Tag Archives: soups

A Twist on Zuppa Toscana

Sopa ToscanaThis is a good soup, a twist from an Olive Garden recipe, Zuppa Toscana.  It is fantastic.   My family loves it.  I took it to a get-together, and the nice guest sitting next to me didn’t know I had made it.  I was tickled when he said at least a couple of times, “This is good sausage soup.”  That, along with another guest’s recipe request told me this soup is a crowd pleaser.

Take this soup to your New Year’s gathering or cook it up simply for a New Day!

I have made this soup with both potatoes and sweet potatoes.  The potato is my family’s favorite, but they also like the sweet potato version too!  So don’t be afraid to substitute.  Using squash would taste good too, but you will lose the “comfort” texture the starchy potatoes and sweet potatoes offer.  In addition, look for the sausage with the least ingredients.  This is often difficult to find, so when I find it, I stock up in bulk.  Lastly, I use homemade broth because it tastes so good and I know exactly what is in it.  Making broth is not hard at all.  It mostly just requires us to step outside of our comfort zone.

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound sausage, browned and drained
5 slices of bacon, browned, reserve drippings
1 onion, diced
3-5 cloves of garlic
6 medium potatoes
Broth, chicken or beef, variable but approximately 9 cups (about 2 quarts)
Spinach or kale, about 2 cups chopped finely (either one is great)
2 teaspoons parsley, dried
1 teaspoon rosemary, dried, broken into small bits/crumbled
2 teaspoons basil, dried
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2-1 teaspoon)

1.  Brown sausage.  Drain drippings.  They will not be needed.  Reserve sausage and set aside.
2.  While sausage is browning, scrub and slice potatoes thinly, like you would for fried potatoes.  It’s up to you if you want skins on or off.  I can give you pros and cons to both ways health-wise.
3.  Brown bacon.  When crispy, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on paper towel-lined plate to drain.
4.  In bacon pan and drippings, saute the chopped onion until golden brown.  Mince, press, or chop the garlic into the browning onions.  Saute a little.  Transfer onions and garlic to your soup pot.
5.  Add the sliced potatoes.
6.  Cover potatoes, onions, and garlic with broth.  Do not use all of the broth.  Use enough to cover and boil potatoes.
7.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender and even a little bit mushy.
8.  While the soup is cooking, clean and chop the greens.  If I use kale, I remove the thick stems before using.
9.  Smash some of the potatoes to make the soup thicker.  Add more broth to make the soup the consistency you want!  Do you want it soupy or more stew-like?
10.  Add the dried parsley, basil, and rosemary.
11.  Season with salt and pepper.  (Taste before adding much salt.  Certain broths are already salty!)
12.  Finally, add the chopped kale or spinach.  Remove from heat.

Family “gustar” report:  Every man, woman, and child goes for seconds on this one.  Bingo.

Added bonus:  I’ve found some Brewer’s yeast to add to soups.  It packs a huge B vitamin punch!  As I’ve observed some diet logs, I’ve seen that even in people with good intake of vegetables and meats, there is still a low intake of B vitamins!  Brewer’s yeast has kind of a cheese-like flavor suggestion and merges well in some recipes.  This is one of them.

Have a great day!


One Pot Chili

One pot chiliAfter making white chicken chili the other day, I had some soaked, pre-cooked beans left over. I also had 1/2 pound of hamburger thawed in my refrigerator that needed used up, as well as a partially used-up green pepper and onion. I was tired and I threw all the ingredients into the pot uncooked. Tasted great like chili does. Glad I didn’t waste any steps.

Soup 4:  One Pot Chili

1/2 pound hamburger
1 cup of pre-cooked navy beans
1/2 quart canned tomatoes
1 16 ounce jar of plain tomato sauce
3 large cloves of minced garlic
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper
1 quart of broth (I used goat broth because I had it on hand–very good–but any will work)
2 teaspoonsful salt
1 teaspoonful pepper
3 teaspoonsful chili powder
1 tablespoonful cumin

Place all ingredients into a large enough pot. Stir to mix. Don’t worry about the ground beef being in a large hunk. It’ll cook and break apart. Turn on heat, bring to boil, stirring, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the ground beef is cooked through and the onions, garlic, and green pepper are soft. Stir the soup every 20 minutes or so to break up the ground beef into small pieces. I like the way the ground beef separated into smaller pieces by the boiling process rather than the sauteeing process I usually do initially. I let my soup cook a couple of hours to mix the flavors well. It was good the first day, and the leftovers even better!

Family “gustar” report: Of the 3 people who like chili, all liked it. Two in our family just don’t like chili.

You may also be interested in :
White Chicken Chili
Chunky Squash Chicken Soup
Pease Porridge (Pea Soup)

White Chicken Chili

White chicken chileA great soup!  Often I make it without the beans, too.

Soup 3: White Chicken Chili

2 cups of pre-cooked navy beans, optional*
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, if desired, diced
3 tablespoonsful olive oil
shredded cooked chicken, about 1-2 cups
1 teaspoonful salt or to taste, if you make your own broth and already use salt, err on the side of less
1 teaspoonful pepper or to taste
1 teaspoonful Mexican oregano (or whatever oregano you have)
1 tablespoonful cumin, or to taste
1-2 quarts of chicken broth
1-2 limes, cut into wedges
cilantro, 1 bunch
avocado, peeled and sliced

1. Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed soup pan.
2. Saute onion, garlic, and jalapeno in olive oil until softened.
3. Add in salt, pepper, Mexican oregano, and cumin and saute a bit longer.
4. Add in shredded cooked chicken, cooked beans (optional), and 1 quart of chicken broth.  Eyeball it.  If you think it needs more broth to be “runnier”, add more broth.
5. Bring to boil and simmer 10-20 minutes for flavors to mix.  If you’re not adding navy beans, the soup is finished.  Be sure to skip to step 7.  The soup really comes together with the garnish of cilantro, avocado, and lime.  Otherwise, it’s just okay.
6. If navy beans were used, allow the soup to cool enough to use an immersion blender to quickly blend the soup to desired texture. Blending a portion of the soup gives it a thicker, creamier texture. But we don’t like it blended into a puree.  You could also carefully use a hand masher to mash some of the beans and do the same thing. Or put about 1/4 of the soup into your blender (allow to cool or add some reserved cool broth) and blend in the blender and return to pot.
7. To serve soup, juice a wedge of lime into the soup, add some cilantro and avocado.

* (I soaked the navy beans vastly covered in water and a squeeze of lemon juice for three days…do they need soaked this long? I don’t know.  Theoretically it all sounds good; decrease lectins and phytic acid.  I changed the water and rinsed the beans a couple of times each day.  Some had sprouted by the time I stuck them in a crock pot overnight on low to cook them and rinsed them again before using.  I had several cups left over and used them in chili and on salads.)

Family “gustar” report:  5/5 ate it and like it.  2/5 loved it.  1/5 thought it was too spicy.

You may also be interested in:
Pease Porridge (Pea Soup)
Chunky Squash Chicken Soup