Weeknight Shorts: Kitchen Helpers

I'm a sucker for a creamy soup. Something warm and velvety and brimming with flavors that make me feel like snuggling up with a blanket and a good book is where it's at. So when I point to something like this and say you can spend just a few minutes to put it on your table, you can thank me later:

This is another of my slow cooker to the rescue recipes. Brown some Italian sausage (you can complete this step a day or two early if you want), combine it with some great vegetables and chicken stock, and give it a chance to simmer on its own while you go about your life. Several hours later, add some kale and half & half, adjust the seasonings if you want, and give it a little time while you set the table and pour yourself a glass of something lovely. Maybe consider some warm breadsticks, crispy crackers, or a slice or two of your favorite bread for dipping in the creamy broth. Next thing you know, it's time for dinner.

Part of what I love about slow cooker dishes is that they get you all the flavor of a dish that's been cooking for hours (because it has) without having you devote hours to its preparation (because the slow cooker has done it for you). This dish is great for a crowd or, if you're like me, it gives you a bunch of leftovers for lunches later in the week. And beyond all that, it has a few simple ingredients that you might even have on hand right now. It's not fussy, it's not time-consuming … it's just delicious. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 medium-sized red potatoes, cut into quarters and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 3-4 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 1 cup half & half
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage over medium high heat. While cooking, break it up into small pieces.

Place the cooked sausage, onion, garlic, and potatoes to the insert of your slow cooker. Add the chicken stock and water to the slow cooker, making sure the liquid covers the meat and vegetables fully.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Add the chopped kale, half & half, salt, and pepper. Allow the soup to cook for an additional 30 minutes and then turn down to warm until ready to serve.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 4-5 hours