Tag Archives: soup recipes

Tuesday Tutorial: Michelle’s Zuppa Toscana

Tuesday Tutorial: Michelle’s Zuppa Toscana

Olive Garden is one of our family’s favorite places to eat: there’s something for EVERYONE {even my most picky eater} and nobody leaves hungry!  {It doesn’t hurt that Courtney and I met while both working at the OG either!}  Between being a former  employee and a frequent customer I’m pretty familiar with the menu.  And my favorite soup is hands down their Zuppa Toscana: a creamy, slightly spicy  potato and sausage soup with kale.

 I admit from the get-go that I don’t know Olive Garden’s recipe.  But I think this is close.  And believe me, I’ve eaten enough Zuppa at the OG to know it well!   My husband is also a fan of Zuppa and he says that my recipe is as close as it gets to the real deal (just not as salty, which I do on purpose, and he “remedies” by pouring salt into his bowl at the table.)  He could be humoring me cuz he is a great guy and very loyal {which is why I married him.}  But he’s also  honest.  Either way…why don’t you make it and decide!


  • 2 quarts ham stock (or chicken stock if you don’t have ham)
  • 1-2 quarts water
  • 8-10 medium Russett potatoes (washed)
  • 1 lb  ground sausage (I like Jimmy Dean) or use your favorite Italian sausage
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3-4 large leaves/stalks of kale
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (about half a small onion)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 T butter
  • basil
  • oregano
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped (or garlic powder)
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper

Fill a large pot with the ham stock and water and set on high heat.  Quarter potatoes and slice them (leaving the skins on), and then add them to the pot of water and broth. 

Saute onion in butter and a little olive oil for 3-5 minutes on medium heat until translucent.  Add garlic to the onions and saute for one more minute, being careful not to let the garlic burn. 

Add sausage to the onion/garlic mixture.  If you used Italian sausage (which I typically don’t like if it has fennel seeds) you won’t need much of the basil and oregano maybe a pinch each.  If you’re like me and using regular sausage add 1-2 teaspoons each of basil and oregano to the sausage as it’s cooking to give it that yummy Italian flavor.  Also add about 1 teaspoon of the pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy!)

Stir the spices and sausage together until meat is just barely cooked through. 

Add sausage mixture to the potatoes and broth and let them simmer together 10-20 minutes. 


Chop kale leaves and set them aside.  

 Add cream to the soup.  Like most soups, the longer it is allowed to simmer together the better it tastes, so simmer as long as you like! 

Add salt, pepper, and chopped kale just before serving. 


Now you just need the breadsticks!


(Crumbled bacon and grated parmesan cheese are yummy toppings too!) 

If you really want an Olive Garden salad to go with your soup you’ll have to pick up a bottle of their salad dressing at the restaurant.  I haven’t been able to duplicate that…yet!  😉

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Ham and Bean Crockpot Soup

Ham and Bean Crockpot Soup

Anyone else have a ham bone left over from Easter dinner?  Well if you do, here’s a yummy way to use it up:  Ham and Bean Soup!


  • ham bone and any extra ham meat (chopped)
  • 3 celery stalks (with leaves!)
  • 3 T chopped onion
  • 1 c pinto beans (dry)
  • 2 c Great Northern beans (dry)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt

Place ham bone in the crock and fill with water.  Turn crockpot on to the “High” setting.  Add chopped celery.

Saute onion in olive oil on medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until translucent.  Add to the pot!

This is more than 3T of onions: I was multitasking and making two things at once and both recipes needed sauteed onions!

Add beans and a little salt.

8 hours later remove the bone and remove any meat still on it to put back in the soup.  If you have any extra ham meat (maybe another cup or so) add it to soup. 

 Serve and enjoy!


How do you like to use leftover Easter ham?


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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

After reading Tuesday’s Tutorial on DIY Yogurt you probably rushed right out and bought heavy whipping cream so you could make some too…right?!?! Well, here’s another delicious way to use up a little more of the cream that will help warm you up while we wait for spring: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup!


  • 1T butter
  • Half a large sweet onion {chopped}
  • 1 T basil {I only have dry this time of year but fresh would be even better!}
  • 1 quart tomato sauce {we froze our own without measuring so this a guesstimate amount}
  • 1 can diced tomatoes  {splurge on the Muir Glen Organic if you can!}or 1 fresh tomato diced
  • 1 T sugar or agave syrup
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

On medium-low heat, drizzle olive oil and melt butter in a pot.  Add chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes.   Throw in the basil and allow to sauté until onions are very soft (5-8 more minutes at least).  Add diced tomatoes and stir together for a couple of minutes.  Pour in tomato sauce,  sugar and a little salt.  Let the mixture simmer together for a good 10-20 minutes.  {The longer this soup simmers, the better it is!} This is a good time to do a taste test and add a little more sugar if everything tastes too tart or a little more salt if needed.  The flavor will depend a lot on the kind of tomatoes you’re using.   Pour in the whipping cream and simmer on low until you’re ready to serve!  Bon appetite!

Now this is what I call mmmmm...DELISH! {And I don't even like tomatoes!}



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Savory Rosemary-Pumpkin Soup

Savory Rosemary-Pumpkin Soup

This is one recipe that I wish had an aroma-link or something, because it smells soooooooo good while cooking it!  I happened to have some pumpkin to use up and this was a yummy way to do it!


  • medium onion (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1-2 celery stalks (preferable with leafy tops) chopped
  • 1  t  rosemary
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash allspice
  • 3 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree (or 2 cans of store-bought)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

Drizzle olive oil and saute onions, garlic, and celery for 5-7minutes until veggies are soft.  Add rosemary (I used whole leaves and crushed them a bit before throwing them in the pan), cayenne, allspice, and a little salt & pepper.

Pour chicken stock and pumpkin into a pot on medium heat.  Back in your frying pan add the cream cheese to the veggies.  Once the cream cheese has melted pour whole cheesy-veggie mixture into the pumpkin broth.

Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Then comes the fun part…the blender!  Puree in batches.

Pour soup back into the pot and salt & pepper to taste.  Serve with cilantro garnish.  (You can also add sour cream if you like, but it was plenty creamy for me!)


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