Quinoa sausage filling

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 16 oz cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sm-med. apple, diced
  • 1 salad bag of fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C. toasted pine nuts
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 C. dry quinoa

Cook 1 C. of quinoa according to directions, using chicken broth instead of water. Meanwhile:

Start to brown sausage in a large pan (not nonstick), with a little olive oil, medium high heat.

When most of the pink is gone, add in onions, mushrooms and garlic. Add salt and pepper.

Let this mix cook down all the way, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and onions are soft, the water has evaporated, and a brown fond develops on the bottom on the pan as the meat begins to brown. Let a good amount of fond build up, turning down the heat slightly if needed.

Deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup of water, scraping up all the brown bits. Add in the diced apple, spinach, and let cook down until the spinach is completely wilted and incorporated into the mixture.

Add quinoa and pine nuts to the pan, mix to combine. Sprinkle generously with grated parmesan, mix.


This quantity and proportions served to use up what I had on hand. It made more than a quart of stuffing, which could probably stuff 6-8 delicata halves. I plan to freeze what we don’t use. Halving this recipe would probably be a reasonable place to start if you don’t want to batch cook.

Don’t skip the chicken broth in the quinoa or the parmesan in the mix. I think both are pretty crucial to the overall seasoning.

Freshly made quinoa always seems to be more wet than leftover quinoa. If you use leftover quinoa, you might need to moisten the mix a bit more before adding the parmesan.


Basic Banana Bread

This is my favorite basic banana bread.  Last time I made it I was out of vanilla, so I subbed almond extract and cardamom and ended up baking one of my favorite loaves ever.

A single batch of this nearly overfills my standard loaf pan, especially if you include the nuts. Last time I had a lot of bananas, so scaled up the recipe by a third, then split into two loaves. Worked great. (Room for more batter if ever want/need to scale up to 1.5X sometime.)

  • 2 C. very ripe bananas, mashed; about 4 or 5 medium bananas (455 g.)
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil (99 g.)
  • 1 C. sugar  (200 g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 T. milk
  • 3/4 t. almond extract or 1 t. vanilla
  • 3/4 t. cardamom or 1 t. cinnamon
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (250 g.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, add the oil, sugar, eggs, milk, and extract, stir to combine.
  3. Mix in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (and nuts, if using.) Make sure ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  4. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack.

Kale Pancetta Bean Soup

Into the Instant Pot:

  • 1 pound Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans
  • 2 qts water
  • 1 carrot, halved or in thirds
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1-2 stalks of celery + leaves, very roughly chopped
  • 2 t. kosher salt

Manual pressure, high, for 30 minutes, natural release (did 32 min. first time, probably needed a little less time)

Skim off the aromatics, pour beans and cooking liquid into a pot or bowl to hold. Rinse out Pot liner, return to Pot.

Remaining ingredients:

  • 4 oz. package of diced pancetta
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • large bunch of kale, cut into thin ribbons, stems removed
  • 1 C. chicken stock
  • salt + pepper
  • apple cider vinegar

Turn on Saute function, add pancetta. Render out the fat. Add onion and garlic to the pot, saute until soft. Deglaze with chicken stock. Add the carrots, kale, and beans + cooking liquid.

Manual pressure, high, 5 minutes. 10 minute natural release.

Using saute function, reduce the soup to desired thickness. Add salt (probably at least 1 t. additional kosher) and 1-2 t. of apple cider vinegar.


Next time, maybe saute the pancetta first, saute onions/garlic, add dried beans for the cooking time, and then finish with the carrots/kale for 5 min, the reduce.  Save some steps now that the beans’ cook time is a known factor. (Maybe broth wouldn’t be as flavorful without the first round of aromatics?)