a balanced plate with room for dessert

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Dairy Free Zuppa Toscana

This soup is my take on Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana without all the dairy. This soup is one of the few things I actually like from OG. I was worried that it wouldn’t taste as good, but it completely met all my expectations. I got the idea to make this soup when a reader suggested that I make a kale and bean soup with my leftover kale.

Dairy Free Zuppa Toscana (Italian Sausage & Kale Soup) |

Dairy Free Zuppa Toscana

1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 medium russet potatoes, cubed into 1/2 – 3/4″ pieces
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 – 15 ounce can white beans (such as great northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
4 cups dino kale leaves, washed, dried and chopped (or spinach)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 pieces crisp cooked bacon, crumbled

  1. Brown sausage in a dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. When sausage is browned, add in onions, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  2. Add in potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are almost fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Add in beans and kale and cook for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. 
  3. Stir in almond milk and allow to heat through. Serve hot with bacon sprinkled on top.

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Fried Rice

I love rice. Mike and I went through 30 pounds of rice this year! Whenever I have leftover rice, Mike asks me to make fried rice. He claims that it’s the best he’s ever had. I normally just mix a bunch of random stuff together and call it fried rice, but this time I actually measured out the ingredients. My thoughts? It didn’t taste quite as good… I’ll keep tweaking this recipe until I am able to write down a recipe that tastes as good as the fried rice I improvise.


Fried Rice

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 bunch green onion
4 Chinese sausages, sliced
2 cups leftover white rice, refrigerated
1 head broccoli
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons cup soy sauce

  1. Heat the sesame oil and vegetable oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the green onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add in the sausage, broccoli, carrots and celery and cook until the sausage is cooked through.
  3. Stir in the rice and stir fry until the rice is heated through and slightly browned.
  4. Drizzle the soy sauce and vinegar over the fried rice and mix in thoroughly!