Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Zuppa Toscana

November 23, 2008

I’m not a terribly huge Olive Garden fan, but I DO love their Zuppa Toscana soup.

DH had mentioned he was hungry for “soup, salad, and breadsticks” so instead of trying to wrestle our way into the constantly-full-takes-no-reservations Olive Garden in our town, I just made it at home!

This soup was very tasty. I liked it better than the restaurant version since I could control the fat and salt involved.

I pre-cooked the sausage on Sunday, and tossed it in a container in the fridge. Then all I had left to do was the basic ‘soup’ aspect on Tuesday, and while it simmered I chopped up our salad and tossed breadsticks in the oven (since it was a weeknight, Pillsbury saved the day on the breadsticks). Worked out to be a great weeknight meal.

The original recipe only served 3 people. I’m not even going to post that recipe here, because when I make soup, I make way more than that (regardless of the soup). I doubled the recipe, we ate it 2 nights for dinner, with some left over for lunches (or freezing, if that’s your preference).

For the original “serves 3” recipe, click the Recipezaar link below.

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb. spicy sausage — we used turkey sausage (original recipe calls for sausage in cups. who measures sausage in CUPS!?)
4 medium potatoes, cut in half length-wise and cut into 1/4″ slices
1 large (2 small) onion, diced
12 slices bacon (we omitted. i don’t need sausage AND bacon in my soup)
3 teaspoons minced garlic — we used jarred preminced (don’t worry if this smells mega-strong when it’s cooking. the garlic flavor will mellow out)
4 cups kale leaves, cut in half then sliced (I chose about 12 kale leaves at the store, and ended up tossing them all in)
4 tablespoons chicken base(bullion)+2 quarts water (I used 8 cups of chicken broth instead)
2/3 cup heavy cream

– If sausage is in links, remove from casings. Cook sausage until done and set aside.
– Cook bacon and onion over medium heat, and when bacon is crisp, take it out of the pan and leave the onion in. Add the garlic to the onion and cook1 minute (Since I omitted the bacon, and my sausage was already cooked and in the fridge, I just put a little olive oil in the bottom of my stock pot, and sauteed the onion in the olive oil until soft and transparent. Then I added the garlic and proceeded on)
– Add the chicken base, water, and potatoes; simmer 15 minutes
– Crumble bacon and add crumbled bacon, kale, and cream
– Simmer 4 minutes, then serve.

This was DH’s first time with kale, and he’s decided he likes it. Anybody have good recipes that use it??


"Pennsylvania Dutch" Chicken Pot Pie

October 14, 2008

A few weeks ago there was a discussion on the What’s Cooking board on TheNest about pot pie in soup form.

Most had never heard of it, and those that had were centered around a very small area of Central Pennsylvania — also known as where I currently live.

I’m not from this area, so I think this “pot pie” with no crust is a bit odd, but my husband loves it. Prefers it to my “crazy” pot pie that actually looks like a pie!

So I decided to try my hand at it. I’d never made it, and it turned out really well. The ONLY thing that would’ve made it more delicious is if I’d have had a whole day off to slow roast a chicken to use in it. Mmmm..slow roasted chicken.

Oh! And before we get to the recipe…a note about the noodles involved.

Part of what differentiates this type of pot pie from any chicken noodle soup recipe are the noodles. They’re a thick egg noodle, cut into squares.

I made these, but I did see that in the grocery store here, San Giorgio sells Pot Pie Noodles — they’re hidden on the top shelf near the egg noodle section. Check your store and see if they have them — I’m curious if they sell them anywhere but here!

Onto the recipe — and pardon the bad pictures. It’s getting dark earlier, and I’m also in the process of prepping a house for move-in, so dinner has been very late!

Pot Pie Squares (The Noodles)

3 cups flour
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
1/2 to 3/4 cup water

– Mix the flour, egg, and shortening together
– Knead the dough mixture, while alternately adding small amounts of water until the dough holds together well
– Divide the dough into two or three pieces
– Roll each piece out to about 1/8″ thick on a floured surface
– Cut the rolled out dough into squares – about 2″ to 2 1/2″ wide
– Allow the freshly made pot pie noodles to dry for about 30 minutes or more before cooking

The Soup
*3-4 cups of shredded chicken, turkey, beef, or even ham leftovers can be used instead of a whole stewing chicken for this. When using leftovers, use broth instead of the 2 quarts of water. With leftover chicken or turkey, use 4 cans of chicken broth.

1-3 lb stewing chicken
2 quarts water
5 medium potatoes – peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
2 cups chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

– Cook the chicken in water until tender
– Remove the chicken from the broth and separate the meat from the bones and skin
– Cut or shred the cooked chicken into bite size pieces
– Meanwhile, add the vegetables and seasonings to the simmering broth
– Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, then add the pot pie squares to the broth mixture, a few at a time, stirring frequently so they don’t stick together
– After all have been added, cook gently for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the noodles are tender
– Add the cut up chicken and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes longer
– Cover, and let stand for a few minutes before serving.

**The article this recipe was taken from suggests serving it on dinner plates, or in shallow bowls. Sides are recommended as a salad such as coleslaw, pepper cabbage, or lettuce with bacon dressing — if you REALLY want to do it “Pennsylvania Dutch” Style!

Freezing February? Beef Stew is the answer!

February 20, 2008
What is better in blustery, cold February than a hearty stew? I wanted one that I could make in the crockpot, and the ladies at What’s Cooking on TheNest served up this delicious recipe!
I’m posting the version I made, but I’ll notate the changes I made to it.

Beef Stew
(Original recipe provided by veniceforever on ‘What’s Cooking’)

1.5 lbs. beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes (*hint: freeze the meat for 10 minutes before makes cubing SO much easier!)
1 medium onion, chopped coarse
1 medium garlic cloves, minced (*I used already-minced garlic you can buy at the store because I had it on hand)
1.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 can beef broth
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 beef bullion cubes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
4 medium potatoes (red are best — I had yukon gold on hand)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch. thick rounds
1 c. frozen peas (I omitted these — my poor DH hates peas)
1/4 cup minced parsley (optional — I didn’t have any so I left it out)


– dry beef thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
– place all ingredients except for the peas and parsley in the crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or, on high for 4-6.
– add the peas and parsley and cook for another hour, or until peas are tender.

**This made enough for us to eat it (2 of us) twice, with some left over for lunch! I served it simply with crusty bread to dip in the juice…Yum!

Beef stew — prior to cooking!

Baked Potato Soup with a Smoked Salmon Twist!

January 22, 2008

Tonight I made Baked Potato Soup — but instead of adding your usual bacon/cheese combination, I decided to use up a pound of smoked salmon we had.
Surprisingly, it was DELICIOUS! I had read that you can substitute smoked salmon for bacon, and its actually true!

This is the original recipe:
And here’s how mine turned out…

First, my changes:
– Made it for 8 servings (versus the original 4 servings), so we’d be sure to have leftovers
– Added 1 lb. smoked salmon
– Left the skins on my potatoes — I like them that way
– The original recipe called for hot sauce…hate the stuff, so I left it out

I did have bacon and cheese for garnish, because I was concerned I wouldn’t like the salmon flavor. Honestly, you could do without them.

Baked Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon
6 bacon strips – diced
2 small onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon pepper
6 cups chicken broth
4 large baked potatoes – cubed
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 pound fully cooked smoked salmon
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley

In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream, and salmon. Heat through but do not boil.
Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Prior to garnish:

After DH got ahold of the toppings: