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Bread and soup: Two halves of a full meal

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By Judyrae Kruse
For the past few weeks, we've been swanning around the kitchen, making beautiful loaves of bread and savory pots of soup. Wonderful! So keep those recipes rolling in, please, please, please.
We're going to switch that combination a little bit today.
This time around, we'll have a (with a salad or soup) luscious whole-meal deal of a bread (this one will double as a dandy appetizer bread), plus a hearty, seasoned just-right soup.
Aren't we glad Marysville cook, cookbook author and longtime Forum contributor Dianne Berst originally shared this pair of how-tos with us in a Jan. 31, 2007, Forum column.
Italian appetizer bread
1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
Flour for rolling out dough
1 loaf (1 pound) frozen white bread dough, thawed
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, well drained and sliced
1/3 cup pitted, sliced Kalamata olives, or 1 can (4 ounces) sliced olives
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
In a skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink; drain and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll bread dough to 12-by-16-ounce rectangle. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet. Combine cream cheese and garlic; spread lengthwise over center third of the dough, then top with the sausage, peppers, olives and cheese. Fold dough over the filling, pinching the seam to seal. With a sharp knife, cut slits every 2 inches across top of the dough. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 16 servings.
Note: This bread also goes well with soup and salad to make a full meal.
Italian peasant soup
2 pounds ground Italian sausage, cooked and drained
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 quarts chicken broth (low sodium is fine)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
2 cans (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cups penne pasta, cooked and drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh spinach, large stems removed, washed well and drained thoroughly
Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
In a large stockpot, combine the cooked sausage, carrots, onion, garlic, chicken broth, tomatoes, beans and basil; bring to boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for an hour. Right before serving, stir in pasta and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with lots of the fresh uncooked spinach and Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Note: This soup goes well with Caesar salad.
Story tags » CookingFood

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