Copycat Recipe: Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup


This soup takes very minimal effort for the amazing result! Quickly, this has become one of my husbands favorite and most requested dinners!

What You Will Need:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (I use spicy or hot sausage)
  • 5-7 slices of bacon
  • 5 medium russet potatoes, sliced thin
  • 2 c kale, chopped
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 c water
  • (2) 14 oz cans of chicken broth
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

How it is Done:

  1. I typically start out by cooking both the sausage and the bacon. Crumble the sausage in a skillet and cook on medium high heat until cooked through. Drain and set aside. Fry up your bacon using the same skillet, or you could cook your bacon in the oven.
  2. While your meat is cooking, combine potatoes, water, chicken broth, onion, and garlic in a large stock pot and cook over medium high heat until potatoes are cooked through.
  3. Once the potatoes are cooked through, add the meat, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Potatoes should begin to break apart slightly.
  4. Turn heat to low and add chopped kale and cream. Heat through and you are ready to serve!

We typically enjoy this soup with some fresh baked rolls or crusty French bread!

*recipe adapted from Mom on Timeout


Karen’s Cheesy Potatoes


On the blog today is a recipe that is so simple that even my mom can make it! Don’t worry, my mother fully admits to not being a huge fan of cooking. Growing up we were treated with such delights burnt cookies even the dogs couldn’t get off the pan, frozen pizza that regularly set off the fire alarm and once, a grilled cheese… without the cheese.

When it comes to cheesy potatoes, however, there are none better than hers! We call it her specialty and can count on her to prepare it as often as we ask for it, which is often!

This is a great recipe to have stashed away for both school nights and get togethers. Most of the ingredients are things you already have in your refrigerator and pantry. Again, it is so easy! Throw everything in a big bowl, mix it up, scoop into a 9×13 and pop in the oven!

This side dish goes well with really anything, we like it best served with ham!

Karen’s Cheesy Potatoes:

What you need:
One bag Frozen Hash Browns
1 1/2 sticks butter (separated)
16 oz Sour Cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups corn flakes

How it’s done:

Mix thawed hash browns, 1 stick melted butter, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheddar cheese, minced onion, salt and pepper in large bowl. Spread in 9 x 13 pan. Cover with corn flakes mixed with 1/2 stick melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.



White Chicken Enchiladas


What you will need:
•8 flour tortillas
•2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
•2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
•3 Tbsp butter
•3 Tbsp flour
•2 cups chicken broth
•1 cup sour cream
•1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies

How it is done:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Mix chicken and 1 cup of cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan seam side down.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Allow sauce to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and chilies.

Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes and then broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese.

*Recipe originally appeared on

Taco Bake

We love eating Mexican and I came across this recipe for a taco bake and thought I would add to it with some things that my family likes. The original recipe calls for 1 lb of ground beef, with all the items I added to this recipe, I was able to cut the meat mixture in two and freeze half to use when I make this again or for simple tacos!

What you will need:
1 lb ground beef
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 packet taco seasoning
1 red pepper, diced
4 jalapeño peppers, diced
1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Cilantro and/or green onions, finely chopped

How it is done:
1. Preheat the oven to 375*. Brown ground beef in skillet, drain. Return to pan and add seasoning, beans, corn, tomatoes with chilies, and peppers. Simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, grease a 10 inch pie plate or similar size rectangle pan. Spread crescent dough evenly in pan, be sure to press dough up on sides for a crust.

3. Pour half the meat mixture into the pan. (You can freeze the other half for a future dinner.) Cover with cheese.

4. Bake at 375* for 14-17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, green onions, or salsa.


I read a couple of recipes for making pizza using frozen bread dough. I loved this idea because it seemed like it would be better than a mix crust you get in a package and way easier than making a dough from scratch. Here is what I did…

I thawed a loaf of frozen white bread dough. I actually did this the night before, but there is a speed method mentioned on the back of the package that you could try if you are pressed for time.


I formed the dough into a ball and placed it on my pizza pan that was sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. The recipe I read said to cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

After the dough has risen, spread your pizza sauce over the top, leaving room around the edges for a crust. There are several great recipes for making your own pizza sauce, I just used some from the store.

I cooked some ground Italian sausage and sprinkled that over the sauce. I then covered the pizza with mozzarella cheese.

Before placing the pizza in the oven, I brushed the crust with some melted butter that had been mixed with garlic powder. I cooked the pizza at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

It was a big hit with both my husband and my son! In the future, if I am really feeling extra culinary and have some time on my hands, I would like to try making the sauce from scratch! I will also experiment with different toppings as well!

What you will need:
1 loaf frozen bread dough (such as Rhoads), thawed
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 lb cooked ground sausage
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

How it is done:
1. Place the thawed dough on a pizza pan that has been covered with non stick cooking spray. Spread out the dough, cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
2. Spread sauce over the dough. Leave room for a crust.
3. Add desired toppings.
4. Sprinkle cheese on top.
5. Brush crust with olive oil/garlic powder mixture.
6. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.


What You Will Need:
2 TB Chili Seasoning (I use this homemade recipe!)
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes (with chilies)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn
1 lb ground beef, browned

How it is done:
1. Brown and drain the ground beef. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer for 10 minutes
3. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, or oyster crackers!

Philly Burgers

What you will need:
•1 pound of ground beef
•About 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
•2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
•1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
•Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
•1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
•1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
•1 large green pepper, thinly sliced
•1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
•6-8 slices deli-cut provolone cheese
•3-4 crusty rolls, split and lightly toasted

How it is done:

In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator until chilled so that the flavors can meld.

While the meat chills, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onions; season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and crushed red pepper and cook for 7-8 minutes to soften.

Bring the meat to room temperature and form 3-4 patties that are thinner at the center than at the edges for even cooking; drizzle with olive oil. On an outdoor grill, in a large skillet or griddle pan, cook the patties over medium-high heat to desired doneness, about 8 minutes for pink centers, turning once. Melt two slices of provolone over each patty during the last minute of cooking. Serve the burgers on the toasted rolls topped with the peppers and onions.

*Recipe slightly adapted from Rachael Ray, post originally appeared on

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Pumpkin Crumb Cake
What you will need:

•1 box yellow cake mix (set aside 1 cup for the topping)
•1 egg
•1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

•3 eggs
•1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
•1/2 cup white sugar
•1/4 cup packed brown sugar
•1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

•1 cup reserved yellow cake mix
•1/2 cup white sugar
•3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
•3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

How it is done:

Melt 1/2 cup butter in microwave.

Soften 3 tablespoons butter by letting it stand for 30 to 45 minutes at room temperature OR cut into chunks and allow to stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Chop nuts, if desired.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Spray or grease one 9×13 inch pan. Reserve 1 cup cake mix. In mixing bowl, beat 1 egg, then add the remaining dry cake mix and 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix well, and then pat into prepared pan.

In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs then add the pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Pour over crust.

In small bowl, combine reserved 1 cup cake mix, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons softened butter and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Crumble over pumpkin filling. Sprinkle nuts evenly over the top, if desired.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. It’s done baking when toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool before serving. Cake tastes best when refrigerated.

*recipe and photo originally appeared on