Thursday, February 24, 2011

Varying Menus and New Things

One problem I think all of us is the tendency to get into a *rut* cooking meals. We don't intend to, it is just that once we have our hands (and brains) full with the day to day dealings of jobs, family, farm, livestock or whatever, sometimes it's just easier to fix something that 1) We know everyone will eat 2) We have memorized the recipe to and, 3) We usually have the fixin's on hand.
It also makes grocery shopping much easier! When you have a menu that is regular, you can estimate your grocery bill better and breeze through the store tossing your stand-by items in the cart.
In talking to other home-makers, I find that most of us are on a two week rotation of recipes.
I am trying to shake that up a bit here, as I am as guilty of *recipe repeats* as anyone else!

So, I have decided to start adding in a new recipe once a week. I have oodles of cookbooks and the whole internet at my fingertips, so new recipes are not hard to find!
Tonight, it'll be a new soup recipe found at Simply Recipes:
Click here for this recipe and many others!

Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew Recipe

We use savoy cabbage for this recipe, but you could use regular cabbage, or even collard greens or dinosaur kale. If you want to make this stew vegetarian, leave out the sausage and double the beans.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk, or removed from casings
  • 1 large yellow onion, half sliced and half minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can of white beans (cannellini, Great Northern, or Navy), drained
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 2-pound savoy cabbage, quartered, then sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup to a cup of freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese for garnish


1 Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large (8-quart), thick-bottomed pot. Add the sausage, breaking it up into pieces as you put it into the pot in a single layer. When the sausage has nicely browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2 Add the minced onion (save the sliced onion for later) and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Once the onions give up some of their water, use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
3 Add the white wine and the beans and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. If you want, for a thicker base, use an immersion blender to blend some (or all) of the beans and onions.
4 Add the water, stock, salt, cabbage, sliced onion half, bay leaves and browned sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender, about another 10-20 minutes.
To serve, sprinkle on chopped parsley and grated cheese.
Serves 8 to 10. 

I have everything, so I think it'll turn out okay. I plan on making a nice crusty loaf of bread to go with it and maybe tapioca for dessert.
So, that's the new recipe I plan on doing this time goes on, I hope to vary the menu more wildly.
I do have some limitations. Two people in the house are allergic to shellfish, one is allergic to all seafood (yes, that would be me) and the kids have a couple of foods each that they just won't eat. All kids are like that, I was, but I later grew out of it.
So, surprise the family tonight and slip in an unfamiliar recipe!

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