What’s for dinner: Italian Sausage Soup

Screen shot 2013-07-28 at 6.01.10 PMPhoto by Randy Mayor from Cooking Light.
Click on the image to go to the recipe on AllRecipes.com.

Every once in a while, I stumble and have a “holy crap, I’m broke!” week.

After I paid bills Friday morning before work, I was taken aback by the paltry amount of spending money that was left for the rest of the two weeks. (And since payday would be two Fridays from then, “the rest of the two weeks” = “the entire two weeks.”) So that night I sat down and calculated a budget that included everything from auto payment and retirement-fund contribution* to gym membership and the monthly data charge for my iPad.

If it's used for baking, it's on the middle shelf; if it's used for cooking, it's on the bottom shelf; if it's oversize, it's on the top shelf (for now).

If it’s used for baking, it’s on the middle shelf; if it’s used for cooking, it’s on the bottom shelf; if it’s oversize, it’s on the top shelf (for now).

* More about that in an upcoming post.

“Yep — at least for this paycheck, you’re broke,” I said to myself, and immediately began cleaning and organizing things around the house to keep my mind and hands busy. Linen closets, pantries, kitchen cabinets … Even the liquor cabinet now is set up with alcohol in groups; the glasses are in a sideboard nearby, arranged by shape.

I also decided it would be a good idea to start eating at home again, so Saturday I planned out a week’s worth of dinners. Part of it was based on what we had in the freezer (“What the hell do I do with hake?”) and the other part was based on knowing that I’d be lazy when I got home from work, so I needed easy dishes that would not land me on Trainer’s bad list. (True story: One night last month I had cheddar cheese, raisins and Crystal Light for dinner, because I couldn’t work myself into preparing anything else.)

I randomly also decided to check how Work Wife and Xtina were doing on their dinner-every-night blog, Cautiously Domestic. Which is where I found the idea for tonight’s dinner!

Cost of ingredients: $9.25 for the diced tomatoes, spinach and spicy-turkey sausage links. I already had the pasta, chicken broth and Parmesan cheese (because we are heathens who buy it already shredded and leave the plastic container in the refrigerator for moments just like this one). And I forgot the basil (which would have added another $2 anyway).

Substitutions: I’m not sure where Cooking Light is finding turkey sausage in any sort of quantity near the 8-ounce mark; the only packages I could find at Safeway were 19 ounces (and five links). So I used three of them** and ramped up the quantities of broth (to the full 32-ounce container) and pasta (1 cup), plus I added an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce that was handy.

As easy as they said? Yup: Everything’s cooked in a single saucepan, and is done in about 20 minutes, including the time it takes for the pasta to cook.

How’d THAT go over? Quite tasty. I’m not sure how Work Wife came to the conclusion that it wasn’t very spicy — maybe she used a different brand? — because between the fresh-off-the-stovetop heat and the spiciness heat, my forehead was “dewy” while I polished off my bowl.

Would I make it again? I would indeed. The final result was tasty … but I feel like it could benefit from one or two more ingredients to round it out (and make it more filling). Maybe cooked white beans? I made do with a handful of tortilla chips on the side.

WHAT SAM WORE: 7/28/13
shirt072813 shorts072813 shoes071611
The shirt: “Meatpacking District” T-shirt, from my recent trip to JC Penney.
The shorts: Cotton elastic-waist (sshh!) shorts, from Uniqlo, New York.
The shoes: Custom All-Stars made on converse.com, a gift from Funny Michael

4 responses to “What’s for dinner: Italian Sausage Soup

  1. Glad to hear you tried it and it was good so we know we’re not wasting our time on it if we try it. 🙂

  2. This was great and all, but my main takeaway was, “I need to organize my pantry like that.”

    Also, this is the sausage I use and it’s not spicy in my world, but I also eat wasabi by the spoonful, so, you know… http://www.jennieo.com/products/75-Lean-Hot-Italian-Turkey-Sausage

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