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SAUSAGE & CANNELLINI CIOPPINO

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!

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SAUSAGE & CANNELLINI CIOPPINO
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Ingredients
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Add the basil, thyme, sausage, and use a wood spoon to break the sausage up. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

SHEPHERD’S PIE

Oh man, you guys are gonna love this one! But first let me confess how I’ve been spelling Shepherd’s Pie as “Shepard’s Pie” for a while now and no one ever corrected me! As I got started typing up this food blog entry I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double check the spelling. Glad I did! I’m kinda hoping I’m not alone in this LOL! Okay, so seriously I’m not exaggerating. You-guys-will-LOVE-this! This makes a big batch and depending on the size of your family, you could have the best tasting leftovers for DAYS.

This is truly a Shepherd’s Pie because I use ground lamb. Trust me, I tried ground beef the first time and it’s not the same as the best Shepherd’s Pie you’ve ever had wherever that may be. It must be lamb. Not half lamb, ALL ground lamb. If you’re hesitant to try lamb because you think it’s funky, let me reassure you that if you’re going to try ground lamb for the first time or give it another chance, this is the absolute way to go. I’m not just saying that, promise. Now that has been established, if you insist using ground beef or any other red meat by all means go for it… I do believe that changes it to a Cottage Pie though. This is important to know in case you do some traveling.

If you’re looking to make this meal low-carb, you just simply replace the mashed potatoes with your favorite cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe. There are tons of different recipes out there you can choose from but personally, I would just make my cauliflower mash the same way I would as my usual Red Skin Mashed Potatoes recipe. Just keep your eye on the amount of liquid when making them to get the right texture you want your cauliflower mash to be. As for using real potatoes, I keep the skin for extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all that jazz but feel free to peel them. Keeping the skin saves on time too!

You’ll see that I use quite a bit of Worcestershire sauce than your typical recipe. I have reasons! Any time I’ve used a few dashes or a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to a recipe, I can’t taste it! It does nothing! Hardly at least. I want a big punch of flavor because that’s what comfort food is about. So just a heads up, start off not using salt at all. Maybe use half the amount of Worcestershire sauce to start, do a taste test. You can add more towards the end and also add salt to taste. It’s the only way you’re gonna master what you believe is the best Shepherd’s Pie!

One last thing, you can make this a day ahead. Just put the meat at the bottom of the baking pan, top with the mashed potatoes. When you’re ready to bake it, just pull it out of the fridge, top it with the cheese and bake. Some times I’ve made the meat filling ahead so that all I need to do was make the mashed potatoes or vice versa. It works in all ways.

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SHEPHERD'S PIE
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servings
Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
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Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Instructions
MEAT FILLING
  1. Saute the carrots and onion with the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once the onions start to become softened after a few minutes, add the garlic. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a little more olive oil.
  2. Add the ground lamb, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground lamb into small pieces letting it brown through.
  3. Once the lamb is nearly cooked through add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, flour, and half of the vegetable stock. Stir every thing really well. Let the stock cook down most of the way and add the rest. Stir frequently, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and salt to taste if needed. Turn off heat and set aside.
MASHED POTATOES
  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with water until it's about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and stir every so often.
  2. Strain the potatoes once they're softened. Turn off the heat. Place the pot back on the stove and add the butter. Pour the strained potatoes on top of the butter, add the pepper, milk, and half of the vegetable stock. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
  3. Add more milk and/or stock as needed to avoid the potatoes from drying. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste as well.
ASSEMBLE
  1. Place the meat filling evenly in a 9" x 11" (or 9" x 13") baking dish.
  2. Then, top it with an even layer of the mashed potatoes.
  3. Top the mashed potatoes with an even layer of the shredded sharp white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 F degrees for about 15 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the top is golden.

TURKEY BEAN CHILI

One pot meals are some of my favorite dishes because it doesn’t require a lot of time especially when you don’t have a lot of time to begin with. And because it’s so simple, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of the ease for all-around healthy food.

You can’t get any more well balanced in a meal than this turkey chili. Plenty of protein from the turkey and beans. Complex carbs from the beans with TONS of fiber from both the beans and veggies. And not to forget to mention, there is no flavor lacking in this chili. Don’t let the ground turkey concern you! Cumin is the secret to making ground turkey (or ground chicken) taste similar to beef. But if you must, you can simply use a lean ground beef instead.

I personally use half ground turkey and half ground turkey breast. The ground turkey breast is very lean with a little higher protein content, only about 1.5g of fat per 4oz and no saturated fat like regular ground turkey. It’s a fair compromise to really make it healthy. Actually, it’s just to make room for me to top it off with some of my Homemade Queso Fresco cheese, haha! For those who are diabetic, with 8 servings in this chili you’ll get about 16g net carbs which isn’t so bad for how filling it is. You can make your portion smaller and enjoy a side of veggies or a salad to keep the carbs down more.

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TURKEY BEAN CHILI
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Ingredients
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat cover the bottom of the pot with olive oil and sauté the bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, and garlic stirring until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and dried bay leaf. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the ground turkey and mix everything together.
  3. Once the ground turkey is nearly cooked after about several minutes, add the canned crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, and worchestershire sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce the temperature to a steady simmer for about 45 minutes uncovered. Stir once in a while.
  4. Add the black beans and kidney beans the last 5 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Revised: September 7, 2017

RED SKIN MASHED POTATOES

This is my absolute favorite way to indulge in mashed potatoes, that does not have some kind of extra-indulgent aged cheddar in it. I don’t always follow this recipe specifically but I do come by fairly close. The last couple of years I’ve replaced milk with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and I honestly can’t taste a difference. If anything it lacks an extra thicker texture but flavor is still there. I also sometimes use vegetable stock if I don’t have chicken stock and it works just as great.

BUT unless you have a really good quality garlic powder that is super fine, not those tiny granules then you must use fresh garlic. Oh, and of course fresh ground pepper instead of store bought ground pepper makes a big difference. I NEVER not use fresh ground pepper. It’s a must! Okay, that’s all. ENJOY!

 

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RED SKIN MASHED POTATOES
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servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with water just to the very top of the potatoes.
  2. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes into a colander. Place the butter and garlic into the pot, add the potatoes and mash them about half way. Add the chicken stock and milk then finish mashing until desired consistency. Add a little more chicken stock if the potatoes seem dry.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

TZATZIKI SAUCE

Tzatziki Sauce! Such a simple, clean and refreshing sauce. I can’t speak better words about this Mediterranean sauce. Typically you find it at Greek restaurants served as a topping or paired with stuffed grape leaves also known as Dolmas. By the way, I have an exquisite recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves that you’ll really enjoy. There’s a bit of work involved but the enjoyment is extremely worth the time. And when you have some help, it goes fast.

But back to this glorious sauce. I’m all about multi-purpose recipes, this is one of them. You can place a dollop of this on top of your favorite fish or even dip a variety of your favorite veggies into it. Not only that, because you know I love encouraging to take my recipes and make your own, you can always add other herbs and spices to this for variety like adding onions or chives. Just remember, let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two first before serving. Overnight is even better!

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TZATZIKI SAUCE
Servings
heaping cups
Ingredients
Servings
heaping cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Using a potato peeler, peel the cucumber into strands up until you get to the seeds. Throw the seedy center part away. Place the strands of cucumber on a plate, sprinkle the salt on top, mix and let sit for about 15 minutes to draw out the water.
  2. In the meantime, mix the Greek yogurt, crushed garlic, olive oil in a medium bowl.
  3. Then, grab the cucumber and squeeze the remaining excess of water out of it and chop the cucumber strands finely.
  4. Combine the cucumber in with everything else, add salt to taste and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.