Sunday, January 4, 2015

Heather's Zuppa Toscana Meal in a Jar

I love to go out to eat.  There I said it. I really do.  I especially love the Olive Garden. 

I was talking about my love of the Olive Garden with my friend Amy and she told me that her husband refuses to eat there.  His reason?  “I can eat pasta at home for a quarter of the price” 

I got to thinking and he is right, but I still love to eat there.  Over the years I’ve found and converted several Olive Garden Recipes to be made at home.  One of my favorites is the Zuppa Toscana soup.  Even better, this recipe works great for a meal-in-a-jar, so I can have amazing soup with my only effort being boiling water and stirring occasionally. 

Recipe Notes:

  • Heads up, because this soup uses spinach instead of kale (no freeze dried kale, its sad I know) the soup turns a little green.   It is still delicious; just a little green. 
  • I usually leave out the crushed red pepper flakes.  My kids a unlikely to eat anything that has them in so I leave them out.  The adults season individual servings at the table. 
  • My friend Mandi recently made this and suggested replacing 1 cup of water with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream.  I think that sound heavenly.   
  • If you choose to add the precooked bacon in this meal in a jar remember that it shortens the shelf life to ~1 year.  If you’d like it to last longer then leave the bacon out and add it when cooking.  Yes you could use bacon TVP, but it's not my favorite so I haven't tried it.  
  •  I buy the Hormel brand precooked bacon at Sam’s club.

Heather's Zuppa Toscana Meal in a Jar

Yield: 4-6 servings.  
Estimated Shelf Life:  With bacon:  1 year.   Without Bacon 5 years. 

1/2 cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Sausage
½ cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Onion
1 cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Spinach
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional **these are super spicy.  If you don't like the soup super spicy then leave it out.  Did I mention SUPER SPICY?)
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup crumbled bacon pieces
¼ cup THRIVE Veloute sauce mix

Jar Directions:  Layer ingredients in a wide mouthed, quart-sized jar, shaking the dry powder ingredients into the bulkier items. Top with an oxygen packet (300 cc) for longer-term storage, or seal with a food saver.  Cover with a new canning lid and hand-tighten the metal ring. 

To make:  Add ingredients to 8 cups of water. Simmer 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

A note on Food Safety:
The Meal-in-a-Jar method is a form of Dry Pack Canning.   The food inside the jars is preserved because the food is free of moisture and oxygen, the lack of which inhibits bacterial growth.  Jars should be stored in a dark environment to prevent any nutritional degradation due to light.  
When packing your jars remember to always 
  • Sanitize all equipment before use. Be sure to dry all equipment thoroughly before using.
  • Wash hands and or wear food handler’s gloves.
  • Keep work area clean and dry. 
  • Use either method 1 or method 2 to remove the oxygen from your jar.


Interested in Learning More about Making Meals in a Jar?  Join my meal in a jar Facebook group.

If you love making Meals in a Jar with Thrive food check out my Meal in a Jar calculator on Etsy.