Hunk of Meat Monday: Creamy Italian Sausage Soup

There is only one reason I can appreciate old man winter. ONE. And it is soup. I love soup. And I love eating soup when the weather is cold outside. This cream Italian sausage soup is officially my new favorite soup.

Creamy Italian Sausage Soup is a twist on chili or lasagna soup. So good and feeling. Plus easily low carb and gluten free.This soup is one of those things that just leaves you wanting to clean up the bowl with a crusty piece of bread. Or lick it clean. Whatever you prefer. And, honestly, you can have this soup on the table in 30 minutes or let it simmer in the crock pot all day long. Your choice!

bowl of creamy Italian sausage soup

The most important thing about this soup is the pork. I used ground pork and added Italian sausage seasoning. I added a tablespoon of seasoning to a pound of ground pork. Plus a teaspoon of And these days I don’t make any soup without two pounds of meat. Don’t have ground pork at your grocery store? You can also buy Italian sausages or brats and just remove the casings. Either way, you are bound to get the flavorful Italian pork sausage base.

Italian Sausage Soup Base makes the soup full of flavor. If you want to cut calories, the soup at this point is delish without the added creamy, cheesy goodness.

Once the pork is browned you can start adding the sauces. I used a big 24 ounce can of garlic and herb tomato sauce. Then added a can of diced tomatoes. I added fire roasted tomatoes because that is what I had. Again, add whatever kind of tomatoes you have on hand. I then added The combination of just the pork, sauce and tomatoes makes an amazing soup base full of flavor. You honestly could stop now. But why would you want to stop now. Keep going. It just keeps getting better.

Creamy Italian Sausage Soup has five ingredients and endless flavors.

If you want to cut calories, the soup at this point is delish without the added creamy, cheesy goodness. But, how about you add the block of cream cheese now. Stir the cream cheese into the tomato and meat base till completely melted. So, now the secret ingredient comes to play… Wait for it…

Two tablespoons of brown sugar. Yep. Suuugggaaaaarrrrrrrrrr. Trust me and add it.

And again you have choices. I ate a bowl without pasta. But I am feeding a bottomless pit, so I added pasta to the soup. I would recommend a bow tie or another wide type noodle to catch sauce easily. Add the al dente pasta when the cream cheese is melted. Add more water if you want the soup to be thinner. I sort of like my soup to be more stew like. Stoups are my favorite.

Big Pot of Creamy Italian Sausage Soup is my new go-to recipe for cold, winter days.

Creamy Italian Sausage Soup

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 servings

This cream Italian sausage soup recipe is simple with just a five basic ingredients with a super sweet secret ingredient.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of ground Italian Sausage or ground pork with 2 tablespoon Italian sausage seasoning
  • 1- 24 ounce can of garlic and herb tomato sauce
  • 1 -15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1 - 8 ounce block of cream cheese
  • 8 ounces of bow-tie past cooked till al dente
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes - optional
Instructions
  1. Brown the sausage or pork with seasonings. Drain any excess grease. Return to soup pot
  2. Add red pepper flakes, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes along with salt and pepper. Add one cup of water. Simmer till just starting to bubble.
  3. Stir in cream cheese into the tomato and meat base. Add the brown sugar. Continue to simmer on low heat.
  4. Add pasta. Stir to combine and serve with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Get other great recipes over at The Country Cook’s Weekend Potluck!

Hunk of Meat Monday: Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops have just three ingredients but will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops for dinner.Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops have just three ingredients but will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops for dinner. I will make these any day of the week. With the drippings from the crock pot, you can create a quick gravy and serve with mashed potatoes.

The three ingredients are simple: pork chops, butter, and ranch dressing mix. That is it. It is that simple

Crock Pot Ranch Pork ChopsButter you ask? Well, when everyone went all health crazy, they wanted to cut fat from their diet. So, today we have very lean pork. Too lean personally, but we are healthier thanks to the lean pork, right? Well, maybe not. So when ever I cook a lean piece of pork like the pork chops that normally have minimal fat around it I add fat. It is no different with these pork chops.

Season the pork chops generously with the ranch seasoning. I used three tablespoons total. I buy bulk dressing mix, however one envelope would also be the equivalent. I used a stick of butter but you could safely use just four tablespoons of butter.

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops have just three ingredients but will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops for dinner.Then it is all up to the crock pot. I cooked on low for 6 hours. You could go a pinch longer. Again pork chops can be easy to dry out, even with butter, so don’t let them cook for 12 hours unless you planning on them being closer to a pulled pork type meat.

Crock Pot Ranch Pork ChopsServe up with some mashed potatoes and make some quick gravy. To make the gravy, I took 1/4 cup of the juices from the crock pot and mixed a heaping tablespoons of corn starch with a cup of milk. Simmer over a medium heat till thickened. You could also use two tablespoons of flour to make a roux with the crock pot juices and slowly add the cup of milk. Add more milk if you want a thinner gravy.

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops
These Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops just have three ingredients that will leave you with flavorful, juicy pork chops that everyone will love.
Ingredients
  • 4 thick cut pork chops, bone-in or boneless
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) of real butter
  • 1 package of Ranch Dressing Mix (3 tablespoons)
Instructions
  1. Coat the pork chops with ranch mix.
  2. Place two pork chops in the crock and place two tablespoons of butter on top of the pork chops.
  3. Place two additional pork chops on top of the pork chops.
  4. Top each with two tablespoons of butter.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

 

Chipotle Shredded Beef Chili

We love chili at our house. The problem is that I can never make the same batch of chili twice. I am notorious for not being able to duplicate a meal. And this chipotle shredded beef recipe is going to need duplicating so I am here to document the recipe.

Chipotle Shredded Beef Chili. My new favorite chili recipe.

I am all about cooking once and eating twice. The chipotle shredded beef I made for beef sandwiches worked perfectly in this chili. And already had the slow cooked big flavor to help make the chili taste like it simmered all day when only it was ready in 30 minutes. I am telling you, cook once, eat twice is the key to great weeknight meals.

To help give chili the smoky flavor I like, I always, always start with bacon. That’s right bacon. I cut up four to five slices of bacon and fry it in the bottom of my stock pot. I remove the bacon once it is crisp leaving the bacon grease in the pan for the holy trinity of chili to be fried up in it. What is the holy trinity you ask? Well, simply onion, green pepper, and garlic. All diced, of course. Once they just start to get soft, I added the leftover chipotle shredded beef. And stirred till combined and the meat was warmed up.

Bacon is the key to a good Chili Base along with onions, green peppers and garlicWhen the beef is warmed up, start adding the liquids. I added both sauce and canned tomatoes. For me, I add petite diced tomatoes. If I would have had fire-roasted diced tomatoes, I would have added those. But I didn’t have them on hand. I also added baked beans instead of chili beans. I used mesquite thinking it would really add a punch of flavor. I added salt, pepper and chili powder also. I used the chili 3000 from Penzey’s.

diced tomatoes, beans and bacon chili

Then add the remaining bacon and let it simmer till you are ready to eat. I let it simmer about 15 minutes. I was honestly waiting on the cornbread to bake. I got the chili done faster than I could whip together a pan of cornbread. And it was all amazing. We will definitely be making this again.

Chipotle Shredded Beef Chili and Cornbread. My new favorite chili recipe.

Chipotle Shredded Beef Chili
Ingredients
  • 5 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 cups Shredded Chipotle Beef
  • 1 can tomato sauce, 15 oz can
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz can
  • 1 can of baked beans, 15 oz can
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder (taste for heat preference)
  • Serve with cornbread and top with onions, shredded cheese, sour cream or your normal chili toppings.
Instructions
  1. Fry bacon in the stock pot you plan on making your chili. I cut the bacon into pieces before frying. Remove once it is crisp leaving grease in pan.
  2. Add onion, green pepper and garlic to bacon grease. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the peppers begin to just be soft.
  3. Add the shredded beef to the vegetables in bacon grease. Stir to combine and cook till meat is no longer cold if using leftover meat.
  4. Pour tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and beans to pot. Add reserve bacon to the chili. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add chili powder tasting for heat as you add a little at a time.
  5. Simmer for 15 minutes or until ready to eat.

Texas Queso Dip

Sometimes it is an eat chips and queso kind of day. This crock pot Texas Queso Dip is not that different from the Sausage Queso I have shared before. The main difference is spicy or hot seasoned sausage instead of ground pork or mild pork sausage.

Texas Queso DipThe recipe is out of the 303 Simple & Satisfying Recipes from Gooseberry Patch. And it is a cinch.

Simply brown a pound of hamburger. If you want to do it quick, be sure to check out my quick tip on browning hamburger. Just place a two-pound block of Velveeta, a can of tomatoes and chiles (or a can of diced tomatoes plus a can of chiles like I did) along with a half a cup of milk.

Crock Pot Texas Queso Dip

Just let the mixture cook on low for two hours in a slow cooker or crock pot. Stir occasionally to avoid it burning around the edges. Serve with tortilla chips.

Crock Pot Queso Dip

Texas Queso Dip
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. hot ground pork sausage, browned and drained
  • 32-oz. pkg. pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed
  • 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • ½ c. milk
  • white corn tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Combine the sausage, cheese, tomatoes and milk in a slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low for two hours until cheese is melted.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

I received the 303 Simple & Satisfying Recipes for free. The recipe ingredients are all on me. The opinions are all mine.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken

I am giving away my new favorite cookbook. Maybe it is because it is grilling season, and I love to grill on my Big Green EGG. Or maybe it is because I am making food that looks like this Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken.

Bacon wrapped BBQ chickenAnd just how do you get to this end beauty. Start with chicken tenders or in my case chicken breasts and then cut them in half.

Chicken breasts for bacon wrapped BBQ chickenI multi-task in the kitchen so before you start wrapping your chicken, get your special barbecue sauce going. Pick your favorite barbecue sauce and then add two tablespoons of brown sugar and a teaspoon of onion powder.

homemade barbecue sauce

As the sauce simmers, get to wrapping up your chicken. I was able to use one slice per chicken. Some folks may want to hold the bacon in place by toothpicks. I had good luck keeping the bacon in place with the just the barbecue.

bacon wrapped chicken

Once it safely wrapped and completely covered with bacon, it is time to slather each piece with your barbecue sauce.

Barbecue Sauce Bacon Wrapped Chicken

I used a grill brush to put the sauce on but you could also use a spoon.

Brushing on Barbecue Sauce on Bacon Wrapped ChickenThen it is grill time! The bacon will put off bacon grease. So, if you a grilling over a gas grill, you may want to put the chicken a little in between the burners or a more indirect location on the grill.

Grilling Bacon Wrapped ChickenNow, don’t get flip happy. If you flip too much the bacon will fall off. And you don’t want to lose the bacon to the grill. Trust me. I cooked the chicken for about 10-15 minutes on each side. Use a meat thermometer and make sure you cook your chicken to 165 degrees. And plus, you want your bacon done too!! The barbecue and bacon will keep the chicken juicy.

If you want to enjoy a bacon wrapped meal, add some asparagus wrapped in bacon to the grill.

Bacon wrapped grilled chicken Love this recipe, go register to win this cookbook!

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken
Ingredients
  • 1 cup favorite BBQ sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half
  • ½-1 lb bacon
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine barbecue sauce, brown sugar and onion powder. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile wrap chicken breast with one to two slices bacon each. Set aside ¾ cup sauce mixture. Brush remaining sauce mixture over chicken.
  3. Place chicken on grill not directly over flames to prevent flare ups with a medium-high heat. Grill for 25-30 minutes, flipping twice, until nearly done. Brush chicken well with reserved sauce mixture.
  4. Cook until chicken juices run clear and sauce is caramelized. Always cook chicken to 165 degrees.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Bowtie Pasta and Sausage

Have you ever become obsessed with something? So obsessed it makes the people you life with crazy. This bowties and sausage recipe brings to light two obsessions in the Beyer household: a pot and smoked sausage.

Bowties and sausage | Beyer BewareThe pot is my obsession. It is the Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 3-1/2-Quart Round French Oven in cherry. Big enough for a one pot wonder for a family of 4 but small enough that I can actually lift it up with a meal in it. Obsessed. You may remember if you follow me on Instagram when I lost my mind at the Le Creuset outlet.
Le Creuset Outlet in South CarolinaAnd the smoked sausge…that would be my daughter. She is a healthy eater who finds higher end meats more desirable. I can’t say I blame her. Except for smoked sausage. She could eat her weight in smoked sausage. So, when I saw this recipe in the Good-For-You Everyday Meals Cookbook from Gooseberry Patch, I knew that at least one person in my family would be simply in love. And boy was I right. Big hit at the dinner table and once again it was a quick prep.

smoked sausage with onion and pepper
Simple ingredients with the smoked sausage, onions and peppers. Slice them all up and get them going in the skillet. Notice I have cheese filled sausage. Use what you like. All beef, jalapeño, skinless, not skinless, all will work just fine. Slice the sausage, pepper and onion up and get sautéing.

Sausage with onions and peppers While the sausage and veggies are cooking, get your pasta cooking. I have a favorite gluten free pasta that I used. The original recipe called for bowtie pasta. Again, use what you have on hand.

My favorite gluten free pastaCook according to the package directions, drain and add to the sausage and veggies.

Gluten free pasta with sausage onions and peppersAdd beef broth to the pot and stir together. Serve to your hungry family with some buttered bread and big glasses of milk.

pot of pasta and smoke sausageLove this recipe and want some more like it? Go check out the giveaway for the Gooseberry Patch Cookbook!

Bowties and Sausage

Rating 

This quick and easy bowties and sausage recipe is one of my daughter's favorites. Serve with some buttered bread and fill your family's bellies.
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of bowtie pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of Italian pork sausage or smoked sausage cut in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat and add sausage, onion and pepper. Cook until sausage is fully cooked and vegetables are tender.
  2. Drain any grease or fat and return to pan.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions while sausage and vegetables cook. Drain.
  4. Add beef broth to sausage and vegetables and bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in cooked pasta.

 

Low-Carb Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I love creamy casseroles in the winter time. The problem now is for the most part they have flour in the sauce or the pasta. But, this chicken cordon bleu casserole creation can be completely flour free.

Chicken Cordon Bleu gluten free

Now, of course, the bread crumbs I put on part of it have flour, but almond meal can be substituted for the bread crumbs or completely omitted. The sauce is a creamy, cheesy sauce that doesn’t have a lick of thickener in it. Simply mix cream cheese, butter, milk or cream and parmesan cheese together for the base of the sauce.

flourless alfredo sauceNow start layering the casserole. Start with shredded or cubed cook chicken. This is about 2 cups worth or 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs. Followed by 1 cup shredded swiss cheese. You can use monterey jack or mozzarella also. Then layer ham. The next time I make this, I will cut up the ham. Feel free to use cubed ham or lunch meat. Just make sure you cut the lunch meat up. Followed by the incredible sauce.

chicken cordon bleu casserole layersNow, I am sure some of you notice breadcrumbs. Don’t want the carbs or can’t have the gluten, substitute almond meal. Or just leave off completely.

Low-Carb Chicken Cordon Bleu CasseroleRegardless, enjoy this comforting casserole.

Low-Carb Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
This chicken cordon bleu casserole is full of flavor but yet low carb and even gluten free if you need it to be.
Ingredients
Casserole Layers
  • 2 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken
  • 1 cup diced ham or sliced ham lunch meat
  • 1 cup shredded swiss, monterey jack or mozzarella cheese
Alfredo Sauce
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 cup milk or half and half
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
Optional Topping
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
Instructions
  1. Layer the chicken in the bottom of a deep dish casserole pan.
  2. Layer shredded cheese on top of the chicken follow with the ham and then pour alfredo sauce over top of it all.
  3. To make the Alfredo sauce, mix the cream cheese, butter, milk, parmesan cheese and garlic powder together over a low heat in a small sauce pan.
  4. Stir constantly until it is all melted and just begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  5. For added flavor and texture mix breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and butter together. Sprinkle over the alfredo sauce.
  6. Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes or casserole is bubbling.

Cheesy Garlic and Brown Sugar Pork Chops

The only thing that may have made these baked pork chops better is a splash of bourbon. Inspired by the garlic brown sugar chicken recipe I make, the cheesy garlic and brown sugar pork chops were delicious and easy.

cheesy brown sugar garlic pork chopsI mentioned easy. The most complicated is dicing garlic. Honestly. A few simple steps and you are on the way to pork heaven. Season each side of the pork chops with brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper with a dash of paprika and follow up with a drizzle of butter over the top of the pork chops. Use plenty of butter. Butter is a flavor conductor. It will run off and be left behind in the pan, but those pork chops will be juicy thanks to the butter.

brown sugar garlic cheese pork chopsBake the pork chops on 350 for 20-25 minutes or till the pork chops have an internal temp of 155. Then sprinkle with Colby-Jack cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes till cheese is completely melted.

brown sugar and garlic pork chopsEnjoy with your favorite barbecue sauce. Or not. I ate them plain. There is plenty of flavor, trust me. And of course, they would pair nicely with a bourbon and coke.

Cheesy Garlic and Brown Sugar Pork Chops

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4 pork chops

Serving size: 1 pork chop

A quick baked pork chop recipe that is full of flavor from the brown sugar and garlic. Adding cheese to the last five minutes of baking make these cheesy garlic and brown sugar pork chops irresistible.
Ingredients
  • 4 pork chops
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup shredded colby-jack cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Rub both sides of pork chops with garlic and brown sugar. Place in square baking dish and drizzle butter over top. Sprinkle with paprika, alt and pepper.
  2. Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes or till internal temperature is 155 degrees.
  3. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake for another five minutes.
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