Sausage and Spinach Soup

Who doesn’t like sausage?  For a special day, I treat myself to sausage links for breakfast.  On an ordinary grocery shopping day, it’s hard to pass up the sausage on a baguette at Costco.  When I make spaghetti, I don’t use beef to include the sauce.  I instead use…you guessed it…SAUSAGE.  What a difference it makes in the taste and flavor!  (I will post my sausage spaghetti recipe in the near future to this blog.)

I’m also a huge fan of spinach.  I add spinach to a breakfast shake, when I have salad I make it with spinach, etc.  Spinach has an amazing amount of iron, too, so it’s bountiful in it’s nutritional benefits.

So I decided to combine my favorite meat and my favorite green…in a soup.  The results? AMAZING.  The soup is so yummy that my husband and I each eat two bowls of the soup in one sitting.

When you cook with spinach, the trick is to not overcook it, so in this recipe we will add the spinach at the very end.  Plus this way it keeps its nice bright green color.  The soup is healthy and “pretty”-looking.

sausage-spinach-pot3

Ingredients:

1 pound of Johnsonville Hot Italian ground sausage (or similar hot sausage)
2 cups of spinach, diced
3 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 cup Rotini pasta
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large non-stick pot, thoroughly cook the sausage on medium-high. Add the garlic powder while cooking.
  2. Drain liquid from sausage.
  3. In the same pot, in medium heat add chicken broth, water, corn starch, oregano and salt and boil for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Reduce to low-medium heat and add pasta for 12 minutes uncovered.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately add spinach.  Mix in the spinach well.

Makes  4 servings.

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Low Fat Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bars

I am a sucker for rich and creamy desserts, the ones that especially have some chocolate in them.  But I often find that desserts fitting this profile are high in fat and carbs.  Makes sense, considering that rich and creamy products often include butter, heavy cream or milk in their list of ingredients.

Then I discovered that banana and peanut butter are a killer combination for getting the rich and creamy effect.  Although banana in itself is high in carbs, when mixed with other “do gooder” ingredients the final carb count per serving can be offset by the low carbs found in the rest of the ingredients.  The trick is to find tasty low carb ingredients to complement the sweet tooth, high carb banana taste.

This is one of those “other” ingredients. Have you heard of JustGreatStuff?  Their products include organic powdered peanut butter.  The peanut butter has about the same carb count when compared to traditional, non-powdered peanut butter, but it only has 1.5 g of fat, which is 14.5 g less than the normal stuff.  On it’s own, JustGreatStuff peanut butter isn’t that tasty but it works wonders as an ingredient for recipes!  They also have a version that is a blend of peanut butter and chocolate, and in this recipe we will use both powdered peanut butter types.

The result is a chocolatey, peanut buttery bar amazing in taste, moisture, shelf life, and nutrition.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bars

Ingredients:

7 ripe medium bananas
1 cup creamy peanut butter + 2 tablespoons (for greasing)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup powdered organic JustGreatStuff Peanut Butter (or similar)
1/2 cup powdered organic JustGreatStuff Chocolate Peanut Butter (or similar)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13″ x 9″ casserole pan with peanut butter.
2. In a food processor, blend 2-3 bananas. Once creamy, blend in the rest of the bananas in increments of 2 to 3.
3. Blend in the peanut butter.
4. Blend in the cocoa, then the powdered peanut butter, and finally the powdered chocolate peanut butter.
5. Pour batter into the pan. Smooth out any bumps with a spatula.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Makes 20 servings.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1; Calories: 64; Fat: .9 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 29.4 mg; Potassium: 225.5 mg; Carbohydrates: 13.2 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 6.6 g; Protein: 2.4 g