Vacations are awesome. Period. End of story. We just finished having a full week off and it was amazing. No emails, no phone calls, no alarms. We spent the time doing what we wanted to when we wanted! We also ate LOTS of great food and had LOTS of good craft beer. Before we left, we had already planned to start the South Beach diet when we returned. So here we are, end of a vacation, beginning of a diet. South Beach Diet Day 1.
I tried this once before, just before our wedding. After the first couple of days, it really isn’t that bad. Except for the weekend – especially when so much of my “entertainment” comes in the form of cooking and trying new recipes! But the results were well worth the limitations of the first 2 weeks. This time it was my husband’s idea – so we will be trying new recipes that we both can enjoy and that will keep us on track.
Dinner tonight was one of our usual menu items – sausage cooked with white beans and spinach. Really easy and really good. And with lots of protein and fiber (and no carbs or sugar), it fit perfectly with our diet plan.
We used mild Italian Turkey sausages. They are first browned in the skillet, then sliced and simmered, along with white beans and garlic, in chicken broth. Since we are using mild sausages, I added a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
After the beans and sausage have simmered awhile and the broth has reduced by at least half, I add in the spinach. And really pile it on! It cooks down so much, you have to start with a big handful. Finish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
What makes this recipe versatile?
Use mild or hot, chicken, turkey or pork sausages.
Add in 1 to 3 cans of beans. The more you add the further this recipe stretches! And you can leave out the meat all together to make it vegetarian (use vegetable broth too!). The more beans you use, the more chicken broth you will need.
Add more or less spinach – you can tweak to what your family likes.
Love pasta? Stir in cooked pasta at the end – a small size noodle works best.
Here’s the dish! Sausage, white beans and Spinach
1 pound link sausage
1 can white beans – drained
BIG handful of baby spinach
3 cloves garlic minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
parmesan cheese – freshly grated
salt / freshly ground pepper remember you are flavoring the spinach and beans too!
Brown sausage in skillet, slice and return to pan. Add in garlic and toss. Add beans, broth, salt/pepper/red pepper flakes.
Let simmer until broth has reduce and thickened. (5 – 8 mins) Add in a 1/4 c. freshly grated parm cheese.
Top with spinach, put a lid on it, and let the steam wilt the spinach.
Finish with another sprinkle of cheese!