Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden copycat recipe)

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zuppa toscana

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale
    1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  1. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  2. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
    1. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
    2. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
    3. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!

    Recipe Source – Tuscan Recipes.com

Quinoa stuffed cabbage

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stuffedcabbage

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 cabbage leaves
  • 2 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes (purée or blend one can)
  • 1 lb ground turkey or chicken
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook quinoa according to pckg instructions While quinoa is cooking, prepare the filling, and fill a large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil (for blanching cabbage leaves) Brown ground turkey Add chopped onions until translucent Add minced garlic until fragrant Add chopped mushrooms Add all dry ingredients Add diced tomato can and half the puréed one. Reserve the other half for basting.

Add wine Quinoa should be cooked now so add it to the meat mixture and sautée for about 5 minutes while you blanch the cabbage leaves in a large sauce pan filled with boiling water. Once cabbage leaves are blanched drain them and rinse them in cold water so they’re easy to handle. Remove the tough stem part of the cabbage leaves as best as you can and add a generous portion of the meat and quinoa filling into each leaf and roll up like you would a burrito or egg roll. Place all the rolls into a baking dish and pour the remaining puréed tomatoes. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chicken Riggies

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Chicken RiggiesSince we moved here to our new town, my daughter Amanda has been begging me to make her this local dish called chicken riggies. Apparently, it’s a big upstate NY signature dish. Originated in Utica, I believe. Anyways, I searched for a recipe and found that there were so many different variations. Some with olives, some with a creamy sauce, some without. So I decided to just make my own version combining several of the ingredients that appealed to us most from all the various recipes we’d found.  Here’s my take on chicken riggies.

 Chicken Riggies (Upstate NY style)

  • chicken
  • sweet red and yellow peppers
  • mushrooms
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • can of whole tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • box of rigatoni

Hot chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting and peppermint chips

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Hot Chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting and peppermint chunks
Hot Chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting and peppermint chunks

My daughter made these cupcakes the other night and I couldn’t believe that nobody had thought to make these before. Then I went to the supermarket and saw a cake mix box for just that. I swear she came up with these first though! They were delicious and I thought for sure they could be her signature cupcakes.