Zuppa Toscana Soup

zuppa toscano

If you ever tried this creamy and hearty Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden Restaurant you probably fell in love with it.Well… you can enjoy this soup at home with this easy simple recipe.When ever I cook it at home,all I hear is “it’s better then Olive Garden!”.It’s super-delicious and perfect comfort soup.



1 onion chopped

5-6 cloves garlic minced

4-5 slices  bacon or pancetta diced

1 lb. Italian hot sausage (casing removed) or homemade recipe below

6-8 russet potatoes or 2-3  baking potatoes washed and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds.(semi-circles for baking potatoes)

4 quarts  (16 cups) chicken broth

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 bundle of kale chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup romano cheese optional

salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons butter


4 chicken thighs grinded or 1 lb ground chicken.

6 garlic cloves crushed

1 teaspoon dry basil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

salt and black pepper


Directions for sausage:

Combine all ingredients well.Take little pieces of meat and arrange on baking pan.

Bring pot of broth to a boil.

While broth is heating up,heat a frying pan or skillet on medium heat.Throw in bacon or pancetta in the pan and let it slightly brown a little.Remove bacon from pan and wipe the pan from  drippings with paper towels*.Add 1 tablespoon butter and throw in sausage pieces.Brown sausage and add to bacon.Add another 1 tablespoon butter to the pan.Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are soft and golden in color.

When the broth is boiling,throw in potatoes,bacon,sausage,and sautéed onions with garlic.Cook on med-low until potatoes are soft.

Add heavy whipping cream,parmesan cheese and kale.Heat through and serve.

* I don’t like to use drippings,but you can use drippings if you like and not add butter.


BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

BBQ ranch chicken salad

Absolutely amazing,delicious  and filling BBQ ranch chicken salad. This salad got so many of my of favorite ingredients especially fresh crispy onion strings. You can refer this salad as a copycat recipe from Cheesecake Factory. I love to order this salad whenever we go there or Thai lettuce wraps substituted with grilled portable mushrooms for chicken.It’s the best! so fresh,crunchy,and healthy.

BBQ ranch dressing:

1 clove garlic crushed

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon dried and/or  fresh parsley

1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2-3  tablespoons bbq sauce

salt and fresh ground pepper



1-2 chicken breast



1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon  worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons bbq sauce


Onions strings:

1 sweet onion peeled and sliced thin rounds

3/4 cup corn starch

salt and pepper

oil for frying


2 heads romaine lettuce chopped

1/4 head purple cabbage thinly sliced (optional)

1 large tomato diced

1 avocado diced

1/2 can black beans, drained

1/2 cup fresh,canned or frozen(thawed) corn

fresh cilantro chopped



BBQ ranch: Whisk all ingredients set a side or refrigerate.

Chicken: Mix seasoning/marinade ingredients. Add it to chicken. Bake,grill or use electric grill (such as George Foreman) to cook chicken.When chicken is done let it rest for 3-5 minutes.Cut into bite size cubes.

Onions: Cover sliced onions with water and set a side for 10 minutes.Fill heavy pot or deep skillet with oil about 3/4 – 1 inch from the bottom and heat it on high heat.

Combine corn starch with salt and pepper.Drain the water from onions and separate into single rounds .Add corn starch mix to the onions and mix.

When oil is really hot,using tongs fry onions in small batches until lightly golden brown.


Arrange salad ingredients on a salad plate or bowl.Add diced chicken.Top with onion strings and drizzle with BBQ ranch dressing.


Fried Calamari with Sweet Chili Sauce


This is a copy cat recipe from Ruth’s Chris steakhouse restaurant.We love it so much that I decided to recreate this appetizer dish.Their fried calamari with sweet chili sauce are AMAZING and addicting! They are dredged in seasoned flour coating, fried until browned and crispy, then tossed with sweet chili sauce and diced roasted red peppers.



1 pound cleaned and pat dry squid with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon old bay seasoning

1 teaspoon black pepper


1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup Sweet chili sauce(add more if you like it to be saucy)*

1/2 lemon squeezed

minced parsley or chopped green onion/chives

High heat oil

* I bought the sauce at Trader Joe’s,or you can make your own by this recipe.



Heat oven to 500 degrees on broil.

Place bell pepper on a baking sheet.

Broil until charred,turning sides 3 times.

Remove from oven and place it inside the plastic bag or ziplock bag.

Set aside and let them cool enough to handle.

When peppers are ready to handle,peel off the skin.

Cut peppers in to 1/2 inch squares.Set a side.



Pour enough oil in to a dutch oven or a sauce pan (about 2-3 inches from the bottom)

Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.

In a bowl,combine flour,old bay seasoning, and black pepper.

In small handfuls,dredge the squid in the flour mixture and shake off excess.

Gently lower the squid in hot oil. Fry in batches for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden in color.

Remove from oil and sprinkle salt.


In a small sauce pan, heat sweet chili sauce with squeezed lemon juice.

Toss Calamari with sauce and roasted bell peppers.

Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with minced parsley and/or chives/green onions.

Squeeze more lemon  on top if desired.