Friday, January 30, 2015

7 Ingredient Zuppa Toscana Soup

Hot sausage, roasted red peppers, onion, gnocchi & kale combine to make an easy & flavorful soup! 
Easy dinners are right up my alley. I mean, what is it about the afternoon? It seams like when I'm trying to get dinner made, my kids fall to pieces. It can be quite the crazy time. I try to be patient but sometimes I get so frustrated when I'm almost done making dinner and my kids are in the kitchen complaining about being SO hungry and they need a snack. You know, kids get "hangry" too ;) It's like I can't get dinner on the table fast enough! Anyone else with me?! So when I see a recipe with minimal ingredients, I'm all about it. 

We are big fans of potatoes and love the original Zuppa Toscana soup so I was really excited to try out this recipe. I used evaporated milk in place of the heavy cream and turkey sausage instead of pork (as Ali suggested, to lighten it up) and it turned wonderful! I actually couldn't find ground turkey hot sausage so I just bought the links and took it out of the casing. 

My bunch of kale was pretty big, and I added it all in. I would add as much as you like even if it's not the whole bunch, just add it till it looks good to you. I am always trying to get my veggies in so I went for the whole bunch!




7 Ingredient Zuppa Toscana Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground hot (turkey) Italian sausage
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained & chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, washed & chopped
  • 1 pound potato gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or heavy cream)
  • salt & pepper
  • shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • crumbled bacon, optional
Instructions:
  1. Wash and chop the kale then set aside. Dice the roasted red peppers and set aside. 
  2. Cook the Italian sausage and onion in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Cook until browned. Stir occasionally, breaking up the sausage as you go. Drain out the fat. You can place sausage mixture onto a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb more of the grease then place back into the pot. 
  3. Add the roasted red peppers to the pot along with the chicken broth. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. When it reaches a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the kale and gnocchi, stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes or until the gnocchi are cooked through & tender. Stir in the evaporated milk (or heavy cream). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve warm with crumbled bacon & Parmesan cheese if desired.
  5. NOTES: Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The author recommends using hot sausage as it adds so much of the flavor to the soup. I lighted it up using evaporated milk and turkey sausage as suggested.
  6. Recipe Source: Gimme Some Oven

Friday, January 23, 2015

Berry Detox Smoothie

This berry detox smoothie is full of flavor (without a banana!) Perfect way to start your morning!
I don't know about you, but after the holidays ended I still had a hard time getting on the whole healthy eating thing. But I have started to make smoothies more and it is such a great way to start my morning. I always make better choices if I start my day off well. A Healthy Life for Me explains the health benefits for the ingredients used in the smoothie really well! The berries are full of antioxidants, the honey gives you a boost of energy & helps cleanse your liver. The ginger promotes energy circulation & the chi seeds keep you full & support brain health! Lemons are a natural diuretic and help the body to flush fluids. If you are brave, try adding the whole lemon to your smoothie. I think I might next time! With all the sweet berries, I really don't think it would be too tart. If you try it, let me know how you liked it.

I came across this recipe on Pinterest and it was calling my name. I like that it's a detox. I like that it has no banana. Nothing against bananas but it's nice to have a smoothie without one every now and again. I also like that it has lemon juice and ginger in it. I love lemons. And they are everywhere right now. My parents have a tree and I just got a big bag from my husband's aunt. I'm thinking maybe I'll do a "Lemon Week" with a bunch of recipes using lemon. Sound fun?!


Try this smoothie out. It is fresh and makes you feel great! 

Berry Detox Smoothie

Ingredients:
  • 4-5 frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup almond/coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • juice from 1/2 lemon or 1/2 lemon peeled & seeds taken out
  • large handful of baby spinach/kale mix (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
Instructions:
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender (except the chia seeds) and blend till smooth.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds.
  3. Notes: Original recipe doesn't have spinach/kale in it. I added some to mine to get more greens in! I didn't have raspberries so I did 1 cup blueberries and it was great that way but if you have raspberries do 1/2 cup blueberries 1/2 cup raspberries. Store your ginger in the freezer so you always have fresh on hand!
  4. Recipe Source: adapted from A Healthy Life for Me

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Ingredient Blender Mini Muffins (Gluten & Grain Free!)

Got 5 minutes? Throw these 5 ingredients into a blender and you will have peanut butter/banana mini muffins before you know it. They are also gluten & grain free! The perfect healthy snack.
My kids are all about peanut butter. They eat it by the spoonful! I have to hide the jar so they won't get into it. This recipe is great because it has 2 things that kids love, peanut butter & bananas. My kids gobbled these up! Super easy too. Just add everything to a blender and you've got a batter ready. I added the chocolate chips because, I just couldn't help myself. Either way, try these out! I'm sure you will love them.

The texture is actually really good for having no flour. And for a healthy snack or quick breakfast, these are fantastic.



Friday, January 16, 2015

Baked Spaghetti

A classic dinner made even better! This baked spaghetti will please the kids and adults in your life!

After I had my baby friends, family and neighbors brought in meals to our family.  I am so grateful for their service! One of the meals that was brought was this baked spaghetti. It was so delicious and made for great leftovers too! Perfect for a new mom who is too tired to think about making something for lunch the next day!

I have had this with ground beef & ground sausage. Both ways are great. I didn't notice a huge change in flavor with the sausage so I think I will just use beef next time. Either way I know you will enjoy this dish. It feeds a ton of people so that's always a plus! And the leftovers are wonderful too!

To lighten it up you could always use cottage cheese in place of the ricotta and ground turkey. I haven't tried it that way yet but I did use whole wheat noodles and it tasted great. 




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