There’s that glorious period of about a week after a major grocery run where I am pretty sure of what the daily menu will look like. I have a good handle on what we have in the house and a decent idea of what is or is not expired. It’s always a mix of cool new recipes I’m wanting to try, and the routine family favorites.


After those sevenish days it gets tricky. I *could* go to the store, but ugh. Then we start running out of easy meal options and the fresh veggies dwindle. I rough it for as long as I can, maybe picking up some milk here, some bread there, eventually stretching that big grocery run for two weeks.

And then… it’s the dregs. The grocery dregs.


This is where planning dinner becomes a major challenge and I get stubborn about not wanting to do another big grocery run.

Turning to the great Google god for help, I pick three or four major ingredients I have on hand that I think *might* work harmoniously for a meal for the four grown adults in my household. Usually it’s onions, [some kind of meat], [pasta/rice/legume], [frozen or canned veggie]. Sometimes I’ll throw in a wild card like “coconut milk” or “shelled walnuts.”

Thankfully, as I’ve become better and better at spotting good recipes online, these Google adventures turn out pretty well. I usually blend several of the recipes that pop up (taking from the best of the comments sections).

This time it was “onions,” “sage sausage,” “white beans,” and “crushed tomatoes.”

I ended up hitting pay dirt – the resulting stew is hearty, filling, and really delicious. I was completely out of bread and wanted something doughy to dip in the stew, so I paired it with my first-ever attempt at focaccia bread (carmelized (charred?) onion).


Sausage, Bean, and Tomato Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: Italian-esque
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 sausage links
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons squeeze bottle garlic
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • ⅛th teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 10 oz. box of frozen spinach
  • 2 15 oz. cans white beans (cannellini are good)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Add olive oil and sausage links into a large pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Once golden and firm, remove from heat and slice into rounds.
  3. Return to pot, add onion and garlic, and turn heat up to medium.
  4. Stir occasionally until onions are soft.
  5. Toss in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken bouillon, Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes, black pepper, water, and spinach.
  6. As the ingredients in the pot are heating up, rinse the white beans in a colander and drain.
  7. Add drained beans to pot and stir occasionally until bubbling and hot.
  8. If too thin, let reduce over medium-low heat. If too thick, add water ¼ cup at a time until desired thickness is reached.
  9. Salt to taste.
  10. Serve on its own, or pair with some kind of yummy bread. 🙂

What do you make when you’re low on ingredients?

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Founder at Wendt Creative
Cat loves to eat tasty homemade things, yet isn’t terribly fond of the process of making them. She prefers recipes that take shortcuts when possible – without compromising flavor. Her dog, Cheeto, likes stealing her creations from the dining room table.

She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.

She is also allergic to felines.
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