Finals week for me and then two weeks of no class i.e. spring break.
The husband is out of town though so that’s a bit sad, but at least it gives me time to catch up on all of these posts I’ve been stockpiling since when he’s not around my dinners turn into quick and easy foods such as salads or sandwiches.
But anyway, years and years ago (seriously, it seems like forever and I’m not that old) I worked for Olive Garden. When you work in a restaurant you often pull doubles – usually shifts of 8 to 10 hours although it can often stretch to 12 hours (i.e. be sympathetic to your servers!) If you work in a state that doesn’t require breaks like Ohio does, you often spend all day on your feet without a chance to really eat.
Working in a restaurant teaches you to grab a bite where you can, when you can. A fry here, a crouton there, just anything to keep hunger at bay since you don’t actually have time to sit down to a meal. Even now I have to work on eating my food slowly due to years of just eating as quickly as possible since you didn’t have time to eat.
At Olive Garden, grabbing a ramekin of soup was an easy fix to stave off hunger pangs – not that we were actually allowed or supposed to do that.
My favorite soup was the Zuppa Toscana, which is not the healthiest option.
After leaving Olive Garden I started to get more into healthy cooking and eating well so I’ve rarely allowed myself to indulge in a bowl. Plus I have a weird psychological thing against ordering just soup in a restaurant. I always feel I should get an entrée if I’m sitting down to dinner.
Enter this healthy slow cooker version. Hello! Crazy good. You don’t even miss all that butter and cream, plus since it’s in a slow cooker it’s even easier. This was even one of those rare dishes that I was actually looking forward to eating the leftovers of (I’ve also got a weird thing where I don’t really like eating leftovers – another bad habit I’m working on) since soup usually gets better as you let it sit.
So let me emphasize – give this soup a shot! It’s easy, healthy, tastes absolutely wonderful AND it’s a slow cooker meal. What more could you really ask for?[hr]
- ¾ lb ground pork
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ¾ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp of crushed red pepper
- 8 oz red potatoes, each one cut into 8 pieces
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup nonfat evaporated milk (regular milk won't work as a sub here)
- 1 ¾ Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups chopped kale
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 ½ Tbsp shredded Parmesan (optional)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- In a large skillet add 1 tsp olive oil and heat over medium heat. Sauté pork, onion and garlic until the meat has browned and the onion is tender. Drain off any fat in pan. Add in Italian seasoning, oregano, salt and pepper, and sauté for another minute.
- Transfer to a 4 quart slow cooker and stir in broth and potatoes until well combined. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
- Mix the evaporated milk and cornstarch together until well combined. If cooking on low turn the slow cooker to high. Add kale and milk mix into slow cooker, stir well. Recover and cook for another hour. Taste and add in any additional salt and pepper until tasty.
- Divide between four bowls. Garnish with Parmesan (if using) and additional crushed red pepper (optional) for the spice lovers.
Recipe linked at the Newlywed Recipe Linky