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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Has it REALLY been THAT LONG?!?!?!

Man, life throws you into the ocean sometimes, and I've been trying to survive the rising and falling seas for a couple years now! It seems I've landed ashore, safe and sound, battered, bruised, wiser, and with a new resolve.

It's with that thought in mind I'm going to share a very simple recipe for a soup. YES, A SOUP IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER! There's reasons... let me explain!

So, in the past year, I made my way from Everett, Washington (north of Seattle), to Erie Pennsylvania (my home town, to visit cousins and friends for several weeks), to Cleveland, Ohio where things didn't quite go right, to Sumter, South Carolina (and spend time with my family of origin), and finally landed in Concord, North Carolina, north east of Charlotte NC. (NOTE: NO! I will not become a Carolina Panthers fan! GO HAWKS!)

In all of this travel, I made it a mission to get back into shape and work out again- things I really love. Also, to get back to cooking smart, healthy, and feeding my belly, soul, and this blog! And hopefully my friends as a result! You know- no one leaves my house hungry, and "the food don't suck here!"

So, the dogs and I walked, and walked, and walked- sometimes over 11 miles a day! We went to the dog parks, we took my aunt Bonnie to the dog park with us! Great dog therapy, and it turned out she went from taking her rollator-walker and only moving for about 5 minutes, twice during the visit, to taking a cane, usually leaving it by the picnic tables, and throwing the ball for the dogs! They loved it of course!

One of the first visits.

One of our later visits!
So, now that I'm here in Concord, and back to work, I have been swamped with work, unpacking, getting to know my way around, etc. With all that adjustment, it would be too easy to eat poorly- fast food, frozen dinners, and I am just not about that! It bogs me down, then I don't feel well and I lack energy, you get the drift! THEN I FEEL BAD ABOUT IT!

I needed something that I could eat, fill me up, be healthy, and not take all day to cook on a Sunday, something forgiving- something I could literally throw together. I stumbled up on this recipe via a NY Times cooking article, and modified it to something I like a bit better- higher protein! With it I will include a few options to add to make it more interesting. This is still great for a hot summer. Hot soup in the summer cools you down, actually, and it hydrates you and fills you up without too many calories so you can fit in that two-pieces or Speedo!

Italian-style Kale and White Bean Soup

All-star cast:

2 cans of white or Cannelloni beans (or one of white/Cannelloni and one of garbonzos)
1 pound of frozen kale (you could do fresh, but remember this is SIMPLE!)
2- 23 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
1/2 pound of ground turkey
1/2 pound of turkey Italian sausage, OPTIONAL

Hardworking supporting crew:

1 Tablespoon of oil (olive)
1 large sweet onion, chopped (not minced small)
6 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1-1/2 teaspoons of thyme
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
1 - 2 cups of chicken stock, or water
Fresh Parmesan for topping/finishing

First alternates (should be added when the onions are cooked):

1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs of celery (highly recommend!), chopped

Second alternates:

(added during the last 8 - 10 minutes of cooking, and only what you'll eat while it's fresh- you won't want to freeze these! These guys aren't in it for the long haul... they have no endurance.):

1 small chopped FRESH zucchini or yellow squash, or mix of both

Act 1:
  1.  In a large stock pot on medium-high heat, add the oil, wait about 90 seconds, and then add your ground turkey, and if using turkey Italian sausage, and sear and brown. Don't stir this very much. Throw it in the pan, and almost char it- we want flava'! Stir this after about two minutes, leave it for another two, etc. This should take about 6 - 8 minutes, total
  2. Add the onions and garlic to sweat. When they are semi-translucent, add the thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper- STIR.
  3. Add the two cans of tomatoes and the stock or water.
  4. Bring to a light boil and turn the heat down to a good simmer.
  5. Add the kale and the canned beans- remember, these are already cooked, so really they just need heated through, about 8 minutes tops.
  6. If you're adding zucchini, add it now.
  7. Check your seasoning - salt and pepper as needed.
  8. After those 8 minutes- DONE! SERVE! Sprinkle some parm on top, add some oven toasted bread- think of them as BIG CROUTONS!
  9. Oh, this makes plenty, so you can freeze some- and of course, this would be great on a cold fall day, with a book, and a toasted cheese sandwich (can I recommend a smoked mozz or smoked gouda!!!)

One for the fridge, one for the freezer!

1 comment:

  1. sounds wonderful! I'll let you make it for us next time you're in Sumter :-).