Saturday, March 03, 2007

Yes, Cans

You may have noticed that I often use canned tomatoes and beans, and (occasionally) broth . . . On some of the more (ahem) upscale foodie blogs, canned ingredients are shunned. Let's shun those snobs! Canned tomatoes are a great wintertime staple. I'd just as soon eat my hat as one of those pinky-white fleshed winter "beefsteaks". Of course cherry and grape tomatoes are good winter substitutes as well.

In addition to being generally healthy (watch the sodium content) and tasty, cans are convenient as can be. Cooking Light has a great issue this month, featuring meals that can be quickly thrown together on a really busy weeknight. Perfect! Aside from the aforementioned canned goods, these "quick" recipes also call for bottled minced garlic and ginger or prechopped vegetables to shave minutes off projected cook-times.

I don't use these items. I don't see how it's worth it to spend the extra money to have my deliciously mindless end-of-a-long-day prep work done for me. While I do have my lovely new Cuisinart, I generally don't use it for tasks as quickly run though as chopping an onion. More often than not after a long workday I find it comforting and stress-relieving to prep the ingredients for our dinner. This recipe is great for busy days, and makes plenty (leftovers!). It's from this month's Cooking Light with only a couple of changes.

Sausage and Spinach Soup
10 oz. hot Italian chicken sausage
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1 15-oz. can small white beans (Goya brand) - cannellini would work too
1 14.5-oz. can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 14-oz. can reduced-sodium chicken broth (or homemade stock, if you have it around)
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Pecorino romano cheese, grated

Remove casings from sausage. Cook with a little oil or cooking spray (I use oil) in a large dutch oven or saucepan until browned. Break up sausage with spatula or spoon. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes (I simmered mine for about 15) or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, stir in spinach and basil. Serve sprinkled with cheese.


Anonymous said...

i forgot to tell you that i made this today! it is awesome! i used a small dutch oven, added oregano, and an extra cup of spinach. freezing here in VA, this was a great dinner, and so fast! - andrea

wellunderstood said...

it is good, isn't it? i also took the opportunity to use more spinach; i always seem to have a bag of baby spinach in the back of the fridge. thanks for chatting last night. still dark, but you know . . . getting better.