Feeding a big family/Food Prep Marathon/Italian Kale Soup/French Bread

Now this is a rare thing in my house – a soup in a portion for two. I am used to making an extra-large size dutch oven portion of soup for our crowd. However, this recipe was born out of necessity. Half of my children love spaghetti with meat and mushroom sauce. They ask for it often and I just can’t eat it every single month. Not to mention the other little ones who don’t care for spaghetti. That’s life in a bigger family! I get bored eating the same things and although I do like pasta occasionally I prefer to save my carb/grain servings for freshly baked bread this time of year. You know, like you might serve with soup. Plus soup is my very favorite food. J

Like most meals I am always thinking ahead and double prepping because who has time to prep for every meal? So while I am at it I am chopping for several dishes. To do this I will first set up a dutch oven for the base ingredients of the spaghetti and mushroom sauce, a second medium pot for the soup, a large salad bowl for the dinner salad (which with enough side dishes may stretch to tomorrows lunch) and lastly a mason jar with lid (or some kind of storage container) for the omelet ingredients.

Tonight the lineup for marathon prep is: Spaghetti with meat & mushroom sauce (mushrooms, onion, garlic, fresh herbs), Italian Kale Soup for Two (see below), Dinner Salad (lettuce, carrot, celery, kale, bell pepper, cucumber) and tomorrow’s omelets (mushroom, onion, cooked ham, bell pepper). Now I am half joking about it being a marathon. With some for thought and time getting used to cooking this way feeding a family real food becomes easier and feels ordinary. I am proof of that since I had little cooking experience when we started nineteen years ago. Now thirteen + years into kids and real food eating I am still enjoying it and mostly sane. J We also always keep in mind that the world will not fall apart if we need a night out to eat or get pizza. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens.  I have heard it said a hamburger won’t kill you and an apple won’t heal you. It is about the big picture with our health and food decisions in our home and we are all on board and very happy that we have so many real foods available year round. Delicious!

Back to the topic. This soup is seriously nutritious and delicious especially if you like the flavors of minestrone. It is very similar, but no pasta. As I said saving those carb/grains for the warm bread. Recipe to follow since it really wouldn’t be fair to keep talking about it and not share.


Italian Kale Soup for Two

Okay, it may be for a little more than two. 🙂

  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • Bay leaf
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 large kale leaves, stem removed and chopped
  • 1/8 cup fresh chopped basil and parsley, or 2 T. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Chicken Base/bullion (organic better than Bullion is what we typically have on hand). Add more when recipe is finished to taste.
  • 1 can kidney beans (or beans of your choice)
  • 1 -15 oz. can diced tomatoes (or double the recipe so no waste)
  • Optional: Sprinkle with grated parmesan when serving.
  • Optional: This is fun! Add other vegetables you have on hand and love like zucchini, cabbage, or bell pepper if you like.


In a medium pot combine onion, garlic and bay leaf. Warm up pot on medium and sweat the vegetables for just two or three minutes, stirring continually. Add the celery, carrots, kale and herbs. Add water until ingredients are just covered. Add the herbs, bullion, beans, diced tomato and any other veggies. Simmer until vegetables are tender but not over cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning adding more base if needed or other herbs. Let rest if you have other things to prepare. Like most soup this recipe tastes better the longer it has been together. Enjoy! With freshly baked bread perhaps?


French bread

I personally prefer heartier breads best, but this bread is so simple and inexpensive that it is tough to beat. Especially since everyone in my family loves it. I usually make several batches at a time and freeze the extra for those busy days when you would love the fresh from the oven bread with less hassle.


  • 5 to 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour
  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Combine the flours. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour mixture and the yeast. Set aside. Heat water, sugar, salt and butter to 115°-120°. Add to flour and yeast. Beat with on low speed for 30 seconds; increase speed to medium and beat 3 additional minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl; cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down; divide in half and let rest 10 minutes. Roll each half into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the long side. Pinch seal and turn ends under to form a smooth loaf. Sprinkle two baking sheets with cornmeal and place each loaf, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Make slashes every 2-1/2 in. in the top of each loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Beat egg white and water; brush some over loaves. Refrigerate remaining mixture. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture and bake 15-20 minutes longer or until golden brown. Remove pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves.

Would you like to hear more about preparing food for a large family? Have any questions? Email anytime. We love to hear from you!


About Rachel

Owner @ Brown Box Organics.
This entry was posted in Basil, Carrot, Celery, Children & Baby, Diet, Garlic, Greens, Herb, Kale, Onion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Feeding a big family/Food Prep Marathon/Italian Kale Soup/French Bread

  1. Pingback: Know Your Produce? Preparing Kale | SOIL

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