CrockPot Zuppa Toscana

CrockPot Zuppa Toscana

This recipe excited me because I’m learning to love my crockpot. My mom gave us one of her crockpots around the time we got married and Tony and I went the first 5 years without using it once. Yikes!
Tony started making chili in it and then here recently, I decided that this would be good for starting dinner early, then digging in at dinner time.
I have another Zuppa recipe from Pinterest that was amazing. This recipe is very similar, actually identical, except for the red pepper flakes, which I will add next time!
You start by browning 1lb of Italian Sausage, I usually go for mild or medium, so it gives it a little kick. Take
2 large russet baking potatoes, I used regular potatoes and it worked just fine, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices. 1 large onion , chopped, recipe says you can add 1/4 cup of bacon bits, but I did not because Olive Garden has no bacon in their soup. Mince up 2 garlic cloves and throw everything you’ve got so far into your crockpot with 16oz of chicken broth and 1qt of water. Directions on the pin said 3-4 hours on high, but I was going to be at work all day, so I did low heat for 7-8 hours and it worked like a charm.
Once you have cooked yours for whichever time frame you go with, you turn your crockpot off and add in 2 cups of coarsely chopped kale. Put the lid back on and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Kale is great because it doesn’t turn into a soggy mess with the heat! After the five minutes have passed, stir in 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and serve. Next time I make this, I will be adding in red pepper flakes with the kale. I’ll start with 1tsp and go from there. The original recipe was good, but I felt it needed the kick.
Original pin can be found at http://getcrocked.com/2011/10/23/crock-pot-zuppa-toscana-copycat/
Also check out my previous Zuppa pin at https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/zuppa-toscana/

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

I’m a big fan of Olive Garden. I think my Nana is the only person I know who does not love it. Other than her, I don’t think I would trust someone who doesn’t like it!
I could eat there every week, even if I just did the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. Now through Pinterest, I can pull off the hat trick and make all three at home! See previous blogs for the Olive Garden breadsticks and their Zuppa Toscana recipe.
Now for the salad:
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. white vinegar
1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. Romano cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
I apparently do not keep a fully stocked kitchen. I didn’t have any Romano cheese, so I replaced it with more Parmesean cheese and I left out the lemon juice.
The salad dressing was amazing. It came out white, which made me a little nervous at first, but it tastes amazing. I went through the first batch within a week and am about to make my second one. I meant to pick up my missing ingredients, but even though I work in a grocery store, I failed to do so. It’s great though because it tastes great the way I made it, missing ingredients and all!
I hope yours turns out fantastic as well and hope you’ll all check out my previous blogs so you can do your own Olive Garden night.
Original pin can be found at http://www.mommysavers.com/olive-garden-salad-dressing-copycat-recipe/

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

This recipe was a huge success! It was a little time consuming, but really worth the effort. I’m thinking the next time I make it, I’ll make a double or triple it and see how it freezes…….
This picture is Chiara enjoying her dinner. I know a recipe was successful when both kids will eat it. Tony even said it was great. Exact quote was “A little different from the soup from Olive Garden but damn good!”
You start by crumbling about a pound of Italian Sausage on a baking sheet and bake it for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. (Side note: crumbling the sausage is more like squeezing a tube of toothpaste except you get meat instead of paste. Arthur decided it was ‘gross’!) Once done, place on a paper towel to drain.
Next up, cook 5-7 slices of bacon and crumble it. (I have a later pin about a way to cook bacon in the oven, it’s easy and yummy!)
Slice up 5 medium russet potatoes thinly. Make sure they are cut evenly so they cook evenly. (I used 2 really big potatoes and it worked really well.) Dice up half of a large onion (or a small onion), mince 2-3 garlic cloves. Once that’s done, put the potatoes, onion, garlic in a pot with 2 cans of chicken broth and a quart of water (4 cups). Cook this on medium heat till potatoes are tender.
Add the sausage, bacon, 2 tsps. of red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Chop up 2 cups of kale (aim for bite size) and add to the soup along with 1 cup heavy whipping cream. Let the mixture heat through and serve.
This was so great and amazingly we have enough left over for lunch. This recipe makes a big batch and you won’t be disappointed. I hope you enjoy it! We sure did!

Recipe came from here

Olive Garden Breadsticks

Olive Garden Breadsticks

So, I wanted to start a blog for several reasons. I’ve tried in the past, but didn’t have a good topic to blog about so it kind of fell through. I think I’ve hit on a winner finally! I loved the movie Julie and Julia, but it’s already been done, so who wants to repeat something? Cook your way through a cookbook, sure, but why repeat a blog? So I twisted it to Pinterest! I love Pinterest! The recipes, the crafts, I love it all. So I will blog about my experiences with tips, tricks, crafts and recipes.
I figured I’d start with something super yummy! Olive Garden Breadsticks! Ingredients include: 1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water, 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 3 – 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt, 3 tbsp vegetable oil. For the topping you’ll need: 2 tbsp margarine or butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder.
Now the only complaint I have with this recipe is that it takes FOREVER! I can only make them when I’m off work for the day because there is simply no time after getting home from work!
Directions: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar until yeast has dissolved. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Add in remaining 1 tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt and vegetable oil. Fit mixer with paddle attachment and blend mixture till well combined. Switch mixer to dough hook attachment. Add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and knead mixture on low speed, adding 1/4 cup additional flour as needed, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but should still be slightly sticky) Transfer dough to a large buttered mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place free from draft until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch risen dough down, divide into 12 equal portions, keep covered with plastic wrap as you work. Roll each piece into a 9-inch rope on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to cookie sheet.
I had the kids help me roll out the breadsticks, so mine were a little less than perfect, but we had so much fun!
Cover and let rise for an hour. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake in preheated oven 11-13 minutes until golden. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Once breadsticks are done, run the butter over the crust then sprinkle the garlic powder / salt mixture over the top. Eat warm or let cool, they are divine either way!
Like I said, so very time consuming! But they are worth it, at least once or twice a month!

View the original pin here