Friday, July 8

Copycat Lightened-Up Zuppa Toscana

I love this soup. I eat it every time I go to this chain Italian restaurant across town. My hubby is all about breadsticks but this is what I go for. The soup's broth is creamy and flavorful with chunks of spicy sausage and huge pieces of tender potato. It has vibrant green barely cooked kale that makes it feel like a healthy thing to eat (ahem... despite the cream and cheese sprinkled on top). Its the perfect soup if you don't count chili, chicken noodle soup, and tomato basil. Okay I have a fond place in my stomach and taste buds for a good mug or bowl of soup even in the summer. 

But lets just be real for a second, its summer and over 105 degrees outside.  There is no way I am going to drive in a hot car with warm children to go have warm soup. I love soup but that just seems wrong, you know. So I made my own lightened up version at home. It was fast, affordable, and really easy. About $5, 20 minutes, and a yummy half pot of soup that will feed 2-3 hungry people without driving in the summer heat. As my hubby would say, "you're welcome". Lol lets make some soup. 

Serves 2-3 people
Takes 20-25 minutes 
Recipe adapted from a website that doesn't exist anymore 

1 link of spicy sausage (I got mine from the meat counter and it only cost $1
1 link of sweet Italian sausage (I got mine from the meat counter and it only cost $1)
3 slices of thick smoked bacon
1/2 of a large carrot, scrubbed, and diced small
1 russet potato, scrubbed and sliced in large rounds and then cut in half
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups of kale chopped (see note below)
2 cups of chicken broth low sodium or homemade
2 cups of water
1/4 tsp of onion powder 
1/4 Tbs of kosher salt
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/3 cup of whole milk or half and half

1. Dice up the bacon into pieces. Put them in a medium or large pot, over medium heat, and cook until crispy. Should take about 5 minutes. Once it is cooked, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to let some of the bacon fat drain off. Set aside. 

2. Remove all the rendered bacon fat from the pot except for 1 Tb. Return it to the stove over medium heat. Remove the sausage from the casings. Put the sausage and diced carrot in the flavorful bacon fat and cook until the carrot is softened and sausage is almost cooked.Use a spatula to break up large pieces of sausage as needed. Should take another 3-5 minutes. 

3. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. 

4. Add in the potato, water, chicken broth, onion powder, and salt. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. 

5. Once potato is cooked through, you can tell this because if you pierce it with a fork it falls apart, add in the kale and milk or half and half and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.  Note: When cutting the 2-3 kale leaves its faster if you hold onto the leaf near the top, pinching the hard stem with one hand and pulling down, the more pleasing tasting leaf should tear away easily. Then just rough chop it into bite size pieces. 

6. Taste and adjust salt/pepper if needed. Serve up with rolls & butter, bread & butter, or crackers. I am a bit more careful with carbs these days so I eat it just as is with no sides. Love those soft chunks of potato. Tastes great the next day too. 

Thanks for stopping by!

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