Zuppa Toscana Crockpot Recipe (Sausage, Potato, Kale Soup)

This Zuppa Toscana crock pot recipe will make you feel like you're in Olive Garden... or Italy. Easy to make in the crockpot, and great for freezer meals for later. Tuscan sausage kale potato soup recipe
This Zuppa Toscana crock pot recipe will make you feel like you're in Olive Garden... or Italy. Easy to make in the crockpot, and great for freezer meals for later. Tuscan sausage kale potato soup recipe

Zuppa Toscana Crockpot Recipe

While in one of my pinning frenzies, I came across this recipe for (Olive Garden copycat) Zuppa Toscana in a crock pot. It looked darned good to me, and also like something that I could double without much effort, AND freeze successfully. I wasn’t 100% sure about freezing it because of the potatoes (which sometimes freeze weirdly) and cream, so I had to test it out before I could recommend it.

I made some changes to the recipe, enjoyed a bowl of soup that night (my toddler loved it and asked for several bowls, and my baby boy slurped down several of the potatoes, quite a bit of sausage, and some kale), and then froze the rest. I ended up with 3 quarts in the freezer – 2 in freezer jars, and one in a freezer bag (lay flat to freeze, then you can move it wherever it fits best in your freezer). I don’t see the exact jars I used but they’re similar to these.

I also froze a bowl of soup in my small freezer, just overnight, to try the next day and see if the potatoes and cream got weird or not.

And the next day? Success! The texture of the potatoes was a little bit different, but not off-putting, and the flavor was good. Everything was as delicious as the first night, and I was excited to have 3 more quarts of this soup in my deep freezer for later.

Zuppa Tuscana Crock Pot Recipe

Tuscan sausage, kale, potato soup. Easy to make in the crockpot now, and freeze for later.

Course: Soup
Author: Emily Chapelle
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs pork sausage
  • 3 russet potatoes cubed
  • 3 onions diced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 gallon chicken stock 2 quarts
  • 4 cups or more of kale ripped up (stems/ribs discarded)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Brown sausage in a pan, then add to crock pot.
  2. Add the potatoes, onions, garlic, and chicken stock.
  3. Cook on high 4 hours or until potatoes are cooked through.
  4. Turn off the crock pot and add kale. Cover and cook 5 more minutes.
  5. Stir in cream.
  6. Serve or freeze.

 

Ham and Cheese Crustless Quiche Recipe (with Spinach, too!)

Crustless quiche is such an easy thing to make. Decide on your fillings, make a custard, throw it in a pie pan, and bake. It’s the low-carb version of the pasta/rice casserole, and somehow it seems eons fancier, too. If you say “quiche for dinner,” it makes people around you raise their eyebrows, impressed, and “oooh” in approval.

This particular quiche was made from ingredients we had in the freezer – ham, cheese, and spinach – so as long as your freezer is stocked and you keep eggs and milk/cream on hand, this can be a great thing to make when you’ve forgotten to go grocery shopping for an entire week.You don’t have to use ham/spinach/cheese, of course. Any leftover meats or veggies you have lying around will do, and cheese is totally optional.

Leftovers of this quiche also makes a great breakfast, cold or warm.

Crustless ham and cheese quiche

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, in a deep pie pan (I actually call mine the quiche pan), layer:

  • shredded cheese, any kind
  • cubes of ham
  • spinach, thawed and drained to get out all extra moisture
  • more cheese
  • more ham

For the custard, mix together 4 eggs with enough milk or cream to make a total of 2 cups of liquid.

Whisk in 2-3 Tbsp of dijon mustard and white pepper (as much as you prefer. I won’t say “to taste” here because you shouldn’t be tasting those raw eggs.)

Do not add salt! The ham is PLENTY salty enough.

Slowly pour the custard over the layered fillings in your pie pan, and shake gently to make sure all those nooks and crannies are filled.

Bake at 350 for an hour or until there isn’t much liquid when you poke a knife in the middle.

Let sit about 20 minutes to set and cool before cutting to serve.

Pork Breakfast Sausage – Spicy Version

So, I have to tell you that since posting this recipe for breakfast sausage, I’ve pretty much had breakfast sausage in the fridge almost every day, ready to go. I typically make a batch a week, though sometimes I skip a week…

But it’s not always the same recipe. I’ve come up with a spicy version which I like just as much as the sweet one, and I’ve tweaked the sweet one (just 1 small change) too.

The tweak? Replace the brown sugar with a tablespoon of real maple syrup… something about that flavor in my sausage = yummmm.

Primal breakfast

But now I’ll give you the spicy version (shown above).

  • 1/2 onion OR onion powder
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • Optional: a sprinkle of cayenne (sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t)

Chop the onion finely and saute until caramelized while you mix together the other ingredients (I use my stand mixer for the mixing). If I don’t have an onion or feel like including one if I do have it, I add a generous sprinkle of onion powder to the meat.

Combine meat mixture with the onion, then shape into small patties and cook in the pan 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

Eat. (Or, you know… save it in a container in the fridge till you’re ready to eat it. 2 pounds is a lot to eat at once!)

Homemade Pork Breakfast Sausage

This pork breakfast sausage is delicious, easy to make in a huge batch (and freeze some for later), full of protein and flavor, and has helped me start several mornings off on the right foot so far.

You will need:

  • Optional: 1/2 onion
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or real maple syrup
  • Ground cloves
  • Thyme

homemade pork breakfast sausage

If you’re going to be using onion in your sausage, you’ll want to chop it into little pieces… probably smaller than I did.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Throw the onion in a pan over medium-high heat with some oil of your choice. I used bacon grease, because… just yum. You’ll need to check on the onions and stir them every couple of minutes while you prepare the pork.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

You can mix the meat up with your hands, but I don’t like touching raw meat in general, so I use my mixer with the paddle attachment. Put 2 pounds of ground pork in the bowl along with the sage…

homemade pork breakfast sausage

…salt…

homemade pork breakfast sausage

…ground black pepper…

homemade pork breakfast sausage

…and brown sugar or real maple syrup. Keep in mind this one tablespoon is distributed over 2 pounds of meat. It’s not really sweet sausage.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Then, sprinkle in some ground cloves, maybe 1/4 teaspoon.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Then, add some thyme. Maybe 1/2 teaspoon but if you’re a fan you can add more. It’s your sausage.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Whirrrrrr… mix it up. If you’re using your hands, that’s fine but they’ll get ukky.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

By now the onions should be deliciously caramelized. Scoop them up.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

And throw them in the meat, then mix to combine.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Now lay out a big piece of waxed paper if you’d like to make the balls all at once, or you can just throw chunks of it at your frying pan. I recommend the little ball-making approach. Just scoop some meat up with a tablespoon, then scrape it into another tablespoon, and repeat until the meat is vaguely football-shaped.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Then place it on the waxed paper. Of course, if you want, you could use a cookie scoop, your hands, or whatever implements you favor.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

When you’re ready to start cooking, place the little footballs in your pan and flatten slightly. Cook on medium-high heat about 5 minutes on each side, or until the meat is totally cooked through. We don’t want to mess with undercooked pork.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Paper towels will soak up the extra grease on the outsides of the sausage, but who are you kidding?You’re eating ground pork.

IMG_6869

I put a bunch of these in a tupperware in the fridge, and pulled out a few at a time for my breakfasts. I just warm them up (usually 3 pieces) for about 2 minutes and they’re good to go. Add some fruit and cottage cheese or an egg, and yum!

In case you’re wondering, this recipe makes about 30 small patties. The nutritional information (per patty) is as follows.

  • Calories: 92.8
  • Total Fat: 6.3 g
  • Total Carbs: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 7.8 g