We came back from vacation and were greeted at the the airport by my mother (who was dog sitting for us) and a chilly and wet 5 a.m. Los Angeles morning. Nothing says welcome home like shitty weather. After getting a couple more hours of much needed sleep I was then greeted with the question: What are you making for dinner tonight?
Cold+wet+empty kitchen = takeout (usually). Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to be getting away with that this time. Mom declared that she wanted a hearty soup for dinner. Oh yeah, it better be one of my healthy soup recipes too. After eating delicious but mostly unhealthy vacation food, I could hear Craig groan from the other room (it seems that someone hit his food limit while on vacation). I decided that I would meet both of these requirements by making a sausage soup. Sorry, I said sausage and healthy in the same breath.
<grabbing soapbox> Actually, I’m not sorry! Why should I have to apologize for putting the words creamy, sausage AND healthy in the same sentence? I realize that we’re used to eating our sausage fried and slathered in buttered onions and peppers while tucked into a huge bun or swimming in a bath of white sauce for sausage and biscuits. But with a bit of creativity, it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not suggesting that you eat “veggie” sausage (that’s not sausage), begin to eat only lean sausage or even make your own. I made this using good ol’ Johnsonville Brats. But by cooking and draining the sausage you can eliminate a good amount of fat and then combining it with other healthy ingredients you can create a healthy recipe from a seemingly “bad for you” ingredient.
I’ve revealed my secret for making food healthy before: oven roasted vegetables. Specifically I am referring to that versatile vegetable, cauliflower. I’ve used roasted cauliflower to make a vegan sauce and to make a creamy soup without using any cream. Oven roasted vegetables have a sweetness that their fresh or steamed counterparts just don’t have. The high heat, used in oven roasting, brings out the natural sugars in the vegetables and that golden brown hue that the vegetables get is their sugar caramelizing. Once again, I’m using the magic cauliflower to make this sausage soup healthy and creamy.
While mom helped me prep everything for this soup, she kept asking me how the soup was so creamy. “I understand how you made this a hearty soup – it’s got potatoes and sausage in it, but how did you get it so creamy?” No matter how many times I tried to explain to her that I roasted the cauliflower and then pureed it, she insisted that there must be a ton of butter and cream in it. Insist all I want, but mom wasn’t budging when I told her that she could put this into her healthy soup recipes folder. (When my mom comes to our house, she grabs my cookbooks and starts copying recipes. I think her suitcase has an extra couple of pounds just from all of her recipe papers.)
Halloween is a holiday where creativity takes center stage…well, along with a lot of exposed boobs and asses (take those words any way you like). So what are you going to dress up as this year? A hobo? A farmer? A ghost? Snooki? The Situation? A witch? A slut? A slutty witch? A slutty Alice in Wonderland? A slutty Lady Gaga (an oxymoron for sure)?
Halloween is the one night a year that women feel they can let their inner slut out of her corseted closet. And in case you weren’t sure if you should, just try and find a costume that isn’t slutty – I dare you. I get it…women want to be admired when they go out – I’m guilty too but there’s a fine line between being admired and being slobbered on.
I’ve got no problem with slutting it up on Halloween. If it weren’t for our uptight conservative mentality, a woman could wear a shorter skirt (whenever she wants) just because she has great legs and wants to show them off, without being self conscious all day wondering what everyone is thinking about her for wearing that skirt. The reality is hemlines and heel height matter, if you want to be taken seriously.
But Halloween is the one night where we’re expected to dress like someone or something that we’re not (or at least what people don’t know about us). So go ahead…let your freak flag fly! If people want to judge you for the way that you’re dressed, let them. If they think you want to sleep with 20 guys, based on the way that you’re dressed, let them think that. If they try to act on that thought, then it’s up to you to set them straight (whatever straight means to you).
Creamy Cauliflower and Sausage Soup Recipe
- 1 Large Head Cauliflower (chopped into 1″ pieces)
- 1 Large Onion (chopped)
- 2 Cloves Garlic (cut in half)
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Pound Red Skinned Potatoes (cut into 3/4″ dice)
- 5 Cups Chicken Broth (plus more if needed)
- 1 19.76 Ounce Package Original Johnsonville Brats (remove casings)
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Green Onions (chopped)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
Divide cauliflower, onions and garlic between 2 half sheet baking pans. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto each baking sheet. Use your hands to make sure that all vegetable pieces are coated in oil. Spread pieces evenly on pans.
Bake for 40 minutes or until edges brown and pieces are soft. Remove from oven.
While roasting the vegetables, Pour chicken stock into a large saucepan. Add potatoes and cook over low heat until potatoes are tender (approximately 20-30 minutes).
Remove half of the potatoes to a bowl and set aside.
Ad brats to a large saute pan. Brown the meat over medium high heat. Stir to break up pieces.
Once meat is cooked through, remove from heat and pour meat onto a paper towel lined plate (use a double thickness of paper towels to absorb more fat).
Pour roasted vegetables (and oil) into the saucepan with the chicken broth and half of the potatoes.
Using an immersion blender (stick blender) puree the vegetables. (I like my soups thick, but if the consistency of the soup is too thick for you, add more chicken stock until you reach the desired thickness.)
Add the reserved potatoes and drained meat into the saucepan. Stir to thoroughly combine.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with shredded cheese and green onions for garnish.
*If you don’t have a stick blender you can put the soup into a regular blender to puree. Just make sure you vent the lid really well (hot foods expand when blended and if the lid is not vented, the hot soup will end up all over you and your kitchen).