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Friday, January 13, 2012

Cajun Smoked Sausage Bean Soup and Major Changes

It's so cold outside!  Well, 40s during the day is cold for me.  And low 30s at night.  I live in the state where flip flops and short sleeves are the norm most of the year.  So, yes, this is cold for me.  And I am tired -- a loooong week, with still lots to do.  So soup for dinner!

We learned at the faculty meeting this morning that major changes are looming ahead.  A couple of months ago, we have been given a green light to begin the process of becoming a four-year rather than a two-year school.  Apparently, that triggered a lot of issues with transfer vs non-transfer programs and courses.  In response, programs were reshuffled to different departments.  My program is one of them.  So, if these changes are approved by the majority of faculty, I will have a new dean in a few months.  My current dean is absolutely wonderful and I would sure miss her.  There is always an uncertainty about the new person in charge... but I don't really anticipate any negative things.  And I do have tenure, which is not 100% foolproof, of course, but does help with job security.

My program will also lose the current funding.  However, it's not necessarily the bad news.  Right now, most of the funds are used for conference presentations and associated travel expenses.  However, the current requirements are stringent and exclude most of the research-related conferences I personally prefer to attend.  The new department actually encourages research.

Also, there are two new administrative positions.  I am encouraging S. to apply.  It would be so nice if he could move here...  Those of you who are praying, please say a prayer for us...

It's based on this Italian Sausage Bean Soup recipe.  I did not have all the ingredients, though, and did not feel like shopping.  Here is what I made.  It's yummy, filling -- and warm! :)  Cajun smoked sausage is a bit spicy and smoky...  Beans, barley, and veggies are filling.  Herbs, especially fresh parsley, add tantalizing aroma.

  • 1/4 lb Cajun smoked sausage
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can white and green lima beans
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking barley
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  1. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic.  Add sausage and cook for a few minutes.  Then add tomato and carrots; cook for several more minutes.
  2. Stir in broth, beans, barley, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Bring to boil and season to taste with salt/pepper.
  4. Simmer for an hour.
  5. Stir in fresh parsley, remove from heat, and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serve with fresh croutons.

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