Hello November! Fall is in full swing and winter is just hanging back waiting for the right time to strike. So what does all that hyperbole mean??? It is soup weather! Don’t argue with me or “No Soup For You!”. 
Soup weather is really anytime because you can have hearty soups, chilled soups, vegetable soups, and fruit soups, ahh the list goes on. I prefer it being a little chilly before I break out the soup pot. So now is the perfect time.
I have mentioned before that soup is not difficult; it is basically a protein, some vegetables, liquid, and flavor. For a stew you slow cook for a long time so that the flavors develop, for a chili you can add any number of ingredients (I have a sweet potato chili on the stove as I am writing this article), or a soup can be leftovers brought together for delicious thriftiness. 
We occasionally go to The Olive Garden for an inexpensive lunch or dinner, and we order the all you can eat soup. With a family of four we can fill everyone up and give a generous tip for around $25.00. Whether it is the youngest always picking chicken gnocchi, or the oldest always picking a combination of gnocchi and Zuppa Toscana, we always walk away having a great time and a satisfied appetite. There are plenty of copy cat recipes out in the World Wide Web, so you can find out how to make the same soups at home, and then you can make them your way!
So I have taken the basic Zuppa Toscana recipe and added a couple of tweaks to stretch the meal, and satisfy the never ending hunger of my teenager. 
Photo courtesy of my Iphone 4s
1 lb mild Italian sausage 
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon bit (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
2. Brown sausage in your soup pot, then remove.
3. Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
4. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in pot.
5. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
6. Add sausage and bacon.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.

8. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Turn to low heat.
10. Add kale and cream.
11. Heat through and serve.

Taken from: http://restaurant.food.com/recipe/olive-garden-copycat-zuppa-toscana-38298?

So what did I change?
I added sweet potatoes with the russet potatoes, great color, flavor, and nutrients. I substituted baby spinach (tear in the bowls and then add the soup), added a bag of frozen California blend, and lastly I did not add heavy cream. Instead I used the broth to melt 4 ounces of cream cheese and added it to the soup.
The best part about soup is using what you have on hand. To utilize the leftovers and the accidents such as overcooked meat, extra potatoes, a sudden gift from the hunter or gardener next door, etc.
I think you can throw it together without having to add any ingredients that you pronounce no processed food, no chemicals, just real food.
So go forth and cook some soup!

About Trace Hillman

I am a dad, husband, and a food guy.. I love the idea of bringing people together and having real food.
This entry was posted in caveman, economical recipes, Healthy, holiday, holidays, olive garden, soup, vegetables, veggies. Bookmark the permalink.

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