Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sausage, Green Bean and Sweet Potato Medley

The garden is bursting with green beans these days. I looked on line for some recipes using green beans. I wanted something that would feature vegetables since I love them so much. After reading quite a few recipes, I came up with this combination. It was good for dinner and I froze another dish of it for the future. I hope it thaws reasonably well. We'll see.

Sweet potatoes, green beans and Italian sausage combine with sauteed onions and peppers to make a very satisfying dish. 

Sausage, Green Bean and Sweet Potato Medley

1 pound mild (or hot) Italian sausage (I used turkey sausage)
3 cups of cut green beans (cut into 1 - 1 1/2 inch lengths)
3 cups of cubed and peeled sweet potato
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the Italian sausage either by baking or frying, let cool, then slice 1/2 inch thick. 

Place the prepared green beans in a saucepan, add an inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes until crisp tender. Drain and set aside.

Place the prepared sweet potato cubes in a saucepan, add an inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife, but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. If you fry the sausages, you could use the drippings from that instead of the olive oil. Add the onion and red pepper and saute until tender but not brown. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the oregano.

Combine the sausage, green beans, sweet potatoes, and sauteed onions and peppers in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in an open baking dish and pour the chicken broth over top. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover if baking longer. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

Zucchini Soup Base

Too much zucchini? It's the time of year when I go out to the garden and hope that I don't find another giant zucchini lurking under a leaf. Fortunately, there are many wonderful zucchini recipes out there for eating now and later. Making a soup base to freeze for later is one thing I do to cope with the glut of zucchini. It's fast and easy.

Zucchini Soup Base

1-2 medium onions, chopped
1 head (about 15 cloves) of garlic, peeled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1-2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
10-12 cups (roughly) cut up zucchini
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute for several minutes. Add the garlic and continue sauteeing for another minute. Add the carrots, the zucchini, the chicken stock and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. 
Remove the bay leaf (don't forget this step!). Puree the vegetables and broth with a stick blender or countertop blender. Cool and pour into containers to freeze.

I divided the amounts given in this recipe into three and froze it in quart jars, leaving space for expansion, so I'm guessing there are about 3 cups, maybe a little more, in each jar.

To serve, thaw the soup base, place in a saucepan and heat through. Add more chicken stock to thin the soup to your liking, season to taste with salt and pepper, and add about 1/2 cup light cream just before serving.