White Bean and Italian Sausage Soup

1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked
3-4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 15 oz. can Great Northern or Cannellini beans, rinsed
1 15 oz. can Italian diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil or 4 minced leaves fresh basil
Pinch garlic powder
Fresh spinach

In a 2 qt. slow cooker, add first 6 ingredients. Cook on hi for 4-5 hours. Before serving, add fresh spinach, stir till wilted.

*It certainly doesn’t need to be slow-cooked — that was just easiest for me. The recipe I adapted it from just simmered it on the stove for 30-40 min.


Lemon-Parmesan Spaghetti and Meatballs

lemon-spaghettiI make this frequently. Would also be good with chicken or shrimp.

Ground Italian sausage formed into meatballs
Spaghetti (or your choice of pasta)
Salt and pepper
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (dried will work)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions listed on package, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage meatballs, season with salt and pepper and brown.

Toss drained pasta in with browned meatballs along with 1/3 cup reserved water, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add more water 1 tbsp at a time as needed. Toss in 2 Tbsp of basil and then sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and remaining 1 Tbsp of basil. Serve warm.

Optional: I added cherry tomatoes to this once and it was great.

“To the Sacred Heart of Jesus”

One of my favorite saints writes about my confirmation saint + Jesus.

At the holy sepulchre, Mary Magdalene,
Searching for her Jesus, stooped down in tears.
The angels wanted to console her sorrow,
But nothing could calm her grief.
Bright angels, it was not you
Whom this fervent soul came searching for.
She wanted to see the Lord of the Angels,
To take him in her arms, to carry him far away.

Close by the tomb, the last one to stay,
She had come well before dawn.
Her God also came, veiling his light.
Mary could not vanquish him in love!
Showing her at first his Blessed Face,
Soon just one word sprang from his Heart,
Whispering the sweet name of: Mary,
Jesus gave her back her peace, her happiness.

O my God, one day, like Mary Magdalene,
I wanted to see you and come close to you.
I looked down over the immense plain
Where I sought the Master and King,
And I cried, seeing the pure wave,
The starry azure, the flower, and the bird.
“Bright nature, if I do not see God,
You are nothing to me but a vast tomb.”

I need a heart burning with tenderness
Who will be my support forever,
Who loves everything in me, even my weakness…
And who never leaves me day or night.”
I could find no creature
Who could always love me and never die.
I must have a God who takes on my nature
And becomes my brother and is able to suffer!

You heard me, only Friend whom I love.
To ravish my heart, you became man.
You shed your blood, what a supreme mystery!…
And you still live for me on the Altar.
If I cannot see the brilliance of your Face
Or hear your sweet voice,
O my God, I can live by your grace,
I can rest on your Sacred Heart!

O Heart of Jesus, treasure of tenderness,
You Yourself are my happiness, my only hope.
You who knew how to charm my tender youth,
Stay near me till the last night.
Lord, to you alone I’ve given my life,
And all my desires are well known to you.
It’s in your ever-infinite goodness
That I want to lose myself, O Heart of Jesus!

Ah! I know well all our righteousness
Is worthless in your sight.
To give value to my sacrifices,
I want to cast them into your Divine Heart.
You did not find your angels without blemish.
In the midst of lightning you gave your law!…
I hide myself in your Sacred Heart, Jesus.
I do not fear, my virtue is You!…

To be able to gaze on your glory,
I know we have to pass through fire.
So I, for my purgatory,
Choose your burning love, O heart of my God!
On leaving this life, my exiled soul
Would like to make an act of pure love,
And then, flying away to Heaven, its Homeland,
Enter straightaway into your Heart.
-by St Thérèse of Lisieux


Christ Appearing To Magdalene: Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov

Brussels Sprouts With Warm Bacon Dressing

brusselsThis is delicious and the only way you’ll ever get me to eat brussels sprouts!

Ingredients for 4-6 servings:
1 1/4 pound Brussels sprouts (will make about 1 lb. trimmed and sliced)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 oz bacon, sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 lemon juiced
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne

Slice each Brussels sprout in half, cut each half into into strips, and discard the cores. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir bacon until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in cider vinegar, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Increase heat to high and boil for 1 minute.
Pour hot bacon mixture over the bowl of Brussels sprouts and toss to coat completely. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Slow Cooked Green Beans

My favorite recipe:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 pounds fresh green beans
2 quarts chicken stock or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, bacon, and onions and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the green beans and chicken stock; season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and cook the green beans until they are soft but not mushy, about 30 to 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pork Chops (or Chicken) With Mustard-Caper Sauce

The following recipe comes from my Weight Watchers 20 Minute Recipes cookbook. It also goes great with chicken (pictured right with some grape tomatoes thrown in at the last minute).

8x 2oz boneless thin cut pork loin chops
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
1/4 c chopped shallots
1c dry white wine or chicken broth
2 TB dijon mustard
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 TB capers, drained
1 TB chopped fresh parsley

Sprinkle pork chops evenly with salt and half of pepper.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over med-hi heat. Coat with cooking spray, and add pork. Cook 3 min on each side. Remove from pan, set aside, cover to keep warm.

Add shallots to pan, saute until soft. Add remaining pepper, wine, and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil, cook 2 min or until reduced by half. Return pork to pan, cook 1-2 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with sauce over pork.

Yield: 4 servings (2 chops each), 4 points

(174 cal, 6.4g fat, 0.3 g fiber)

Collard Greens w/ Turkey Bacon

I’m sure there are thousands of different ways to make these. This is my favorite way:

Saute 1/2 onion + 7 slices of turkey bacon

Add in 2 lbs. fresh collards + handful sliced/chopped carrots + seasoned salt + a little bit of water (maybe 1/2-3/4 cup?)

Bring to a boil, turn down, cover and steam for 40 min. — or more, depending on how mushy you like your collards.

Roasted Red Pepper, Potato Soup

A great meatless meal for your Lenten Friday! The lemon really makes this soup. I added a little extra…and nixed the cilantro.

From Taste of Home:


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) roasted sweet red peppers, undrained and chopped
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 cups diced peeled potatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced, fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed


  • In a large saucepan, saute onions in oil until tender. Stir in the roasted peppers, chilies, cumin, salt and coriander. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in potatoes and broth; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Cool slightly. In a blender, process the cream cheese and half of the soup until smooth. Return all to pan and heat through. Yield: 6 servings.

Flavorful Italian Soup

Made this last night – it was WONDERFUL!! Below is the recipe without measurements for some of the spices and ingredience.  I modified it from a recipe just for two, so eyeballed it until I thought it was enough. 🙂 Highly recommend trying this. I absolutely loved it!!

•    Italian Sausage links, casing removed
•    2 cans (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
•    2 cups water
•    cubed peeled potatoes
•    chopped carrots
•    chopped onion
•    canned sliced mushrooms
•    dried basil
•    Italian seasoning
•    1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
•    Dash celery seed
•    Dash garlic salt
•    broken uncooked spaghetti (however much you feel like using)
•    Crumble sausage into a large saucepan; cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain. Add the broth, water vegetables and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
•    Add spaghetti. Cover and simmer until spaghetti and vegetables are tender.

Sauerkraut Sausage Soup

Got this cookin’ right now! My mouth is watering already…

From Taste of Home:


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound smoked Polish sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 can (16 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1-1/2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1-1/4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Yield: 10 servings.