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Recipe Review: Zucchini, Cheese, & Italian Sausage Soup

This is NOT the kind of soup I would normally choose to make. The people in my family either find enough ways to cheese up their diets (4) or don’t like it (1) and so to keep things just a teensy more balanced, I usually skip the cheese and creamy soups.

But this one just SOUNDED good! It’s not the ubiquitous broccoli and cheese combo. The creaminess could offset some spicy sausage zing. I can control the portion size (more of my trickiness later!) And I’m done monitoring others’ food intake. Mostly.

This soup is from the best soup cookbook I have ever seen, this blog’s favorite “300 Sensational Soups” by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds. I’ll be doing a total of 3 reviews in the next three weeks from soups that are quite different, and this is the first. It is outstanding, just as expected!

I chose to use turkey Italian sausage instead of pork. For this soup, it is not objectionable or too much of a compromise. I never object to it, and hubby doesn’t mind it. I’m taking some to my son this weekend at college, and I am guessing he’ll be pretty happy with any mama-made food I bring. The taste test after it was done received two thumbs up out of two possible.

This is a great soup if you have to deal with a super-cchini that got away from you in the garden. Those extra-mature summer squashes can hold up to soup without going to mush. I had some in the freezer I got for a two dollars at a farmer’s market last year. Two squashes filled 3 gallon-sized bags; one with large cubes, one with small cubes, one with shredded. What a deal! This recipe called for 3 cups, but you could easily use 4 cups. Extra veggies = good.

Get the absolute sharpest sharp cheddar you can find and afford! This is not the time to buy an off-brand; it truly makes a difference! Don’t even THINK about using low-fat cheddar here. There is NO amount of extra-extra-sharpness that will make the taste come close to what it should be. Tillamook Extra-Sharp Reserve is my sharp of choice, but here I used Kraft Sharp for convenience. It is acceptable, but really go for it if you can.

I made just one more substitution on this recipe, and really it is just a trick of mine to reduce dairy fat in my diet. When whipping cream is called for in a soup recipe, I will often substitute up to half of the cream with nonfat evaporated milk. I may have mentioned this a week or so ago. The evaporated milk has lots of body, and the nonfat lets me reduce the dairy fats by half. From the cream anyway.

This soup is stored in the freezer in 2-cup portions. That will be used as TWO servings to go along with other items to make up dinner, or with a sandwich for lunch. Or, you know… if the weather gets nasty, we’re sick, and need a splurge of spicy cheesy goodness, we might thaw a container each.

Four containers for hubby and me. I wonder how long they’ll last?

Sam and I have absolutely no affiliation to/with these authors or publisher, but I always recommend this cookbook! You should get it. This soup is on page 144 (of the blue-cover edition) and there are no unusual ingredients hidden amongst those I haven’t mentioned. Buy it! Make it!


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