Category Archives: Soup

Crockpot Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat)

Before my GI issues started, Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana was my absolute favorite soup. Out shopping with my mom, we’d stop in for lunch and just eat soup and salad! Since then, I’ve been craving it, but knowing it has cream in it, it’s not worth the stomach cramps. I finally found a recipe for it (and I apologize to the original owner, because for the life of me, I can’t find the link to it!) that doesn’t take 3 years and more energy than I have to create! Gotta love the crock pot. I kept this as simple as possible and changed it to be gluten and dairy free so I never have to live with an unfulfilled soup craving again!


Crockpot Zuppa Toscana

Cut 4 Italian sausages (or Andouille, which is what I used. It’s a little spicier.) in half lengthwise, then into equal sized chunks. Brown in a pan for a few minutes and sprinkle with cayenne.

Add to crock pot, as well as:

4-6 large red potatoes, thinly sliced on the mandolin slicer

1 Tbsp dried onion or 1 chopped onion

2 Tbsp minced garlic

At least 4 c. vegetable broth (I used 5 1/2), depending on the size of your crock pot, enough to cover the potatoes and meat.

Cook on High for 3-4 hours, or low 5-6 hours

30 minutes before serving, mix together so there are no lumps

1- 1 1/2 c. unsweetened original almond milk

3 Tbsp gluten free all purpose flour

Add to soup, along with 1 c. chopped kale

Cook on High for 30 more minutes, until soup thickens slightly.

Salt, pepper, and more cayenne to taste.


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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Crock Pot, Entree, Soup


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Thai Tomato Soup

I was craving tomato soup the other day, but I wanted to do something different, and we all know I love Thai food, so I threw a bunch of stuff in the blender and it worked! If you want, you can make a roux and thicken it a bit, but after letting it simmer down for a bit while I made the grilled cheese sandwiches to go along with it, it was fine.


Thai Tomato Soup

In a blender, blend until smooth-

2 cloves garlic

1 can light coconut milk, unsweetened

3 whole tomatoes

1/2 tsp ginger

5-6 baby portobello mushrooms

juice of 1 lime

2 tsp curry paste

1/2 Tbsp chili paste (Sambal Oelek)

1/2 tsp dried lemongrass, or let a 1-2 inch section simmer in the pot later on.

In a pot, sauté until onion is translucent and browning slightly:

1 small white onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

salt and pepper

Add to blender, then transfer back to pot to heat and simmer down.

For an extra fancy roasty flavor, feel free to roast your peppers first, like this.

For grilled cheese-

You can use whatever vegan cheese you prefer (Teese mozza or cheddar is really good!), but since I can eat goat’s milk, I used a basil and sun-dried tomato goat cheese. It was fabulous! I’d highly recommend spreading some basil pesto and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the inside of your grilled cheese if you’ve got a regular vegan cheese. It totally ups the ante in flavor.

For bread:

Canyon Bakehouse is great for sandwiches and french toast, but too sweet for grilled cheese.

Udi’s plain white or whole grain bread is what you’re looking for in this case. It holds up fantastically, browns properly, and tastes great as a grilled cheese sandwich, and I don’t normally like Udi’s bread.

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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Soup, Thai Food


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“Cream Of …” Soup Substitute




“Cream of” Soup Substitute

Melt 2 Tbsp trans-fat free margarine over medium low heat

Stir in 3 Tbsp all purpose gluten free flour

Keep stirring until smooth and bubbly (Mine just balled up a bunch..must be a gluten free thing)

Remove from heat and add 1/2 c. vegetable broth and 1/2 c. almond milk a little at a time, stirring (with a whisk) to keep it smooth. Return to heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. It’ll thicken up nicely.

Salt and pepper to taste.

This is equivalent to one can of “cream of”.

You can vary it by changing the broth, using sauteed celery or celery seed, or sauteed chopped mushrooms and herbs or seasonings.

This is the link to the original recipe (included gluten and dairy) that I messed with.



Posted by on March 19, 2014 in How To, Soup


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Crockpot Chicken Corn Chowder

I recently got an all-natural, antibiotic free whole chicken for $4, so I threw some lemon slices around it, liberally salted and peppered, and stuck it in the crockpot all day, breast side down. We’re not huge meat eaters, and my husband doesn’t particularly like chicken, but it was too good to pass up. Once I’d stripped all the meat off the bones and abandoned my previous plans to make bone broth because, face it, I’m lazy…and bones are gross…the shredded meat stayed in a container in my fridge, untouched. I had also gotten a bunch of celery and carrots because the sales were amazing, so I had to figure out what to do with them. The results? Delicious. This is usually one of those recipes that calls for cans of “cream of cancer and intestinal discomfort” so I figured there HAD to be a way (Pinterest said so!) to do it gluten and dairy free. It’s not as easy as wielding a can opener, but definitely healthier. By the way, this recipe lends itself well to cornbread. My favorite gluten free mix is the Hodgson Mill gluten free cornbread. I’d been using Bob’s Red Mill but tried the HM one on a whim, and it was incredible. So much lighter and fluffier. Even my non-gf friends loved it, and it’s super easy to sub unsweetened applesauce for the eggs if you’re fresh out. *Just had a thought: this soup would be amazing with bacon in it…*


Crockpot Chicken Corn Chowder

Throw all of this into a crockpot and let it go on low, stirring occasionally, until you’re ready to partake.

1 lb of small red potatoes, quartered, boiled and mashed

2 carrots, sliced thinly

2 stalks celery, sliced thinly

2 c. frozen corn kernels

1 1/2 c. vegetable broth

1 tsp dried dill weed

2 Tbsp dried onion

2 recipes of “Cream of” soup

Season to taste with:

Penzey’s Berbere (cayenne pepper mix)



Whatever else you think it needs (let me know what you try!) Taste is a very personal thing.

In the last 10 minutes before you serve it, add

1/2 c. almond milk (unsweetened original)

“Cream of” Soup Substitute

Melt 2 Tbsp trans-fat free margarine over medium low heat

Stir in 3 Tbsp all purpose gluten free flour

Keep stirring until smooth and bubbly (Mine just balled up a bunch..must be a gluten free thing)

Remove from heat and add 1/2 c. vegetable broth and 1/2 c. almond milk a little at a time, stirring (with a whisk) to keep it smooth. Return to heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. It’ll thicken up nicely.

Salt and pepper to taste.

This is equivalent to one can of “cream of”.

You can vary it by changing the broth, using sauteed celery or celery seed, or sauteed chopped mushrooms and herbs or seasonings.

This is the link to the original recipe (included gluten and dairy) that I messed with.


Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Crock Pot, Soup


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Hearty Hamburger Soup

You’ll want to start this soup around lunchtime if you intend to eat it for dinner. LOTS of different beans in this dry bean mix I got (32, to be exact), simmering for the next few hours with some basil, garlic, and chives, and then I’ll add carrots, corn, spices, some leftover marinara sauce as well as some browned, chili seasoned hamburger. Now, it’ll be hard to find the 32 bean variety I had, but Target carries a bag of 16 Bean Soup Starter that’ll do nicely. The one I used initially was the North Bay Trading Co. which is local here in Wisconsin. 


Hearty Hamburger Soup

1 c. dry bean mix

8 c. water

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp chives (dried)

1 Tbsp basil (dried)

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Bring it to a boil, let it boil for 5-10 minutes, then bring it down to a good simmer for 3 hours. Once the beans are close to done, add a can of corn and a can of green beans, both drained. You can also thinly chop some fresh carrots and bell peppers and add them to the soup while it’s still simmering. I had half a jar of spaghetti/marinara sauce leftover, and added it to the pot as well. Definitely recommend it, or even just a can of tomato sauce.

As the soup simmers, defrost 1 lb ground beef and brown it, seasoning it with chili powder and Penzey’s Northwoods Fire seasoning (or any mildly spicy pepper blend). Add it to the soup and let simmer a little longer to blend the flavors. Make sure to taste the soup periodically and adjust the seasonings to you preference. 

This will serve 4 people easily. 

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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Soup


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Heart-Warming Black Bean Soup

My dad just got out of the hospital, so I wanted to bring over some dinner, but I’m just getting over the flu and an ear infection myself. Lack of energy + hunger = resourcefulness! I rooted about in the pantry and found some canned goods; I had some leftover black beans from tacos the other day, and there was a bit of salsa left in the jar. I had also received a Cuisinart immersion blender (FINALLY!) for Christmas from my In-laws, and this was a great excuse to use it! Easiest soup I’ve ever made, and the whole house smells amazing!


Heart-Warming Black Bean Soup in the Crockpot!

1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes (obviously, for all of these, fresher is better, as is organic)

1 19 oz can red kidney beans

2 15.5 oz cans black beans 

3/4 c. salsa

1 1/2 c. vegetable broth (Penzey’s stock and hot water)

2 Tbsp dried cilantro (if you’ve got fresh, please use that instead)

Cook on high for 2 hours, then immerse the stick blender (immersion blender, hand blender, whatever) into the pot and blend a bit until the beans are broken up some and the tomatoes are completely broken up. Leave the beans partially intact.

Add 1 15.25 oz can whole kernel corn

Mix up a bit and let cook for at least another half hour, then go ahead and stick it on low until dinnertime.

Serve with gluten-free cornbread, Food Should Taste Good blue corn tortilla chips crunched on top, or whatever suits your fancy. You could even add some shredded chicken if you’ve got some left over in the fridge.

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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Crock Pot, Entree, Soup


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Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

My honey came home from work today sniffling, sneezing and coughing, so what does that mean? The chicken noodle soup he actually enjoys. (He’s not a fan of chicken). You can make this as mild or as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of red chili paste. The recipe here is at “mild”. *NOTE* I’ve added a noodle dish alternative at the bottom and it’s super tasty if you’re not a big “soup” fan.


Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Put all of this in a crockpot and just let it simmer on high for a couple of hours to really blend the flavors. If you have a large crockpot, definitely double the recipe.

4 c. vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk (not light)

juice of 3 limes

zest of 1 lime

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp red chili paste (or to taste)

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated

*optional: 1 red bell pepper, finely minced and a handful of cilantro

2 large or 4 small chicken breasts, already cooked and diced

Just before serving, boil enough water to cover your noodles (I used 1 pkg maifun noodles). Once the water is hot, turn off the heat and put in the noodles. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain off the water and add to the soup. Serve. If doubling the recipe, double the noodles too.

**Update: a friend has been experimenting with this soup and he recommends adding a 3 inch stick of lemongrass to the crockpot and removing it before adding the noodles.**


Tonight I made it again because I have a cold, and since my crock pot was busy making vegan sweetened condensed milk, I made it on the stove in a 3 qt pot and simmered it for 2 1/2 hours. I used the lemongrass as mentioned above and definitely recommend it. I also increased the chili paste to 2 TBSP instead of 2 tsp because I’m sick and wanted it spicy. I also left the lid cracked so it reduced down a bit. When I added the full package of noodles and let it simmer a bit longer, the noodles absorbed all the liquid and it turned into a super tasty noodle dish instead. I also pan-fried the chicken by first seasoning it on both sides with ground garlic and ginger, and then searing it on both sides on a hot pan, then reducing the heat a bit and letting it fry for awhile and then adding about a cup of water and putting the lid on to let them finish cooking. Make sure if your chicken breasts are thick you slice them in half first. This way of cooking keeps them super moist.


Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Crock Pot, Entree, Soup, Thai Food


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