Recipes, Photography, Musings

Tag: sausage

Rainy Day Soup

DSC_0546I call this Rainy Day soup for a couple of reasons.  First, because it is a warm, nourishing soup to have on a cold, rainy day.  (And we seem to be having a few of those lately).  Also, this soup is not an expensive soup.  It makes me think of the saying, “save it for a rainy day.”  During this time of year, many of us spend more money than we maybe should (or maybe I’m just speaking of myself!) on holiday preparations.  To make an inexpensive meal during this time helps balance the spending.  Cabbage is one of the cheapest vegetables around–and it keeps for quite awhile in the refrigerator.  Potatoes are also inexpensive and keep well (though less inexpensive if you buy organic, which I do, since we ate all our garden potatoes; still, they are economical).  And kielbasa, even the higher quality kind, is reasonable.  So I like to save this soup for a rainy day when I want to cut back on my food spending, but still create a good meal.  soup in pot 1Variations of cabbage and potato soups abound, and I have played around with lots of different versions, depending on what ingredients I have on hand.  This is just one of many experiments that I like, but this recipe is so simple, tasty and filling, that I have written it down, and want to share it on my blog.  For me, cabbage was an under-appreciated vegetable until the last few months.  Now I like to use it in soups as often as I can.  It helps that my son, who loves soup, likes cabbage too.  I know he is getting vitamins A and C, minerals, and fiber when he eats cabbage.  If you are looking for a way to warm up on a rainy day, get good nutrition, and be frugal without giving up taste, give this soup a try.  rainy day soup 2soup vegetables 4soup vegetables 3

Rainy Day Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print


  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 2 cups green cabbage, washed and finely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth (I like to use the Better than Bouillon chicken base mixed with water–it is delicious)
  • 8 ounces kielbasa, fully cooked and thinly sliced


Wash and chop the onion, potatoes, and cabbage. Thinly slice the kielbasa.  In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes, until soft.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  When the broth is boiling, gently add the chopped potatoes.  Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the potatoes for about 12 minutes, until fork-tender.  Add the cabbage.  Gently simmer for about 20 more minutes.  Add the sliced kielbasa and cook until heated through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve with rustic bread. Enjoy!

Pasta with Tomatoes, Spinach, and Sausage, and the Power of Music, Food, and Memories

ingredientsIn some ways, music and food are very similar.  Both can transport us to earlier times.  A well-loved song or a certain dish can remind us of a beloved place or a long lost friend.  The other night, I put on a Lucinda Williams CD to listen to while I was doing dishes.  The last song took me by surprise.  I hadn’t listened to this album in quite awhile, and I had forgotten which songs were on there–but when Lucinda started singing “Which Will,” a song written by English singer/songwriter Nick Drake, I felt myself become full of sentimental nostalgia.  Right away I was transported back to a dorm room in Bremen, Germany, twenty-seven years ago.  A good friend of mine had sent me a mix tape (that shows my age!) when I was studying in Germany, and the song “Which Will” was on that tape.  Because I had brought just a small amount of things with me for my seven months studying abroad, I listened to that tape over and over.  Immediately, I thought of the friend who had sent me the tape, because it was so comforting to receive music when I was far from home.  And then I thought of my time in Germany, and what I was often doing when that song was in the background: daydreaming, cooking, eating, and having great conversations.  pasta meal in bowl 1I was staying at that time in a dorm full of international students, all of whom were learning German. I became good friends with a woman from Colombia, and we often cooked and ate dinner together. I can remember evenings sitting at a tiny table with mismatched chairs, listening to the rain spattering the street. We would often invite other students walking down the hall to come in and eat with us, as we were all practicing our German speaking skills and learning about the different cultures gathered in the dorm.  One of our standard meals was the pasta dish posted below.  I don’t believe this dish is particularly German, Colombian, or American, but it is so easy, colorful, and nourishing, and anyone can make it, even two international students on a tight budget in a tiny dorm kitchen, communicating in a language that is not their own. It is kind of a meal borne of necessity, but enjoyed to the fullest because of its simplicity and quality ingredients.  It’s also a great meal for busy people who come home from a long day and don’t have a lot of time to make a complicated dinner, which is why this meal is still relevant in my life today. Good food and music are warm and comforting on a cold, dark, rainy evening, and we had many of those in northern Germany in wintertime, and we are experiencing them at this time of year here as well.

ingredients 2pasta meal in pot

Pasta with Tomatoes, Spinach, and Sausage


  • 12 ounces of pasta, any kind
  • 8 ounces of high-quality kielbasa or bratwurst, sliced in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 4-8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese


Cook the pasta as directed in salted, boiling water.  While pasta is cooking, slice the sausage, tomatoes, and cheese.  When pasta is just tender, drain in a colander.  In the same pot, heat the tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the sausage slices for about 5 minutes, or until they are browned.  Add the pasta to the pot, and then add the cheese, tomatoes, and spinach.  Stir until combined, and the cheese is melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!