Smoked sausage

Sausage, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

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It’s Daylight Savings Time (or is it the end of Daylight Savings Time? I can never keep them straight), and that means it will be dark before I even leave work. And when that happens, I lose interest in cooking at night. Just give me some takeout (or worse yet, junk food) and a glass of wine, and I’ll curl up on the couch with the cat and fall asleep. And then I have no leftovers for lunch the next day. Rinse and repeat…

There are worse problems, but this cycle isn’t great for my wallet or my health. I try to nip it in the bud by cooking more on the weekends and stocking up for the week. I love soup and salad at lunch, which leave me feeling full but not heavy. This one is economical, and easily adaptable to your tastes and preferences. Omit the Half & Half to make it dairy-free, or try substituting chicken for the smoked sausage.

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Sausage, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Serves 4

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup wild rice (or wild & long grain rice blend)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
8 oz. sliced cremini or white mushrooms
8 oz. reduced-fat smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized medallions
1/2 cup Half & Half
Freshly ground pepper and salt

In a medium saucepan, combine broth and rice. Cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onion and celery and cook 2-3 minutes. Add sausage and mushrooms. Cooking, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and vegetables are semi-tender. Add rice and its broth to the sausage and vegetables. Simmer, uncovered, until rice has “bloomed.”

Add Half & Half and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Smoked Sausage, Onions & Peppers

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When the weather gets warm, my thoughts turn to baseball and grills. And while hot dogs are my quintessential baseball food, brats and sausages rank pretty high up there.

I’m between business trips this week, and I wanted something quick and light to throw together after teaching at the gym. This is a high-protein, lower carb meal that comes together quickly, with minimal cleanup. Not bad for a Tuesday night. :)

Smoked Sausage, Onions and Peppers

Inspired by Bon Appetit
Serves 3-4

1 small onion, cut into 1/2″ slices
5-6 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2″ slices (or substitute your favorite peppers)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 oz. smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut on a diagonal into 4″ pieces and halved lengthwise
Mustard and sauerkraut for serving, if desired

Place a 16×12″ sheet of heavy-duty foil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss vegetables and oil in a large bowl; generously season with salt and pepper.

Mound vegetables in center of prepared baking sheet; top with sausages. Place another large sheet of foil over. Fold and crimp all edges tightly to form a sealed packet. Make ahead: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before continuing.

If using a grill, heat to medium-high. If using an oven, adjust oven racks to the top third and bottom third; preheat oven to 350°. Grill or bake packet until onions and peppers are softened (carefully open the packet to check; steam will escape), about 25 minutes.

If grilling, remove sausages from packet and grill until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. If using an oven, turn on broiler. Carefully cut open packet. Arrange sausages on top if necessary. Broil until sausages are browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Serve with mustard and sauerkraut.