Italian Sausage Bean Soup

Posted on November 5, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Food - Sausage Soup

Staying with my Monday-make-soup theme, I whipped up this beauty yesterday in about 30 minutes.  It will feed us for 3 days!  Whoo-hoo, I don’t even have to think about dinner until Thursday!!

Hunting in the freezer I found 3 leftover Italian sausages from summer which I fried up in a pan and cut into small chunks with my kitchen scissors while they were still a bit frozen which made the cutting easier.  I had some yard work to do so I gently simmered 2 small bags of black-eyed peas and 2 small bags of garbanzo beans which I found in the basement storage bin.

I cooked them separately because the beans are two different sizes and I didn’t want the little ones getting mushy while the big ones were still cooking.  Each took about an hour and a half to cook up.  This was fine as I was busy with other things.  I like to do this because I freeze about 3/4 of the cooked beans and then it’s really easy to take them out and use them without having to start with the dry beans.  I avoid canned beans because of the plastic can lining which leaches into the food inside.

So, again, I started with sautéing a big onion in butter/olive oil.  Then I plopped in some frozen turkey stock with a little water.  The turkey stock was too much for this batch of soup so I just waited until enough of it melted to pull it out.  I threw it in a container with some of the beans and into the freezer for a future soup.

Then I chopped up some carrots and cabbage.  Also, I found some gorgeous dried mushrooms I brought back from Italy last month to throw in.  Then when there was a lot of hot liquid in the pot I put in a dozen medium sized frozen tomatoes.  After about 2 minutes I slipped the skins off of them and they just melted into the broth.  I really love frozen tomatoes in soup broth.

Lastly the spices and sausage went in.  I used Penzey’s Cajun spice again (trying to use that up) and some thyme, marjoram, and Aleppo pepper for zing.  I also peeled and crushed up about 8 cloves of my garden garlic to throw in.

Well, one bowl of this was plenty, it was so filling!  It felt like a grand reward for all the yardwork and window cleaning I did yesterday!  It would be easy to make this vegetarian/vegan by simply omitting the sausage – the beans were plenty of heft.  Also, veggie stock would be fine and the onion can sauté with coconut/olive oil.  Give soup-making a try – it is so much better than anything that could possibly come out of a can!

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Pizza Made Simple

Posted on February 28, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple | Tags: , , , , |

Today let’s talk pizza dough.  I’m amazed that stores sell fresh dough in plastic bags!  Yuck!  I can’t imagine how people get that goo out of there!  They must lose half of it stuck to the bag.  And pizza dough is about the simplest thing you can make.  Here you go.

1 package yeast (2.25 t. if you bought in bulk and you don’t have to be super precise, just estimate that .25!)

1 cup warm water (I do 1/2 cup boiling from the teakettle and 1/2 cold from the tap.  It should be just barely warm otherwise add more cold.)

1.25 cups white flour, preferrably unbleached organic

2 tablespoons olive oil, preferrably organic

.5 teaspoons salt

1 cup whole wheat flour, preferrably organic ( I often change this to a mixture of other interesting non-wheat flours like corn flour, buckwheat, ground quinoa, chickpea flour – you can play a bit here!)

Combine yeast, water, white flour.  Mix right there in the bowl of your mixer.   Add oil, salt, whole wheat flour (and you can add herbs/spices now if you want like powdered garlic or oregano) until dough sticks together.  Knead with dough hook or paddle for a bit.  Roll dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover loosely, set in warm place to rise for about an hour.  Ready to use after this.  Makes 2 balls to make thin 12 inch pizzas or 1 thicker crust pizza.

           Food - Pizza Dough 1          Food - Pizza Dough 2

You can see it begins rather wet, but within a minute it becomes a dough mass like you see on the right.

Food - Pizza Dough 3            Food - Pizza Dough 4

Put about a teaspoon of olive oil in the clean bowl and smooth it around with your fingertips, then just rub into your hands, wonderful moisturizer!  Scoop the dough out of the mixing bowl and plop into the oiled bowl, then just turn it once so it has a light coating of oil all over it.  Cover, but not tightly and put in a warm place.  My warm place is a heating pad set on low.

Food - Pizza Dough 5

In an hour or so it has doubled in size and it is ready to either refrigerate for later or put out flat on to pizza stones or pans.  Flatten with moistened fingertips and top with anything you like.  My favorite is a thin layer of tomato paste, chopped onions, mushrooms and peppers, garlic slices, thin slices of Hungarian summer sausage from House of Homemade Sausage, my local source (, and fresh mozzarella on top.  Bake for 30-40 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  Slice and enjoy!

You will not believe how good this is made fresh.  Don’t bother with frozen pizza or raw dough in bags at the supermarket.  This is sooooo much better!  And please, dump those goo-making microwave ovens, invest in a good toaster oven to reheat leftovers – magically good!

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