Monday, August 15, 2011

Recipe: Pizza soup

My friend Laura who's doing the crock pot challenge with me sent me her review of pizza soup.

--1 jar (14 oz) of pizza sauce
--3 empty jars full of water
--1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
--1/2 red onion, chopped
--1 cup sliced mushrooms
--1 cup baby tomatoes, cut in quarters (or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
--2 already-cooked Italian sausage (I used chicken Italian sausage)
--1 cup sliced pepperoni, sliced in quarters (Hormel turkey pepperoni is labeled gluten free)
--8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1/2 T dried)
--1 T dried oregano
--1/2 to 1/3 cup of dried pasta (if your pasta is tiny, use 1/3 cup. if it's big, do 1/2. I used 1/2 cup Trader Joe's brown rice penne)
--shredded mozzarella cheese (to add later)

The Directions.

Use a 5 or 6 quart crockpot for this recipe. Serves 4 hungry adults, or 2 hungry adults and 2 kids with enough leftovers to feed them all again.

Wash and prepare veggies. Dump them into the crockpot. Cut up the sausage into small pieces--I sliced, then cut the pieces in fourths. Add to crockpot. Cut up the pepperoni, add it, too. Add basil and oregano. Pour in the pizza sauce, and follow with three empty jars of water.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. Everything in this is already cooked, so you are really only heating through and allowing the flavors to meld.

Thirty minutes before serving, add the dry pasta, and turn to high. My pasta only took 20 minutes to soften quite nicely.

Garnish/top with shredded mozzarella cheese.


~yellow onion for red onion
~chorizo for Italian sausage 
~no bay leaves
~very little oregano

3/5 stars

This tasted great! Verrrry pizza-y, and I've been craving pepperoni pizza for weeks! And makes quite a bit. I substituted yellow onion because that was what I had, and I thought it would work better than the red onion; I substituted chorizo because I don't like Italian sausage; I skipped the bay leaves because I didn't have them and didn't want to deal with them (Fishing out 10 bay leaves from hot soup? Yech, no thanks.); and I used maybe about half a teaspoon of oregano because not only was that all we had left, but the stuff makes me sick. I also used a blend of Italian cheeses to top instead of just plain mozzarella, and that was fantastic. 

Now, my complaints: I'm a big fan of bold, seasoned food, so this, prepared (sort of) the way the recipe directs, didn't do it for me. I added in some salt, crushed red pepper, and Penzeys Tuscan Sunset seasoning, which all helped TREMENDOUSLY. Oh, and I also shook in some Tabasco on my portion, but that's just me. I also think it needed more pasta. My biggest complaint by far, and the reason I'm only rating this 3 of 5 stars, is because of the grease factor. The soup was incredibly greasy from the pepperoni. When you finished your bowl, the sides were COVERED with red-orange grease, and if you had more than one bowl, you felt queasy. I blotted a few of the pepperonis with paper towel, but that was really too much work. It's possible, though, that I just wasn't using a high enough quality of pepperoni.   

Would I make it again?  Not sure.  I'd probably have to really be craving it.  While tasty, I didn't relish sticking spoonfuls of unhealthy soup into my mouth.  There's very little redeeming, health-wise, about this dish.  Other than the mushrooms and the tomatoes, it has no nutritional content.  As Crockpot365 says, it's a great dish for kids.  Who, let's be honest, can afford all those calories and the grease.

You can tell I'm not the one who wrote this review because I'm a total wimp when it comes to spicy food.  I've never put Tabasco on anything in my life!  And Laura's much more thorough when it comes to writing review than I am.  Maybe I'll get better at writing reviews during this challenge too!

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