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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tuscan Soup with Chicken Sausage

Today for day 4 of Soup Month 2012, we bring you an ultra-healthy soup that is ideal for lunch or a light dinner.  The inspiration for this soup came from a bargain I found at the grocery, namely a buy-one-get-one-free deal on the Al Fresco Chicken Sausage with Sage and Thyme.  I had never tried this type of sausage before but I was intrigued by the label which stated "no artificial ingredients, no nitrates, no MSG and it's gluten free, which is important to many people these days.  Besides that, it just sounded so tasty I had to try it and experiment. 

I wanted to follow an Italian path, somewhat of a pasta fagioli-type soup, but with a little of this and that added to the mix.  I started with an Italian-style chicken broth that was flavored with thyme, rosemary and basil, which would blend nicely with the sausage. Next I added some basic veggies, cannellini beans, tomatoes and spices, and some fiber-rich low-carb pasta. 

The results were delicious, with the soup tasting like it had cooked all day, even though it was ready in less than 30 minutes.  Even better, since the sausage is made of skinless chicken, there was no greasy taste like you would get from regular sausage, but it was full of flavor.  This was a fast, easy and quite healthy meal that I'm sure we will make again very soon.  Enjoy!!

8 oz  Al Fresco Chicken Sausage with Sage and Thyme
2 tsp  Olive Oil
3 medium  Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small  Onion, chopped
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
4 cups  Progresso Tuscany Chicken Broth with Thyme, Rosemary and Basil
1 14-1/2 oz can  Diced Tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz can  Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup  Dry Dreamfield's Macaroni Pasta
1 tsp  Italian Seasoning Mix
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4 oz  Fresh Spinach Leaves, coarsely chopped
Shaved Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

Slice sausages into small bite-sized pieces, place in a medium soup pot and brown in olive oil for 3 minutes.  Add the carrots, onion, and garlic to the pot and saute until tender, about 7-8 minutes.

Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, pasta, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the pot, stir to combine and bring soup to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until the pasta is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add the spinach to the pot and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes.  Adjust seasonings, if needed, and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!!

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