Saturday, January 15, 2011

Italian Sausage Soup and The Mom Who Doesn't Love to Cook But Does it Anyway

Wow, here I am again. As promised, let's get some RECIPES going, shall we?!

First, I must explain the title of this post.
I want to answer the complaint that I hear from so many women my age that they don't know how to put together basic home cooked meals that aren't from a box or can. And aren't tacos, spaghetti or grilled cheese. While I do, in fact, make those things, and actually have amazing and easy recipes for them, in my opinion, there are other ways to feed your family good stuff that's not boring, not junk, and not difficult. But it is a matter of priority. Some people just don't make it a priority. I didn't know that. The funny thing is, and I've said this before; I don't love to cook! I don't really like to cook. But I like to eat good food and I learned some stuff growing up, and was able to carry it through to my family now and they appreciate eating real food, made by me, I think. I hope, if women saw that it doesn't have to be intimidating, they will enjoy doing it, at least for the sake of their family and finances. Because that's really where I fall. I see that it benefits my family and finances and also....I like to eat.
So, here goes nothin'. I'd like to eventually have a menu posted for the week with an ingredient/shopping list. That way, you REALLY don't have to think about it and it's done for you. For the first little bit, I think I'm just going to post one recipe at a time and will hopefully have posted the basic "recipe pool" after a while, that I tend to rotate. And from there, I can start doing a more in-depth weekly menu planner. That's the plan for now anyway. Baby steps for me since I've never done this whole blogging thing before.
Oh! And speaking of that...I know I'm totally not a great photographer AT ALL. So, here's my apologies in advance for not magazine quality food photos. But I will do my best to make them not look totally gross. :)

So, here we go: We'll start with kind of a fan favorite that I've gotten the most feedback from in the past. Mr. Wonderful's favorite. Italian Sausage Soup.
(By the way, all the recipes will be gluten-free, for the most part, I think. They are the same ones I've been making for years before going gluten-free. Now I just substitute the right kind of noodles or flour or bouillon or soy sauce, or whatever it may be. No biggie. So, I will be noting those differences along the way.)

What you need:
1-1.5 pounds mild italian sausage (casing removed) (Safeway's store brand is specifically labeled gluten-free, as are many)

2 cloves garlic (pressed) (If you have a question about pressing garlic, PLEASE don't hesitate to comment below your question or email me.)

2 chopped onions

1-2 cans diced tomatoes

1/2 C. red wine vinegar
(Dade, a.k.a. Mr. Wonderful, likes it stronger, so I use more)
5 C. beef stock (pictured here is Organic Better Than Bouillon, from Costco. Based on the ingredient list, appears gluten-free. And low-sodium, which I love. Try it! Super yummy!)

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

3 T. parsley

3 zucchini chopped

2 C. bow tie (farfalle) noodles (For gluten-free, I used Trader Joe's brown rice fusilli noodles. My original picture at the top, is from making this before going gluten-free. It has the bowtie noodles, which I think are prettier in the soup, but haven't found any bowties that are gluten-free yet, not that the shape matters at all, really!)

How you make it:
Brown sausage in saucepan or whatever pot you are using to make the soup. Sauté garlic and onion in fat. Add tomatoes, vinegar, beef stock, basil, oregano and parsley. Simmer for 30 min. Add noodles and cook 10 min. Finally, add zucchini, and cook another 5 min. Serve with grated parmesean on top.


  1. This is an amazing recipe and quite simple. I've also tried it with tortellini instead of the pasta, but everything else is identical. That is yummy too!

  2. So I have questions. Looks yummy. I am not into gluten free so could I use any noodles I want? We just use basic wheat noodles in everything. Also, I am not much of a sausage person. It always seems really fatty to me and I have never cooked with it. I know your meals are healthy so is Italian sausage better for you? Do you have any ideas for any other meat to substitute?

  3. Anne, Thanks for the questions! :) Yes, any noodles will do. Before worrying about the whole gluten thing, I always made it with the bowtie noodles.(It's actually the first picture on the top of this post before when when I used to make it with wheat noodles). It's pretty with those bowties swimming around in there. That's my suggestion/favorite noodle for this, anyway. As far as the sausage, it is pork and not exactly "low-fat", that's for sure! (The label said 19g fat per link) But I'm of the belief that it's ok to have high fat foods. Just not in huge amounts of course! I can't imagine the flavors of this dish would come even close with a different meat like chicken or turkey sausage, which don't have the spices of italian. But if you come across an italian chicken or turkey sausage, let me know! I'd love to try it. And if I look at the breakdown, I used 5 links in one batch of soup. I imagine that you might get half a link in one serving, if generous. So, you're looking at less than 15% of your daily fat intake, according to those gov't label percentages. My advice would be don't be scared of italian sausage. You're really missin' out!

  4. Oh, and I always look for more "natural" ones that for sure don't have any MSG.

  5. OK- I'll have to try the sausage and let you know how it turns out! Thanks!

  6. I Don't like sausage & don't eat it...So the first time I made this soup I substituted ground Beef, just for the record, Not a good substitute.
    The next time I tried it, I used ground, all natural pork sausage...SO GOOD!! I was really shockedc that I liked it...No, Loved it! It is definately a family fav!
    I also add a 15oz can of red kidney beans to the recipe...It is over the top (in my opinion).
    In conclusion, I think it is important to mention with this recipe you **Only Dirty ONE DISH!!! That makes this mommy Really, Really HAPPY! :D

  7. Jen, I like your "In conclusion" part. :) You're cute. Thanks for commenting!!

  8. This sounds so good. I can't wait to try it next week on "soup night". But I do have some questions. How many servings would you say this makes and about how much would you consider a serving to be? I'm pretty modest when it comes to soup consumption, but my husband LOVES to eat soup and we just started keeping track of calories and trying to eat healthier. Any way, I could make as many "servings" as necessary I guess, I am just curious what you consider the size to be.

  9. Gosh, that's a hard question, because I am terrible and estimating servings. I would say for me one serving is 1.5 cups or so. And you could probably get 8-10 servings maybe from this recipe? Boy, I hope I'm not way off.... :/

  10. we tried this soup today and it was soooooooooo
    good i can't wait to try your other recipies...

  11. I KNEW this recipe was on your blog, but I couldn't find it! I was looking at the lists of recipes posted, etc.

  12. I know. I need to put the name of the soup in the title. (I was still learning as I went on these first few posts...)

  13. Finally got around to making this. It is super yummy. I made it a little too thick though. It is still very good just didn't look like yours. I think I need to add more water next time or less boullion? Awesome recipe though!

  14. I don't drain the tomatoes. I'm sorry it didn't turn out! That's no fun!! Yes, you could try 6 cups of broth instead. And, you know, I don't really look at the recipe anymore when I make it, so it may very well be that I add more water as I go to make it the consistency that I want....I'll have to make it again soon and pay more attention to what I do exactly and let you know.