Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No apples for him...

SO the best part about having a boyfriend is having a willing participant to cook for. He is not particularly picky and even if he does not end up liking something I cook he will still eat it but will tell me honestly if he didn't like it and I know not to cook it for him again. I am totally ok with this, I like honesty. Sometimes the food really just was not good(like my attempt at Pad Thai, NOT good) but most the time its just not something he really likes, which is fine with me.

There is only one time he would not eat something I offered. Now a little background story for you is he always likes to tease me with the statement "Woman, I am hungry! Go make me a pie" He knows it always makes me laugh. Well one day when I was at the store getting ingredients for steak and mashed potatoes I got this bright idea of getting him a pie. I am scared to bake so I bought a frozen Marie Callendars apple pie and vanilla ice cream. I was SOOO excited to surprise him with a pie and could not wait to get to his apartment. Well I show up and as I am unpacking the groceries he happens to see the pie. His face turned into a frown and he said "I thought you knew I don't like apples, and especially apple pie" WHAT?? WHAT?? Who does not like apples or apple pie???????? That is just NOT american!! I attribute it to him growing up in Enterprise Utah on a farm! ha ha JK I was glad that I had not spent the time to actually MAKE one! He also does not like tomatoes(which is tragic BUT a bit more normal) Well now I know, NO more trying to surprise him with things. I now always ask if something sounds good before I purchase it! haha

One of me and Paul's favorite restaurants to go is Olive Garden and get the soup, salad and breadstick lunch at Olive Garden. For 5.95 and all you can eat, who can pass that up? Especially with their amazing soup Zuppa Toscana! About 6 months ago I set out looking for a recipe that was similar and little did I know it was right in my recipe collections! My aunt Karen Larson compiled a family and friends cookbook a few years back(which is awesome and if you look at it has been well used!) and right above my moms clam chowder recipe is a replica that my Aunt Richelle put into the cookbook, thanks Richelle!!! So I set out to make it and it is SOOO good! Paul says mine is a bit better than olive gardens because I add red pepper flakes and he likes it a bit spicier! SO here is my Aunts recipe for Zuppa Toscana (with a few changes, I use ground sausage instead of links and I add red pepper flakes) CIAO!!

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

1 pound sweet ground italian sausage
(TIP- you can use links, bake them and slice the sausage but if you are going to do it my way dont get the links and try to get the meat out of the casings, it does not work well! Most grocery stores have ground italian sausage)
2 medium potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/4 inch slices
3/4 cup onions, diced
6 slices of bacon
3 cloves garlic minced(1 1/2 tsp)
2 cups kale leaves choped into bite size pieces
2 Tbs. chicken base
1 quart water
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
red pepper flakes to taste

Place sausage, onions and bacon in a large saucepan and saute until sausage is fully cooked. Remove bacon and crumble. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Add chicken base, water and potatoes, simmer 15 min. Add bacon, kale and cream and simmer 4 min. You can either put red pepper flakes(I usually add about 2 tsp) in the whole pot OR you can give everyone the option to use it to their liking! ENJOY!

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