This week was another week of trying new foods even if the kids would (undoubtedly) hate them. I get tired of making the same things over and over again and I think that the kids should try a bunch of foods, even if it means that they whine and cry about it. We tried falafel (they hated it), tilapia (which we’d had before–Gabe likes it, Julia hates it), and 15-bean soup with Italian turkey sausage (the kids didn’t really bitch too much about it and ate most of it, so I say it was a success).

So I was at Meijer last Sunday. I actually do not like shopping at Meijer, yet I find myself going there about once every five weeks or so. I’m not sure why. I feel compelled to go there for some reason. Maybe because it’s so close to my house I think that it’ll be a quicker trip but the time I save on travel I lose seventeen fold waiting for the two checkers to check out 100 shoppers as slowly as they possibly can. And for some reason that store is always about 157 degrees.

Anyway, so on this one trip I was wandering the bean aisle when I came upon this:

Imagine this full of 15 different kinds of beans.

Now I had to look beyond the “BEEF” because I don’t like it, eat it, or cook it. Normally I would just substitute ground turkey or chicken where ground beef is called for. But I thought that seemed like a lot of small bits of stuff with beans and ground meat. It sounded more chili-like to me than soup.

I looked in my cart and had also bought Italian turkey sausage just because we like to eat it. I did a whole “look-at-the-beans-look-at-the-sausage-look-at-the-beans-look-at-the-sausage” thing for about 30 seconds (feel free to snicker here, I am) and thought, “That could work.”

After the beans were soaked overnight and then simmered for two hours, I chopped up a little bit of onion that I had leftover and then I had to add shallots instead of a full cup of onion because that’s all I had. I took the sausage out of the casings and cooked it with the onion, shallots, and garlic. After adding it to the beans and the can of diced tomatoes, I kind of stopped and wasn’t sure if I should add the packet of “beef flavoring” (what IS that?) or add some Italian spices to complement the sausage. In the end I just added what came with the soup.

The combination came together well. The sausage was really great with the beans and I can’t really imagine ground meat would have been nearly as delicious.

It still looked more like chili than soup, but tasted amazing!

Here is the recipe from the back of the bag, in case you can’t find it and you want to use some other kind of beans. As for the “bag o’ beef spices” I just read the ingredients and I think you’re better off on your own trying to put something else together.

15 Bean Soup:

Ingredients:

– Lots of beans (maybe even 15 kinds)

– 1 cup of onion, chopped (I used about 1/4 cup of yellow onion and 3/4 cup of shallots)

– 1 clove of garlic, minced (I used two)

– 1-2 lbs of Italian sausage (okay it says stew beef or ground beef)

– 1  14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes

Instructions:

Soaking: Place beans in a large pot, cover with 2 quarts of water. Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.

1) After soaking, drain water, add 2 quarts of water

2) Bring beans to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for two hours

3) In a skillet, saute onion, garlic, and meat until well browned

4) Add tomatoes and flavor packet (or your own spices)

5) Add mixture to bean pot. Simmer uncovered for an hour.

* The bag says this feeds 12-14 but let’s be realistic, who the hell only eats 1/2 a cup of soup?! I say it feeds more like 6-8.

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