Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale + Parmesan

sausage-kale top

I stood at the counter like a pregnant cliché, turquoise apron covering my rapidly growing belly, eating dill pickles from the jar and staring down my menu plan, which informed me dinner tonight was Sausage and Lentil Soup. I typically put the cookbook or source in parenthesis behind the menu item but in this case, nothing. Interesting. Surely I was thinking of something slightly more specific when I put this on the menu weekend last weekend, but my memory is more spotty than usual, so I shrugged and got to work chopping an onion, as nearly all my soups begin here. As I’ve increased my confidence in the kitchen, I’ve often created recipes by googling the main ingredients to quickly crowd-source ideas, then paired with my own knowledge to develop. After all, I’m certainly not the first person to think of putting sausage and lentils together for dinner.

This soup is exceptionally hearty, more like stew really, and the garlic oil and Parmesan take it to the next level. The garlic oil idea comes from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, in her infinite wisdom of stepped-up home cooking.

I’m beyond looking forward to spring and the farmer’s market, but I’ll miss the frequency of soups in our dinner rotation. A one-pot meal is an evening gift for busy parents, and this particular soup left us with very little clean up. It’s plenty filling on its own, but I’d recommend siding it with crusty bread and fresh fruit. Also, if this sounds delicious but you’re vegetarian (my husband used to be!), this is still worth making sans sausage.

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Weekly Menu Plan: March 2016


The Kitchen Beet :: Farmer's Market Asparagus

I’m barely squeezing this in, since it’s April in less than an hour, but I’m determined to make this into a series! If you read last month’s post, I put together a weekly menu round-up after realizing I actually prefer the structure of assigning a meal to a specific day. My weekly menu plans attempt to include lots of variety, copious amounts of veggies and meat or fish once or twice a week. My goal is always to have my little family of four, with kids aged 11 and 2.5, eating the same thing (in some form).

Below is the exact menu we followed for a week (Saturday – Friday), with notes where I modified a recipe, or deconstructed to better meet the desires of a kiddo. I’ve linked to the cookbook or recipe where I can – several of these recipes are mine, but many come from other wonderful sources! As I mentioned in the last round-up, my menu plans always include a few “other” items intended to help with breakfasts, snacks and packed lunches.

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Weekly Menu Plan: February 2016

library cookbooks (prose)

The other week at a girls’ night, a friend asked an innocuous question: Do you still menu plan? The answer was yes, but…

In my explanation, I realized I still planned a weekly menu, meaning I selected a handful of recipes, scribbled them on a scrap piece of paper and made sure I had the groceries to make them. But I had fallen away from a more intentional pattern I used to practice with consistency. That menu planning assigned a specific meal to a specific day. It also had at least 4 – 5 planned “other” items. My other items are either specifically helpful with breakfast or packed lunches (i.e. getting four people out the door going in four different directions), or grab-and-go items that make life smoother when running to soccer practice, needing a small snack to hold us over because catching the sunset is a must, or bites to stuff in a backpack so we can otherwise spend more quality time outside. It may seem inconsequential, but that routine also includes a nicely printed menu hung on the refrigerator, so everyone in the family knows what’s coming up.

When I got home from that girls’ night, I decided to return to my old pattern to see if the additional structure was worth it. Indeed it was! We had homemade dinner as a family every single night that week, and I could tell any after work stress  was alleviated simply by not having a choice to make. Assigning a meal to a day also meant I could do prep the evening before, knowing I’d use it the next day. And the legibly written menu on the side of the fridge gave me a small sense of affirmation when I walked by. Feeding people I care about is something I value highly, and feeling prepared for the full week is a worthy accomplishment for me.

I LOVE getting a sense of how dinner time works in other families, and thought perhaps you’d feel the same. Listed below is the exact menu we followed for a week (in this case, Saturday – Friday, with a few other notes you may find helpful). You’ll note some of the recipes are mine, and some come from other sources I’ve linked to. I tend to adapt the majority of recipes I use, so I’ve commented on that where applicable. Also, as I mentioned in a recent post, we are mostly vegetarian eaters, with meat once or twice a week. Both kids (ages 2 and just-turned 11) ate exactly what was on the menu, but sometimes deconstructed, also explained below.

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