Sausage and Potato Soup (OR Copy-Cat Zuppa Toscana!)

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So, we really like soup during the winter. One of my husbands favorites is to go to Olive Garden and have the “Soup, Salad, and breadsticks” for lunches or dinners. The problem is, you can’t do it too often because of 1-calories, 2-cost… you gotta tip too! So, I’ve been looking up recipes for some of the dishes… and soups were my first stop! Soups seem to be pretty easy for me to try and recreate. And… so far, are turning out AWESOME!

This is my take on the Copy-Cat Zuppa Toscana. The only change I could recommend, is to possibly use kale instead of spinach, especially if you are going to freeze and reheat, it will hold up MUCH better than baby spinach!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices cooked nitrite/nitrate free bacon, diced
  • 1/2 lb. all natural (no nitrites/nitrates!) Italian Sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cups low sodium organic chicken broth
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach (roughly chopped w/out stems)
  • 1 cup half&half
  • shaved parmesan as a garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. (I cook my bacon in the microwave… if you don’t, cook it in this skillet first)
  • Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Bring to a LOW simmer and add the spices (cayenne, oregano, sage, salt and pepper to taste)
  • Stir in sausage and spinach until spinach begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in half&half until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parmesan.

ENJOY!!! It’s a good one! This one had the saltiness and spice of the bacon and sausage combined with the creaminess of the half&half and the crunch of that baby spinach… mmmm!!!! If you put kale in as a substitute, that would add such a good texture as well! AMAZING! Saving this one for sure!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

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Yes, some could call this a copycat recipe of the famous Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi soup! I, personally, think it tasted quite similar, but it wasn’t quite as salty… which I liked! I also didn’t use heavy cream, so it probably cut down on the calories as well. This one was DEFINITELY a winner! We had plenty of leftovers so my husband gets to enjoy this one for lunch for the next few days! He’s excited! 😉

So, here is the recipe! Enjoy, and slurp up this awesome soup as the weather turns more and more chilly outside! It’ll keep you warm inside!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 TB butter
  • 3/4 lb chicken tenderloins cooked and chopped (about 6-7 chicken tenderloins chopped… makes 1 or 1 1/2 cups chicken)
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth (1 32oz. box)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk of celery finely chopped (or more if you prefer… I like to go light on celery)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 2 TB white whole wheat all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 cup rough chopped (or whole, with stems removed) fresh baby spinach
  • 2 TB parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup half&half

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Instructions:

1. Cook your chicken in 1 Tb olive oil, about 4 minutes each side, and sprinkle garlic salt on each side as cooking. Remove from heat and chop into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
2. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the celery, onion, carrots and garlic and stir for 3-5 minutes, or until the celery starts to soften.
3. Whisk in the flour, then add the chicken broth slowly while stirring.
4. Next. add the chicken, nutmeg, thyme, and sage and stir well. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to let simmer for 15 minutes or so.
5. Bring to low heat so no longer bubbling, and SLOWLY add the half&half so as not to curdle the milk. Then, add the spinach, gnocchi and parmesan cheese. I use fresh gnocchi, so it only needed to cook for 2-3 minutes after, and then it was ready to serve!
6. If needed (I did!), add equal parts corn starch and cold water in a separate bowl, stir, and then slowly incorporate it into the soup as a thickener.

DELICIOUS!!!!!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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