My Favorite Budget Friendly Italian Soup

tuscan soup

Yes, it is winter which means that we’re all pulling out our favorite soup and chili recipes in hopes of staying warm. I normally stick to my Panera Bread soups or throw some red bean chili over cornbread and call it a year. I decided to give this recipe a try after watching the cooking show Money Saving Meals. The tv show passes along tips and recipes for all variety of meals. This is one of the recipes that I wrote down and kept in my To Be Made List. I was very glad that I finally got around to making it.

Now, before I tell you the recipe, there’s one very important detail I have to share with you. My husband, who I love very dearly, has one requirement for dinner: it has to include a meat. It doesn’t matter what kind I use, it has to be there otherwise he’s still hungry an hour later. I didn’t have chicken immediately on hand and since I was exhausted after a long day at work, I gave up and made it as is without any meat. I served it with some quick and easy focaccia bread and hoped for the best.

My husband loved it! We were very full after one small bowl and had a ton of leftovers. This recipe makes quite a large pot of food. It tasted delicious and was a huge success. I will definitely be making it again. The best part is that because there isn’t any meat included, you really do save a lot of money. Definitely give it a try. You will not be disappointed!

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Tuscan Soup with Tortellini

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee 2009

  • Prep Time: 8 min
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Level: Easy
  • Serves: 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can less sodium beef broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen Italian vegetable blend
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen cheese tortellini


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the beef broth and 3 cups of water. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the tortellini. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tortellini and simmer until the tortellini are cooked, another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and serve with Herb Focaccia, if desired.

Herbed Focaccia

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee 2009

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 28 min
  • Level: Easy
  • Serves: 6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) bag refrigerator pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Coat a 13 by 9-inch sheet pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread out the pizza dough to fit the sheet pan.

In a small bowl mix together the Italian seasoning and remaining olive oil. Brush the seasoned oil all over the top of the dough, making sure to reserve about 2 teaspoons. Using your fingers punch dimples about halfway down into the dough. Bake in the hot oven for about 8 minutes.

Remove the focaccia from the oven, top with tomato slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and bush with remaining 2 teaspoons of the oil mixture. Return to the oven and bake until the focaccia is gold brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm with Tuscan Soup with Tortellini.

Focaccia bread


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