Saturday, February 25, 2012

Freezer Cooking~ Sausage & Lentil Stew

While Brian is working on a two weekend project, aka finally building a laundry/book shelf into an alcove of our bedroom I had a little time on my hands. I had two freezer meals that I wanted to make a hearty sausage and lentil stew and a four cheese macaroni bake. I decided to do the lentil stew since it used sausage that I needed to cook and freeze before it went bad in the fridge. The house smells delicious and it is so good I almost don't want to put it in the freezer!

Sausage and Lentil Stew 
5 mild Italian sausage links, cut into slices (because that is how many comes in a package, the original recipe I was following called for four, but who wants just one lone sausage sitting in the fridge or freezer)
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
8 cups chicken broth (I increased the broth from original recipe- so even though I used one extra sausage link the broth needed to be upped as well because otherwise it wouldn't have even qualified for a "stew" TRUST ME it will be thick enough!)
1 cup of dried lentils (I had yellow on hand so I used that)
1 cup of long-grain white rice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp Italian parsley minced, OR 1 tbsp dried parsley

1. Chop all veggies ahead of time and put in a bowl on the counter where you are working. In a big pot brown the sausage. Add veggies (kale, onion, green pepper) garlic, and half the broth. Cook for about 5 min.
2. Add lentils, rice, cumin, and remaining broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium, cover, and cook for 25 min. Rice will be cooked, lentils soft, and it will be thick. Add black pepper and parsley, stir to combine.

**To freeze, allow to cool and pour into a sealable plastic container.
**To cook (might want to put on a label for the freezer)
Thaw
1. empty soup into a large stockpot, if too thick add a cup or two more stock to desired thickness, heat over medium let simmer for 20 min.
2. Serve soup in large bowls, with crusty bread and a salad! Dinner served!

Original recipe found on Relish! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meatball Soup

So this soup couldn't be more easy, or more delicious! Molly right now is unsure of meatballs, she doesn't want to eat them. Which I have no idea why not but none the less there you have it. This was fairly simple, and it is a tomato and beef stock based soup vs a traditional chicken stock/Italian wedding style soup. I found it to be very good!

Meatball Soup
2 tbsp butter
4 carrots, chopped
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
3 tbsp parsley chopped
4 cups beef stock
2 cups water
3 tbsp onion soup mix (I buy mine in bulk this is how much I used, or you can just one one onion soup packet)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 38 oz package of frozen turkey meatballs (I used Italian style)
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese for topping.

1. In a big stock pot or dutch oven put butter, carrots and celery. Cook for about 5 min. on medium heat until softened.
2. Add onion soup mix to veggies and stir to combine (if you are using beef bouillon instead of actual stock add that now) then add tomatoes, parsley, water and stock. Stir to combine and then add seasoning; bay, basil, oregano and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 min.
3. Add defrosted meatballs to soup, cover and cook for an additional 10 min.
4. Serve with sprinkling of cheese on top.

Also I served this with garlic parmesan bread (canned biscuits jazzed up with garlic butter and shredded parmesan prior to baking)

Click here to go to the site that provided the original recipe Relish (a meal planning site that makes my life easier!)
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