As you are learning, we really like soup. It helps to warm you up! This recipe is similar to Olive Garden's but I have added additional vegetables. The Tip or secret with this meal is that you don't pre-cook the sausage. You cook the sausage in the crockpot. So very first you pile the raw sausage in the crockpot and then leave it in there for awhile- at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Then you add all the other ingredients. Something about this method just gives the soup incredible flavor. Who knew you could put raw ground meat in the crockpot? 20 minute timesaver! Make sure you don't drain the grease. I use spicy Italian Sausage but if you or your kids are sensitive to spicy- you can use regular sausage and it will still be yummy. Pair this with a roll or 3 a piece and you will walk away from this meal completely fulfilled!