Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Soups...Why We Need Them!

Great between meals snack! Or have it for dinner!
Not having a functional kitchen for several weeks stifled my ability to cook.  But with kitchen renovation compete, it's now time to get back to doing my thing (which most times includes) making some soup. Yes, I know it is still summer, but I am trying hard to treat my body as well as I did my kitchen...upgrade, update and renovate my own eating habits. And my research has shown that a cup of lean soup between meals is a perfect way to stay on track. My life is all about protein right now. And I have two recipes that will help me stay to the "six small meals a day" recommended to keep energy levels up and blood sugar spikes down! Spiking is what causes the body to store fat while increasing the need to take a nap. Since they frown on napping at work, I'm making an effort to be productive all day!

Since company comes first, I will introduce to my new FAVORITE recipe created in the Williams Sonoma kitchens, Pastina & Kale Soup with Andouille Sausage! It has everything, flavor, protein, garlic (yes, I added a touch of white wine), and the new super food, Kale! So easy to make. It clicks all the boxes on what's good, and what's good for you!

Pastina and Kale Soup with Andouille
1 cup small soup pasta,such as acini di peppe, orzo or dittalini
3 links Andouille sausage, about 10 oz.
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale, (in spite of its new popularity , if you're not into kale, spinach would work as well) ribs removed, leaves chopped
4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) chicken broth
1 Tbs. tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. 
In a large, heavy pot, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pot and cut into slices 1⁄4 inch. 
Add the oil to the pot and warm over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the kale, stir to coat and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Add the pasta, sausage and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve, topped with the Parmesan. Serves 4.

Ham, Bean and Cabbage Soup
My personal favorite soup!
This next recipe is all mine. I love ham and bean soup (which use to include a crusty baguette and ton of butter!) But I've changed my diet and menu, and some of the ingredients to accommodate my goal to ingest less starch, such as switching from navy beans to baby Lima beans. (So good!) I also included cabbage in this soup because it is a great um...cleansing source, especially along side of the beans. You could easily leave it out, still a great soup, I just added it as a tribute to an old Weight Watchers "Cabbage Soup" recipe because of all the benefits. Also, something I just excitedly learned recently, I don't always have the need to cook a large ham, but if you have a Honey Bake Ham Company retail store near you, they sell large ham bones for like $3.99 a bag. They store well in the freezer too!  

1 lb of dried baby lima beans
6-8 cups of water
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
½ head of cabbage, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ham bone or (if not available) 2 ham hock, extra fat remove from the outside of the hock
6 cups of chicken stock
1 large can chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Overnight Soak: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of cold water to 1 pound of dried baby lima beans. Let stand overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans. Side Note: If you don't have time to do an overnight soak, try the quick soak method: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of water to 1 pound of dried beans. Bring water to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, & celery. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds before adding stock, can of tomatoes. drained beans, ham or ham hock, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for at least 3 1/2-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Slowly break up the ham from the bone a little every time you stir the soup then remove any fat or bone from the ham bone or ham hock along the way.
Remove the lid from the pan for 30 minutes prior to serving, making sure all fat and bone have been removed from the soup. Re-season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
And there you have it! Two great soups that, with a little tweaking, will become a healthy addition to your daily menus, regardless of what time of year it is! 

Photo's by GoggleImage and JoAnn Phelps

1 comment:

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