Ranchos Roundup

From now through Oct. 8, students at Meneley are selling 9" x 12" scenic Lake Tahoe and High Sierra full-color wall calendar for 2008.

This is the fifth year for this particular fundraiser and it's always a great success.

The calendar makes a great gift for family, friends and business associates. It features gorgeous panoramic views of Sierra lakes, snow capped mountains and valley vistas.

If the students don't get a chance to call on you personally and you wish to purchase one or more of these beautiful calendars, call the Meneley office at 265-3154 and they'll be glad to help you.

Each calendar costs $10. Proceeds from the fundraiser will help fund activities, special programs and equipment for the school.

Tuscan Bean & Tomato Soup

Now that the autumnal equinox is upon us, (Fall officially starts on Sept. 23), I thought I'd share a great soup recipe with you. It will fill your belly and help take the chill off of the cooler evenings we've been enjoying.

I found this recipe on a package of Jennie-O turkey sausage, though you could probably use any kind of sausage that you like. The original recipe called for slicing the sausage into 1/2 inch slices and then removing the casings; I improvised and found this other method to be easier. I've also used kidney and garbanzo beans in place of the Great Northern beans that are called for. You will need:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup sliced shallots or chopped sweet onion

3 cloves minced garlic

1 package Jennie-O lean Italian sausage (hot or sweet)

2 cans (16 oz.) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 oz.) pasta-style seasoned tomatoes or chopped tomatoes, undrained

1 can (13.75 oz.) reduced sodium, chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup garlic or herb croutons

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, squeeze sausage from casings (discard casings). Add sausage to saucepan and break apart with spatula. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans, tomatoes, broth, rosemary and pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink in the middle.

Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Ladle into shallow bowls and top with croutons.

Another modification is to omit the croutons and instead serve this soup with a loaf of hot, crusty garlic bread.



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