Pasta with Kale, Sausage, and Mushrooms

I love pasta dishes and I especially love it when I can incorporate enough vegetables to feel like I don’t need to cook an extra vegetable side dish.  In this recipe I add an entire (small) bunch of kale and mushrooms (I know, these are technically not veggies) and I feel like that’s the perfect healthy balance to the sausage, pasta, and other ingredients.  I ended up just making this a one dish meal.  I didn’t serve any other sides and everyone was full after a serving or two.

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Sausage Kale and White Bean Soup

Today’s recipe is perfect for cold fall days.  It’s made with smoked sausage, in-season kale, and white beans.  To boost the nutrition I also added in some onion, carrots, and celery.  This soup is super simple to throw together. Start by browning some smoked sausage slices, such as kielbasa or even andouille if you prefer a little spice.  (I used Kroger’s nitrate free Simple Truth brand kielbasa.)  Set aside the sausage and, in the same pot, simmer some kale and veggies in chicken broth. After the kale has wilted, add the beans and sausage back to the pot, season, and cook until heated through. Serve with some freshly grated Parmesan on top, if you wish. Warm, filling, healthy, and delicious!

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Kale Salad With Warm Maple Bacon Vinaigrette

We’ve been eating kale salads for a while.  Pretty much every time I make one my husband says that bacon would make the salad even better.  So tonight I finally took his advice and added bacon.  Not only did I add bacon, I decided to use the bacon grease to make a warm maple bacon vinaigrette dressing to top the salad.  I did a little searching to get some inspiration and I think I came up with a winner.  My husband has a serious aversion to vinegar so I had to be careful how much I used for this recipe.  I added a little lemon juice to make up for the decrease in the vinegar that most recipes suggest.  In addition to bacon, the salad is topped with Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans.  Because I made this as a main dish I didn’t skimp on the cheese and nuts.  If you want to make this recipe as more of a side dish you could always decrease those ingredients to keep it lighter.

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