In my last post I mentioned that I had gone back to planning dinner menus for the week. Planning the menu in advance saves me time and money. It also helps make sure that I don’t serve tacos twice a week. Which I would absolutely do if Mr. Hippie would let me get away with it. If I plan the menu on the weekend, or Mr. Hippie’s day off, we can get a bunch of prep done when we have more time.
This week’s menu looked like this:
- Saturday: Taco Salad
- Sunday: Sausage and White Bean Soup with cornbread
- Monday: Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- Tuesday: New Year’s! Potluck at a friend’s; we’re bringing dessert, so I’m off the hook for dinner.
- Wednesday: Pulled Pork Tacos
- Thursday: Hot Dogs and Tater Tots
- Friday: Brined Chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans
Saturday was cooking day! I started by soaking white beans. Next I pulled the ground beef for the taco salad, pork roast for the pork tacos and the whole chicken out of the freezer so that they could thaw. After that I started making my chicken stock.
While the stock simmered, I made a vat (two, 1 lb. boxes worth) of macaroni and cheese. I filled 6, pint containers with plain mac ‘n’ cheese and then stirred the last of our leftover Crock Pot ham into the pan and filled 3, pint containers with ham mac ‘n’ cheese. There are 6 pints of pasta in the fridge ready for tonight’s dinner and the leftover ham is cleared out of the fridge. Plus I have three extra containers of mac ‘n’ cheese in the freezer for lunches later.
Once the macaroni was packed up, I started the Sausage and White Bean soup.
I love this soup because it utilizes leftovers if you have them, or it can be made without leftovers if you just want soup.
Sausage and White Bean Soup
1 tablespoon-ish olive oil
1 onion, diced finely
2 carrots, rustic-chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
3-5 leftover bratwurst or polish sausage chopped into bite-sized chunks, or 1 lb. bulk sausage
one whole chipotle in adobo, a chopped fresh jalapeno, or chili powder to taste
1 quart canned, chopped tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups soaked, cooked white beans (or canned white beans)~ I cook my beans while I’m prepping everything else.
Add oil to a hot, large, heavy-bottomed pan.
Add onion and saute until onions “sweat” and become translucent.
Add carrots and celery and saute for 3-5 minutes over medium heat stirring constantly.
Add the chopped sausage or fresh bulk sausage. Cook until chopped sausage is heated through or bulk sausage is fully cooked.
Add chile and stir until well blended.
Add stock and tomatoes and simmer until soup reduces slightly and flavors have time to blend.
Add beans and cook until heated through.
At this point I jarred the soup up to serve the next day and started my taco salad, but you could serve the soup immediately if you preferred.