and reduce the brandy completely.
Pour in the vegetable stock, stir and let everything come to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 40 minutes.
Add the roasted peppers to the soup and run the soup through a high speed blender like a Vitamix until smooth.
Add any additional alt and cayenne to taste.
To assemble, arrange a few slices of avocado at the bottom of a bowl, and place the crab salad in the center. Pour the soup around the crab salad.
It’s been a fairly busy lately with traveling, working on the house during these beautiful sunny days along with everything else life loves to dish out. So, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been diving into the “one pot meals” lately to simplify my days (this technically a one-baking dish-meal, haha). Sometimes we get so wrapped up in everything we crunch in a day that we lose sense of time and have little time to do much meal planning. My Mediterranean Artichoke Chicken dish has been my go-to at least once a week and leaves me a few leftovers for lunch.
This dish provides a great amount of protein and fiber which is optimal for those who are watching their carb intake. It doesn’t get any easier than this; you just simply throw everything together into a baking dish, put in the oven, set a timer and walk away. If you’re not watching your carb intake then you gotta try this over jasmine rice. There’s something amazing when all the fresh and tangy flavors come together into the chicken stock that goes wonderfully over the jasmine rice.
MEDITERRANEAN ARTICHOKE CHICKEN
Mix everything together into a 9" x 13" baking dish and bake at 375 F degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes. Stir once half way through.
It tastes even better using the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar.
To make this a diabetic friendly meal, avoid the rice and enjoy as is. Or, use about a palm-sized amount of cooked quinoa.
There isn’t much to say about this dish other than it speaks for itself with how delicious and easy it is to make. You can always use chicken breast if you like but I’ll admit I get kind of bored with chicken some times. I’ve had a thing lately for dried cranberries in my salads like my latest BBQ Rib Super Green Salad and so I thought I could advance this yummy relationship and put it into a main dish. Cheese and dried fruit have been a perfect marriage since the beginning of time, so you can’t go wrong with this version of stuffed turkey.
GOAT CHEESE STUFFED TURKEY TENDERLOIN
Slice each turkey tenderloin horizontally through the center creating a pocket. Make sure to leave at least a half an inch thick border of the turkey around the edges to help create a secure pocket for stuffing.
Combine the herb goat cheese and dried cranberries in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture into the pocket of each turkey tenderloin until they're packed tight.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place the turkey in the dish. Sprinkle the tops of the turkey with salt, pepper, and thyme then drizzle with olive oil.
Bake at 375 F degrees for about 30 minutes.