Quick Caldo Verde Soup

Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup that’s made in one pot. And, it takes about half an hour to cook. It’s filling, spicy, and great for cold weather. The usual way to make this is with kale and linguiça, which is a garlicky pork Portuguese sausage. Except, I don’t like kale.  Some use collard greens instead, or cabbage. I didn’t have cabbage, but I did have spinach.  As far as I’m concerned, that works! It’s still a bitterish green and it takes less time to cook too.

This is good right away, but like many soups, it’s even better after it sits for a day or two.  I’ve cut the recipe from six servings to about 2 or 3, depending on how hungry you are.

It does come with a few minor cooking decisions.  You can cut the greens up roughly, or chop everything up into fine ribbons.  And, you can either purée the soup, or leave it as is. I went with rough chopping and skipped the purée this time, mostly because I was feeling lazy.  The last thing I made was pizza and I somehow got the tomato sauce everywhere: the stove, the floor, the cabinets, the sink.  I’ve had enough cleanup to last me for a while, so I didn’t want to clean one extra thing (even a stick blender).

Also, if you can’t find the Portuguese sausage, any other garlicky sausage will do just fine.

Quick Caldo Verde Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: Portuguese


caldo verde soup


  • 2 tsp butter
  • 4-5 oz garlicky pork sausage, sliced (about a four inch piece)
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped


  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven.
  2. Add the sausage and brown for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the sausage and set aside.
  4. Add the onions and the garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Add half the olive oil as necessary to keep the veggies from drying out.
  6. Add the chicken broth and the potatoes.
  7. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.
  8. Turn the heat down and let the soup simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  9. Add the spinach and the cooked sausage and cook for a minute or two until the spinach wilts.
  10. Add the second teaspoon of olive oil and serve.

Caldo Verde Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use a mixture of baking potatoes (Russett) and Yukon Gold potatoes for different textures
  • If you don’t have the linguiça, try chorizo or andouille, merguez, or any garlicky sausage you have; even pepperoni in a pinch
  • Try it with cabbage (or kale) if you prefer
  • Skip the sausage entirely, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and make it vegetarian. If you want it vegan, use olive oil instead of butter.

More Sausage and Spinach Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce


Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

I spotted this wonderful merguez sausage (spicy sausage made with lamb) while shopping online and then went looking for some ideas on what to do with it.  I found a lamb merguez tagine recipe  but I had no squash, no chickpeas and no couscous (also no tagine, but a saucepan fixed that).  Time to adapt and improvise!  I’m calling it lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables.

First I replaced the couscous with rice.  Then, instead of squash or zucchini (which I didn’t have, and didn’t think ideal with the lamb anyway) I used the rest of a white eggplant I already had at hand. I am a firm believer in using what you have whenever possible (especially with all those steps, I’m not going up and down for one can or two items)!  

The result was this delicious lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables. It only takes about 35 or 40 minutes to cook. Plus, I reduced the original three pots to only two (one for the rice and another for the lamb and veggies). I wasn’t going to clean three pots!  Not to mention, the ingredients are now in the order you use them.

If you’re not familiar with merguez sausage, it’s a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so.  It’s flavored with chili peppers and cumin, but that’s tempered by the cinnamon, coriander, onions, and garlic, which mellow as you simmer them.  The richness of the eggplant and the sweet carrots also make an excellent foil for the spicy lamb.

Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Moroccan


lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables

A hint of Morocco without leaving your kitchen. The colorful vegetables and warm spices make a wonderful foil for the spicy lamb sausage.


  • 1/4 C rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch coriander
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 1 generous squeeze lemon juice (about 1 tsp)
  • 4-5 green olives
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1 lamb Merguez sausage, cut in chunks
  • 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp flour
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup eggplant, cut in chunks
  • 1 heaping T raisins


  1. First get the rice started. Boil the water first, then add the rice.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the cinnamon, coriander, paprika, cumin, and turmeric. Let the mixture cook for a few seconds.
  3. Add the lemon juice, fennel, garlic, onion, and green olives, and cook on medium, about 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
  4. Add the sausage to the pot, and cook 5 minutes to brown it. Mix in the flour and then add the chicken broth. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes until it starts to simmer (you’ll see bubbling).
  5. Add the carrots, eggplant, and raisins and cook for 15-20 minutes until the carrots are soft, the eggplant browns, and the sausage is fully cooked through.
  6. Serve over the rice.


If you are using brown rice, it will take about 40 minutes to cook once the water boils. White rice needs about 18 minutes. Stir the rice when you add it to the boiling water, and then again right before serving. This will make it fluffier.

Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables Substitutions and Variations

  • If you have the chickpeas, add them to the dish
  • Or substitute some lentils for the eggplant
  • Try it with couscous instead of the rice
  • Or serve it over some pasta
  • If you can’t find the merguez, you can approximate the flavor by using ground lamb, increasing the garlic, cumin, and coriander and adding some harissa or sriracha or chili garlic sauce for kick

More Lamb and Eggplant Recipes

Rosemary Olive Oil Broiled Eggplant

Leftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad for One

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Almonds and Raisins

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Purists call this dish white ragu pappardelle pasta; others call it white bolognese (which makes the purists mad).  The point isn’t the name (it tastes just as good no matter what you call it). And, much as I love tomato sauces, the white sauce is a tasty change from the usual red one.

It starts with onions and carrots, then adds ground beef and sausage, which is simmered gently with porcini mushrooms, white wine, and a touch of cream.  Soooo good.

I first made this right after Pesach, when the urge to eat starch (and lots of it) is strong, so I splurged for fresh pappardelle pasta.  Being on an involuntary low-carb diet is no fun!  Since I was using fresh pasta, it takes less time to cook than the dried version.  If you use dried pasta, allow 10 minutes or so to boil the water and another 8 minutes or so to cook the pasta.  Fresh pasta only needs a couple of minutes. If you can’t get pappardelle, rigatoni will work fine. You want a substantial pasta with bite (angel hair won’t do here).

The original recipe calls for dried porcini mushrooms, which I didn’t have. So, I substituted fresh ones.  If you use the dried version, add the soaking liquid to the sauce instead of the water. The pasta water at the end thickens the sauce (with the starch from the cooked pasta).

I made a few other changes too. As a commenter rightly pointed out, the onions and carrots take different amounts of time to cook, so they shouldn’t be added all at once.  First the onions, then the carrots. Also, I never have beef bouillon cubes (the ingredients make me wince) so I used beef stock instead.

White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Italian


white ragu papardelle

White ragu papardelle is a fun and delicious change from the usual red sauce.


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2-3 porcini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 mild Italian sausage (you can use pork sausage or chicken sausage), chopped up (take the casing off)
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 C beef stock
  • 3/4 C water
  • 1 1/4 T heavy cream
  • 1/4 pound pappardelle (plus 2 quarts of water to boil the pasta)
  • 2 T freshly ground Parmigiano cheese


  1. Add the oil to a wide, deep frying pan (the wider the better, so there’s more surface area to reduce the liquids faster) on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced onion.  Cook for a minute.  
  2. Then add the carrots, and the mushrooms, and sauté about five minutes or so.  The veggies should be slightly tender, but not soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Then add the cut up sausage and the ground beef (break up the beef into small pieces, so there are no clumps of meat; you want it distributed throughout the pan).  Cook that until the meat is all thoroughly browned.
  4. Add the wine and let the liquid cook down until it is nearly dry.  Now add the beef stock and lower the heat from medium-high to medium.  Let it simmer (just bubbling) until the stock has practically evaporated and then add the 3/4 cup of water. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Taste it and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  The sauce should be slightly runny, (think stroganoff, but Italian).
  6. Take the pan off the stove, away from the heat, and add the cream (folding it into the sauce).  Cover the pot to keep it warm.
  7. Put two quarts of water in a medium size saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then add the pasta.  Cook 2-3 minutes for fresh pasta, 8-10 for dried. When the pasta is nearly cooked, remove a ladleful of the pasta water and set it aside in a bowl. 
  8. Drain the pasta, and return it to the pot you used to cook it.  Add the ragu sauce and stir it gently. Add the pasta water you set aside in the last step. 
  9. Serve with grated cheese.


Note: if you use dried mushrooms, soak them in the 3/4 C water and add them (and the water you soaked them in) after you add the stock.

White Ragu Papardelle Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Substitute bacon or pancetta for the sausage
  • Swap ground veal and pork for the beef and sausage
  • If you like venison or boar, those would work too
  • Add a few cloves of garlic and top with basil when you serve it
  • Don’t want sausage or beef? Use ground turkey instead (add a bit more fat to the pan)

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

One Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

Fall has finally shown up (at least briefly), so it’s time for hearty comfort food.  This Polish sausage and cabbage with potatoes recipe is both easy to make and filling.  It’s a great meal for a chilly autumn day.  There are only a few basic, everyday ingredients, but it still manages to be packed with flavor from rich sausage,  braised cabbage, buttery Yukon Gold potato, and sweet carrot.

And, as a bonus, you get your entire dinner cooked while only using a single pot. As far as I’m concerned, less cleaning and washing up is always a good thing.

The technique is really simple, and there’s not a lot of fiddling.  Basically, all you have to do to get a delicious dinner is to slice up and brown the sausage, add the veggies and broth, and then let the whole thing simmer slowly in the pot.

It takes less than an hour to make and you don’t have to stand over a hot stove while your dinner cooks.  You can go do something else instead.  For instance, you can pour yourself a glass of red wine and unwind from a long day or make a mug of hot, spiced apple cider.

It’s not fancy, or fussy, just good plain hearty food.

I used a Yukon gold potato, because they have a richer, more buttery flavor.  However, an Eastern potato (or white potato) will work too.  Avoid Russet (Idaho) potatoes, as they are best for baking (OK, I avoid them anyway because I don’t like them; they’re too floury).

One Pot Polish Sausage with Cabbage with Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Polish

one serving

Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoes

An easy, one pot dinner that's a great meal for a cool fall day.


  • 1 Polish sausage (or kielbasa), about 4-6 oz., cut in chunks
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into chunks
  • 1 potato, peeled and sliced


  1. Place a Dutch oven or medium saucepan on medium-low heat.
  2. Brown the sausage for five minutes. Then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions and garlic soften.
  3. Stir in the cabbage and chicken broth. Cover the pot and cook on low for about 10 minutes.
  4. Now add the carrot and potato and stir it all to combine. Cover the pot again and cook the whole thing on low for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and tender.


There should be enough fat from the sausage to cook the veggies, especially if you use pork kielbasa. If not, add a few teaspoons of cooking oil to the pan along with the onions and garlic.

Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes Substitutions and Variations

  • Try using bacon instead of the sausage
  • Swap the sliced potatoes for 4 oz of egg noodles (cook them separately, then add them at the end and toss everything together)
  • Season the dish with some paprika
  • If you’re out of chicken broth, you can use water instead
  • Add some cut up bell pepper

More Sausage and Cabbage Recipes

Quick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Small Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

How to Use Your Kitchenaid Mixer and Attachments

If you’ve got a Kitchenaid mixer, you know how great it is for mixing cookies (and the world’s best cheesecake), but did you know you can also use your Kitchenaid mixer attachments to grind your own meat (so you know exactly what’s in it), make sausage, or shred veggies?

And, the vegetable strainer/grinder is perfect for making your own applesauce or jam.

The best part? You don’t need to rush out and buy more appliances. All you have to do is add attachments to the Kitchenaid mixer you already have.

The beaters on a Kitchenaid use “planetary motion.” That means they move around the bowl, while at the same time spinning in the reverse direction on their own axis (sort of like the earth spins and moves around the sun).

The result looks a bit like a spirograph design. The good part is that this funny motion means it mixes faster and better than other mixers so you’ll need less time to prepare your recipes.

Using the Mixer’s Speed Control

  • Stir – use this when you first start mixing, to add dry ingredients to wet ones, and vice versa.
  • 2 – for slow mixing, to start mashing potatoes, and knead dough.
  • 4 – just the thing for making cookies, creaming sugar, and making meringues. You want to beat the ingredients, and combine them, without overmixing (or your batter will be the wrong texture). Use this speed with the grinder, slicer and strainer attachments.
  • 6 – beating and creaming – set your mixer on this speed for final mixing and to use the citrus juicer.
  • 8 – fast beating – for whipped cream
  • 10- super-fast whipping – at this speed, it goes around so fast you can hardly see it. Only use small amounts of cream or egg whites – or it will all go flying. Set on this speed for pasta and grinding grain.
You can also set the mixer in-between the set speeds, for finer control.

How to Use Your Kitchenaid Mixer Attachments

kitchenaid mixer attachment pack
KitchenAid Mixer Attachment Pack

If you want to save space (and a bit of money), get this all in one pack. It has a grinder, strainer, and a slicer. Use it to grind meat, make salsa, shred cabbage for cole slaw, cut up veggies for a party platter, or make baby food. And, it all takes up a lot less space than a food processor, a meat grinder, and a mandoline would.

Grind your own meat (no additives or fillers), shred cheese, or cut carrots in waffle-shapes, or make your own perfect cole slaw.

This set comes with the meat grinder (which has two settings, coarse and fine), a slicer/shredder, and a fruit and vegetable strainer.

Get a deal on meat at the market, take it home, grind your own burgers, and freeze them for later use. The slicer and shredder make short work of cheese, carrots, and potatoes. Use the strainer for applesauce, pasta sauce, or your own salsa.

How to Use Your Kitchenaid Mixer Grinder Attachment

kitchenaid mixer grinder attachment

KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment

    • This is great for grinding your own bread crumbs, grated hard cheese, or meat. Grinding your own meat is cheaper than buying it pre-ground. Plus, you know exactly what’s in it, and where it came from. You can see it in action on the image at the top of this page.

I use it to grind my own turkey and beef for meatballs, “unstuffed cabbage,” and burgers. It includes two grinding plates, one fine and one coarse. Both store right inside the grinder, so you won’t lose them.

Some reviewers said they found grease on the grinder when they bought it. I looked, saw a bit of it, and thoroughly cleaned it off. No problem, and nothing weird in the food.

Recipes Using the Kitchenaid Grinder Attachment

How to Make Sausage with Your Kitchenaid Grinder Attachment

Sausage Making Part 1

Sausage Making Part 2

Sausage Recipes and Tips for Your Kitchenaid

Fat is Essential for Sausages

If you don’t have enough fat, the sausages will taste like sawdust (yuck). 15 to 25% is best. Buy extra if necessary

bruce aidell sausage cookbookBruce Aidells’s Complete Sausage Book 

I don’t normally quote reviews, but this one is irresistible. A customer says, “…[T]he sausages were incredible. I practically ate the first batch of Italian sausage all of 3.5 lbs by myself.

I had the hardest time sharing it with my kids who stared at me drooling with those puppy eyes begging to have a taste of what Mama was eating. And when I have to use these sausages for a pasta dish for some visiting friends, I actually regretted inviting them over since I wanted to eat the sausages myself. That bad..and that good!!”

The book is well-written, with recipes that are easy to follow (and tweak – I love tweaking). Recipes include bratwurst, cajun andouille, sausage with apples. There are American recipes with international influences (Asian, German, and Spanish) and then recipes that include sausage (for breakfast, in soups, and in pasta.

Natural Hog Sausage Casings (two packages) 

If you’re going to make sausage, you need casings to put them in. The casings from butcher supply companies are meant for commercial operations — way too much for home use. These come in small lengths. Make sure to soak them and then rinse them before using (so you know they’re clean). It also helps stretch them out and reduces tearing. Don’t worry if you don’t use them up all at once, as they’ll last for years in the fridge.

Attachment for Cookies and Cheesecake

Kitchenaid mixer paddle attachmentNo special equipment needed; use the beater that came with your mixer.

Making Cookies with the Kitchenaid

This woman cracks me up.

Kitchenaid Cookie Recipes

kitchenaid mixer bible cookbook
The Mixer Bible: 300 Recipes For Your Stand Mixer

Now that you’ve got all those cool new Kitchenaid attachments (or even before), you’ll want to know how to use them. This book is packed with recipes for everything from appetizers to sausages, to desserts. There’s potato and cheese pierogies, orange and chocolate chip bundt cake, spinach and garlic dip, tomato and rice soup with basil, and well, I think I better stop now. Otherwise, I’m liable to jump through the computer to get the book.

How to Use Your Kitchenaid Strainer Attachment

kitchenaid mixer strainer attachment
kitchenaid mixer attachment (grinder and strainer)
KitchenAid Mixer Fruit & Vegetable Strainer and Grinder Set 


Use this to easily make your own applesauce, tomato juice, homemade jam, grind cheese and make salsa.  It’s a bit confusing  because Amazon has combined all the reviews for every attachment pack variation together (making it hard to tell which component the reviewers are actually reviewing!).

If you want to make applesauce, just cut the apples in quarters, cook them, and run them through the strainer.  The waste comes out separately, so no coring or peeling is necessary.  You can do this with tomatoes for tomato sauce or juice too (those need to be peeled).    This set comes with both the strainer and the grinder.

How to Assemble Your Kitchenaid Fruit and Vegetable Strainer

Kitchenaid Strainer Attachment Recipes

How to Use Your Kitchenaid Slicer/Shredder Attachment

use kitchenaid slicer/shredder attachment

kitchenaid mixer slicer/shredder attachment
KitchenAid RVSA Slicer/Shredder Attachment for Stand Mixers
This attachment includes four different slicer/shredder “cones”: you can make thin or thick slices of cheese or cold cuts, shred cabbage, onions, or hard cheeses (like Parmesan). Use it for cucumber slaw, cole slaw, potato chips, chocolate, or nuts. There is a bit of a trick to putting it together (see the video below).

Assembling the Kitchenaid Slicer/Shredder Attachment

Watch for that little notch.

Summer cole slaw – This recipe, from Kitchenaid’s New Zealand page is not your usual cole slaw; it has green beans, sultanas (golden raisins) and hazelnuts.

Conventional cole slaw – If you prefer the standard version, try this recipe.  I do think I’d cut the mayo a bit and replace some of it with sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Mushroom Onion Quiche – With a pre-made crust, this is a quick and easy meal.  I would buy two crusts, make two and pop one in the freezer.

Zucchini Bread – This recipe is very similar to the one that came with my Kitchenaid mixer. Use the slicer/shredder instead of a food processor (only one bowl and appliance to clean instead of two).

You can also grate cheese, make veggie chips (it’s a giant mandoline!) or shred potatoes for hash browns. Or, you could turn those sliced cucumbers into butter pickles.

Recipes Direct From Kitchen Aid

Lots of recipes here, including salsa (attach the grinder), apple crumb coffee cake, borscht (use the shredder), and pizza dough (second page).

 More Ways to Use Your Kitchenaid Mixer Attachments

Pasta Recipes
Bread Recipes
Ice Cream Recipes 


Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

I’ve mind melded two lentil soup recipes for this and added a few variations to make lentil bean sausage soup. I was going to make bean and sausage soup but looked in the cupboard and found I was woefully short on beans.  There just weren’t enough to make anything with.  But, I did have more lentils.  And, a friend was talking about the bean, sausage, and potato soup she was making.

That gave me an idea.  Bean, lentil, potato, and sausage, plus a bit of manchego rind for some savor (I’ve always wanted to try that, and I had a big bag of rinds in the fridge).

Manchego, parmesan, and romano cheese rinds are great, by the way, for soup or for grating cheese when there’s plenty left on the rind, but not enough to serve.

The nice thing about lentils is that unlike beans, you don’t have to soak them first to use them.

If you only have lentils, skip the beans entirely.  If you only have beans, use my quick soak method to speed up the process.

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: American

two to three servings

lentil bean sausage soup

Lentil bean sausage and potato soup. This is versatile and easy to make.


  • 2T olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced in one inch chunks
  • 1 spicy sausage
  • 3/4 C dried beans, soaked overnight (or use my quick soak method)
  • 1/4 C lentils, rinsed
  • 1 large potato, cut into chunks
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • slab of manchego or parmesan rind (about 2 inches across)


  1. Heat oil in dutch oven or large saucepan.
  2. Add the vegetables and cook on medium low until they wilt and soften, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the veggies and add the sausage. Cook 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils and beans to the pot, with water to cover by an inch or so
  5. Put the veggies back in the pot.
  6. Add the potato, the ham hock, bay leaf, thyme, and manchego rind
  7. Add salt and a grinding of pepper to taste
  8. Bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat and simmer for two hours.
  10. Discard the bay leaf.
  11. Remove the ham hock. Let it cool for a minute or two. Separate the meat from the fat and bone and return the meat to the pot.
  12. Serve hot.


Put the bay leaf in a tea ball so it's easier to retrieve. I have one that hooks over the edge of the pot.

You can vary this with all beans or all lentils or use bacon instead of sausage.

Ingredients and Tools for Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

2pcs Stainless Steel Mesh Tea Ball Strainer

Tea strainers are great for tea, but they also have a second use for making soup and other recipes.  Many recipes call for cheesecloth (which I’ve never seen in a store, and seems wasteful anyway).  Instead, I use the tea ball for bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, and herb mixtures that have to be added (and then removed) from soup or other recipes. Because, who wants to bite down into a peppercorn?!

The New York Times Cook Book
This cookbook was the source for part of the recipe. I have had my copy so long it’s falling apart. The soup section includes lentil, split pea, and the savory tomato soup which is the basis for my dad’s secret soup recipe.

The Silver Palate Cookbook
I’m on my second copy of this, and it’s time for a third! The other half of the soup recipe comes from the bean and sausage soup in this cookbook. The peasant vegetable is also wonderful, as is the six onion soup. Actually, I’ve never had a bad recipe from this one. Plus there are suggestions and variations for many of the recipes, which I like.

More Lentil and Bean Soup Recipes

Red Lentil Soup with Carrots

Lamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Pasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

This pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausage recipe is based on a recipe invented by Kimberly Chapman (from Eat the Evidence; she makes astonishing desserts and “Ace of Cakes” cakes too).

She had this wonderful English, locally raised bacon and fresh asparagus and decided to make pasta with it (her recipe is here).

It looked so good I wanted to try it.  But I didn’t have bacon (or asparagus).  I could have gone out and bought asparagus, but I’m not a huge asparagus fan, unless it’s drenched in Hollandaise sauce.  I did have some chicken sausage and frozen broccoli though.  So, I decided to follow her technique while changing the ingredients a bit.

I used chicken sausage instead of bacon, kept the mushrooms, added red bell pepper (as I had part of a pepper leftover from something else and had to use it up).  Then, I changed the cheese to Manchego instead of parmesan, because that’s also what I had on hand.

When your chunk of parmesan, Manchego, or other hard cheese gets hard to grate with a box grater, use a microplane instead.  You can also save the rinds (or even buy them at the market) and use them for soup. Just put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. They’ll keep indefinitely.

Back to the recipe, you essentially, cook the sausage (or bacon), add the veggies, then the pasta, some chicken broth, and top it all with grated cheese.

Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Peppers

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Continental

one serving

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausage

Pasta with broccoli, sausage, red peppers, and mushrooms. A quick and easy dinner for one.


  • 1/4 long pasta (such as spaghetti)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 link chicken sausage, cut into one inch chunks
  • 2 large mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C frozen broccoli
  • 1/4 C red bell pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 2T grated Manchego (or parmesan cheese)


  1. Fill a medium size saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta, and cook until al dente (about 10) minutes.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan.
  4. Cook sausage, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the sausage from the pan, but don't wipe the pan.
  6. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook five minutes until they start to brown.
  7. Put the frozen broccoli into the pan and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes..
  8. Pour in the chicken broth, and let the mixture cook a minute or two.
  9. Add the red pepper.
  10. Once the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the frying pan, tossing with tongs to combine all the ingredients.
  11. Grate the cheese over the pasta mixture and serve.


You can use regular sausage instead of chicken sausage; if you do, you'll need less olive oil. Mix and match the ingredients to suit your own taste. Vary the veggies, go back to bacon, or skip the meat and use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian.

More Pasta and Mushroom Recipes

Chicken with mushrooms and tarragon

Three cheese grilled cheese sandwich with mushrooms 

Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Quick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

This creole cabbage and sausage recipe is quick and easy to put together. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list.  The creole seasoning and the mustard are fairly easy to find.

If you can’t find them, or don’t want to buy a whole jar of something for one recipe, it’s pretty easy to make both from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

I’ve linked to recipes for both below.  I keep a repurposed jam jar of the creole seasoning in my cupboard so it’s ready when I need it.

I used a spicy chicken sausage here, but you could use andouille sausage or hot Italian sausage if you prefer.  Just cook it a bit more, and eliminate (or reduce) the first tablespoon of oil.

Quick Creole Red Cabbage and Sausage

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American

one serving

creole cabbage and sausage

Creole inspired dinner made with spicy mustard, sausage, and cabbage.


  • 2 T canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 spicy chicken sausage, cut up into slices about half an inch thick
  • 1/2 C onion, sliced
  • 1/2C red cabbage, sliced
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp creole seasoning
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 1 t creole mustard
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar


  1. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the chicken sausage slices to the pan and cook about two minutes, turning occasionally, so it browns and cooks evenly. Be careful not to overcook it, as the sausage will dry out.
  3. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside in a small bowl while you make the rest of the recipe.
  4. Add remaining oil, the creole seasoning, onion, cabbage, and thyme.
  5. Saute gently until vegetables start to wilt (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add the broth, creole mustard, and the vinegar.
  7. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
  8. Return the sausage to the pan. Simmer until the meat is heated through.
  9. I served this over some leftover rice (I always make extra so I can just zap it when I need it, and have rice in a minute or two).


I used spicy chicken sausage, but you can use andouille sausage if you like.

Here are links to recipes for the creole seasoning and the mustard. Just toss (or mix) ingredients together and you’re done.

Creole Seasoning Recipe

Creole Mustard Recipe

More Sausage and Cabbage Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Pasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Single Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

Small Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe