Taking a recipe, and making it your own

This is not my official class post, just one that I am doing on my own. This week my girls and I went to Olive Garden for lunch as a mother/daughter outing,  we love to get the SSB and iced tea so we can play “grown-up”, its been our thing since the oldest could eat solid food. Our group favorite soup is the Zuppa Toscana, but the high sodium content and fat from the sausage seem to outweigh any nutritional value the kale can add, so this is once a quarter or so treat, but this week we were feeling creative in the kitchen and made our own version. The sodium content is lower, as is the fat and the taste is pretty good too. I will post both the “copy-cat” Olive Garden recipe and our new version.

Chicken and Kale Italian Soup

This can be done in a crockpot or stove-top stock pot.  Place all ingredients in pot except kale and potatoes and place on low  for 4-6 hours (Crock) or boil until chicken begins to fall apart. Once chicken is done (or you get home from work) put potatoes in pot and crank to high until they begin to get tender, roughly 10-12 minutes. After that dump in all the kale- its going to seem like a lot but really cooks down quickly- and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Serve with our without fancy (whole grain) bread.

You still get the sausagey taste without the extra fat and without using chicken stock the sodium level drops exponentially. (Even the reduced sodium stuff from the market is well above the RDA.)

Copy Cat OG Soup Recipe

        1 lb ground Italian sausage
        2 tsp crushed red peppers
        1/2 large diced white onion
        2 slices of bacon cut in to pieces
        3 chopped or pressed cloves of garlic
        6 cups water
        2 cubes of chicken bouillon
        2 lbs cubed Russet potatoes, or about 6 large potatoes
        3 cups 2% milk
        1/2 a bunch of


    1. Brown the sausage in a large pot with the crushed red peppers. Once it is browned transfer it to a bowl and refrigerate leaving the drippings in the bottom of the pot.
    2. Add the bacon to pot and cook it just to done. Then add the onion and garlic and cook ’til tender (do not let it carmelize them).

    3. Add the water and bouillon cube and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook ’til the are soft about 20-25 mins.

    4. Stir in the milk and bring back up to a gentle boil tear the kale into bite size pieces omiting the large stems. gently boil till the kale is tender and season to taste.


    Both soups are pretty yummy, and keep in mind that while healthy eating is important life is awesome so every now and then treating yourself to a favorite food even one not very nutritionally sound is OK.

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