This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. All opinions are my own.
Last week I was invited to Bob Evans Farms up near Columbus – this is the offices rather than an actual farm – but it’s where the test kitchen is and cool stuff like that! I got to road trip with 3 other Cinci bloggers – so that is always a blast!! We never get to hang out together in a group – so four hours in a car together was wonderful!
The visit was arranged by my friends at the Ohio Pork Council as a way to get farmers, bloggers and brands together to chat and get to know each other. We found out a lot about how the piglets are raised, where they go as they grow and what they eat. I think my favorite thing when meeting with farmers is realizing that when I buy pork at the grocery store – I’m helping small business owners.
In addition to hanging out and chatting – we got to eat! There was quite a buffet set out for us and all of it had ingredients from our hosts, Bob Evans! The Penne with Sausage and Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce was really good and is a super quick meal!
And if you struggle with getting all the sausage out of those tubes – here’s a quick and easy way we learned to pop & drop your sausage! (Chef Emily is one of the Bob Evans chefs and she made everything for our lunch!)
We had to have dessert as well – this one is pork-less but I have to say – almost my favorite of the day. These are Sweet Potato Cookies!!! Yes – they’re made with Bob Evans Mashed Sweet Potatoes and have a maple frosting with candied pecans on top. I have to say – they were soooooo good! They were dense little guys so I thought they would be super heavy – but they weren’t! They were really light and the maple wasn’t overpowering. These cookies were awesome – and what a secret ingredient!! If you’ve got a kid that doesn’t like sweet potatoes – make these – they’ll be SHOCKED!!!
It was a great – lunch – there were also these fantastic little Asian Maple Sausage Meatballs that everybody was raving over. They were zingy & zippy – I liked them a lot. My friend Jill shared the recipe on her blog, Foodtastic Mom. My other blogging friend Jen tried their Shepherd’s Pie recipe – um – yum!!!!
After filling our bellies, we headed over to the other building and got to check out the Bob Evans test kitchen. And let me just say – there was a gravy dispensing machine in there!!! I couldn’t fit it in my purse dammit!
They actually have two new Family Classics meals coming out. These are in the refrigerated section – near the mashed taters and mac & cheese. We were among the first to see these but they should be getting into stores now – so keep an eye out for the Creamy Chicken & Noodles and Roasted Chicken Alfredo Pasta!
At the end of the day – we got to take home all the recipes, a really nice little travel cooler with some nifty gifties and a whole lot of Bob Evans sausage! (kitty not included – he just knows what he likes)
The one recipe that was shockingly my favorite for the day was the Potato, Kale & Sausage Soup! It was made with Bob Evans Roll Sausage AND their Mashed Potatoes!!! I loved the element of the mashed potatoes – it really made a creamy thick soup – which I love. And the shocking part is that the Kale wasn’t gross!! Bhahaha. I could even see adding some sauteed mushrooms to this. I might leave out the jalapeno because I don’t love spicy – but I left it in for you guys in case you do like some spicy in your world!
I hope you enjoy the soup and the other recipes as much as I did. Thanks again to Bob Evans and the Ohio Pork Council for having us. It’s always fun to get out of work for a day and get to hang out with my blogging hussies!!!!
Potato and Kale Sausage Soup
Soup made with mashed potatoes? Yes!
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 50 min
Total time: 1:10
Bob Evans Roll Sausage
red onion, finely chopped
jalapeno, seeded & minced
Bob Evans Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Kale, washed, tough stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
salt & pepper
- Cook the zesty sausage in a medium sized frying pan over medium heat using a potato masher to break into crumbles. When fully cooked, drain sausage and place on paper towels to absorb grease. Allow to cool and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the jalapeno and continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the broth, cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add mashed potatoes and stir in until fully incorporated. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Stir in the sausage and heavy cream to fully incorporate, bring soup back up to a simmer.
- Stir in the kale, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Allow kale to wilt, about 8 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and sliced chives.