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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
Servings
servings
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.

SAUSAGE & ARTICHOKE PASTA

Making this Sausage & Artichoke sauce is not only easy but tastes better the next day, and even a few days after. It’s the perfect make ahead meal for leftovers through the week. It can be mixed with any kind of pasta and any shape that you love most. Personally, I love bite sized pasta like rotini but lately I’ve been keeping an eye on my total daily carb intake and so to compromise by not completely missing out on pasta, I’ve discovered this incredible Organic Black Bean Pasta by Explore Cuisine that is shaped as spaghetti. It has a total of 25g of protein and 8g net carbs per serving with 4 servings in the package of pasta. You can find them at most grocery stores and also at better cost on Amazon if you purchase a small bulk.

It literally cooks just like pasta, with the same bite like pasta, and surprisingly enough a fairly neutral flavor as well. Its color is of black beans but doesn’t affect taste nor does it bleed color into your food. I seriously didn’t think anything would ever convert me but this really did. With that said, it’s all types of diabetic friendly and great for those who live a low carb lifestyle. Oh, one big plus about this pasta is that you actually feel full and satiated in comparison to regular pasta.


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SAUSAGE & ARTICHOKE PASTA
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with water, bring to boil, and follow instructions on the package to cook pasta.
  2. In a large pan, saute the turkey Italian sausage, onions, pepper, and salt. Use a wood spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces.
  3. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the garlic powder, diced tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Stir frequent until the sausage is cooked through. About 5 minutes.
  4. Add the goat cheese and spinach. Stir until the goat cheese melts and everything is mixed together well.
  5. Serve hot over pasta.

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST

Don’t roll your eyes and runaway! Hear me out. I came up with this  concoction of an amazing pizza crust alternative for many reasons. NOT because gluten free and low carb is a fad these days. I’ll explain.

You don’t have to be gluten free or low carb to be healthy or to eat healthy rather. Not everyone is gluten intolerant (not allergic, big difference). But there are benefits to avoiding wheat flours in general. Not entirely as it varies from person to person. Although, obesity is a huge issue in the U.S. and now many other countries around the world. Diabetes and heart disease tends to go hand in hand with obesity at some point in a persons life. Keeping your carbohydrate intake to a moderation is one of the single best things you can do for yourself to PREVENT the above mentioned. Monitoring it is also one of the better things you can do for yourself if you’re already obese and/or have other health issues that can be easily managed by dietary habits. So, because I’m all about moderation and compromising on this food blog, THESE are the reasons why I wanted to make this and share this. Okay, on to the good stuff…

This is actually a very easy recipe to make and you can make it ahead of time, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use. There’s no yeast involved and no hours of waiting for dough to rise, knead, rise yadda yadda. You can make many of these, freeze it until you’re ready to use. Win win especially with how tasty this is. You can use dairy-free cheese if you’re lactose intolerant or simply replace the cheese entirely with an extra egg. And just a heads up, you might have to eat this pizza with a fork… which I’m sure is the least of anyone’s worries so long as it tastes good. Most parts of Italy you’ll find eat their pizza with a knife and fork so it’s not a sin!

There’s no wrong way to dress a pizza. We all know this. If you’re looking for a good red sauce you can always use my go-to Homemade Marinara. If you like your pizza sauce on the sweeter side just add a little bit of sugar to the marinara when heating it up. Last thing, when squeezing the water out of the cauliflower be careful to start… it does retain heat for a long time so don’t burn yourself. And squeeze the heck out of it. You’ll be surprised how much water is in cauliflower. Have fun!

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CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST
Servings
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Ingredients
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut the florets off the cauliflower head, place them into a food processor and run it through until everything is riced super fine. Place everything into a bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. Fold the cheesecloth in half and place over a strainer, pour the steamed cauliflower into the cheesecloth and let it cool for about 15-20 minutes. Grab all corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze the cauliflower over and over until all the water is removed.
  3. Toss the cauliflower back into the bowel making sure it’s not hot still. Add the egg, Romano cheese, mozzarella, garlic powder, oregano, and salt. Mix everything kneading it altogether like a dough.
  4. Place some parchment paper onto a baking sheet and spread the cauliflower dough in any shape you like to no thicker than ¼ inch. Bake at 450 F for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Top the pizza crust with any of your favorite sauces, cheeses and/or toppings and bake for about another 10-15 minutes.

WILD BOAR RAGU

I have to start off by saying, don’t let wild boar scare you. It’s just pork but unlike any other. It’s much leaner and has a richer flavor which works perfect for this ragu. A free range animal grazing on a wide variety of food gets more muscle enhancing movement, which generates a deeper, more flavorful meat than an animal confined and raised only on grain; and there are no antibiotics or hormone supplements to worry about with wild animals.

Although, if you prefer to not use wild boar or cannot find it, feel free to use beef, or pork we’re all familiar with. You can also use other wild meats like venison and rabbit too which is commonly used in some parts of Italy. The key is to use a flavorful meat so I wouldn’t suggest ground turkey or chicken. Save those two for something else instead. I typically give it a good four hours to make this at least. Most of that time is letting it simmer down. I’ve used a slow cooker and it works great but at certain points you may need to leave the lid cracked open.

Before I let you go, in case you didn’t notice; this recipe calls for dried porcini mushrooms. Don’t forget you will need that mushroom broth, not just the mushrooms so set it aside. This brings out the earthy rich flavor of the dish entirely. You don’t have to use it but in my opinion it’s a must to pull everything together as one incredible dish. If you happen to tweak the recipe and something amazing came of it, please share!

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WILD BOAR RAGU
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Ingredients
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat with the onions, carrots, and garlic. Stir everything frequently for about 7 minutes until the onions are translucent and softened. Then, add in the chopped porcini mushrooms and tomato paste, stirring often for about 4 minutes.
  2. When the tomato paste turns a dark brick red color, add the meat, porcini broth, and broth. Bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low allowing it to simmer and reduce.
  3. Once most of the liquid has evaporated add the wine, stir. Let it reduce again.
  4. When the broth has mostly evaporated, add the milk, nutmeg, pepper, and stir well. Bring it back to a simmer, add salt to taste. Bring the heat down to low and cook it down until it’s the consistency you like.
  5. Serve over bucatini and a garnish of Romano cheese.

FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

This is a super quick approach to making a fresh tomato sauce. I wouldn’t give it the credit of a pomodoro sauce but if you love the fresh flavors of tomatoes and basil, this is a great go-to recipe for all sorts of dishes. This will always taste better the next day just like most sauces do. Sure canned tomato sauce is great, but some companies add so much sugar and other crap in it that’s completely unnecessary. Not only that but you really can’t compare quality from fresh to canned. It’s a matter or preference and what you plan to make with the sauce.

One of my favorite quick meals to make with the sauce is slicing a smoked chicken Italian style sausage like Aidells, saute it in a large pan with some leeks and simmer the fresh tomato sauce in it. Serve over pasta. You’ll have tons for leftovers too. Feel free to add any other of your favorite fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, marjarom and rosemary. It’s that much more yummier!

 

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FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
serves well with 1lb of pasta
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and run it until everything is well combined.
  2. Pour the sauce into a pan over medium and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more salt to taste.