Gnocchi and Sausage Soup Warms the Soul

Gnocchi and Sausage Soup Warms the Soul

The great thing about homemade soup is that it is such a forgiving meal. You can forage through your pantry, swag measurements, and make each pot your own creation. The downside is that I can never quite replicate the same pot twice!

That said, this pot of gnocchi and Italian sausage soup was delicious.

Gnocchi and Sausage Soup

Ingredients
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage (I used hot)
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes (optional)
1/2-1 bag spinach
4-6 cups chicken stock (See recipe for homemade.)
1 package gnocchi
1/2-1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Brown sausage in the bottom of a stock pot and drain off grease. You could use turkey sausage or links. If you do, remove casings before browning.

hot sausage, onion, pepper

Add diced onion, chopped bell pepper, and crushed garlic. Sauté 3 minutes longer. I had a homegrown tomato in the windowsill and chopped it up and added to the pot. It was not an essential ingredient, but like I said before, it’s soup so be creative!

Tip: If using a milder sausage, add 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper for some heat. If using your own chicken stock, add 1-2 chicken bullion cubes to intensify the flavor.

Add chicken stock and bring to gentle boil. Add gnocchi and cook 5 minutes or until gnocchi are cooked through. Add spinach and heavy cream. Stir until warmed through and spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

creamy italian sausage, gnocchi, spinach soup

Italian sausage is a great soup ingredient since it comes with its own built-in seasoning. I’ve also used kale instead of spinach. Of course kale needs to cook a bit longer so I add it during the sauté step. You could leave out the heavy cream or substitute with coconut milk and a tablespoon of red thai curry for a completely different outcome.

bowl of creamy hot sausage and gnocci soup

Serve with a warm slice of home baked French bread. Here’s my recipe!

Let me know how you like it.

Buon appetito!

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The Simplest Most Delicious Cherry Cheesecake Recipe I’ve Ever Made

The Simplest Most Delicious Cherry Cheesecake Recipe I’ve Ever Made

I briefly touched upon this cheery cheesecake recipe in an earlier post highlighting my favorite Thanksgiving desserts, but thought if was worthy of its own mention since I recently made one for a friend. This no-bake version is my aunt’s recipe and it is always devoured. Friends cannot believe how easy it is to make considering how delicious it is. It is perfect for dinner parties since you quite literally whip it up the night before.

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

Ingredients
24 graham cracker squares
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 T sugar

8 ounces softened cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 pint heavy cream (also called whipping cream)
1 can cherry pie filling, chilled

Directions

graham cracker crust
Graham cracker crust (Combine 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers, 1/3 cup melted butter, 3 T sugar and press into pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.)

whipped cheesecake filling

Beat softened cream cheese until smooth.
Add sugar and vanilla and beat some more.
Slowly pour in heavy heavy cream and beat until the mixture is thick and fluffy.

no bake cheesecake

Pour/scrape into cooled pie crust.

Chill 24 hours.

Brad Nierenberg's Cheesecake

Top with canned cherries.

This is a regular request for birthdays and special occasions. I know you are thinking that it can’t possibly be that good if it is so simple to make…but it is!

Buon appetito!
Brad

Half Moon Cookies Will Make You Howl in Delight

Half Moon Cookies Will Make You Howl in Delight

I love sharing my family recipes. I would hate to see so many delicious treats end with me someday rather than delighting new generations for years to come. I recently sent my gram’s recipe for Half Moon Cookies to Jeanie and Lulu’s Kitchen, a food blog that features recipes passed down to Leigh from both of her grandmothers.

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I hope you’ll visit Leigh’s blog and peruse through her family treasures. And if you are looking for a new cookie recipe that is cakey, moist, chocolaty, and scrumptious, be sure and bake up a batch of Half Moon Cookies (also called Black and White Cookies.) They are perfect in October as a Halloween treat!

Let me know how you like them!

Here is another wonderful cookie recipe if chocolate is not your thing but you love cinnamon rolls!

5 Things To Do While Wine Tasting

5 Things To Do While Wine Tasting

I consider myself a bit of a wino. Not that I drink a bottle a day, but I possess a decent share of knowledge and have been to many wine tastings, including a few in Italy and Germany. I’ve made a few friends who work in tasting rooms and am often appalled by the stories they share. It is for those folks that I jump up onto my soapbox today!

Hey millennials: Get your nose out of your smartphone and into your glass. The folks who work in the tasting room are trying to share their knowledge with you about their wines. Give them your attention so they can get through it and move on to assist other customers. When you are focused on your phone and not the wine discussion you are wasting other people’s time. It’s rude!

Try everything. When you are out on a wine tasting, don’t skip around the recommended tasting menu. That menu was set up by people who know a lot more about wines than you do. Just follow along and take each ensuing swirl and sip in order. Who knows, you may just find something new that you love.

Cleanse your palate between tastes. Go ahead and take a swig of water, a piece of bread, or whatever they offer. Each new wine will taste much better if you no longer have the remaining taste of the last wine still in your mouth.

Wine tasting is not the same as beer funnels. It’s true that touring wineries for the day with a group of friends is meant to be entertaining, but try and show a little decorum. It your goal for the day is to get hammered, stick to your local pub. If you are tasting wines, use the experience to broaden your knowledge about wines. There are other people in the winery hoping to enjoy their wine tasting experience as well. If you know your group will be raucous, find a winery with a lively reputation. Hazlitt Winery in Hector, NY is a perfect example.

Tip the person who leads your wine tasting. It always amazes me that people “forget” to tip after a wine tasting. We tip bartenders and all they do is pour us a couple of drinks. These folks give us an education with every sample. The money you pay for the tasting does not include a tip, so don’t be a cheapskate. A dollar or two in tips at each winery will land you in the poor house.

Care to add any wine tasting tips of your own? I encourage you to leave a comment and join in the discussion!