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.

 

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.

Slow Cooker Zesty Italian Pot Roast and Gooseberry Patch Giveaway

Nothing says Hunk of Meat Monday like a pot roast. When it is rainy and dreary, coming home to this zesty Italian pot roast will make everyone happy. Italian Pot RoastThe beautiful thing about the crock pot is that you stuff it full of goodness and then walk away. zesty Italian pot roast Simple ingredients of a beef roast, potatoes, carrots and a can of tomatoes with some Italian seasoning. Then let cook on low or slow roast in the oven for several hours on 300 degrees. Italian Pot Roast The perfect flavorful pot roast with no needed ketchup. And if you love slow cooker meals, you will love this 101 Super Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes Cookbook that has other yummy recipes like Brunswick Stew. Brunswick StewOr Smoky Hobo Dinner smoky hobo dinner So, if you are looking for a new cookbook to partner with your crock pot this cookbook is the book for you. 101 Super-Easy Slow Cooker Recipes But don’t know about the recipes I am showing you? You aren’t convinced? Check these recipes out too-

The Country Cook

This Farm Family’s Life 

From My Front Porch

Alarm Clock Wars

Now, if you want this cookbook, let me know what your go-to meal is in the crock pot is. Just leave a comment simple as that. But don’t wait too long, you have till May 7 to register!

Slow Cooker Zesty Italian Pot Roast
An easy traditional pot roast made with a few non-traditional ingredients that make it a zesty Italian pot roast.
Ingredients
  • 2.5 pound beef roast (chuck, arm, rump)
  • 4 potatoes, quartered and peeled if so desired
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 stalk celery cut into 1 inch chunks
  • ½ teaspoon pepper and salt
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Place raw vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Set beef roast on top of vegetables followed by tomatoes and Italian seasonings. Pour water over top.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Slice pot roast and serve with vegetables.
  5. Thicken remaining juices with flour or corn starch.

I was given two copies of the Gooseberry Patch Cookbook. One to keep and one to give. The recipes and reviews of the recipe are my opinion.

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.

 

Quick Spicy Beef Burritos

We can all pretend that we are always ready to whip up a meal for our starving kids. But, after being on the road or on a plane for a month straight, I would rather everyone just make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

When I came across the recipe for quick spicy beef burritos in my latest Gooseberry Patch Cookbook I am reviewing on the way home from a week on the beach, I knew even my kicking and screaming bad attitude towards cooking right now could handle it.

Quick Spicy Beef burritos on corn tortillasThe great thing about this recipe is Beyer pantry friendly ingredients.

Quick Spicy Beef Burritos Recipe

Don’t we all have refried beans, diced tomatoes and chilies and taco seasoning in bulk? Or just me?

Taco Meat add ins

Of course, I always have literally hundreds of pounds of meat just laying around in one of my two chest freezers. I get the frozen pound of ground beef going with a quarter cup of diced onions.

Browning beef for burritosOnce the beef is browned, drained of any excess grease, add those tomatoes, beans and seasoning.

Quick Spicy Beef Burrito FillingsStir to combine and let simmer for several minutes. And I dare you not to steal a bite.

Beef Burrito FillingYou will notice my spoon is missing from my awesome Fighting Illini spoon rest.

Quick Beef Burrito filling with Illini spoon restNow, stop sneaking bites and start assembling. For a healthier option, grab whole wheat tortillas. If you are gluten free, go for the corn. If you are me and you are going with what you have, you will use run of the mill flour tortillas for the family.

Quick beef burritos

Add shredded cheese and roll up tortillas and serve.

Quick Spicy Beef burritos on corn tortillasNotice, I have some corn tortillas in the mix. And if you like more filling in your burritos, go for it. Add some guacamole. It’s healthy!

Quick Spicy Beef BurritosLooking for healthier ideas for any night of the week? Come back tomorrow and register to win this Good-For-You Everyday Meals Cookbook from Gooseberry Patch. Or go buy it now!

Quick Spicy Beef Burritos

Serves: 5

Serving size: 1 burrito

Lovers of Tex-Mex food looking for a change of pace from regular tacos will fall in love with these quick spicy beef burritos.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ¼ c. diced onion
  • 1-1/4 ounce package of taco seasoning
  • 16 ounce can refried beans
  • 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown beef with onion.
  2. Drain off any excess grease and stir in the taco seasoning, beans and tomatoes and chilies. Simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Warm up flour tortillas or crisp up corn tortillas and fill with beef filling.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and then roll up and serve immediately.

This recipe is from a cookbook given to me by Gooseberry Patch. The recipe commentary and opinions are mine.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Loaded Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes

Who loves ooey, gooey, cheese laden food? This girl.  And my children. Which is why they loved this loaded buffalo and chicken dish. Maybe they love buffalo sauce because I ate an insane amount of Hooters Wings while I was pregnant. After all, hasn’t there been some kind of research done to link what you eat while pregnant to what your kids like to eat. Loaded Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes

Obviously, it involves a few of my favorite things… bacon, cheese, buffalo sauce. Let’s start with the bacon.

frying baconReserve the bacon to the side and leave the bacon grease in the skillet. It is time to make chicken. buffalo chicken marinadeThe buffalo chicken marinade is simple…wing sauce and ranch dressing. That’s all people. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then just put in the skillet of bacon grease. Cook on each side for about five minutes and then remove from the pan, let rest for a few minutes then dice. Now the potatoes… Once again, I have to tell you, I microwave the potatoes to almost fully cook them. Who has the time to bake potatoes? And if microwaving food causes cancer, I would have been died from cancer a long time ago. I grew up in the 80’s. We microwaved everything. Because we could. And it was cool. baked ranch potatoesI microwave make the potatoes till their almost done. Dice them and toss them in ranch seasoning and butter and put in the oven on 350 to crisp up a bit. At this point I would also have the chicken cooking in the skillet. Then you just combine chicken and potatoes. Buffalo Chicken and PotatoesThen you drench in shredded colby jack cheese and that crumbled bacon from earlier. Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes with cheese and baconThen bake for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees or until the cheese is melted and just beginning to crisp.

Loaded Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes

We of course drench this all in ranch. Any remotely healthy thing about this got killed with the ranch dressing. But, it was so good.

Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes with ranchGrab the recipe now too.

Loaded Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes
If you are a chicken wing lover, then this loaded buffalo chicken and potato dish will become your favorite weeknight meal.
Ingredients
  • 4 Skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 4 potatoes, red or brown skinned
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • ¼ cup buffalo sauce
  • ¼ cup of ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons of ranch seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Mix the buffalo sauce and ranch dressing together and pour over chicken. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Fry four pieces of bacon, crumble and reserve for later. Keep bacon grease in skillet.
  3. Bake potatoes till they are almost baked and then cube and spread out on a jelly roll pan. Toss butter and ranch seasoning on potatoes and finish baking potatoes on 350 degrees.
  4. Cook chicken in the skillet with reserved bacon grease for 5-6 minutes on each side or chicken is done.
  5. Cube cooked chicken and combine with baked potatoes. Cover in shredded cheese and then the bacon.
  6. Bake for another 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees till cheese is completely melted.
  7. Serve with ranch dressing.

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.
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