Soups

Recipe—Zuppa Toscana 

I have been sitting on this recipe for months now just waiting for the right time of year to share. After getting record amounts of rain in Sacramento this last weekend and it FINALLY feeling like fall, I think we are finally ready for one of the best soup recipes ever! Now I can’t even take credit for this soup recipe. My friend made this Olive Garden “copycat” soup for me back in July when I was recovering from a medical procedure, and I was absolutely smitten. I had to ask for the recipe and made it for my family less than a week later. It is now a family fave. I just absolutely love that spicy sausage with the rich creamy broth and the loads of kale. (Not gonna lie, the kale makes me feel like I am eating healthy.)

Note: If you are watching your carbs you can easily leave out the potatoes for a fantastic low carb soup. 

INGREDIENTS

12 oz pack of bacon, chopped
16 oz hot Italian sausage, ground
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
64 oz chicken broth
5 medium potatoes, cubed into 1/2″ squares
2 bunches kale, stems removed and leave chopped
1 pint heavy cream
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
freshly grated parmesan

STEPS

  • Add the bacon to a large pot and cook over medium-high heat.
  • When the bacon is cooked to desired doneness, remove it from the pot and set aside.
  • Add the sausage to the pot breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Once the sausage is cooked through, drain off most of the grease leaving about 1–2 tablespoons.
  • Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pot with the sausage and cook stirring occasionally until the onion starts to brown, about 5–6 minutes.
  • Add the broth and potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer the soup for about 15–20 minutes or until the potatoes are just fork tender. 
  • Add the kale, cream, salt, and pepper to the pot and simmer for another 5–10 minutes. 
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and top with parmesan. 
Side Dishes

Recipe—Cilantro Lime Rice

Being frequent consumers of Mexican food we eat lots of rice. Rarely do we consume “plain” white rice. My go to recipes are my Mexican red rice (arroz rojo) or this cilantro lime rice. It just depends on what I’m pairing it with. This rice is very light and refreshing, a perfect complement to any spicy meat. If you have been to Chipotle before, you will recognize the flavors instantly as it is very similar to their recipe. Next time you are looking for a way to make your ordinary rice extraordinary, spend a couple extra minutes and give this flavorful rice recipe a try.

INGREDIENTS
1 c basmati rice
1 1/2 c water
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2–1 tsp kosher salt
1 lime
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • In a 2 quart saucepan combine the rice, water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and a 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
  • Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer for 16–18 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let rice sit covered for 8–10 minutes.
  • Fluff rice with a fork.
  • Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add the juice from the lime and the chopped cilantro.
  • Stir to combine and add additional salt to taste.

Looking for more rice recipes? Maybe you will love these!

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Tropical Macadamia Nut Rice

Rice Pilaf

Dinners

Recipe—Bacon Cheddar Chicken (Copycat Version of Outback’s Alice Springs Chicken)

I am a bacon and cheese fanatic, which is why I am in LOVE with Outback Steakhouse’s Alice Springs Chicken. If you have never had this dish I speak of, let me tell you all about it. It is a juicy chicken breast cooked in a sweet and tangy honey mustard sauce, then topped with the most delicious things you can think of, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and cheese, LOTS of cheese! Yummy-messy-goodness that’s what this is! I will admit though, I think mine is slightly better than Outback’s. Shhhhhh… don’t tell. While this dish does require a bit of prep I personally think it is well worth it.

Note: For best results be sure to allow adequate time for marinating the chicken breasts.

INGREDIENTS
1 c Dijon mustard
1 c honey
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 c white mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
paprika
8 slices bacon, cooked
1 c Monterey jack, shredded
1 c cheddar, shredded
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium sized bowl mix together the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and lemon juice until well combined.
  • Spoon out half of the marinade and place in a small bowl, cover, and chill until later.
  • Add the chicken breast to the large bowl with the marinade and toss to coat.
  • Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 2–12 hours to marinade.
  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet and discard the marinade that the chicken was soaking in.
  • Cook the chicken for 5–7 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  • While the chicken is cooking melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken breasts to a large baking dish and drizzle with some of the reserved honey mustard marinade. (Save the leftover marinade to serve alongside the finished dish.)
  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Place two pieces of bacon on each chicken breast and top with the sautéed mushrooms.
  • Sprinkle the Monterey jack on each breast and then the cheddar.
  • Bake the dish for 10–12 minutes or until the cheese is thoroughly melted and the chicken cooked through.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the melted cheese.
  • Serve each chicken breast with a small side of the honey mustard.

Recipe adapted from Favorite Family Recipes.