This is such a busy time of year! I am currently working on my Christmas menus, trying to make everything gluten and dairy free. I will start baking and cooking/freezing what I can a head of time trying to leave only what is necessary for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I do have to say that Christmas cooking absolutely destroyed my budget. Well, that is not exactly true. I haven't even bought most of that and I have already shattered my budget. I found myself in the position of being so busy that I actually did not have time to go to the grocery store. I adapted my monthly menu and used up staples on my pantry shelves. When I did make it to the store, I was out of a lot of items that I needed. Not good.
I am excited to start pulling out recipes and planning. That is the goal for today. Before I go though, Sarah from Amongst Lovely Things asked me to post this recipe :) So, here it is! The recipe comes from another good friend, Angela, who made this for a surprise baby shower. It was a big hit! I have adapted it a bit and it has become a new family favorite.
This recipe makes a large batch and we had plenty leftover to freeze in individual containers. The last batch I made had 14 servings and cost $11.69 to make. That is only 84 cents a serving. Making a large batch and freezing a portion is a great cost effective way to have soup on hand and is healthier than the canned soups which are quite expensive. I hope you enjoy!
1 large onion chopped
4 celery stalks chopped
3-4 carrots chopped
salt and pepper (to taste)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
Sausage (I have used venison German sausage sliced, Aidells Chicken & Apple Smoked Chicken Sausage from Costco, and Amylu's Kickin' Cranberry Chicken Meatballs with Jalapeno Peppers from Costco. Our favorite is the cranberry meatballs. I quartered each meatball and used only one individual pack from the larger package.)
3-4 small potatoes peeled and diced
1-2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced
2 cans of beans (I have used kidney beans, black beans, and cannellini beans. Use what you have on hand. I usually use two different kinds.)
4 cups of chicken broth
3 cups of water
2 large cans of tomato sauce
2-3 cups of frozen veggies (I have used peas, corn, and cut green beans)
2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
In a large stock pot, saute onions, celery, carrots with the olive oil. Salt and Pepper to taste. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sausage. Add the potatoes, canned beans, broth, water, tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Cook on low several hours. The smell is delicious! An hour before serving, add your frozen veggies. You can add more water if needed due to evaporation. Twenty minutes before serving add the chopped spinach.
I have made this on the stove top and in a crock pot. You need to adjust times for the crock pot. Cook on low all day or several hours on high.