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Last weekend the weather was so warm, we were walking outside with short-sleeve t-shirts on and enjoying brunch at a restaurant that had all of the windows open. This weekend? Back to boots and sweaters and bundling up baby with temperatures in the teens. I’m ready for that spring weather to make a come back, but if it’s going to be arctic-cold for a little while longer I’m going to make the best of it. We had some friends over for lunch this weekend (life with a newborn guys, lunch dates are the new dinner date!) and took advantage of these chilled temperatures with a crackling fire in the fireplace and a hearty lunch menu. I was craving something warm like a homemade soup, and decided to test a new recipe with tons of my favorite soup ingredients: hot Italian sausage, white beans, carrots, spinach, and some tasty cheese tortellini. read more

As I’m sitting at home on this icy-cold snow day, I could not think of a better time to be sharing this recipe — a rich and hearty soup, chock-full of vegetables and a warm, flavorful broth. I’m still kind of baby when it comes to eating a lot of vegetables — it’s not that  I don’t like them, it’s just that pasta and chocolate and cheese are SO much tastier. So I’ve been attempting to sneak them into dishes (and let’s be honest — covering them with cheese does help — this recipe has both!). Sausage and white beans make the soup filling enough to have it as a dinner, the roasted garlic gives it tons of flavor, and the secret ingredient gives the broth a little extra oomph: a parmesan rind that breaks down partially as it simmers. Full recipe below:

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2015/01/img_5997.jpgIngredients:

  • 2 Bulbs of Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Large Shallot
  • 1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (casing removed)
  • 5 oz Bag of Fresh Spinach
  • 2 cans of White Beans
  • 2 cups of Carrots (diced)
  • 4 cups of Chicken Stock
  • Parmesan Cheese Rind

Instructions:

  • Slice the top of each bulb of garlic off and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the bulbs in foil and place in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the garlic cloves become soft and caramelized. Remove cloves from bulb once cooled.
  • Dice onion and shallot and add to a large dutch oven or stock pot with a drizzle of olive oil. As they begin to soften, add sausage and begin to brown, breaking up into smaller pieces as it cooks.
  • Once sausage is browned, add spinach to the mixture and mix in to wilt.
  • Add white beans, carrots, roasted garlic, chicken stock and parmesan rind to the pot and bring to a slow-boil for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce soup and simmer for an hour; remove what remains of the parmesan rind.
  • Serve hot with fresh grated parmesan cheese and a side of crusty bread — enjoy!

I’ve been trying to be better lately about not wasting food. Cooking for two means we unfortunately sometimes end up tossing out lots of leftovers, so I’ve been challenging myself to be creative with what’s in the fridge and use as much as I can. We had a roasted chicken for dinner this weekend so I was brainstorming ideas for what to make with the extra meat. I whipped up a batch of chicken stock with the bones from the chicken and decided it would make a pot-pie, but in order to use more of the stock and chicken, I made it into a soup instead. I even added a fluffy biscuit for dipping to get the crust flavors. Full recipe below:

Chicken Pot Pie Soup 1
Chicken Pot Pie Soup 3 Chicken Pot Pie Soup 4 Chicken Pot Pie Soup 5

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 small red potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1.5 cups roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup of fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas

Instructions:

Dice red potatoes, carrot, and onions. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Add roasted mixture to a large pot with 1 tbsp of olive oil. As the mixture heats up, stir in flour until it dissolves and coats the vegetables. Add chicken stock and half and half and bring the soup to a low boil. Reduce to medium heat and add in chicken, corn, and peas. Simmer for 15 minutes to blend flavors; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a warm biscuit for dipping.

I am not feeling so hot this week, I’ve come down with a pretty terrible cold and just can’t seem to bounce back! So I made it my mission last night to get on the road to recovery with a pot of homemade soup. I took a stab at a tortellini soup I saw in the most recent issue of Food Network magazine and made a few modification like adding in chopped onions and extra garlic to the recipe (and omitting the water they suggested). And it was just want the doctor ordered, a totally delicious soup can do wonders. Find the full recipe here.

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Last week I was run down and had a terrible cold, so I was determined to use the weekend to recharge. To me, there is nothing more relaxing or comforting than being in the kitchen, so that’s where I spent my time. I stayed in Friday night and baked up lots of treats, including mini mason jar apple pies, and sea salt caramel apples — both for a little Saturday project I helped style with two my good friends (more pictures coming soon!). And Sunday I let a hearty kielbasa and white bean soup simmer in the slow cooker all day — which made our apartment smell delightful. It was a delicious and successful attempt at a relaxing weekend.

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