Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pumpkin Gnocchi and Sausage Soup with Cornbread

Hi guys!  So sorry about last week.  I got too busy, time got away from me, blah, blah, blah.  Excuses, Excuses, I know…..but I really am sorry about the lack of blogging.  I cooked, I took pictures, I just didn’t get around to posting anything.  But I really do have a good recipe to show you!  Two, in fact.

My first recipe is a really delicious soup.  My second is an amazing cornbread to accompany said soup.  Yes, I realize it is still hell-fire hot in most places.  It will cool off eventually and you will be happy that you have this soup.  This soup is the “bee’s knees” which is a phrase that Paisley’s kindy teacher used.  I’d heard it before but I forgot how much I liked it;)

So, this soup is my Pumpkin Gnocchi and Sausage Soup.  Before you let the pumpkin gnocchi scare you away, don’t worry.  That gnocchi is from a package.  So don’t be scared because you have to make this soup.  It is the perfect fall soup…..and it really isn’t even that bad for you.  Win/win.

Let’s get started.


I realize I made it somewhat hard to see, but the pumpkin gnocchi is from Cost Plus.  They always have it in the fall, and they have it right now.  I promise.  If you don’t have a Cost Plus, or have an aversion painted giraffes, gold bangles and many flavors o’ tea, you can always sub in regular gnocchi that can be found at any store.

I also used smoked sausage, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, chicken broth and sage.  Of course, I used salt and pepper too.


I cut my smoked sausage into half-moons.  I love this stuff, but you could always use chicken sausage, kielbasa, etc.  The combination of a smoky sausage and the creamy pumpkin gnocchi is what makes this soup.


Instead of cooking this sausage in my soup pot, and then taking it out to cook the veggies, I popped the sausage in the oven to cook.  That way, the veggies can get started while the sausage cooks away in the oven.  That is a handy little shortcut if you are cooking this soup on a busy weeknight.

I cooked my sausage for about 15 to 20 minutes on 400.  It will get super brown with a nice crust on the outside.


Meanwhile, I started my onions, garlic, celery and carrots on the stovetop.  I sautéed these in a bit of olive oil just until the veggies were starting to get soft, about 5 minutes.

Oh yeah, I also seasoned with salt and pepper at this point.

I stirred these occasionally, but I didn’t stand at the pot the whole time.  To be honest, I probably was on Facebook or pinning things I will never make on Pinterest.


Once the veggies were soft, I added the cooked sausage, broth and sage.  You will notice that I didn’t even chop the sage.  I threw them in whole.  I will fish them out later.  Probably.

You can also add a bay leaf at this point.  I don’t like bay and sage together, but I’m not the boss of you.  Do whatcha like.

I simmered this soup for about 20 minutes.  I didn’t boil it….I simmered it, which is much more gentle then a boil.  If you boil it, you will lose all of your liquid!


While the soup simmered, I brought a pot of water to a boil.  I cooked my gnocchi in a separate pot of water.  I also don’t add it to the soup pot, ever.  I add the gnocchi to the soup once it has already been poured into bowls to be served.  Weird?  Maybe.  But I think that gnocchi gets soggy and mushy if it is kept in the soup.  Especially if the soup is kept in the fridge for leftovers.

So essentially, I boil it separately, and I keep it in a separate bowl.  You’ll see.


Here is my cooked gnocchi.  I followed the package directions, which is cooking it in boiling water till it floats to the top….about 5 minutes.


Once my soup has simmered and my gnocchi has cooked, I ladle my soup into bowls, and then I add my cooked gnocchi.  Then, I get delicious soup and non-mushy gnocchi.


This soup is so yummy!  It is hot and comforting and flavored with onions, carrots, sausage, etc.  The best part is the pumpkin gnocchi.  The flavors work so well in this soup!  I normally don’t like broth based soups, but this one was pretty rad.

As for the cornbread…..

Cornbread can be a tricky thing.  Sometimes it is too dry and crumbly, and sometimes it is too cakey.  We recently ate at Famous Dave’s which is a BBQ restaurant.  I like to go there to taste test BBQ sauces, but this time I fell in love with their cornbread.  It is the perfect cornbread.  It wasn’t dry, and it wasn’t like a cupcake.

I have seen pins on Pinterest and recipes before that suggest using a yellow cake mix mixed with a cornbread mix to achieve the perfect cornbread.  I always thought this sounded too heavy on the cake mix.  I decided to try it, but I cut the cake mix in half.  I came pretty damn close to Famous Dave.  Let me show you.

I used half of a yellow cake mix, a package of cornbread mix, 2 eggs, oil, water and canned corn.

Don’t worry, I didn’t waste the other half of the cake mix.  I saved the other half.  Someday I will make half a cake;)


In a large bowl, I put in both my dry mixes, 2 eggs, oil and water.  I followed the package directions for both, I just cut the cake mix directions in half.  The cake called for 3 eggs for the whole mix.  I still used 2 instead of trying to figure out how to get half an egg.


I blended this all together with a hand mixer, just like a cake.


Then, I stirred in the corn.


I baked this in a greased 9x13 baking pan.  I baked it as if it was a cake…..meaning I used the cake box to figure out timing.




So I guess all of those pinners were right.  The secret to a great cornbread is yellow cake mix.  This cornbread was moist and not overly cakey.  It was perfect!  And the sweet white corn was the best part of it.  I drizzled honey over mine and then had to lick the plate.  It was that good.

I hope you try both of these recipes.  I don’t mind if you wait till it cools down a little bit.

See you later on this week!

Pumpkin Gnocchi and Sausage Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup onion (one small onion), diced

¾ cup carrot, diced

¾ cup celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into half moons

4 cups chicken broth

8 leaves sage

1 lb. pumpkin gnocchi, cooked and drained

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place smoked sausage on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until sausage is browned. 

In a large soup pot, sauté onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until veggies are softened. 

Add cooked sausage to soup pot.  Stir in broth and sage.  Simmer for 20 minutes, over low heat.  Pull out sage and discard when soup is done.

Add gnocchi to soup when serving.

Serves 6


Perfect Cornbread

16 ounce package of cornbread mix (Marie Callender’s)

8 ounces yellow cake mix (half of the package)

2 eggs

2 cups water

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

15.25 ounce white corn, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, blend cake mix, cornbread mix, oil, water and eggs with a hand mixer.  Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Stir in drained corn. 

Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

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