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Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden style) by Maggie

This freezes suprisingly well. It tastes just like the Olive Garden version. It’s a little spicy, just like Olive Garden’s. Serves 6.

1 lb. spicy Italian Sausage-crumbled1/2 lb. smoked bacon- chopped1 qt. water(2) 14.5 cans chicken broth (I use boullion and water mixture to equal 30 oz.)2 lg. russet potatoes- cubed or sliced (you can leave the skin on if you want it more authenic)2 garlic cloves- crushed1 med. onion- chopped2 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard1 cup heavy whipping cream (I use a can of evaporated milk instead or 2 cups of half and half)salt and pepper- to tasteDirections:In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.In skillet over medium-high heat brown bacon; drain set aside.Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes. Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.
Because you cannot freeze raw potatoes, I make this meal completely and bag up and freeze. This reheats really well and is so delicious. 
Freezing directions: After cooking,  let cool to almost room temperature. Label freezer bag writing
“Zuppa Toscana. Thaw. Reheat. Serve with rolls or breadsticks.” Then pour into gallon sized Ziploc freezer bag. The day before you plan to eat this… thaw overnight in fridge. Place in a 9×13 baking pan in case the bag leaks. You don’t want this all over your fridge!!!!!

Tip: My kids do not love spicy food. Which is a pity, since their momma is part Mexican. Anyway, the original Olive Garden recipe calls for spicy Italian sausage, but I usually substitute with Jimmy Dean’s Pork Sausage in Sage, Country Recipe or Regular.
Note: You can substitute cauliflower in place of the potatoes for a low carb diet.

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