Tag Archives: kale

A No Fuss Sausage Soup

In my life as a blogger I have realized a couple things.  One is that I rarely document actual meals.  I’m more of a baked treat sort of gal.  You know, mama by day renegade baker by night–sort of thing.  Two is that I tend to throw out a lot of posts in one week and then sit back the next couple.  But I find I’m really fine with that.  Well, in fact, I’m fine with both number one & two.

I think the other reason I don’t document many main dishes or side dishes is because they’re finicky.  They require a person, say a mama of two small kids, to actually think out how to get the food to the table by the only source of light on the main floor for a picture (we live in a cave of a condo), while corralling in the children (get utensils, plates, & whiny one year old who should have eaten like 20 minutes before the photo shoot) to eat said food and remember all the ingredients & steps, which went into making the dish.  That’s too much folks.  I don’t get paid for this gig & baking is so much easier (& for me–so much more fun).

But, I have actually taken pictures of a couple food items outside of the “flour, sugar, butter” category and feel like it might be as good a time as any to showcase them.  Here’s how I make dinner.  I’m not a planner really.  I have flops along with the successes.  My kids are not relatively picky, but if I served them an all-you-can-eat fruit buffet, they would never mind.  Some vegetables are hit and miss, but I never stop serving them.  My oldest enjoyed broccoli till 10 months then rejected it every single time until recently.  I give them way out clauses written into dinner, because there are foods I might love most of the time, but at a certain moment it just doesn’t sound too good.

The most planning I have when it comes to a meal is making sure I’ve taken the meat out of the deep freezer the night (or two) beforehand or making dough a couple hours before baking.  I enjoy cooking from scratch.  I love being able to know all the ingredients by name that I’m putting into my families’ bodies.  And that’s why I love to bake as well.  Sure, eating only baked goods isn’t healthy alone or done in excess, but when it’s me doing the baking (instead of say Nabisco) than I know the ingredient list is something I recognize.

Okay, I feel like I’m ranting at this point.  Sorry, I’m done at this point and time.  Maybe it’s because I watched Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution and read Animal Vegetable Miracle on my vacation.  Both encouraging us to know where our food is coming from, getting back into the kitchen & using fresh/local ingredients.  I have been encouraged to post more recipes that are relatively easy to get those of you who don’t really like to cook–to get in the kitchen and enjoy it more.  So I thought I would post this wonderful soup, which is seriously only like six or seven ingredients.  It’s hearty and not fussy.  And more importantly, my family ate it all up.  Soups are always a sure win in our house for the girls and I hope it is the same for your house.

Italian Sausage Kale-Potato Soup (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.  I buy Isernio’s sausage & freeze it.  When dinner was coming up quickly, I simply defrosted the chicken sausage & it was cooked in the pot 10 minutes later.  I love Isernio’s sausage.  Also, I keep a bottle of Chardonnay in my fridge with a good cap sealer for cooking.  It’s not the freshest, but I know in most recipes that call for a dry white wine, it is usually at most using 1 cup.


  • 1-2 Tb olive oil
  • 13.3 ounces Isernio’s Italian Chicken Sausage
  • 3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound small red-skinned potatoes or yukon, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups thinly sliced trimmed kale leaves (about 3/4 of medium bunch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Remove casing from sausages & crumble the sausage into the heated pot.  Sauté sausage until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, sliced potatoes and white wine and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Add kale and fennel seeds to soup. Simmer soup uncovered until potatoes and kale are very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately.  Top with Parmesan cheese.


Host as Guests and “Fried” Potatoes with Kale & Onion

I came across the following quote months ago and saved it in a file.  As I came across it today it got me thinking…

Good hosts discover the divine mystery in hospitality—
that as they welcome strangers, they are themselves beloved
guests of God’s grace.

Is it really true that hospitality is more for the host than for the guest?  While in Ellensburg for Thanksgiving we get free movie passes, which is about the only time we go to the movies ($9.00 for a movie!).  We saw “The Blind Side,” which is based upon a true story.  Aside from being an exceptionally great film (seriously, it was a mixture of wonderful & horrible–the kind of horrible that makes you realize life isn’t pretty), there were many moments I got choked up & cried.  The Blind Side” depicts the story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential (synopsis taken from here).

Leigh Anne Touhy, the mom, took Michael in as her own.  What she was doing was saving him from the plane crash of a life he would have if he stayed in the projects.  However, she realized was Michael was in essence saving her.  He as the guest caused her to rethink a family history of racism, status in the elite, and safety living on the right side of the tracks.  She needed him maybe more than he needed her.  Grace.

It’s too easy to view a stranger or guest as a project.  To think that my “love” and “generosity” will change the person & I’ll feel better about myself.  Except, what I find in the end is that even in the midst of what seemingly is a “good deed,” ends up becoming a grace revealed.  This morning’s breakfast reminds me of a grace revealed as a modest, yet appetizing goodness.  It is fit for a king in more of backdoor sort of way.

“Fried” Potatoes with Kale & Onion (printable recipe)


  • 1 small yellow onion, cut in thin half moons
  • 3-4 rather big Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into quarters, then thinly sliced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil/canola oil mixture
  • 1-2 Tablespoons sea salt
  • 5 leaves black Kale, rib cut off & cut leaves into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-4 Tablespoons water

Put 1 Tb of oil into pan over medium heat.  Heat oil for about one minute, then add onion slices.  Add about 1 teaspoon salt to onions.  Cook until the a bit of browning occurs on the onions.  Add thinly sliced potatoes, along with 1 more Tb of oil.

Stir occasionally to avoid sticking or burning (if you need to add more oil, do so).  Add 2 teaspoons of salt. You’ll cook the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes.

Add the kale, along with 3 Tablespoons water.  Stir around and cook without a lid for 30 seconds.  Then, put a lid on top of potatoes & kale and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so.  The lid is creating steam, which will in return steam the kale.  My lid goes directly on top of the potatoes as it is smaller than the rim of the pan.

Remove from heat, add salt to taste & pepper.  Serve by itself, or it you’re like my daughter…with ketchup.

Barley-Kale Salad


I made this very yummy salad from this wonderful blog.  Now if you were to tell me that I would like kale years ago I would think you were crazy.  I remember tasting it many moons ago thinking, “This is rabbit food, except worst!”  Well, I have changed my mind since and I plead with you to do the same if you are one who thinks eating rabbit food sounds pretty crummy.

I was originally going to serve this along side roasted chicken, but thought to myself, “there’s carbs and protein in it–why do I need to defrost chicken?  Plus, it’s a wonderful sunny day and eating this salad just makes me feel healthy (we won’t talk about the two chocolate ganache cupcakes I ate though–will we).”

Plus, I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate the grain world with the vegetable world outside of a pasta salad.  So if you’re simply wanting to make dinner, or make a side dish for guests coming over, or going to a celebration–this is a great summer salad (or not summer) to make.

**Plus the great thing about kale is it doesn’t wilt if you put dressing on it and store it in the fridge to eat the next day.

Birthday Barley Salad Recipe from www.inpraiseofleftovers.com

Salad Ingredients:
2 cups barley
1 head curly kale, washed, ribbed, and finely chopped
1 c. roasted pecans
1/2 c. dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 c. crumbled Danish blue cheese (or other firm blue cheese)
zest from one lemon

1 minced garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste (don’t be shy with your salt!)
1/2 ts. smoked paprika
4 Tb. apple cider vinegar
2 Tb. honey
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, cut into thin rings

For dressing: Mix the first five ingredients in a large measuring cup. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste. Drop in onions and let them marinate for at least 20 minutes.

For salad: Cook barley in lots of boiling water for about 45 minutes. There needs to be plenty of water so it won’t stick together–you want the grains to be separate. After it’s done (grains will be soft, but still a little chewy), drain it and run cold water over it. You can do this one day ahead if you want.

Toss barley with kale and most of the pecans, blue cheese, dried cherries, and dressing. I use my hands to do this. Scatter some of the remaining ingredients, the lemon zest, and a few marinated onions from the dressing over the top. I always like my audience to know exactly what’s in the salad just by looking at it. Grind a bit more pepper if you like.

Barley-Kale Salad