Zuppa Toscana (copycat recipe) – ★★★★★

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Zuppa Toscana recipes are all over pintrest. There are so many that I probably have about 6 different variations pinned in my “recipes to try” board because I cannot decide which one could be better. This winter my Zuppa Toscana recipe problem was solved. My brother-in-law’s wonderful girlfriend, Leah, told me about this amazing soup she and her sister made. I looked at the recipe on her facebook page and thought, “Alright this is it! If Leah thinks this one is the best then it must be the best.” I promptly deleted the other pins so as to not get confused with all the recipes. A few weeks later I made the soup. You guys, I cannot say it enough, this recipe is amazing! What is even more crazy is that we made it without bacon. The plan was to make a big pot of soup and take it over to my father-in-law’s house for dinner. Since he was eating with us I tried to subtract as much sodium as possible which meant the bacon had to go. I would describe this dish as creamy, hearty, spicy, and comforting. There is something to be said about a big ol’ bowl of soup that really does warm the soul. Perry gave this recipe a full five-star rating. Here is why:

I love soup, sausage, potatoes and all things spicy. There was no way I wasn’t going to like this recipe. At first I was unsure because of how creamy the broth looked. I thought dairy was supposed to ease spiciness, but as far as I could tell it was a great pairing. The broth goes down smooth because of how creamy it is but the spicy aftertaste is the real treat. Kelsey used spicy Italian sausage so it had that extra kick. I give this recipe five stars because not only was it delicious but it also filled me up which is not something many soups can do. I can’t wait for the left overs.”

Serves: 10     Calories: 290 per serving     Time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, we used the spicy stuff
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, less if you do not like it too hot
  • 3 large russet potatoes, cubed (skin is optional)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of kale, chopped
  • 64 oz of chicken broth, we used less sodium
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups of whipping cream
  • 1 hearty tsp of white pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large pan, brown the sausage and stir in the pepper flakes. Transfer to a dish and set aside
  2. To the same pan add the onions and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, until onions are tender.
  3. Stir in chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the potatoes and cook until soft (approximately 20-30 minutes)
  5. Once potatoes are cooked, add the whipping cream, cooked sausage and white pepper. Cook until heated through.
  6. Add kale just before serving.
  7. Dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.bigoven.com 

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Pineapple Baked Chicken – ★★★★✩

11008513_10205998715465070_8853942480179284495_nIt is no secret that I love savory sweet, and this recipe delivers just that. This chicken dish is baked so the meat came out really juicy and tender with the pineapples perfectly soft. I found it to be an easy, quick and delicious recipe that had us coming back for seconds. I honestly ate a heaping second plate of just the pineapple for desert, that is how tasty it was. We added extra pepper flakes for more heat and I think that took it to a whole new level of yummy. I’m falling in love with Dijon mustard after the saucy pork chops I made a few weeks ago, and I must say I think that is what holds all the flavors in this recipe together. Perry really enjoyed this dinner, but gave 4 stars because he had a suggestion that could potentially make it even better. I’ll let him describe it himself:

“There is no doubt in my mind that this recipe is 5 star quality. It is salty, it is sweet and it is spicy. I think that adding smokey to that list of adjectives would pump this recipe up. I suggest grilling the pineapple chunks before adding them to the recipe. Kelsey thinks it might be an annoying extra step for those who are trying to rush dinner on the table, but I think if the time is available it would be awesome. I know that I love grilled corn in soup so why not have grilled pineapple in this recipe. We will give it a go next time around and at that point I’ll give this one a full five-star rating. Until then it is a 4 because I know there is a little bit of room for improvement.

Serves: 4     Calories: 350 per serving     Time: MARINATE 3 hrs  COOK: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans of pineapple chunks, if you can get the ones in pineapple juice not syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Crushed pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. To marinade, combine chicken, pineapple juice (drain from the canned stuff and keep pineapple chunks aside), garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Place in a large bowl or ziplock bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spray 9×13 cooking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into the baking dish and set aside. Discard of the marinade.
  5. In a large pan melt the butter. Once butter is melted add the Dijon, honey, and pineapple chunks stirring for a few minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat
  6. Pour the saucy pineapple chunks over the chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. If you are into spicy, sprinkle pepper flakes on top before serving.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from http://www.diethood.com 

Breakfast Tacos – ★★★★★

10505607_10205869012422575_2665599181925181061_nPerry is normally the one on breakfast duty when we want more than cereal and toaster waffles, but when he isn’t around I sometimes venture into the kitchen to try new breakfast items with Chance. Chance has recently taken to eating ground beef tacos so I thought I might be able to get him to eat eggs if I made them “taco-style.” We hit the jackpot here people! The first time I made these Chance scarfed down two and asked for two more. We usually have a surplus of eggs in our fridge which is super convenient so just to be stocked I keep tortillas and taco seasoning on hand too. These are super easy to make, and you can even get your little ones involved with the assembly of toppings. Chance provided the rating for these, which he gave 5 stars.

Chance: “Mom where are the little brown pieces?”

Me: “Those are only in the tacos you have for dinner these are breakfast tacos so they are a little different.”

Chance takes a little bite.

Me: “What do you think?”

Chance: “Mom! This is licious’!” (he stuffs both tacos in his mouth) “Can I have more?”

Makes: 4 tacos      Calories: 152/ 2 tacos    Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 small corn tortillas, we get “super soft white corn tortillas” because they have no cholesterol
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, you could use vegetable too but we use canola that has no cholesterol
  • 2 eggs, beaten (yes, I know eggs are crap for cholesterol)
  • 1/2 tsp reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • various taco toppings such as cheese, cilantro, sauce, salsa etc… (bear in mind this will add extra calories if you’re counting calories)

Directions:

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil
  2. When the oil is hot add the tortillas one at a time and cook  for about 30-45 seconds on both sides. Set aside. *NOTE: I usually set a piece of paper towel between the tortillas once they come out of the pan in order to mop up excess oil.*
  3. After all the tortillas are cooked dispose of any excess oil that may be left in the pan (do not rinse). Pour the beaten eggs into the same pan and scramble until cooked.
  4. Once the eggs are cooked through sprinkle the taco seasoning over them and shuffle the eggs around the pan until the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  5. Scoop the eggs onto each of the tortillas and top with your favorite taco extras.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo and recipe are originals of my own. Please feel free to share this recipe but if you post it on another blog please give credit where it is due.