Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Variation on a Theme of Soup

As I have mentioned before, my husband loves soup.  And it's been soup weather for a long time here in Utah.  We've had snow on the ground for one of the longest stretches that I remember.  My husband says it feels more like Chicago.  Who knows?  Maybe living there for a number of years gave him that craving for that warm, comforted feeling deep in your tummy that only hot soup can give.

I wish I'd gotten a better picture of this because this is one of the best soups I think I've ever eaten. It was almost even better the next day as leftovers. Valerie Phillips was a former food editor for The Deseret News. You will really enjoy browsing her blog. She has a cookbook that is just soup and I intend to buy it as soon as I'm done posting. Her soups are THAT GOOD!

Presto Zuppa Toscana


1 pound bulk Italian Sausage
1 (28 oz) bag hash brown potatoes O'Brien
3 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
1 cup water
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more, to your taste)
1/2 cup packed real bacon pieces
4 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard, loosely packed
1 cup whipping cream


Brown the sausage in a 4-to-6 quart stock pot over medium-high heat, breaking into small pieces as it cooks.

Drain the fat from the sausage.

Add potatoes, broth, water, garlic powder, dried minced onion, red pepper flakes, and bacon pieces. Cook at a gentle boil for about 5 minutes.

While soup is cooking, chop kale or Swiss chard. Add to soup and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until kale and potatoes are tender.

Turn off heat. Stir in cream and mix until well-blended.

Makes six 1 1/2 cup servings.

Recipe notes: Inspired by Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana.

Source: Chew and Chat website. You can find the recipe here. If you would like information on how to purchase Valerie Phillips' book, click here.

Above: 3/22/2014 Update: I had to try this after my mom told me how good it was. This was definitely a very tasty and easy soup. This is a keeper!

This next one was a good solid soup. I'm not sure I can say it tasted like it's name, but my husband liked it and he's the ultimate judge of all things soup.

Cheeseburger Soup I


1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups cubed potatoes
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups cubed cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream


In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine over medium heat; cook and stir vegetables and beef until beef is brown.

Stir in basil and parsley.  Add broth and potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 - 12 minutes.

Melt the remaining butter and stir in flour.  Add the milk, stirring until smooth.

Gradually add milk mixture to the soup, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stir in cheese.  When cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through.  Do not boil.

Source:, submitted by AUNTYLENE. You can find the recipe here.

Cook's notes:  I really don't think this soup needed the carrots.  I've noticed that a lot of cooks throw carrots into every soup and they don't always fit.  They always take longer to cook than celery or onions and perhaps people like a little of the bite.  But I will leave them out next time, just my preference.

Facebook says this the best ever.  My husband didn't think so, perhaps because it's a really buttery flavored soup versus cheesy.  But perhaps that's what you want in a baked potato soup.  I'll let you make it and be the judge.  It was pretty labor intensive (reminds me of a cheese soup I've been meaning to post), but a good basic soup.

The Best Potato Soup Recipe Ever aka Machine Shed's Potato Soup


2 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, sliced into small bite sized pieces
1/2 regular package uncooked bacon, finely diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 bunch celery, diced
8 cups milk
4 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes (use a cup of the hot potato water to dissolve, then use the cup of hot water in place of one of the above cups of water)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup salted butter
3/4 cup flour
1/4 bunch freshly chopped parsley
1 cup whipping cream

Garnishes:  shredded cheese, fried bacon bits, chopped green onion


In large pot, boil potatoes in water 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In saute pan, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain bacon fat and place on paper towel to drain some more. Add onion and celery to bacon pan over medium high heat until celery is tender, about 5 minutes.

To the large potato pan, add milk, water, bullion, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium high heat until mixture is very hot, about 8 minutes, stirring often.  Do not let the mixture boil.

In small, heavy saucepan melt butter.  Add flour and mix well.  Cook over medium-low heat until mixture bubbles, stirring 2 to 3 minutes to make a roux.  While constantly stirring soup, add roux slowly until soup is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes.  Stir in parsley, reserved potatoes, and cream. Garnish with cheese, bacon bits, onions or all three.  Serve hot!

Cook's notes:  This was a very, very rich soup.  I guess anytime you add whipping cream, it's going to make it more than hearty.  Also, this made a lot of soup.  A lot.

Source: We found this originally on Facebook (someone re-posted it). After doing a little searching, I discovered that it originally came from a site called Tip From a Typical Mom. You can find the original post here.

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