I know it’s the New Year and everyone is filling their pin boards and meal plans with low-carb recipes and green smoothies and even though our Pinterest widget reveals our complicity in this madness, here is our reality: Our kids are sick. They’re grumpy and snotty and more unreasonable than usual. We’re bending over backward to try and get them to ingest anything other than children’s pain reliever and no matter how much I try to coax an herbal remedy or healthy smoothie on them, it just isn’t going to happen. Their weakened state has somehow only strengthened their already strong wills. Last night after successfully persuading each child to take a few bites of the potato frittata I’d slaved over with feta, bacon, and scallions (from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook), Noel told me I should get a job working for the United Nations negotiating with terrorist organizations. Yes, that is the level of skill this current life situation requires. 

But my superhuman patience reserves are quite shallow and have almost reached alarm ringing lows, which is why we had Zuppa Toscana for dinner tonight. While the cream base of this soup would technically kick it out of any healthy category, it does have substance and cold fighting properties. The warm, garlicky onion broth with a kick of spice is good for sore throats and congested noses and you have no doubt heard the virtues of kale sung before. The sausage is always a strong lure for our kids and even though there’s no guarantee the kids will touch the kale, I like to tell myself that surely some of its goodness leeched into the broth . . .  For GI happiness, we have been taking the Low-FODMAP route lately using garlic and onion powder and the soup is still as delicious as the version made with fresh garlic and onions. Most of you are most familiar with this soup because of the Olive Garden, but I must warn you, the homemade version is, not surprisingly, at least 100 times better. There are many versions of this soup circulating the interwebs, but if you’re looking for a rich, spicy version, look no further. I strongly advise serving it with our breadsticks.

Zuppa Toscana

  • 8 oz or 3 links Hot Italian Sausage
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder or 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 C chicken broth (I generally use homemade stock or water and Better Than Bouillon)
  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes, cubed (I’ve used red, russets, and yukon gold with equal success.)
  • 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 bunch of kale
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan or other hard cheese, for topping
  1. In a stock pot, brown the sausage in the oil, breaking into bite sized pieces with your spatula. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant. If needed, you can add a bit more oil to the pan.
  2. Add the chicken broth and cubed potatoes. Bring to a boil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the kale, remove the ribs, and tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.Once the potatoes are tender add the kale and cream. Adjust seasonings a necessary. Once the entire mixture is up to temperature (it takes just a few minutes) it is ready to eat. Top with grated cheese and dig in!

Written by Audrey

1 Comment


Mmmm, my favorite!

I sure hope they get well soon. Here’s a Grandma Glenna “may-I-make-a-suggestion-like-Grandma-Carol” tidbit: Right before bed get their feet all toasty and warm (just out of a bath) and slather those wiggly feet very generously with Vicks and then cover with socks. I do it myself regularly.


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