Everyday Mom's Meals: My New Crock Pot

Monday, March 24, 2014

My New Crock Pot

One of my favorite lunchtime treats is the all you can eat salad and soup at Olive Garden. In fact, I probably go there for lunch three times more often than what we do for supper. I think their lunch time specials are one of the best deals around; not to mention delicious. And every single time I go, no matter what, this is the soup I get. Sure they have other varieties, and they always look yummy too when my lunch companions get them, but this is always in my bowl.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found a make-at-home version I could enjoy any time I wanted. Then try to picture how over the moon I was when I discovered I could make it in the slow cooker. Plus, this just so happened to be right after I had gotten a brand spanking new Crock Pot for my birthday! What a better way to break it in, than with one of my very favorite soups on the face of the planet!

If you've never had this soup, and aren't sure you want to try it...take my word, you do! The creamy broth is only outdone by the flavors of the sausage, potato and kale In fact, this was the dish that introduced me to kale. Until I had this soup years ago, I had never even heard of kale; and actually had to ask the waitress what it was. (Obviously this was before my foodie days and the explosion of kale's popularity!) Plus, there is just a little bit of kick from the red pepper. But not too much. You know me, I can't take a lot of heat, so you know if my wimpy taste buds can stand it, it can't be too spicy.

I'm so happy I found this recipe. It was so close to the original, if I closed my eyes I could have sworn I was sitting in the restaurant. Plus, how fun to have this be the very first thing coming out of my brand new Crock Pot. I'm sure it has many, many delicious meals in it's future, but this wonderful favorite will always be the first!

Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup From Joyful Thrifty Home
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 medium bunch kale, chopped
1 lb. bacon, diced, cooked crisp and drained
32 oz. chicken broth
16 oz. heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 TBS Italian seasoning
5 small potatoes, skin left on, diced
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage, onion and garlic until meat no longer pink. Drain grease if necessary. Transfer to Crock Pot. Add chicken broth, cream, bacon, red pepper, Italian seasoning, kale, salt and pepper. Stir well. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Add potatoes and cook another 30-60 minutes until tender. Garnish individual portions with Parmesan.

Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 28, 2014

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