Tag Archives: Italian sausage

Zuppa Toscana

Have I got a stupendous meal in a bowl for you!!! It’s a rendition of the Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Soup! Shh…I think it’s even better than the Olive Garden… Even though I may be biased, you be the judge!

Serves: 6-8

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

4-6 oz bacon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces

1 small onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups low sodium chicken broth (organic)

1 cup water

2 medium russet potatoes, skin on and washed

1 tsp sugar

salt and black pepper to taste

2 3/4 cups half & half

1 small package of frozen spinach, thawed

1 cup finely shredded Romano cheese for serving


Heat Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat. Add diced bacon, onion, and minced garlic, let cook until onions become translucent and bacon is cooked (NOT CRUNCHY).

Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel and set aside. Meanwhile, you will add the sausage to the stockpot and brown over medium heat (about 5-7 minutes). Add the bacon, onion, and garlic back in the stockpot with the sausage.

Wash potatoes and slice lengthwise, slice each half lengthwise again and then slice each portion crosswise into thin slices approximately 1/8″ thick.

Add the chicken broth, water, potatoes, spinach, sugar, salt, & pepper. Bring soup just to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (Optional…remove excess fat from the surface… I did not remove very much since we like it for flavor…unhealthy, I know.)

Stir in the half & half, season with more salt & pepper if needed.

Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of shredded Romano cheese, garnish with seasoned croutons (we used garlic bread).





Baked Ziti

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm….that’s all I’m gonna say about baked ziti. I love baked ziti and the creaminess, the sauce, the meat mixture….Oh my! I have had this recipe for years but I don’t make it very often. Josh and I happened to be cleaning out my “recipe drawer” and found it again! I was so happy that I could have cried, but that would have led Josh into asking me why I was getting emotional, and it would just start a whole different kind of conversation, come to think of it… it’s kinda like what I’m doing now haha!

Well, back at the ranch, we didn’t change anything in this recipe because it was perfectly enjoyed without any changes….We hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Makes:  6 servings

Here’s what you’ll need:

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6 ounces uncooked ziti

1 pound ground beef or ground italian sausage

1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce

2 eggs, beaten

1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese

2 1/2 cups (10 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated


Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef (or sausage) over medium heat until no longer pink; drain (if needed)…..

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Stir in marinara sauce…..

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Stir and let simmer for about 5 minutes…..

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In a large bowl, combine eggs, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, mix well…..

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Drain pasta; add to cheese mixture and stir until blended….

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Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce into a greased 11 x 7 baking dish…..

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Top with half of the pasta mixture…..

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Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat sauce…..

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Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake for another 10 minutes ot until cheese is slightly browned and melted…..

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Let stand 15 minutes or so before serving!

Lasagna Soup

I love soup! I love soup! I love…..I know, I’ve made myself clear that I LOVE SOUP! I also love lasagna and why not find a recipe that compliments both? I found 2 recipes of this soup and sort of made my own rendition. It is full of aroma and it will definitely change your thought process of the way comfort food is presented. The way that Josh and I served up this soup was to scoop a spoonful of a ricotta mixture into the bowl and then ladle the soup on top! It was fantastic! I found the idea for this recipe from www.tasteofhome.com and on Pinterest. Please enjoy and as always….feedback is welcome! Enjoy!

Makes: 6 servings

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 pounds italian sausage (or ground beef, depends on preference)

1 1/2 c chopped red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp dried oregano leaves

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

6 c. chicken stock

8 oz. fusilli pasta or cavatappi pasta

1/2 c. finely chopped basil leaves (optional) or 2 tsp dried basil leaves

salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and brown for about 7-10 minutes…

Add red onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes…

Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute…

Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate into sausage mixture…

Cook for 3-4 minutes or until tomato paste turns to a reddish-brown color…

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine…

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, let simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for too long. Pasta will get mushy and soak up all the broth.

While the pasta is cooking, you can prepare the ricotta mixture (as follows):

Here’s what you’ll need:

8 oz ricotta cheese

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt

pinch of black pepper

1/4 c mozzarella cheese


In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until well blended…

To serve this glorious soup, dollop a spoonful of ricotta mixture in the bottom of your bowl…

Ladle the hot soup on top of the ricotta mixture, then top with shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Italian Blend) and a sprinkle of parsley…

Voila! Lasagna Soup served over a ricotta cheese mixture!

Crock Pot Pizza

This has to be a family favorite in my house. I love making this and it is so easy to layer and cook. This can also be cut in half and baked in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. I love pizza and my crock pot…what a better meal than this!?

Makes: 10 servings

Here’s what you’ll need:

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1 pound ground beef

1 pound bulk italian sausage (old folks or bob evans brand)

1 garlic clove, minced

4 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella, pizza blend, mexican blend, etc.)

Toppings for your pizza:

  • Pepperoni
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Peppers
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Pineapple
  • Ham
  • choose any toppings you wish

1 small jar pizza sauce 8-10 ounces)

1 jar spaghetti sauce (24 ounces)

3/4 pkg of kluski egg noodles

1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning


Cook Kluski noodles according to package directions and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook and brown ground beef and italian sausage over medium heat, drain fat…

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Return cooked meat mixture to skillet, add pizza sauce…

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spaghetti sauce…

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add Italian Seasonings and minced garlic, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. While the meat mixture is simmering, line the crock pot with a crock pot liner or use cooking spray, and set it to high. Cut up pizza toppings if needed and set aside…

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The first layer will be some of the meat sauce (enough to thinly cover the bottom of the crock pot)…

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1/2 of the cooked noodles…

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meat sauce mixture…

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2 cups (1/2 of a 4 cup bag) of shredded cheese…

Re-layer in the same order. The last layer should be shredded cheese…

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Cover and cook on high until top layer of shredded cheese is melted and bubbly. The time duration (about 1 – 1 1/2 hours) depends on your crock pot.

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Please enjoy! I actually got this recipe from a friend of mine…years ago and has been a BIG hit ever since! Thanks Stacey U.!

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I love lasagna! It is a very highly rated comfort food for me and I love making my own sauce, however, if I am running out of time I use Barilla sauce and add a few ingredients to it. Hope you all enjoy this recipe!

Makes: 12 servings

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 box (9 oz.) No-Boil Lasagna Noodles

2 Eggs

1 Container (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese

4 Cups (16 oz.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (divided)

1/2 Cup (2 oz.) Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 lb. Italian Sausage or Ground Beef (bulk) (cook, crumble and drain)

2 Jars of Marinara Sauce or (homemade spaghetti sauce)


Preheat oven to 375, spray baking dish (13x9x3) with non-stick spray, remove noodles (approx. 16) sheets from box DO NOT BOIL!! In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, stir in ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. (If you plan on using a 2″ deep pan, you may want to only do 2-3 layers to avoid boil over….I also use butter around the edges of the dish after assembling, this also helps from boil overs).

When layering, you can slightly overlap the sheets because the lasagna will expand during baking. Assemble:

  1. spread 1 cup of sauce on bottom of dish
  2. layer 4 uncooked sheets, 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1/2 browned meat, 1 cup of mozzarella, and 1 cup of sauce.
  3. layer 4 more sheets, 1/3 ricotta mixture, and 1 1/2 cups of sauce
  4. layer 4 more sheets, 1/3 ricotta mixture, browned meat, and 1 cup of sauce
  5. layer the last of the sheets, the remaining sauce and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese

Bake, covered with foil until bubbly approx 50-60 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until cheese is slightly browned and melted about 5 minutes.

This recipe makes 12 servings….very delish!

I also use cottage cheese in place of ricotta, but I prefer the texture of ricotta (very smooth and easy on the palate).

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