Delicious Sausage and Bean Soup with Kale and Top Secret Brownies

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Here is a picture of my son playing on a giant head of broccoli!

Today was a day filled with deliciousness. I love holidays, and I especially love cooking special meals and treats for holidays.  Today, I made crepes for breakfast and then made a very lovely Sausage and Bean Soup with Kale for dinner.  I rounded out the day with my Top Secret brownies for dessert!  

Sausage and Bean Soup with Kale
I have made this soup many different times, in many different ways.  I use whatever veggies I have on hand and it always turns out just as yummy.  Today I had all of my fresh CSA veggies from Abbe Hills, which included an abundance of kale, several different varieties of kale to be exact.  Kale is becoming very popular and I just love it, but don't worry if you can't find it, I often use spinach, chard, or even bok choi!

  • 5 links of italian sausage, casings removed and chopped or crumbled (I used that chicken sausage I bought at Sam's Club at the beginning of the month and it was delicious!)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • The following veggies are just ideas- this is what I used today, but you could use other vegetables if you want (for example, in the past I have used celery, celeriac, bell peppers, parsnips, turnips, leeks, etc.) - 1/2 cup each of:
    • chopped carrots
    • diced kohlrabi
    • diced spring turnips
  • 2 cups chopped greens such as kale, spinach, or chard, arugula, or a mixture of different greens (I used a mixture of lacinato kale, red russian kale, and regular curly kale- if you have never had lacinato kale, see if you can find it, it is VERY worth it!  YUMMY!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or 2 tbsp. garlic powder (I used 3 garlic scapes, chopped today because that is what I got from they farm, they have a very lovely and mild garlic flavor).  
  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. italian herbs
  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans
  • 1 cup spiral Wacky Mac (or other spiral pasta)
In a large soup pot, melt the butter and olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute until well caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add the sausage and saute another 3 minutes (if you are using fresh sausage, saute for about 5 minutes or until cooked through).  Add your diced veggies and continue to saute in the butter for about 10 minutes and your garlic.  Add the chicken stock and the herbs.  Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the veggies are very soft.  Add the beans and the greens.  Simmer until the greens are well wilted, about 5 minutes, then add the pasta.  Once the pasta is cooked through, the soup is done!  Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese if desired!

Top Secret Brownies
I call these brownies "top secret" because they have a special hidden ingredient.  They are so moist and fudgy though, you would have no idea there was spinach in them!  In addition, anyone who knows me, knows how much I LOVE cherries!  I am a true cherry fan!  One of my favorite things when I am back home in Seattle is stopping on the side of the road and buying a big bag of bright red cherries from a local farmer.  Oh so yummy!  I grew up on cherries because we had cherry trees in our yard, and well, I am from the Pacific Northwest, where there is an abundance of cherries.  So what pairs better with cherries than CHOCOLATE?  My Top Secret brownies are LOADED with yummy cherries!  Give these a try, you will be glad you did! 
    • Special note about these brownies - they do contain a lot of sugar, and they are made with corn syrup.  Corn syrup is not the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup, but many brands of corn syrup do contain HFCS.  Be sure to check the ingredients label to make sure your corn syrup does not contain HFCS.  I only make these brownies for special occasions, and I believe sugar is ok in moderation.
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup oil (I use vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup pureed spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup red cherries, pitted and chopped (you can use dried cherries if cherries are not in season)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13X9 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  In a second bowl, mix together the wet ingredients on a medium speed with an electric mixer.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on a medium speed until just mixed.  Do not over mix.  Add the cherries and the chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated.  Pour the batter into the greased pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting.  

Enjoy!  Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking and EATING!


Cheri Newton said...

mmm, i will have to try the sausage and bean soup AND the top secret brownies! the sausage and bean sounds like the Zuppa Toscana soup at olive garden, is it similar?

frenchieliza said...

I am not sure, I haven't been to Olive Garden in years, actually, I think the last time I was there was for the Final Fling, that night I met you, Jess, Janet, and Jenn. I can tel you it is delicious though =).

Lesa Antone said...

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Venti Vixen said...

Ooooh, great blog! I love it!

heartnsoulcooking said...

Two YUMMY!!! recipe, I LIKE!!! both, but the top secret brownies sound WONDERFUL!!! with the cherries and pureed spinach. I have never tried spinach in a brownie. I have made some with zucchini and those were AWESOME!!!
I'm a NEW!!! follower, come by and visit anytime.

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