Zuppa Toscana Soup

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I love soup, and I’m a bit of a soup snob.  I don’t like canned soup, so unless I make it homemade, we don’t eat it.  It’s just a fact of life over here in crazyville.  Remember?  I live in crazyville where it’s 104 degrees less than 14 days ago, and today it is foggy and 54 degrees.  See.

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This is the church cross across the road that I take all those lovely sunrise pictures of.  When this weather hits, I like to cook… and have a fire in the fireplace… and watch Pride and Prejudice… and rewind and watch over and over as Mr. Darcy strides through the mist to Lizzy… and hear him say, “Surely you know it was all for you.  I love, I love, I love you.” (Sigh)

Sorry, I got lost there for a minute.  Soup… back to the soup.

So, I picked up my punks from school today and got busy making this Zuppa Toscana soup… without the kale.  I always pick out the kale, so I saved myself the trouble  and just didn’t add the kale.  That’s how I roll.  I have to be me.

It all starts with a little bacon and there are three things you must know about bacon.

1.  Bacon completes me.
2.  Bacon is the reason I will never be a vegetarian.
3.  Any recipe that starts with bacon is going to be a superb recipe.

This is why we start with bacon… and Italian sausage.

Start by browning some bacon, Italian sausage, onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic in a large pot or dutch oven.

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While that is browning, clean and slice 5-6 large russet potatoes with a mandolin.

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Set potatoes aside and finish browning bacon and sausage until onion is translucent.

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When sausage and bacon is finished cooking, drain and set aside.

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Set pot back on burner and bring 10-12 cups of water to boil.  Add 5 Tablespoons of chicken bullion to the water.

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Once broth comes to a rolling boil, add potatoes and cook 10-15 minutes until tender.

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Add sausage, bacon and onion back to the pot.

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And now the final magic ingredient… Heavy Cream.  I know…  I told you I’m a soup snob… I like the good stuff.

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Take soup off the burner and add one cup of heavy cream.  Mix through soup.

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Here’s my recipe below… with no kale.  Enjoy!

Zuppa Toscana Soup

1 lb. ground Italian sausage
4-5 slices of thick sliced bacon
1 diced onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
10-12 c. water
4-5 tablespoons of chicken bouillon
5-6 large russet potatoes
1 c. heavy cream

Brown Italian sausage, bacon, diced onion and garlic in large dutch oven.  Drain onto paper towel lined plate and set aside.  Set pot back on burner and add 10-12 cups of water.  Add 4-5 tablespoons of chicken bullion to water and bring to a boil.  Add sliced potatoes to water and boil about 10-15 minutes.  Pull pot off burner.  Add sausage and bacon to potatoes and mix in 1 cup of heavy cream.

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Chicken pasta with bacon and mushrooms

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The table was silent.  Ol’ Blue Eyes and my punks LOVED this dinner tonight.  I have to say, it was pretty yummy, so I thought I better share it with all of you.  I adapted this from two of The Pioneer Woman’s recipes.  If you make it, let me know what you think.

Since I fly by the seat of my pants around here, I didn’t take a beginning picture of all the ingredients.  So we’re gonna jump right in and start cookin.

To begin,  flatten chicken breasts to uniform thickness. Salt and pepper both sides, then dredge in flour. Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.

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Cook pasta according to package directions.  Don’t forget to add a few chicken broth granules to your water.

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Throw bacon, green onion and garlic into pan with just enough broth to begin to deglaze the pan. Cook until bacon is done.

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Add mushrooms and parsley.

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Cook until tender.

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Reduce heat and pour in 1 c. chicken broth, heavy cream, half and half and parmesan cheese. Stir and allow to bubble and thicken for a few minutes.

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Toss into the cooked and drained pasta.

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Serve with chicken breasts and sprinkle the top with grated parmesan.

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Seriously, you’ve got to make this.  It was really, really good!!!

Print recipe

Homemade Pizza Crust

If there is one thing that makes my mouth water,  it’s homemade pizza. If there’s one staple in our house when it’s time for Monday night football, it’s pizza.   To  make a great homemade pizza, you need a great pizza dough recipe for your crust.   That’s where I come in. 
So, because I’m so nice  fall is in the air,  I thought I would share my recipe with you.
Here’s our Wedding Party:

First dissolve a packet of yeast in 1c. of warm water.  Stir and let sit and set aside.

To your mixer, add 2 T olive oil and  1/2 t. salt.
For some extra, wonderful goodness… add 1-2 springs of chopped rosemary.
Add  yeast mixture to your mixer.
Use your hook attachment and begin to add flour.  Mix until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and begins to form a ball.
If you’d like a whole wheat crust, use 1 c. whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 c. white flour.
Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.  Inside my microwave is a good spot for me since Ol’ Blue Eyes likes to keep our house frosty.
After 1 hour, cut dough in half and roll out on a floured surface.  Transfer to pan.
Add your favorite toppings.

Bake pizza in a 500 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Is there a better meal for Monday night football?  I believe not!  Enjoy!

Here is a printable of the recipe if you like.