Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti is a meat lover’s dream. Two kinds of meat and triple cheese make this the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.

pioneer woman's baked ziti

This post is a sponsored post, meaning I have collaborated with Pioneer Woman in return for financial compensation and free products for testing purposes. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Baked Ziti is one of our favorite dishes. It’s the ultimate in Italian-American comfort food. If you like the way lasagna is baked, you’ll love baked ziti. It’s similar, but without the tediousness of layering pasta. Served casserole style, it’s filled with zesty tomato sauce, Italian sausage and gooey cheesy goodness.

Today, I’m going to share Pioneer Woman’s recipe for baked ziti. This was the first time I’ve tried it and it was yummy!!! Ree girl, this was awesome!

The Pioneer Woman

If you’ve never heard of the Pioneer Woman, I pity you just a tad. Ree Drummond is a famous blogger who shares her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. On her blog, she cooks up some good ole’ eats that anyone can cook. These days she also has her own show on The Food Network. I love her down to earth writing style that makes you feel like her best friend. Be sure to follow her blog…after mine, of course!

Making Baked Ziti

Traditionally ziti uses ziti pasta which resembles small tubes, but I’ve also used penne pasta in a pinch and found it works just as well. In Italy it’s ziti al forno, which translates exactly to “baked ziti.”

I received a complimentary jar of the Rustic Bolognese sauce. It’s very tasty and reminds me of a homemade sauce, minus the hassle! I grew up on Prego. Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of sauces. I highly recommend trying Pioneer Woman’s new line of Italian pasta sauces which now come in the following varieties:

  • Marinara
  • Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • Rustic Bolognese
  • Four Cheese
  • Garden Vegetable

In the past, I’ve used a different recipe for baked ziti, but after today, I’m switching. This is a meat lovers dream! It calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage! I’ve written the recipe to use ground Italian sausage because it is readily available to me at my store. If you can’t find it, you can always use regular link Italian sausage. I recommend cutting the casing lengthwise with a knife and then peeling off for easy removal. Then brown, like normal.

baked ziti

Pioneer Woman Baked Ziti

A delicious Italian-American casserole filled with zesty tomato sauce, cheese, Italian sausage basked into bubbly goodness.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bacon casserole, cheesy casseroles, italian, italian sausage, pasta, tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Ziti Pasta Uncooked
  • 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Lbs Italian Sausage Ground
  • 1 Jar PIONEER WOMAN Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 15oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Shredded
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
  • 1 Lbs Lean Ground Beef

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 375
  • Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently
  • Crumble sausage, then ground beef into skillet with cooked vegetables. Cook until ground meats are evenly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Mix egg, ricotta, and parmesan until blended
  • Drain pasta and spoon into a large bowl. Add pasta sauce mixture and ricotta mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray; top with mozzarella.
  • Bake 20 mins or until heated through
pioneer woman's baked ziti
pioneer woman rustic bolognese

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Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Tired of your boring roast? Try this recipe for Mexican pulled pork (pork roast) – slow cooker pork carnitas.

slow cooker pork carnitas

Yummy pork carnitas – it is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. I particularly love them too because there is always enough leftovers for another meal and any night I can get out of cooking is a happy accident! Carnitas literally translates to “little meats.” But if you’ve ever wondered what it is, it’s basically just Mexican pulled pork.

Ingredients

Making Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Here in Texas, because of the large Hispanic demographic, it’s super easy to find pork perfectly trimmed for carnitas. But don’t fret, all you need is pork shoulder or pork butt roast. Normally it weighs about 2-4 pounds. Some of that will cook down due to the high fat marbling. You will place it whole in the slow cooker, no water needed.

Juice your orange. You can substitute with store bought orange juice. About a half cup to a cup is fine. Pour over your meat. Add your spices and chopped onion.

Now to add your jalapeño If you want it more on the mild side, I recommend deveining the jalapeño. To do this, chop off the top of the pepper. Slice the pepper in half while on it’s side. Pull out all of the seeds and thinly slice the vein of the pepper off and discard both. Then chop your jalapeño as normal. Don’t be afraid to use a whole jalapeño. The pepper heat reduces a lot as it cooks.

Pro tip: Use gloves to stop the pepper oils from getting in your hand, Remember, never touch your face or sensitive areas while handling peppers.

Juice of One orange
Slow cooker pork carnitas

Serving and Storing

Your pork roast will cook on low for about 8 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when you can pull apart the meat with a fork. That’s right. Pork carnitas should be melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender when they are done.

Personally, my favorite way to serve pork carnitas is in soft tacos. There is nothing quite like warm, homemade flour tortilla tacos. I love topping them with cilantro and onion. I prefer to serve them with traditional spanish rice (yup, I have a recipe for that too) and charro beans. During the summer, I’ll often switch it up for a side of Mexican street corn. So yummy!

Store slowcooker pork carnitas in the fridge for 3 days in an air tight container.

Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Mexican pulled pork with fresh onion, jalapeño, and orange flavors.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carnitas, crockpot, crockpot recipes, mexican main dish, mexican recipes, pork, pork roast, pork tacos, pulled pork, slow cooker, tacos
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Pounds Pork butt or Pork Shoulder
  • 1 Large Orange Juiced
  • 1 Large Fresh Jalapeno Deveined, deseeded, and chopped
  • 1 Small White Onion Chopped
  • Salt. Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Instructions

  • Place pork butt or pork shoulder whole in crock pot.
  • Juice one large and orange and pour over pork. May substitute ½ cup to 1 cup of store bought orange juice.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Scatter chopped onions.
  • Prepare jalapeño by cutting the top off and slicing lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut out the pepper vein and discard. Chop remaining pepper and scatter in crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

This yummy, cheesy, bacon cheeseburger casserole is easy for weeknight dinners, potlucks and makes a great left over meal.

Okay folks, today I’m sharing one of my favorite weeknight recipes. It combines three of my favorite ingredients: cheese, beef, and bacon. It also calls for a can of cream of chicken soup. Let’s be honest, all great casseroles contain this creamy can of meaty goodness.

I found a similar recipe a few years back in a magazine and I’ve tweaked it over the years and it’s turned into this yummy recipe.

Jump to Recipe

Ingredients

So I find that ground beef with a higher fat content does better with this recipe. Normally, I’m an extra lean kind of girl. But since the meat will be cooked twice, the added fat helps keep the meat juicy. Otherwise, I find the meat tougher and dryer. Therefore, I recommend using 93% lean 7% fat. You’ll be draining off the excess fat, but that fat in the meat will keep it soft and tender.

Now let’s talk bacon. The recipe calls for a couple of strips of bacon. In a pinch you can buy bacon bits found in the salad section. But don’t use those God-awful fake orange ones. Use 100% real bacon. Hormel makes a decent one. Otherwise, I recommend using a couple of strips of actual bacon. No need to dirty another pan. Cut it up and add it to the meat. It also makes your meat extra flavorful. Drain off the excess fat.

bacon cheeseburger casserole

The recipe also calls for a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. You may wonder why were adding that to a cheeseburger casserole. Well something has to hold the casserole together. Condensed soup works well, even when diluted. If you prefer to use cream of mushroom, that would work too. I’ve used it when that’s all I had in the pantry! The condensed soup combined with a small amount of cheese really helps hold everything together.

Serving & Storing Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I have a habit of serving this recipe with baked bread, particularly biscuits, but this is already a heavy meal so there is no need to do that.

Like most casseroles, this stores very well in an airtight container for about 2-3 days. That’s another reason to use the fattier beef. If you plan on warming it up again in the microwave as leftovers, the fattier meat will continue to stay juicy. I’ll be honest though, we rarely have leftovers. My entire family scarfs it down. Even my one year old!

There have been times I’ve doubled the recipe just for the purpose of leftovers if we have a busy week.

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I love to think of this recipe of a modern day, American shepherds pie. A yummy ground beef casserole, topped with golden brown potatoes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, bacon casserole, bacon cheeseburger, beef casseroles, casserole, casserole recipes, cheddar cheese, cheesy casseroles, easy recipe, family favorite, leftovers, pot luck, potato recipes, shepherds pie, weeknight dinner
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Cutting board
  • Casserole dish

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs Ground Beef 93/7%
  • 3 Strips Bacon Chopped
  • Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese divided into 1/3s
  • 1 Can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 60 Frozen Tater Tots approx
  • ½ Small White Onion Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Minced
  • 1 Salt & Pepper To taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Cut bacon into small pieces and place in medium hot skillet with the ground beef.
  • Add garlic, salt & pepper, and chopped white onion
  • Continue frying until meat is browned and onion is translucent. Remove from heat.
  • Pour meat mixture into a casserole dish and spread evenly.
  • Take ⅓ cup of cheese (half of the cheese) and sprinkle it on top of meat mixture.
  • Place frozen tater tots in single file rows until all meat is covered.
  • Bake in oven for 35 minutes.
  • In the last five minutes of baking, sprinkle the remaining half of cheese on top tater tots and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes.
bacon cheeseburger casserole

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Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy green chili chicken enchiladas? Yes, please. Learn how to make this simple weeknight recipe in all it’s cheesy, creamy goodness.

I’m Hispanic. I don’t care what’s inside an enchilada – it’s the best and it’s hard to get it wrong! I love chicken enchiladas. Bu these creamy green chili chicken enchiladas are my favorite. Over the years, I’ve used this recipe to make different variations of my favorites. That’s what makes this recipe great. You can swap out the chilies for seasonal ones.

For example, one of my favorite things about the late summer here in Texas, is that Hatch Chilies are in season! They’re hot, but oh my goodness, they are wonderful roasted! Our local HEB grocery store, even fire roasts them for you in August.

I also love using poblano peppers at times. Poblano peppers are kind of a wild card though. Every now and then, you get some real hot ones!

Making Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

I love this recipe because it can be a great use for left over baked or rotisserie chicken. My local grocery store actually sells shredded rotisserie chicken that is already shredded for you. They even separate white from dark meat if you want it. Come on, it can’t get easier than that. HEB has totally spoiled me.

I make this recipe for weeknight dinners. It’s about 20-30 mins of prep time, with a 30 min cook time. But I’ll tell you a secret, if you are in a pinch with time you can create an enchilada casserole instead. You’ll need the same ingredients, but instead of rolling the enchiladas, you later them. A layer of tortillas, followed by chicken and cheese, then sauce, then continue layering. Top with cheese. The cook time is the same. It’s just as good but you can cut the prep time to about 10 mins or less.

shredded c

Serving

I love to pair this dish with other Mexican staples like charro beans and Spanish Rice. In a prior post, I provide my family’s recipe for Perfect Spanish rice. I also love to top this dish with pico de gallo.

If you’re worried about it being too hot with the pico, simply leave out the jalapeños and just make it with tomato, onion, and cilantro.

Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy green chili chicken enchiladas? Yes, please. Learn how to make this simple weeknight recipe in all it's cheesy, creamy goodness.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken enchiladas, creamy enchiladas, enchiladas, green chili, poblano enchiladas, weeknight dinner
Servings: 20 Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Sour cream
  • 1 Lb Shredded chicken
  • 20 Corn tortillas
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 10oz Can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3.5 Cups Bag of Mexican shredded cheese perferably Kraft
  • 1 4oz Can of diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz Can of Verde (green) enchilada sauce
  • 1 Cup Pico de gallo optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lower the racks down so that the dish will be in the center.
  • In a large bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, verde enchilada sauce, and sour cream . Whisk well until fully blended.
  • Spray a large baking dish (9×13) with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • In a large bowl, add shredded chicken. Drain green chilies and add to chicken. Blend well and set aside.
  • Separate 2 cups of shredded cheese. Set the rest aside.
  • On a work surface, lay a tortilla flat. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese lengthwise. Then add the chicken mixture. Carefully roll the tortilla and place it seam side down. The cheese will help hold the enchilada together as it cooks.
  • Continue with all the tortillas until finished. If you're using a smaller dish, you can add a second row on top.
  • Pour the cream enchilada sauce mixture all over the enchiladas. Top with the remainder of the cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve with charro beans and spanish rice. Garnish with pico de gallo, if you wish
creamy green chili chicken enchiladas

Storing & Reheating

You can prepare the enchiladas for advance. This is particularly great for dinner parties. Roll the enchiladas, but store in the fridge without the sauce. When you’re ready to heat, pour the sauce and pop in the oven.

These enchiladas store fairly well. You can even freeze them in a good, air tight container suitable for freezer storage. I recommend keeping the enchiladas for no longer than three days in the fridge. They warm up better in the oven than in the microwave though.


I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s one of my favorites. Don’t forget to e-mail subscribe for more recipes and freebies!

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Parmesan Arugula Salad

Rocket salad is the showstopper in this simple parmesan arugula salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette.

Parmesan arugula salad

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite salads. I know you’re probably like me and always looking for something delicious that is quick to whip up! Well, I’ve got a great one! This salad is very easy to make. You can make Parmesan Arugula Salad in under 10 minutes. Therefore, it is a perfect first course for weeknight dinners.

Arugula, also called rocket salad, is a leaf vegetable with a fresh peppery flavor. The Mediterranean uses it often in their dishes. I can see why. The leaf itself is almost herb-like. Small,, but packed with flavor.

If you’re dieting, it’s suitable for most all diets. The homemade lemon vinaigrette is made with natural ingredients. Simply combine raw lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. It is Whole30, Keto, Atkins and Weight Watcher friendly. Unfortunately, it’s not Paleo friendly because of the parmesan. Obviously, you can control how muc dressing you put on the salad. But I love it because it doesn’t have sugar, preservatives or MSG.

I love this salad because its a nice change from the standard lettuce salads. If you wanted to eat it as a lunch, I recommend adding a lean protein like chicken, shrimp or lean steak, like sirloin. Arugula alone is not very filling because it’s so light. Personally, I love it as a side or starter.

Parmesan Arugula Salad

Arugula, also known as rocket salad, is a peppery green, used often in Mediterranean dishes. This simple salad combines arugula with Parmesan topped with a homemade zesty lemon dressing.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Keyword: arugula, easy meal, lemon dressing, salad, simple salad, weeknight dinner
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 184kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Arugula
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Shaved
  • 1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 Cup Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Pepper Pinch

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir or shake well until combined.
  • Transfer arugula to salad bowl and add parmesan.
  • Pour preferred amount of lemon dressing and toss salad well until mixed through

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does! Cheers!

The post, Parmesan Arugula Salad first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Looking for other easy weeknight recipes? Try Roasted Root Medley

Roasted Root Medley

Try this easy, sweet and savory roasted root medley, perfect for weeknight dinners

Roasted root medley

This is by far one of my favorite vegetable recipes. First, this roasted root medley is very easy to make. In fact it is so simple, you may wonder why I’m sharing it. That’s because it is one of my favorite side dishes ever!

It’s so easy you almost don’t need a recipe. It’s just chopped vegetables with olive oil. However, the pairing of sweet potato, carrots, and sweet onion make a sweet & salty combination.

In the past, I’ve also made this with sheet pan dinners. I know I’m not the only person who loves one pan dinners!

I discovered this recipe about five years ago during a cleanse diet. That’s the other great thing about this dish. It’s Keto, Paleo, Auto-Immune Paleo, Whole30, Atkins and Weight Watcher friendly. As a variation, you can add other root veggies like beets or parsnips.

Personally, I line the baking pan with parchment paper. It makes clean up a breeze. I also recommend turning the vegetables about half way through baking for perfect tenderness.

Carrots
Jump to Recipe
Roasted root medley

Roasted Root Medley

You’ll love this sweet and savory side dish. Easy to make for weeknight dinners. It’s Keto, Whole30, Paleo and Weight Watcher friendly. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot, olive oil, onion, sweet potato
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/8 Cup Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 5 Large Carrots Peeled, Chopped
  • 2 Small Sweet Potatoes Peeled, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Onion Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper To taste

Instructions

  • Wash and peel potatoes and carrots. 
  • Chop vegetables and place in a mixing bowl
  • Add olive oil to the mixture and toss until vegetables are fully coated
  • Spoon vegetables onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until tender. Turn vegetables over with a spatula about half way through cooking. 
Roasted root medley

Looking for other weeknight recipes? Try Perfect Spanish Rice

The post Roasted Root Medley first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Perfect Spanish Rice

Strait from my grandmother’s kitchen, try this delicious recipe for perfect Spanish rice.

Perfect spanish rice

When you’re Hispanic, like me, there is rarely a single meal that goes by without Spanish rice. It was a staple growing up. It’s flavorful, filling and savory. Lots of people are intimidated by making rice. Let me tell you, you don’t need a fancy rice cooker. There are two rules for making perfect Spanish rice. Your water to rice ratio needs to be correct and you don’t touch it! Don’t worry, I’ll explain that in just a minute. Today, I’m going to share my family’s recipe for perfect Spanish rice.

There are variations to Spanish rice. I’ve seen people add peas, even corn to it. I do neither. The recipe I make is my grandmothers and then my mothers. The smell of the rice frying immediately takes me back to childhood.

For extra flavorful rice, I suggest using chicken stock in lieu of water. Alternatively, you can also use water and bouillon. Comino (Cumin), is a very strong spice. Too much of it and it will make your dish bitter. Therefore, use it sparingly if you experiment with it in recipes.

The Secret to Perfect Rice

Here is the secret for perfect rice. First, white rice should always be cooked in a 1:2 ratio. One cup of white rice, 2 cups of water. Brown rice is 1:3 ratio. One cup of brown rice, 3 cups of water. Brown and wild rice require much longer cooking times. Too much water leaves rice mushy and waterlogged.

The other secret to perfect rice is to leave it alone while cooking. Therefore, this means no stirring. Stirring breaks up the starch and and makes it clumpy and just a big pile of mush. Once you put your ingredients in, just give it one stir around then cover and leave it!

Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice is a flavorful blend of cumin, cilantro and tomato. Learn how to make authentic, perfect Spanish rice.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Cumin, Mexican, Rice
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Long Grain Rice
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Small Roma Tomato Chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper

Instructions

  • Chop tomato, onion and cilantro.
  • Prepare rice in a medium deep skillet with a lid
  • Heat oil on medium heat. Add rice and stir gently.
  • Allow rice to brown, stirring only a few times. 
  • Once browned, slowly add your chicken stock at the side edge of the pan. Be careful, as it will produce hot steam. 
  • Add cumin, garlic powder, cilantro, tomato, tomato sauce, and onion. Give one stir around the pan.
  • Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and cover with a lid until all the liquid is dissolved, about 15-20 mins. 
  • Once cooked, fluff with fork. Add salt if needed. Normally the chicken stock is salty enough. 

Perfect spanish rice

perfect spanish rice

Looking for other delicious recipes? Try Zuppa Toscana a delicious rustic Italian soup.

Zuppa Toscana

zuppa toscana soup

I love the fall. It’s a great excuse to make delicious soups and stews. Zuppa Toscana (translation Tuscan Soup) is one of my favorite Italian soups! It’s very easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. Above all, it’s inexpensive and is a quick weeknight dinner. It’s done in just 30 minutes! Zuppa Toscana is delectable soup has a chicken broth base and combines Italian sausage, potatoes and kale. Add red pepper flakes for added spice.

Serves 6 | Prep: 5 mins | Total Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 48 oz chicken stock
  • 2 White potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups Kale, shredded
  • ¼ cup whole milk

Instructions

  • On a medium heat, brown ground Italian sausage in a medium stockpot. If meat is dry, you may add a tablespoon of olive oil and continue frying.
  • Prepare potatoes by dicing into ¼” pieces.
  • Add potatoes to meat and lightly fry for a few minutes.
  • Add red pepper flakes and stir.
  • Deglaze the stockpot by adding chicken stock and scraping the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring soup to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium high and continue cooking for 15-20 mins.
  • Add shredded kale and continue cooking for an additional 5 mins.
  • Add milk to create a creamy broth, stir and serve.

Tips: White potatoes have a delicate skin that does not need to be peeled. I’ve found heavy cream separates from the broth and have found milk incorporates better. For an even lighter version, try using Turkey Italian Sausage. Some versions also add cooked bacon, but I have found it can be over powering. If chicken broth isn’t available, you may substitute with water and chicken bouillon. 

 

Looking for more recipes? Try White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins