Another skill that everyone needs to have is the ability to figure out per-serving nutritional information, for these recipes. Although I am really bad at math, I think I have a handle on how to do this and thought I would share.
I am converting a soup recipe for a FP4H gathering tomorrow night. I've never made this one before but I love to eat it at Olive Garden--the Zuppa Toscana Soup. It's the one with sausage and potatoes, yum! I found the "original recipe" online and it seems pretty legit.
*1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
*1 cup heavy cream
*1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
*¼ of a bunch of kale
Okay, so what I did was first go down the list and highlighted in pink the items that I know are on my "junk list" so that I could come up with a suitable replacement. Full fat pork sausage is not really something that any of us need. Neither is heavy cream. *sniff, sniff* Second I went down the list and highlighted in blue the things that I needed to and/or could alter the amounts. I want a LOT of that kale and don't need quite as many potatoes to get the effect I am going for. So now we have:
 *1 lb Butterball Sweet Italian sausage links (remove casings)
[none] 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
[none] 1 large diced white onion
 4 Tbsp bacon pieces (Hormel Real Bacon Bits)
[none] 2 tsp garlic puree
[none] 10 cups water
 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
 *1 cup fat free half &half (Did you know that was even a thing!?)
 *1/2 lb chopped Russet potatoes, or about 2 small potatoes (chop smaller for better distribution)
 *1 whole bunch of kale (doesn't just mean a lot, you know--it grows in "a Bunch" ;)
1.Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
2.In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
3.Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
4.Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
5.Add the half &half and just cook until thoroughly heated.
6.Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!
Now, for the calorie part...you might have noticed that I added a number inside brackets beside each ingredient on the made-over list. That is the number of calories in the entire called-for amount of each ingredient. You can figure that by looking at the labels or using a website such as Calorie King, like I did. Then you add the total number of calories in the ENTIRE recipe (yes it will be a lot) and divide by the number it serves, which in this case is 8.
So I took the total number of calories in this recipe , divided by the number of servings  which = [apx. 155 calories]
So this amazing soup is going to be 155 calories per serving. The trickiest part is figuring out how much an actual serving is. Casseroles, etc. will be easy because you can cut them into pieces and know exactly the right amount. For instance, if this soup could be cut up, I would just cut it into 8 equal pieces and know that is one serving. Since this is a liquid with solids in it, I will have to make the recipe and divide it equally into 8 bowls. Then I will measure the amount from one of the bowls to know the serving size.
I know that seems very complicated, but once it's done the first time it never has to be done again. Just make sure to write it down somewhere!
**Update**Thanks to a very helpful comment, we have a less messy way to do this ( I knew there had to be one!)
From Tina: To figure out how much a portion is on pot meals...with less dishes (ha ha)...is take my 4 cup measurer and 1 extra large bowl...scoop out until I know how many cups are total. I make that total of portions...so 1 cup is always a portion for me, and easy to scoop with a measuring cup to serve.
***Note, the calories I figured for this soup with 8 servings will probably not be accurate using the 1 c. serving method:
Okay. I think that covers it. I know some of you are thinking--DUH. Sorry. Some people probably haven't figured this out yet, though. It was a good review for me anyway...
Please feel free to share links to your posts of recipe make-overs! I will be sure to let you know how this Zuppa Toscana turns out.