Nothing says winter like dinner consumed from a mug. If I was still living at my Dad's that meal would be tomato soup in a mug topped with a melty grilled cheese sandwich on wheat. No, its not super healthy but it warms ya right up.
This season (so far) I have made two mug meals. The first was a "fajita" bean soup that my Mom had given me for Christmas. Sorry, I cant tell you the brand name as I have since tossed the package, but the spicy seasonings made me feel pretty toasty (it has been -18 here in the past week) and the beans helped to make the meal stick.
In an attempt to make all my hard work of exercising (5 days a week) visible to others, I made a healthier soup from scratch. I dont count it as diet food if it tastes as good as something I would happen to make when not trying for physical modification. I had been reading a lot about kale lately and had never tried it before so I figured I would throw some in the soup. The kale ended up having a nice consistency and brought great flavor to the soup. I thought it might be bitter but instead it had a sweet and somewhat creamy taste. I will definitely purchase kale again. I had a couple heads of broccoli that were nearing the point of no return and I chopped off the florets and tossed those into the pot also. Nearly all the recipes for soup bases that I had researched called for celery and carrots to begin with. Now, I dont care for cooked carrots, but I was a good girl and bought a bag of those precleaned ones and managed to cut them up even smaller. Now on to the recipe I created.
Kale and Italian Sausage Soup
1 bunch kale
2 heads of broccoli
3 cloves of garlic
1 white onion
8 inner celery stocks
3/4 c. carrots
2 sweet italian sausages
1 c. small pastas
32 oz veggie broth
4 c. water
8 cubes of frozen basil
salt & pepper
Heat olive oil in large stock pot. Saute minced garlic and chopped onion. Add the sausages after removing the casing.
Dice the celery and carrots and add to the pot.
Add broth and water as soon as meat has sufficiently browned. Bring to a boil.
Wash and dry kale. Cut it into narrow strips and discard large stems.
Cut the florets off of the broccoli.
Add the kale and the broccoli to the pot.
When the vegetables are aldente add the pasta and frozen basil and reduce the heat to a steady simmer.
Serve when pasta is fully cooked.
You should salt and pepper the dish as you go. There isnt a tremendous amount of fat (just that from 2 sausages and a tablespoon or so of olive oil) to flavor the dish. By adding salt you enhance the flavor of the kale. I am sure this is a no brainer for most of you, but I typically do not add salt to any of my home cooked dishes so when I find a dish that needs the salt, I always find it a bit surprising.