I don’t know about you, but between the Monday to Friday mad dash for school, and work, and all the millions of details involved in managing my household, most days I feel like I’m running around with my hair on fire.
Makes it hard for a girl who loves to cook to feel like she’s doing her family — or her palate — justice to always serve up frozen fare from Trader Joe’s. (And no, I’m not knocking TJ’s – I could devote a whole post to healthy, quick and deelish meal ideas from this favorite store.)
Our familial foursome enjoys mealtime, particularly dinner, so I like to have something yummy and homemade as often as time allows. And now, with the weather turning cooler, I usually plan on making a pot of soup each week for dinner, which leaves plenty of leftovers for lunch. Still, though, there is that time-crunch problem. I don’t always have time enough to chop and prep for the Barefoot Contessa’s lentil soup (in my top 10 fave soups, I have to say) or baked French onion soup. Love, love, love you Julia, but, what working mom really has time to slice 6 pounds of onions and the occasional knuckle with a mandoline in between making cookies for the bake sale, knocking out a post for the blog, and interviewing that person in Florida for the newsletter copy that was due yesterday?? Calgon, take me away…to a place where a wholesome, homemade dinner appears on the table which leaves my family satisfied and me, feeling adored and appreciated…oh, and in under 30 minutes.
There are some solutions. Really. If you don’t believe me, try this Sausage, White Bean and Kale Stew from Real Simple.
I discovered this jewel of a recipe a few years ago, and it’s the stand-by meal I can have on the table in less than 30 minutes. No kidding. Now, I will say for optimum flavor and consistency, this stew is best if you can cook it, then turn the heat off and leave on the stove top for a while, as the white beans thicken the broth over time. But, if you’re pressed, 15-20 minutes after it starts to simmer, it’s done. Try it, and see for yourself. Ready? Go!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 12-ounce package fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced [Amy's version: Any variety of kielbasa-type sausage is great. Just make sure you allow time to cook completely if you buy raw sausage links.]
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced [Amy's version: I used minced garlic - either fresh or jarred]
- 1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed [Amy's version: I use 2 cans of beans]
- 1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth [Amy's version: I use 3-4 cups to stretch the recipe]
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes [Amy's version: I use 1½ - 2 cans]
- 1 bunch kale leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces
- kosher salt and black pepper
- [Amy's version: Cayenne pepper or Frank's Red Hot to taste]
- 1 loaf country bread (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the sausage and cook, stirring once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Add the beans, broth, and tomatoes and their liquid and bring to a boil.
- Add the kale and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
- [Amy's version: Let stew simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Cover. Leave on stove for an hour if time permits]
- Serve with the bread, if using.
What are your quick, favorite soup recipes? Post a comment on the blog, or email me at [email protected] We love hearing from you! Bon appétit!