Tag Archives: potatoes

Crawfish stew, cheesy potatoes and my sister is awesome

I believe I have told y’all before that I have 3 sisters. I am the oldest of 4 girls. It is something about me that defines me as much as I am Catholic, I am Cajun, my name is Aimee Marie. Their names are Jenny, Lisa, and Claire. They are all beautiful, spectacular, smart women. It’s crazy for me say that. My little sisters are now grown women. Jenny is 5 years younger than me and has always been my partner in crime. She is beyond gorgeous and has always been wiser than me in the ways of the world. Even though she is younger, she takes care of me sometimes. She is so much fun and loves to laugh. She can be my challenger, my support, my sounding board, my soft place to land and my protector. I really cannot go into how much our relationship means to me for fear of bawling like a baby. I have not had enough coffee for all that. I will say now that she has kids it is even better, because it is like she has multiplied. She is a teacher now, has 3 kiddos, is married to a man from Bazille (my precious brother in law Matt) and has a wonderful family by marriage. They are hardcore coonass, just like our family. In fact her sister in law once told me that I may as well be from Texas living all the way up in Shreveport. Yeah, they wear their Cajun with pride.

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our daughters look so much alike it is crazy business. It makes me smile. Big. And they love each other a ton.

Jenny’s mother in law, Mrs. Georgie, gave Jenny an awesome recipe for crawfish stew at her bridal shower several years ago. I was not made aware of this or somehow missed this fact because I had a baby with me who cried during most of the shower. But truthfully, it would not have done me much good until recently because I was up to my ears in baby until a few years ago. All in God’s timing and that includes recipes too I suppose. But thankfully, a few months ago I put a picture of Tony’s instant roux in the can. Several people commented that no way would they use that (Jennifer and Amanda I am looking at you both. Ha ha!!) but here comes my sister saying she uses it in her crawfish stew. I am all what is this crawfish stew you speak of sister? She sends me the handwritten recipe in Mrs. Georgie’s handwriting (that’s her mother in law). She also tells me to make these devilish sounding cheesy potatoes to go with it.

Jenny has always had a knack for knowing what would taste good. I think it is her adventurous nature that allows for this. She is not afraid to try things. She is as adventurous as I am cautious. She turned me on to baked sweet potatoes with butter, cinnamon and Tony’s. Oh yes and don’t knock it till you have tried it. When we have boiled crawfish she makes the best dipping sauces, hands down. She also has a knack for doing fantastic hair. She has this long beautiful hair that I cannot even imagine dealing with having 3 kids much less making it look lovely and glamorous. (Hush jenny you know it’s true!) Jenny used to give her best friend hair trims when they were probably 11 or 12 and I tell you she did a good job!! She is very special to me as you can tell and I am so proud she shared this recipe with me.

I cannot say I have always been the best sister in the world. I have often times been caught up in being a mom or had my head so far up my butt I could not see anything else but sick kids, dirty diapers, and breast milk. I think mostly she understands. I am definitely grateful for the connection we will always have. And recipes are just one of the many things that connect us. Our memories and stuff we laugh hysterically about that no one else would get as well. Even though she is 5 years younger, she teaches me so much. Like leftover crawfish stew can be served over grilled steaks the next night and that these cheesy potatoes are amazing with crawfish stew. Also, that laughter and tears have a place on the same page. And that most importantly, a sister is forever, no matter what. Your sister is someone who you can always come home too, no matter what has happened or what has been said. I hope she feels the same. Home is wherever your sister is.

I hope you will give Mrs. Georgie’s crawfish stew a try and whip up a batch of these cheesy potatoes. Don’t let this recipe intimidate you. Cajun cooking for the most part is not fancy. If you has ever hung with a Cajun gal, or cajun folks, you know that there is no room for pretense. Just fun. And laid back chats. We just want you to eat and enjoy yourself. Anyone can make this meal. So do it! For now, I have to be going, I need to call my sister. Cause she is sort of awesome and I miss her.~AMB

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back before we were Mrs. Or mommy. Getting a good picture was quick and easy

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now it is difficult to take a picture without some sort of circus drama ha ha

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isn’t she just beautiful?

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our whole circus, I mean crew.

Mrs. Georgie’s crawfish stew

Stuff you need~

1 stick butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 heaping teaspoons of Tony’s instant roux
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can of chicken broth
1/2 can of water
1 pound crawfish tails

What to do with the stuff

In a Dutch oven or medium size sauce pan, Sauté onions and celery in butter until almost tender. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 2
minutes letting the garlic flavor work itself through the onions and celery mixture. Add the crawfish tails, cook for about 5 minutes. Add the instant roux, stirring continuously. Whisk the broth and water into the roux mixture. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until it thickens a bit. Sprinkle in some Tony’s seasoning to taste. Serve over rice. You can garnish with sliced green onions (my fave!) and some chopped parsley if you want. Serve with some of the cheesy potatoes on the side (recipe to follow), a nice green salad and some garlic bread and you have yourself a nice meal fit coonass royalty!!
*Jenn’s side note-always double this recipe because it is amazing and people cannot get enough of it. Also any leftovers are delicious over a grilled steak the next night. Don’t argue…my sister is always (almost) right.

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this is what the can of instant roux looks like (warning…some
People make take offense to you using this. Ignore them. Momou is all about a shortcut. I think all smart cajun women are!!

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Oh yes! My sister is the smartest woman alive!!

Jenn’s cheesy potatoes

Stuff you need~

1 small bag of red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 8 ounce block of Velveeta
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Sliced Green onion for garnish

what to do wit h the stuff~

In a large pot, boil your potatoes (or as voice text puts when I say it “ball your potatoes.” Seriously) in some salted water. Boil until they are tender and you can easily stick a fork in them. Drain and set aside. In a large pot, sauté the onion in the butter. Add the cubed up Velveeta and stir frequently as it melts. Add bacon and green onions (if you love them like I do). Now stir the tender potatoes into the cheesy golden sauce. Stir gently until those potatoes are coated with that luscious cheesy bacony (is that a word?) sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. So damn delicious. Enjoy!!!

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the picture does not do them justice

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No words. So good.

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Jenn and Mrs. Georgie at Jenny’s bridal shower. May 2005. That baby is my sweet Kayla Ann.

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the actual handwritten recipe. Awesome

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Garlic roasted chicken legs and veggies and my cousin Robin

I have been so blessed to have so many wonderful cooks in my life. BD always says the women in my family could cook a boot and make it taste good. My Momee always made the most simple things taste delicious. I have given y’all her cornbread dressing recipe…probably one of my favorite foods ever…link to recipe is here https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/24/momees-cornbread-dressing/. She was the hardest working, strongest woman I have ever known, always had a bit of old Hollywood glamour about her even in the worst of times, and could cook like nobodies’ business. My daughter Aubrey has always reminded me of her. She loves baubles, hats and fancy dresses…just like Momee. Aubrey is fascinated with Princess Kate, and I know that has to be genetic. She has a flair just like Momee. That makes me so happy. Another wonderful thing that came from her is my relationship with my cousin Robin. She is about 2 years older than me and was one of those cousins who was more like a sister growing up. Definitely a good friend of mine. We ended up living together during college at Northwestern, a time I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world. She has always been able to make me laugh harder than almost anyone. We were in each other’s weddings and she is very special to me. We share the same middle name (Marie) just like our moms do. She has always been there. Even now, I know she is just a call or text away.

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we always had so much fun together. Popee is playing his guitar, Momee is clapping and singing, we are dancing. We danced a lot. Circa 1979ish

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at my bridal shower, 2001.

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Robin and I with our daughters, Ava (her’s) and Kayla Ann (mine) at my sister Jenny’s bridal shower, 2005

So these days we mostly communicate via text and I am so glad for that. She probably isn’t because I text her whenever I hear Billy Squier’s The Stroke. Yes. Because we always danced to that song in Momee’s red room (I told y’all she was fancy…the rooms in her house each had a distinct color). She laughs at my elephant like memory and we laugh at the memories we share. She is the one friend I do not remember my life without. She has always been there. So yesterday I had an envie for Momee’s chicken and potatoes. I did not grow up in Marksville, though we were there a lot, but Robin did. So naturally she spent more time at Momee’s house than I did. So I thought she might remember how Momee made this dish. I texted her and sure enough, she had a few ideas. And every year at Thanksgiving, she will inevitably text or call or Facebook me a question about Momee’s cornbread dressing. It’s amazing how recipes can keep us connected that way. I am certainly glad for every tie I have to her. I am certainly blessed to have her presence in my life. She is still one of the funniest people I know and I can laugh just thinking about things we used to do. Even through texts she cracks me up. So between her tips and a random recipe I found, I managed to recreate Momee’s chicken and potatoes to some extent. It was delicious. And I think y’all will love it. I made a few changes, but managed to still get that awesome taste that brought me back to the good ole days in Broulliette, sitting at one of Momee’s picnic tables under the carport on a Saturday with Robin, eating this deliciously simple meal. I hope y’all enjoy this too.~AMB

Garlic roasted chicken and veggies

serves 6

Stuff you need~

1/2 stick of butter
10 chicken legs (you can use boneless thighs too)
6 red potatoes, cut into chunks
10 brussel sprouts, bottom cut off and then halved
2 carrots, peeled and then cut into pieces
10 or so cloves of garlic, (I used a big garlic pod and separated it out) peeled and then kind of smashed to release the flavor (under a knife turned sideways works well…it just flattens somewhat)
Olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper
Garlic powder

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chunks o’ potatoes

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big garlic pod

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separated into cloves

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mmmm melted butter soaking up that garlicky goodness

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Momee always used a big silver pan to make hers’…that I remember. Throw peeled garlic cloves in the butter and kind of work those garlic cloves into the butter. Just give it a good toss. Now, place your chicken legs or pieces in the butter. Neither one of us could remember if Momee used legs or thighs but ended up thinking that she used both, either and probably whatever she had as she was resourceful and practical that way. God bless Beulah Mae. 🙂
Ok now toss the veggies in there. Now sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder. That is one thing Robin remembered…Momee used lots of garlic powder and pepper. Using your hands or a spoon if you must, work the chicken and veggies into all that seasoning and buttery garlic goodness. Sprinkle again with seasoning and toss around again to ensure everything gets seasoned well. They become a happy family. There you go. Next I gave it all a nice drizzle of olive oil and popped it in the oven. The smell is amazing as it cooks. I cooked this for about 40 minutes on the middle rack and it was perfect! Crispy, seasoned perfection. Momee would be proud of us cousin!

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we are never far apart. Thank God for technology.

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Momee would be proud I do believe!

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this picture always makes me laugh. She is so silly.

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin ala Pioneer Woman

I love potatoes.  I love baked potatoes.  I love boiled new potatoes.  I love garlic mashed potatoes.  Need I go on?  No?  Ok.  I am pretty sure by making this statement, I lose just a little more standing in my family. Growing up we had potatoes every once in a while.  My daddy liked his rice and gravy with his meat.  Period.  Now, when my mom fried chicken she would make “creamed” potatoes as she calls them. And of course the obligatory French fries with the fried fish on
Fridays, especially during Lent. For the most part, potatoes were a stranger at my mama’s dinner table in straight up potato form. I can distinctly remember declaring at some point in high school that I would NEVER, EVER God as my witness make rice and gravy once I left home. (It was all very dramatic and full of southern teen angst at the least). Luckily that is not true and I got some sense as I got older. Rice and gravy has its lovely place on our table because it for dang sure deserves a spot.  I mean…Cajun Mama…duh.  Rice and gravy.  Also, it is good to remember that we ate a lot of potato salad so I guess potatoes would be redundant on the side of your meal.  But when I say l love potatoes, I mean I like potatoes with my cheese.  Lol!!!  Cause me likes my cheese.  Creamy, cheesy, decadent potatoes.  Those are my favorite.  This recipe I am posting today is exactly that.  Oh my.  Just potato perfection my friends.  Equally at home along side a grilled rib eye or a plate of barbecued chicken or ribs.  This au gratin potato recipe requires minimal ingredients and you probably have the majority of them in the pantry or fridge.  It is super simple and quick to whip together.  Versatile, easy to make, and just a few ingredients are all things that make a recipe perfect.  Oh it has to be delicious. This one is it!!  You and your family will absolutely love these.  Trust me on this one.  I found this recipe one day when reading through one of my Pioneer Woman cookbooks…it is her second one I do believe.  When I read through the recipe I felt like I had won the recipe jackpot!!  I made them over and over again for a few weeks. Yes they are carbs and they are worth every bit of the indulgence. I hope you feel the same when you try them. In fact, next to my special potatoes, which you can find here https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/12/cajun-mama-special-potatoes/ ..this is probably my favorite potato side dish.

 

Potatoes Au Gratin

Serves 8

Stuff you need~

 

4 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons flour
4 cloves of garlic, minced or 2 tsp. of the jarred garlic (I am not above this)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (recipe calls for sharp, but I encourage you to use what you have)

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Smear the softened butter all over the bottom of an 9 x 13 baking dish. Next start out by slicing the potatoes, then cutting into strips and then dicing them into cubes.

Now, in a medium size bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Layer 1/3 at the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Next, pour about 1/3 of the milk mixture over the potatoes. Give that a good stir. Next, layer some more potatoes and then more milk, about 1/3 of each. Do this until the potatoes and milk are all used up. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle shredded cheese over the piping hot potatoes. Return dish to oven, uncovered and bake until cheese is all bubbly and yummy looking. Heaven in a baking dish I tell you right now.

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this is the hardest part and it isn’t hard

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glorious shredded cheddar…get in my potatoes!

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this is what makes this dish the creamy perfection that it is

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I minced my own garlic this time

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getting ready to go into the oven

Pioneer Woman’s Eggberts Sunriser

Ok, first of all, it may seem like I have a slight fixation with the Pioneer Woman aka Ree Drummond.  I admit, that may be a little true.  I think she is beautiful, witty, smart, and I love her recipes.  She has 4 kids just like me and she was a city girl who married a country boy and learned to adapt and bloomed where she was planted.  I got to say, that is a lot like my story.  So I guess I identify with her and I love to cook and her recipes seem to be the ones I gravitate to.  So, I showcase many of her recipes on my blog and all of this is amounts to a hill of beans except you get the benefit of my take on her recipes and I share them with you.  Do ya’ll remember this pic…Image

Yeah…I guess I have a little fan obsessed when it comes to PW.  That’s ok…we all have our thang, right?  So, naturally I follow her on Facebook and the other day a picture popped up on my newsfeed that made me drool.  A recipe that I knew I could not walk on this Earth much longer without making.  It practically cried and begged me to make it.  Bless its little heart…I had to answer its cries.

So,  a little back story here.  Big Daddy loves him some breakfast.  I grew up in a household that did not make breakfast except for rare occasions and on vacation.  He grew up in a family of pancakes or french toast every morning.  Breakfast was a must and for him it still is.  I have certainly developed a deeper appreciation for the most important meal of the day and now that we have our kiddos, they of course eat breakfast every morning.  It stands to reason that seeing a recipe for a wonderful concoction called an Eggberts Sunriser would drive me to drop it all and make one ASAP.  Well, it just so happened that the perfect occasion presented itself almost immediately.  Our 13th anniversary.  What?  You say, a breakfast recipe for your anniversary.  Well…yes.  Let me tell you, Saturday my youngest starts complaining of a sore throat.  When I tell you my easy going baby boy does not complain often, I mean that.  So I knew something was up.  Then Sunday, when some friends were over to celebrate our oldest daughter’s birthday, started running fever and it was downhill from there.  The writing was on the wall…our anniversary was the next day and going out to dinner was probably not going to happen that day.  BUT I could make him a delicious anniversary breakfast.  Eggberts Sunriser seemed appropriate.  So I made it.  Ya’ll…it was so perfect.  I looked so tasty when I put his together that I followed right in there and fixed myself one.  OH.  MY.  WORD.  All I can say is, if you are a breakfast lover or like me a brunch fanatic, you have to get in there and try this.  You can read all about PW’s take on this recipe here…http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/12/the-eggberts-sunriser.  For now, here is my take on this fabulousness. Oh and after a trip to our pediatrician’s office, it has been confirmed that my baby has strep throat and a double ear infection.  Yeah, fancy dinner out for 13th anniversary was not in the cards.  That’s ok…plenty of time for that.

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Happy 13 years of wedded bliss/craziness to us!!  I love this man so.  He makes me happy.  And nuts.  But mostly happy.  

Eggberts Sunriser 

Serves:4

Stuff you need~

8 cups frozen hash browns

20 whole frozen mini potato wedges (I used some leftover baked potatoes that I had from Sunday lunch.  I cut those up into wedges and then did the same thing)

Canola oil for frying

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 whole medium onion, diced

1 whole green bell pepper, diced

1 whole red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

1 1/2 cups diced ham

1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

4 Tablespoons butter

8 whole eggs

Salsa for topping, optional

What to do with the stuff~

Now, I will start by telling you that I halved this recipe because I knew it would be only Big Daddy and I eating this, but next time I will probably make extra because you could easily reuse this stuff together for breakfast burritos.  We love breakfast burritos in this house and also like to use up what we cook, so for us this is a win win.  Also, I think next time I will omit the hashbrowns and mini wedges and just use all cut up baked potatoes.  What my mother in law (the great and wonderful Deb) calls country fried potatoes.  Mmmmm.

Ok…Now, to start off…grab a big cast iron skillet and really douse it well with canola oil.  Cover the bottom and then add some more.  Trust me.  I tried to use my oil sparingly and it resulted in the frozen hash browns sticking to the bottom of the pan.  You don’t want to deep fry them, but you want them crispy and browned well.  Not stuck to the bottom.  Got it?  Good.  Heat the oil over medium heat and then cover the bottom of the pan with the hash browns.  Now, season them really well as they cook and don’t turn them much.  Ideally, you want to let them brown and then flip them maybe once.  Let them be, precious little darlings.  Let them become crispy and brown.  Again…don’t let them burn.  If you need more oil, add some to the pan.  I did and it was all good.

Now, if you are going the frozen wedge route, you will add considerably more canola oil to your skillet so you can kind of deep fry the wedges.  I just added the baked potato wedges to the pan at the end of frying the hash browns and let them brown some.  Or you can bake the frozen wedges.  It is really up to you.  I HATE to deep fry.  It is just so messy and makes the house smell.  To each his or her own though so do your thing!  In another skillet, add some canola oil and warm it over medium heat.  Not a lot of oil, but enough to just grease the skillet.  Now, stir in the diced veggies and ham.  You want to stir it around just let the raw veggies get a little tender and take the rawness away.  Unless you like all that stuff raw, then, well skip this step I guess.  I probably cooked mine for about 8 or 10 minutes, stirring several times.

Now, in a bowl, layer a some of the hash browns, then wedges, then the veggie and ham combo.  Now, sprinkle some cheese over this.  While the cheese is doing its melting thing, get out a small skillet and add your butter to it.  Turn on the heat on medium low and let the butter melt.  Crack your eggs into the skillet and cook them to taste.  Big Daddy likes his sunny side up but I am an over medium gal.  The pic I took is of mine so it is not as pretty as his was.  Or PW’s picture on her’s.  But mine still had the yellow juice and it dripped down over the potatoes and…oh just writing about this is making my mouth absolutely water.  Sweet Maria, that was an excellent breakfast.  Definitely put a fresh start on our 13th anniversary and if this next year of our marriage is as good as Eggberts Sunriser…well we are in for one wonderful year.  I am pretty dang sure we have started a new anniversary tradition…or a once a week tradition.  Yeah, this dish is that good.

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Happy, happy, happy!

 

Copycat OG’s Zuppa Toscano soup

I am pretty sure I continue to make soup and post about soup because I love soup (I have already copped to my soup obsession, so I won’t bore you with that whole song and dance again) and I am trying to bring on Fall.  It has been so hot and so dry here I just about can’t stand it anymore and I know we are all ready for a change in atmosphere.  Low and behold, I made this zuppa toscana and it rained.  And it may not get out of the 80’s today, so…I am not saying this soup has magical powers…maybe the rain and no more 100 degree weather coming after I made it is a coincidence…maybe not.  One thing I am positive about is that this copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe is amazing!! Image

  O.M.G.  Sweet Mother of pearl, this stuff is awesome.  i will be honest and say I have never order the zuppa toscana when I eat at the OG.  I have always been a minestrone girl.  And then a chicken gnocchi girl.  Oh the chicken gnocchi.  I could write a song about my love for chicken gnocchi.  That is a blog post for another time.  That WILL be a blog post for another time in the very near future.  But back to the fabulous zuppa toscana (come on say it with me…zuppa toscana…don’t you feel fancy?)  This soup is hearty, a little spicy and just so good.  Oh and let me add, it is so flipping easy to prepare.  I started it earlier in the day and then finished it after I picked the kids up from school before going to a PTA meeting.  It fit right in there.  My hubby loved it.  And he is not as fond of soups as I am, so that is saying a lot.  I hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think.  I will be having the leftovers for lunch today…I honestly cannot wait. 

Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana (adapted from Mom on time out blog)

Ingredients:

1 lb. mild Italian sausage, the actual sausage removed from the casing

6 slices of bacon 

5 medium size russet potatoes or red potatoes (i used red because that is what I had and I really liked the color it added to the soup and they tasted wonderful)

2 cups of kale, chopped 

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 quart water

2 14 oz. cans of chicken broth (I used reduced sodium)

1/2 large onion, diced 

3 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced 

1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes*

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Ok…you can brown the italian sausage in a skillet like normal.  Trish (mom on time out blog) suggested you crumble the sausage (again…removed from its casing) on to a baking sheet and bake it at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.   I did this and let me tell you…that is the way to go.  After it is no longer pink, remove the sausage from the baking sheet with a spatula and drain on paper towels.  At the same time the sausage was baking, I placed my 6 slices of bacon on a rack in a baking pan and cooked it too. The bacon took longer than the sausage, probably 30 minutes longer.  Watch it carefully though.  I had no problems cooking either in the oven, but of course, you would want to keep an eye on it.  Again,  you can pan fry both if you feel more comfortable doing it that way.  

While that is cooking, dice your onion.  Then slice your potatoes.  Just make sure the slices are uniform.  1/8 ” to 1/4 ” is about right.  Again, you are looking for uniformity here so the potato slices cook evenly and mince your garlic.  Add your chicken broth and water to your soup pot or dutch oven.  Throw in your sliced potatoes, onion and garlic.  Cook on medium heat until the potatoes are fork tender.  Chop the kale by chopping into bite sized pieces.  Kale holds up to heat very well, much better than spinach I must say.  It is so good for you too!!  Super food and super yum!! Score!! Add the sausage, bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. *Now I will tell you this, add the red pepper flakes sparingly.  My good friend Betsy turned me on to red pepper flakes a few years ago and I am definitely a fan, but they pack a punch so use sparingly.  I probably used 1 tsp. and that was plenty of heat for us.  

Simmer this on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The potatoes will start to fall about this time.  Turn the heat down to low and add in the kale and heavy cream.  Continue to let this simmer until heated through.  Then ladle that delicious stuff into soup bowls and if you are so inclined, grate a little fresh Parmesan on top and enjoy.