I'm just a busy wife and mom who loves to cook (and hates to clean up afterward), balancing the many hats I wear and trying to look cool, calm, and collected while doing it...

Oh, and I rarely measure anything when I cook, so consider yourself warned. Love good food. Try new things. Eat to your heart's content.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Really Soup-erb Knockoff! (Zuppa Tuscana)

Who DOESN'T love the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden?! It's seriously one of my favorite soups. Ever.

While stalking people I know on browsing Pinterest, I came across this recipe for that glorious soup, and decided to try it, and make it my own by using slightly different ingredients.

It's so similar to Olive Garden's version, but I'm sure it's slightly better for you, as I used Fat Free half and half... not that it's healthy by any means. But it's hearty, and really, it's the heart that counts. Amiright?

Knockoff Zuppa Toscana
5-6 Italian Sausage links, casings removed (I used mild so my kids would eat it, but hot is great too.)
4 slices Thick Cut Bacon, cut into thin slices (so they'll be like bacon bits when they cook.)
1 small Onion, finely diced
4-5 cloves of Garlic, minced or pressed with a garlic press.
4-5 small/medium Russet Potatoes, washed very well, with the skins still on.
1 32 oz. box Chicken Broth
2 cups Fat Free Half and Half
3 cup Kale, washed very well, main stems/veins removed and leaves torn into bite sized pieces.
1/2 tsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
About 1 Tbsp. butter
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Red Pepper Flake (Optional)

In a large pot, cook the bacon and sausage until sausage is crumbled well and browned and bacon is crispy.

Add the onion and garlic.

Thinly slice the potatoes. If you have a mandoline that would be great. I used the Simple Slicer from The Pampered Chef, and it was so much quicker than trying to hand slice 5 potatoes thinly and evenly.

Add the potatoes to the pot, along with salt and pepper.

Add the box of Chicken Broth, and the FF Half and Half, and stir until it's all combined.

After it's come to a good rolling boil, let it cook until the potatoes are tender. You'll probably want to add a little more salt now too, since potatoes will absorb a lot of salt while cooking, taking it from the rest of the soup.

When the potatoes are all cooked through, and the broth looks has thickened a little, it's time to add the Fresh Parsley and Kale.

Now is when I add the little bit of butter, and about 2 Tbsp Parmesan. Cook until the kale is just slightly soft.

Top with more Parmesan and sprinkle of red pepper flake, and serve with fresh french bread.

This could easily serve 6, probably 8, depending on the hunger level of your crowd. I have no idea if it freezes... if you try it let me know if that works.

Happy Eating!