Quick Homemade Sausage & Lentil Soup With Toasted Cheese Bread

Quick Homemade Sausage & Lentil Soup
Toasted Cheese Bread

Yep. It’s a snow day here today. Probably the result of Vermont thinking that the blizzard further south might be contagious.

Not that I mind a relaxing Tuesday at home with a pretty coat of snow outside my window…. and the electricity intact.

A snow day is perfect for stirring up some soup like this Quick Homemade Sausage & Lentil Soup.

Homemade sausage?

Not the meat grinder/ sausage stuffer required links. Yuck. I want no part of making those at home.

But this quick homemade sausage…now we are talking. It’s a lightly seasoned bulk sausage with the bonus that you know what every ingredient is.

Combine that yummy sausage with some lentils, a veggie packed soup base and a healthy sprinkle of cheese and you have one dynamic bowl of goodness. Perfect for warming up after playing in the snow.

The simple, but tasty Toasted Cheese Bread is a nice accompaniment to the soup.

Quick Homemade Sausage & Lentil Soup
Quick Homemade Sausage & Lentil Soup


Homemade Sausage (recipe follows)
1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Lentils (recipe follows)
Soup Base (recipe follows)
Grated pecorino-romano cheese


1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until brown and crumbly, about 6 minutes. Drain.

2. Stir the sausage into the soup base along with the cooked lentils.

3. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and top with the reserved parsley leaves and the grated cheese.

Serves 4

Recipes from Every Day With Rachael Ray Magazine

Homemade Sausage


1 pound ground pork
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon granulated onion


1. In a large bowl, combine the sausage ingredients and let stand 15 minutes.



1 cup dried lentils
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil and cook until the lentils are tender but still retain some bite, about 20 minutes. Drain. Discard the bay leaves and onion.

Soup Base


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 potato, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 ribs celery
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves separated, leaves finely chopped and reserved for garnish
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed
Salt and pepper
4 cups beef stock


1. In a soup pot, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.

2. In a food processor, pulse the potato, carrots, onion, garlic, celery, parsley stems and rosemary leaves until chopped.

3. Transfer vegetable mixture to soup pot. Season, cover and allow ingredients to sweat in the oil, about 7 minutes.

4. Add the stock and 2 cups water to the soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

Toasted Cheese Bread

Toasted Cheese Bread


1 baguette
8 tablespoons butter, softened
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan


1. Preheat oven to 350℉.

2. Combine butter, garlic and Parmesan.

3. Slice the bread but do not cut all the way through the bread.

4. Spoon some of the butter mixture between each slice.

5. Wrap with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Unwrap and bake for 5 minutes more until bread nice and toasted.
Toasted Cheese Bread
Quick Homemade Sausage & Lentil Soup
Quick Homemade Sausage & Lentil Soup

I love this sad, soulful song. It’s heating up my day.

Check out Nees And Vos on their Website where you can buy the music.


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Short And Sweet. Lemon Squares.

Lemon Squares
These Lemon Squares are like a blast of warm sunshine on a cold day. A tender buttery crust and a tart, gooey lemon filling come together in this luscious dessert. So easy to make. So hard to stop chowing them down.

Lemon Squares
Lemon Squares

Ingredients for the crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
12 Tbs butter, melted

Ingredients for the filling and topping:

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs grated lemon zest
1 Tbs confectioners’ sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Place flour and 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar in food processor. Pulse to combine.

3. Add butter to food processor and process until the dough comes together, about 10 seconds.

4. Transfer dough to a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan and press to cover the bottom.

5. Bake crust until lightly browned around the edges, about 20 minutes.

6. While crust is baking, make the filling. Beat eggs, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest with an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes. Pour filling over hot crust.

7. Bake the lemon squares until the filling is set and golden, about 25 minutes.
Lemon Squares
8. Cool thoroughly before cutting into 2 inch squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Makes 2 dozen squares

Recipe from What Can I Bring? Cookbook by Anne Byrn
Lemon Squares
Lemon Squares

A short song.

A sweet song.

“I am the richest, I am your favorite
I am yours alone, I am

I am the moonlight, I am your seaside
I am yours alone, I am

And there is joy, joy, joy
Joy in this house ”

Check out Aaron Strumpel on his Website, where you can learn of upcoming tour dates in Washington state and Australia. You can buy his music on Bandcamp.


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Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole. Keeping Calm And Listening To Sway.

Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole
This Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole is chock full of contradictions. It’s a hearty meal, but with light, tender and juicy meatballs. The basil in the meatballs and sauce is evocative of late summer in a dish that is perfect for mid-winter. Finally, it’s like tearing into a sub, but you’re clearly in casserole territory.

I doubled the recipe and made some single servings as well as the larger casserole. I thought those individual servings would be cute, and they were. Delicious either way, of course.
Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole
Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole


Chicken Meatballs (recipe follows)
Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
5 slices baguette, brushed with olive oil or Texas Toast
5 slices provolone cheese
Parsley and basil, chopped, to garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400℉. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

2. Place meatballs in prepared baking dish.

3. Evenly distribute tomato sauce over meatballs.

4. Place baking dish in oven. Place the bread slices directly on another oven rack.

5. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove bread and bake casserole for another 7 minutes. (If bread is not browned enough after 8 minutes leave in the oven longer. I used Texas Toast and followed the package directions.)

6. Remove meatballs and bread from oven. Set broiler on high.

7. Place bread in single layer on top of meatballs. Cover each slice of bread with a slice of provolone.

8. Broil casserole until cheese melts. Sprinkle with parsley and basil and serve.

Serves 8

Chicken Meatballs


8 oz ground chicken
¼ cup grated onion
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil.

2. Use scoop or your hands to form 1 inch diameter meatballs.

3. Place meatballs in freezer for 10 minutes.

4. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Cook meatballs until browned, about 2 minutes on each side.

Tomato Sauce


2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup grated onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn


1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat.

2. Add onion, garlic, and tomato paste, sauté for 1 minute.

3. Add tomatoes and basil. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to desired consistency.

Recipes from Platter Talk
Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole
Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole
Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole

“Keep Calm And Carry On” is sooo last century. That whole resurgence a few years ago kind of drove me crazy….the absolute opposite of the intention.

I’m going to give Sway a pass though. They’ve managed to put an annoying motivational slogan into a catchy, fun pop song. And it has all those ‘Oh, oh, oh, ohs’. You’ve got to smile.

Check out Sway on Facebook. You can buy their music here.


Posted in Chicken, Main Courses | Tagged | 1 Comment

Smoked Salmon Ramen Noodles With Sautéed Kale And Spinach

Smoked Salmon Ramen Noodles With Sautéed Kale And Spinach

Feel like serving something a bit different? Try these Smoked Salmon Ramen Noodles.

I’m a bit of a sushi nut, so I loved the combination of smoked salmon, pickled ginger and a little wasabi. The poppy seeds add a delicious nutty crunch.

I thought the plate needed a bit more greenery than what the green onions offered, so I came across the recipe for Sautéed Kale And Spinach purported by blogger Mizz Mia Wallace (Ha!) to be “possibly the tastiest side dish ever”. How can one not try it then?!

Verdict? Certainly tasty in its paleo goodness and an excellent accompaniment to the noodles and salmon.

Smoked Salmon Ramen Noodles With Sautéed Kale And Spinach
Smoked Salmon Ramen Noodles


1 package ramen noodles
Toppings: Sliced smoked salmon, pickled ginger, wasabi, chopped green onions, poppy seeds


1. Prepare ramen according to package directions, using half the amount of water and half the flavor packet. (The broth should just coat noodles.)

2. Serve with your choice of the toppings.

Serves 2 (doubles and triples easily)

Recipe from Every Day With Rachael Ray Magazine

Sautéed Kale And Spinach


1 bunch kale (broad-leaf green or curly purple or a combination of the two), chopped
1 bag of baby spinach
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant then add the onion.

2. Lightly salt the onion and garlic mixture, lower heat and let the onions cook until translucent.

3. Add kale and a few teaspoons of water. Turn heat back up to medium and stir well. Cover skillet and allow kale to cook down slightly.

5. Add spinach and another teaspoon of water. Mix well. Replace the cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the greens have wilted slightly.

6. Uncover and add remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Turn heat up to medium-high, and stir for 3 minutes longer.

7. Season to taste and serve.

Serves 2 as a side dish

Recipe from Eloquence Is Bliss
Smoked Salmon Ramen Noodles With Sautéed Kale And Spinach

Not sure if this Ballad Of Mia Wallace has anything to do with the Fox Force Five chick, but it’s fun alt-rock all the same.

Check out Panicky Wasters on Facebook. You can buy their music on Bandcamp, where you can also learn of a gig they have tonight in Madrid.


Posted in Main Courses, Seafood, Side Dish, Vegetable | Tagged | Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer Brownies

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer Brownies

Right now the most viewed post here at ISITK is the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Overload Cake that I made last summer. In just 5 months it has climbed to the 2nd most popular recipe in the 4 years I’ve been writing this little blog.

That tells me that lots of peeps like peanut butter and chocolate, just like I do. And if you are one of those PB & C people, too, then you’re going to love these Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer Brownies. They are not too sweet and packed with a bittersweet chocolate punch. The smooth creamy cheesecake layer is the perfect sandwich filling between the brownie and thick chocolate ganache.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer Brownies
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer Brownies


Brownie (recipe follows)
Peanut Butter Cheesecake (recipe follows)
Ganache (recipe follows)


1. Preheat oven to 350℉.

2. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on two sides to make it easy to remove the brownies from the pan in one piece.

3. Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until the center looks only slightly moist.

4. Transfer pan to a cooling rack. Allow brownie to come to room temperature before adding the peanut butter layer.

5. Spread the peanut butter cheesecake mixture in a thick layer over the cooled brownies.

6. Pour ganache over the peanut butter layer and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour.

7. To serve, use sides of parchment paper to lift brownies out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board to slice.

8. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes 16 brownies



3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


1. Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until smooth and glossy.

2. In a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachement, whip eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt on high speed for 4 minutes.

3. Pour 1/4 of the egg mixture into the melted chocolate and stir. Add the chocolate to the stand mixer bowl and stir until fully incorporated. Add the flour and gently stir until just combined.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake


1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Slowly whisk in the sugar, then continue to beat for another 30 seconds. Transfer to another bowl.

2. In the same stand mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.

3. Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until no streaks remain.



3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream


1. Place the chocolate in a bowl.

2. In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat until it is very hot but not boiling.

3. Pour hot cream over the chopped chocolate and leave for 3 minutes. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Recipes from A Finn In The Kitchen
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer Brownies
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer Brownies

“How much peanut butter
can I slip in my mouth?”


This is one very strange tune, but that little back beat is pretty hot. Perfect to sashay across the kitchen, grab a spoon and peanut butter then give Electric Blanket an accurate answer.

Check out Electric Blanket on the band’s Website, where you can buy their music.


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Pretzel Grilled Cheese With Ham, Bacon, Swiss And Honey Mustard

Pretzel Grilled Cheese With Ham, Bacon, Swiss And Honey Mustard

Pretzel #1: Did you know it takes three sheep to make a sweater?

Pretzel #2: Amazing! I didn’t even know they could knit!

Hey there all you soft pretzel and grilled cheese lovers. Have I got a sandwich for you!

I recently saw a photo of pretzel grilled cheese and couldn’t get it out of my mind. So last night I made a warming pot of soup and a batch of these super cool sambos.

Although ham and cheese alone would have been fabulous, I couldn’t resist adding bacon. The grilled pretzel stayed soft inside while getting a buttery, crisp outside. A true standout sandwich.

Cutting the pretzels in half was a little tricky just because of the way the dough is twisted. Just slice slowly with a serrated knife. If the pretzel comes apart in more than the 2 halves, just piece it together as best as possible. Once the cheese melts, while the pretzel is on the griddle, it will all hold together just fine.
Pretzel Grilled Cheese With Ham, Bacon, Swiss And Honey Mustard

Pretzel Grilled Cheese With Ham, Bacon, Swiss And Honey Mustard


4 frozen pretzels, thawed and sliced in half
8 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp
4 slices deli ham
8 slices Swiss cheese
4 Tbs honey mustard


1. Spread bottom half of each pretzel with 1 tablespoon of honey mustard. For each sandwich layer on 2 slices cheese, 1 slice of ham and 2 slices of bacon. Top with the other pretzel half.

2. Moisten top of pretzel sandwich with a little bit of water and sprinkle on the pretzel salt from the enclosed packet.

2. Heat a griddle and lightly grease it with butter or cooking spray.

3. Grill pretzels for 1-2 minutes per side until lightly golden and cheese is melted.

Serves 4
Pretzel Grilled Cheese With Ham, Bacon, Swiss And Honey Mustard

There is nothing that I don’t like about this song.

‘Give Me A Sign’ has got thigh slapping, dance around the kitchen, sing along goodness right from the opening notes. And it has got Alexander Ebert.

“Come as my kisser, come as the rain.
Come as my lover, come back again.
Come as my brother, come as the sea.
Come back my only one, come back to me.
Come back my mother, come as my friend.
Come back my only one, come back again.”

Check out Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros on their Website, where you can link to buy the music.


Posted in Sandwiches | Tagged | Leave a comment

Party Time Mini Cheeseburgers With Jerk Spiced Fries. Beef Jerk On The Stereo.

Party Time Mini Cheeseburgers With Jerk Spiced Fries

Yep. That ridiculous photo has nothing to do with anything. It just illustrates how easy an internet search for one thing can bring you to something completely unrelated. I typed in ‘Deflate Gate’ and a few clicks later I happened upon another type of football entirely. But, hey, that really is a fabulous bag.

Moving right along.

It’s hard not to want to make a recipe that has ‘Party Time’ in the title. That’s especially true when the recipe is for sliders, which are always fun and festive.

These little burgers are definitely a little party on the plate. Traditional toppings such as pickle, ketchup and mustard are mixed into the meat before cooking which gives the burgers incredible flavor.

Jerk Spiced Fries are also a party worthy dish. The fragrant seasoning, which includes chiles, thyme, cinnamon, garlic, and nutmeg to name a few of the spices, gives them a different and delicious taste. My family went wild for the Chutney Mayo to dip the fries in.

Party Time Mini Cheeseburgers
Party Time Mini Cheeseburgers


1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound ground beef
4 slices American cheese
10 dinner rolls, split


1. Preheat broiler.

2. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Add beef and mix thoroughly.

3. Shape beef mixture into 10 patties. Place patties on a 15 x 10 inch baking pan.

4. Broil 3-4 inches from heat for 4-6 minutes on each side.

5. Meanwhile, cut cheese slices to fit patties. Immediately place on cooked burgers. Serve on rolls.

Serves 5

Note: To make ahead, the uncooked patties can be frozen on a baking sheet then transferred to a storage container when firm. Broil the frozen patties as directed, increasing the cooking time as necessary.

Recipe from Simple & Delicious Magazine

Jerk Spiced Fries
Jerk Spiced Fries


32-ounce bag frozen fries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
Chutney Mayo (recipe follows)


1. Preheat oven to 450℉. Place a baking sheet on the top oven rack and another on the bottom rack.

2. Toss the fries with olive oil and jerk seasoning. Spread out on the hot baking sheets.

3. Bake as directed, switching the pans halfway through.

4. Serve with the Chutney Mayo for dipping.

Chutney Mayo


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mango chutney
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Dash of hot sauce


1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Recipe from Food Network

Party Time Mini Cheeseburgers With Jerk Spiced Fries

From the looks of Beef Jerk’s Bandcamp page, it appears that these guys would probably enjoy a plate of mini cheeseburgers and some fries. (Maybe not a pink handbag). The page includes images of sriracha and beer as well as photos of what looks like the members digging in to some Bánh mì.

‘Schooners’ is the title track of Beef Jerk’s 2013 7-inch release. It’s messy and will inflate your mood for sure.

Check out Beef Jerk on Facebook. You can buy their music on Bandcamp.


Posted in Beef, Condiment, Main Courses, Side Dish | Tagged | 2 Comments