What's for dinner

For the majority of my adult life, I've disliked cooking. But because I'm a bit picky about my food, and I had a family who needed to eat, I cooked. And slowly (SO VERY SLOWLY), I've come to appreciate and even enjoy the process. Sometimes I even cook just because I have a brand new cookbook, and I want to see how things will turn out. It's a choose-your-own-adventure with real food at the end! What could be better?

Last week I hit on a perfect weeknight dinner. The weeknight dinner, for me, is tricky. It needs to be tasty (and sure, nutritional), but it cannot take more than 30 minutes to put together. Sterling and Parker raved about this meal. I think Parker has asked for it every day since, and IT HAS KALE IN IT. So, make this soon. It has miraculous properties.

Quick sausage, kale, and crouton saute
from Smitten Kitchen Every Day


I feel like Pioneer Woman 'pioneered' this picture of all of the ingredients. But actually, this is simply practicing mise en place -- which means GET YO STUFF TOGETHER. This makes cooking, especially a new recipe, easier. Pull together the ingredients. Chop, drain, wash -- get all of that stuff out of the way first. Plus, it makes pretending that you are hosting your own cooking show WAY easier.


The process is simple (the full recipe is listed below). First off, toast your bread -- this is ciabatta. You want a rustic, sturdy bread that will dry out a bit and become, well, a crouton.


Then scooch those golden crouton to the side and brown some sweet Italian sausages (casings removed). The sausage is a bit tough to crumble at first, so this is a perfect opportunity to get rid of some pent up aggressions. Stab the sausage with your spatula! You can do it!


Throw in the kale and contemplate what a healthy person you are -- cuz you are cooking with KALE.


Once the kale starts to wilt, add the white beans and get them all warm and toasty. This is the part where you add the red wine vinegar to get the tasty bits off the bottom. It's important!


Sprinkle with parmesan and ring the dinner bell! You're done! And it's soooooo tasty.

Here's the full story (check out Smitten Kitchen's website for more goodness):

Olive oil
2 cups (60 grams) 1-inch cubes of sturdy white bread (such as sourdough, ciabatta)
1/2 pound (225 grams) fresh sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
3/4 cup (200 grams) cooked white beans (about half a 15.5-ounce can)
2 big handfuls (or more, to taste) torn curly kale leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Grated parmesan (optional)

Heat two glugs of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread cubes and toast, stirring, until lightly browned and mostly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Push the croutons aside and add another glug to the pan, then the garlic and sausage meat. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small bits, until browned all over. Add the greens and cook until they begin to wilt, then add the beans and warm through. Season well with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add vinegar to the pan and use it to scrape up any stuck bits. Scrape the saute into bowls, finish with cheese if desired, and inhale.

[NOTES: I didn't include the red vinegar part in my pictures. Don't skip that! It adds an incredible brightness to the finished product. Also, the recipe says this makes 2 large or 4 small servings. I doubled the recipe for Sterling, Parker and myself. But keeping in mind that Parker is a 16-year-old boy -- I might even 2 1/2 times it on the next go round.