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Kielbasa Stew (or Bean Stew if you Prefer)

One of my go to recipes is Kielbasa Stew. It was modified from a recipe I found on a can of beans, originally called “Cannellini Florentine,” which is odd in that there are more kidney beans than cannellini beans. I guess cannellini sounds more appetizing? At any rate, my husband suggested adding kielbasa, because, why not. I also took out some ingredients that didn’t add any flavor or texture to the soup, which made it an easier and cheaper meal to make.

This soup is hearty, yummy, and pretty cheap to make. It’s good after 20 minutes, it’s good when it’s simmered in the crockpot, and it’s good as leftovers. It almost makes a lot, so if you’re entertaining, just make (or buy) a nice loaf of crusty bread to go with.

The kielbasa can be omitted, and you can replace the chicken broth with veggie broth and you’ve got yourself some hearty vegan fare. You can also replace the spinach with kale if you’re an absolute monster who hates delicious things.

Kielbasa is pretty cheap, and usually there’s a two for one deal at my grocery store, so I always pick up a couple kielbasa (insert “just like college” joke here). As the saying goes, a kielbasa in hand is worth two in the fridge. I think that’s right.

heavy-breathing

Kielbaaasaaaa

And away we go…

Kielbasa Stew (or Bean Stew for the vegan crowd)

  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package kielbasa (I usually go for the Turkey version, the horseshoe link size that’s always with the bacon), sliced into coins. Omit if you’re doing vegan option
  • 3 cans chicken broth (veggie broth for vegan), this is flexible too
  • 1 can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can cannelinni beans, drained and rinsed
  • brick of frozen spinach, or handfuls of fresh spinach, eyeball it

Brown the kielbasa in a soup pot, 5 quart size should be fine. Set the kielbasa aside and saute the onion and garlic in some oil (whatever kind you want). Once the onion is soft, add back in the kielbasa. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the spinach is soft.

You can adjust the broth and spinach to your liking. I find it easy just to plop one of those frozen bricks in there.

Here’s some I had left night for leftovers. There’s not as much broth because when I made the soup I just used some leftover broth, so it wasn’t as much as normal. Still tasted fantastic!

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Refer to it as “rustic” and people will think you’re really fancy. And yes, I grossly mistreat my butcher block counter top.

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Cooking on a budget…a really tight budget

A couple times a year I find that I need to cut some fat outta the ole budget. Being as our family budget is already pretty lean, the first place I go is our grocery bill. High times for us are marked by good beer, fancy people snacks, and random sh*t I try once, decide I don’t like, then throw in the back of the pantry. I’m looking at you $12 bag of chia seeds. That was not chocolate chia pudding, that was seedy phlegm.

chia_seeds

Chia seeds help control your appetite because they are so f*cking gnarly you don’t want to eat them.

I find that there are a few things that lend themselves well to being thrifty at the grocery store. One is having a taste for all types of wine (any old box will do), a husband who has a taste for all beers (he liked PBR before it was cool) and a few kitchen gadgets.

I’m going to be sharing at least one recipe a day that works on a budget. They may not be the most sophisticated dishes, but they do the job.

One thing I totally advocate for is a bread machine. I got one for my wedding a few years ago and have used it pretty consistently. It’s bulky and takes up some kitchen space, but I find I use it a couple times a week. I buy yeast by the jar (rather than the packets) and keep it in the freezer so it lasts longer. You will also need to buy some dry milk and bread flour. In my “wealthier” times I buy King Arthur flour, but now it’s whatever is on sale. I have never noticed a difference.

Here’s the machine I have. It’s really worth the investment.

A few of my recipes will utilize this machine. It’s really useful, and you can program it so that you just throw in the ingredients at night, and when you wake up in the morning you have fresh bread. That’s literally the best smell to wake up to!

You can always check your local thrift stores and church yard sales as well, there’s usually one or two bread machines floating around, just make sure that the bread pan and paddle aren’t missing, I think those are expensive if you have to replace them (and may as well just buy a whole new machine).