Lingering Holiday Hangover?
Yeah, me too…only it’s not the kind that makes your head pound and your bed spin from consuming too many glasses of vino. It’s the kind that makes you crave every kind of ooey, gooey homey comfort food and baked good - a holiday food hangover. It happens to me every January. I manage to keep a balanced diet right up until our little Christmas Eve appetizer party, then I let loose and indulge in all our yummy traditions, mmm…bacon wrapped nibblers, queso dip, pigs in a blanket, pot stickers…that one night pretty much dissolves any willpower I was clinging to and before I know it, our family dinner table is flowing with chicken and dumplings, cookies, lasagna, cookies, macaroni and cheese, cookies…it’s like being on a merry-go-round of luscious comforting meals and sugary treats. And it’s oh so good until the jeans threaten not to button. Damn.
Well it’s February now and thanks to this polar vortex, over a week of snow days, the ice storm and ensuing power outages, my hangover (much like the school year) has been extended. In order to avoid the shame of extending my waistband, it’s time to curb the cravings. My plan is to find delicious ways to cut back. When I want something sweet, I’ll eat unsweetened dried & freeze dried fruits. (Trader Joe’s mangoes are my favorites!) No, they are not as good as an Oreo-wrapped-in-cookie-dough-baked-in-a-brownie and yes they still have calories, but they satisfy my sweet craving in a more natural way and eventually I won’t crave anything sweet. For dinner, it’s time to insert more lean proteins, veggies and whole grains. To keep that homey, comfort food feel, I’ll combine all those healthy ingredients in a steamy pot of soup.
My Italian Turkey Sausage, Bean & Farro Florentine Soup is just the thing to start nudging my menu back to the more balanced side. It has lean turkey sausage, protein packed cannellini beans, fiber rich farro and spinach. I’m going to serve it with some whole grain bread and a salad. Mmm!
Italian Turkey Sausage, Bean & Farro Florentine Soup Steps:
Italian Turkey Sausage, Bean & Farro Florentine Soup Recipe:
Christina Verrelli, epicuricloud.com
Time: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 links (about 12-ounces) fresh Italian turkey sausage
½ cup sweet onion, chopped
½ cup carrot, chopped
½ cup celery chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or ¾ teaspoon fresh)
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary (or ¾ teaspoon fresh)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1/3 cup farro
2 cups baby spinach, stems removed
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley
Parmesan cheese for topping
Heat oil in pot (4 quart or larger) over medium heat. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the pan in bite-sized pieces. Brown the sausage in the pot for about 5 minutes, break up any pieces that are too large. Remove browned sausage to a plate. Add onions, carrot, celery and garlic to pot and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Stir in thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Add the sausage back to the pot. Pour in the broth and add the beans. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the farro, reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach and parsley and cook for about 10 more minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese for topping.