Weeks Style Zuppa Toscana

One of the many changes we’ve been trying to make is eating out less often. It really shouldn’t be that difficult considering we live in a small town with one restaurant that is mediocre at best and two gas stations where we can get pizza or microwave foods. However, we became skilled in finding ways to eat meals away from home or meals that I didn’t prepare with my own two hands. Driving 20-25 miles to meet hubby after work to run a couple of errands and grab dinner. Having hubby stop on his way home from work and bring something home for dinner was a regular occurrence. Not that those things are necessarily a bad thing, but since we’re trying to make healthier choices and cut back on expenses, eating out is one of the things that had to be reduced.

One benefit of not eating out as often is trying some new recipes. I get really excited when I find a recipe from a restaurant that was a somewhat frequent place for our family to eat-out. And oh the excitement when I try out the new recipe and it turns out to be really, really good. One such meal made it to our dinner table last night. It was so good in fact, that my 5-yr-old requested it for lunch today.

On the menu last night was Zuppa Toscana soup and garlic bread sticks. This is a meal that my hubby and our 5-year-old typically order when we go to Olive Garden to eat. That’s right folks, only the best places for our family!! It really was good though and I was the one in control of what went into our soup. Sausage and bacon from antibiotic free, free-range pigs, organic veggies, etc. It will now be a regular meal on our menu here at home and one day the majority of the ingredients will come from our own backyard!!!

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Finished product!

This recipe made enough to serve me, my hubby, our 3-yr-old and our 5-yr-old.  Hubby and our 5-yr-old had additional servings and I had 1 1/2 quarts left-over.  I did change the recipe a little and will tweak it next time I make it.  I’ve included those changes in the recipe below.

Weeks Style Zuppa Toscana Soup

1.25 lb Italian Sausage
7 slices of bacon, fried crisp
5 medium russet potatoes
2 1/2 c kale, chopped
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 qt water
2- 14.5 cans or 29 oz. chicken broth
1/2 large onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes (If you like more spice, add an additional tsp)
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Crumble the sausage onto a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes or until no longer pink. Place on paper towels to drain.

Fry the bacon and crumble into small pieces.

Slice the potatoes between 1/8″ and 1/4″. I used the thick setting on my v-slicer. Just make sure the slices are about the same size so they cook evenly.

Dice up the onion and mince the garlic.

Throw the potatoes, onion, garlic, chicken broth, and water into a large pot on medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through.

Add the sausage, bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

During this time the potatoes will start breaking apart into smaller bite sized pieces because they are so tender.

Chop kale into bite sized pieces.

Turn the heat to low and add in the kale and heavy cream. Let the soup heat through and serve.

Add a salad and/or bread sticks for a yummy meal!!!

Bon appetit!!!

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