Sausage and Kale Cassoulet

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So I just want to start off by saying thank you so much for all of your kind words and comments on my last post. I can’t even begin to describe what an amazing feeling it is to read all of the positive and personal things that you took the time to write out to me. You are the best, thank you!

I’m definitely feeling a lot better about everything right now, although the past few days have been hilariously nightmarish. On Saturday I willingly went with my friend Alex to try out a circuit fitness class. Holy crap, let’s just say that it was an hour of pure torture involving several jumping squats amongst other cardio/weight training exercises. I felt relatively fine afterwards, but the next morning, the day Alex and I were supposed to do a 5 km race, I honestly woke up in bed and just lay there because any slight movement caused such severe muscle pain. Anyways I forced myself to get up and managed to do the 5km run (can I add that it was -16°C outside?!), here’s a happy picture of Alex and I before the run:

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I’m not sure how I managed to run 5km in the state my body was in, but I’ve pretty much been limping around everywhere ever since, and it still hurts for me to do the simplest things like sit down and cross my legs. Ouch.

Now I’m not sure how cold it’s been where you live, but where I am it’s been freezing all week and just yesterday the sky opened up and dumped a lot of snow on us. It’s been so crummy outside that all I want to do is stay inside where it’s warm and eat this sausage and kale cassoulet, which is pretty much comfort in a bowl. Essentially a poor man’s stew, beans, sausage and kale compliment each other quite nicely and makes for a really filling and healthy meal. If you have snow like we do, this stew is a great way to keep warm!

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Kale and Sausage Cassoulet

Ingredients:
1/2 lb (8 oz) dry great northern beans
1 medium yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 whole bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 bunch kale

Directions:
Pick through the dry beans to remove any stones, debris, or bad beans. Place them in a bowl and cover with cool water. Let soak in the refrigerator over night.

The next day, chop the onion and peel the garlic cloves. Place both in the bottom of a slow cooker. Drain off the beans, rinse them briefly, and add them to the slow cooker as well. Place two sausage links on top of the beans and add the bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Pour the can of diced tomatoes and chicken broth over top of everything.

Place the lid on the slow cooker, turn the heat on to high, and cook for 4 hours.

After four hours, the beans should be tender. Remove the bay leaf. Tear the kale leaves from their stems and tear them into small pieces. Place the torn leaves in a colander and rinse well. Stir the kale into the slow cooker until it has wilted down. Remove the sausage, slice into pieces, and then return them to the slow cooker. Taste the cassoulet and add salt and pepper if desired (I didn’t need to add either). Serve hot.

—SOURCE—
Budget Bytes

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Mushroom, Chicken and Soba Noodle Soup

I’m a huge fan of soba noodles, they somehow satisfy a serious carb craving without making you feel like you just ate a heavy meal afterwards. Growing up, I was lucky to have a mom who made a lot of authentic, Japanese-style home-cooked meals. One of my favourite meals was always chilled soba noodles in a light soy-flavoured sauce with a sprinkling of dried nori seaweed on top. Although I’ll always love that classic way to enjoy these buckwheat noodles on a hot summer day, the world of food blogging has opened me up to so many different ways of preparing soba noodles, and I’m happy to say that this soup won’t disappoint. It’s healthy and flavourful and oh so good. If you love soba noodles as I much as I do, you should also check out this sesame soba noodle salad..yum!

Mushroom, Chicken and Soba Noodle Soup
Yield: about 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2½ cups mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (shiitake or cremini)
4 scallions, sliced, with white and green parts separated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. grated fresh ginger (peeled)
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
6 oz. soba noodles
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
12 oz. baby bok choy, ends trimmed
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
Heat the oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, white scallion parts, garlic and ginger to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.

Add the soba noodles to the pot and cook at a boil for 5 minutes.  Stir in the shredded chicken and bok choy and cook 2 minutes more, until noodles are tender and bok choy is wilted and slightly softened.  Stir in the lime juice and soy sauce.  Adjust seasoning with kosher salt if needed.  Top with scallion greens.  Serve warm.

—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats, slightly adapted from Kitchen Confidante

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