19 March 2010

This is a copycat recipe of Olive Garden's newest soup, Chicken and Gnocchi. It's my favorite one there and I wanted to try to recreate it for a Lenten soup dinner at church. I found it on Recipezaar and tried it last week. It is pretty good, but I made a few changes for next time. Here is my amended recipe.

Olive Garden's Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

¼ cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. chicken breast, cubed
¼ cup flour
4 cups whole milk
½ cup carrots, shredded or matchstick
1 stalk celery, chopped
½ cup fresh spinach, chopped or torn
3 chicken bouillon cubes
16 - 17 oz. gnocchi

Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add flour and stir into chicken for 2 minutes. Add milk slowly, stirring constantly. Add veggies and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat back to medium and cook until veggies have reached desired softness. Add gnocchi and cook an additional 3 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

The Recipezaar recipe for this soup called for more of the roux ingredients (the flour and the butter). It also called for part whole milk and part heavy cream. The reviewers said it came out really thick, so I used whole milk and half and half. They were right about it being too thick. It was super thick. I ended up adding 2 to 3 cups of chicken stock and it was still thicker than the Olive Garden version. So next time I make it, I will reduce the flour and butter (as above), so that not as much liquid is needed to thin it out. I also will make it using just whole milk instead of part half and half. Make sure you have some chicken stock on hand to thin it out if it becomes to thick.

Taste-wise, this is really good. It really does taste very close to the Olive Garden soup. It was a hit at the church dinner. I will definitely be making it again.

10 March 2010

I made the yummiest pizza for lunch today.

Spinach and Mushroom Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce

1 personal sized premade pizza crust
1 tbsp olive oil
handful of sliced mushrooms
two or three handfuls of fresh spinach, torn
Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce (I used Classico brand)
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450. Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat and add spinach. Toss with mushrooms until slightly wilted.

Spoon alfredo sauce over pizza crust. Top with mushrooms and spinach. Shred parmesan on top. Bake for 10 minutes.

Makes 1 serving.

Those individual sized pizza crusts are so perfect to have on hand for lunches. My husband and I don't always like the same kind of pizza (he is more of a traditional pizza sauce and pepperoni kind of guy), so having individual crusts is great. But of course, it would be easy to make this into a full-sized pizza.

Before going into the oven.

09 March 2010

This isn't really a recipe, per se, but more of an idea of how to make burgers a bit more interesting. I am not a big fan of burgers, but my mother-in-law gave us some frozen hamburger patties and I wanted to use them.

Greek-Style Burgers

1 lb. ground beef or 4 preformed hamburger patties
Greek Seasoning (I use Penzey's)
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 fresh tomato, diced
sliced black olives
4 hamburger buns
hummus or tzatziki sauce

Season ground beef liberally with Greek Seasoning and form into patties if necessary. Grill or cook the way you normally do burgers.

Top with the feta cheese, tomato, and olives. Spread hummus or tzatziki sauce on buns and serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Very tasty and a nice variation from the standard hamburger with american cheese. We weren't able to grill these, as even though it was warm enough outside, our deck was still covered in a couple inches of snow.

I served mine with some sweet potato waffle fries.

*The waffle fries: I used a crinkle cutter to cut 2 sweet potatoes into 1/4" slices, covered them with plastic wrap and microwaved them for 3 minutes. Then I put them on a baking sheet, brushed with oil, sprinkled with salt, and baked them at 450 for 15-20 minutes, flipping them over once. It's an idea I saw in a parenting magazine.

08 March 2010

This recipe is inspired by one of Ellie Krieger's recipes, but is not as healthy since I subbed bacon for the prosciutto.

Spinach, Bacon, and Egg Pizza

1 store-bought baked whole wheat thin-crust pizza crust
4 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan (1½ oz.)
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook bacon in skillet and drain off all but 1 tbsp of the drippings. Remove from heat and add the spinach to the pan. Stir until slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Place the pizza crust on a cookie sheet. Scatter spinach all over crust. Evenly distribute bacon and Parmesan on top of spinach. Crack eggs onto pizza, roughly positioning 1 yolk on each pizza quarter. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until spinach is wilted and egg whites are just fully cooked. Cut into 4 large slices.

Makes 4 servings.

This was pretty tasty and made an easy meal. I changed a couple of things about it. I used bacon instead of prosciutto and I wilted the spinach before adding it to the pizza. The original recipe said to put the spinach on raw, but I like my spinach a little wiltier than how Ellie's came out (I saw it on tv). So I wilted it in some of the bacon drippings first. That worked out really well. The only other thing I changed was not adding sliced garlic to it. I didn't think my husband would like that and since I was using bacon instead of prosciutto, I thought it had enough flavor already.

I did have a couple of problems with it though. First, I burned the first batch of bacon. Oops! I wasn't feeling well the evening I made this and needed to sit down as the bacon cooked and when I got back it was a little past "done". So I threw it out and started over.

The other problem I had wasn't my fault. The eggs didn't turn out quite right. Two of the yolks broke when I put them on the pizza and I'm not sure why. I think next time I will make more of a "nest" for the eggs to sit in. When the pizza came out of the oven, the egg whites were really rubbery and the yolks were hard as rocks. Not exactly what I was picturing. The original recipe called for a 450° oven. I think that may be a bit too hot. I have rewritten the recipe and will try it next time at 400°. It may take a little longer that way, but hopefully they won't cook too fast and end up rubbery.

Before adding the eggs.

After adding the eggs. See how the yolks broke? I wonder if I didn't make enough of a nest for them to sit in.

I won't even show you the picture of what the whole pizza looked like when it came out of the oven. To be honest, all but one egg (the one in the picture at the top) came out looking less than appetizing. Mostly due to the fact that the yolks broke and because the other yolk that didn't break got way overcooked.

02 March 2010

This is a recipe I got from BHG.com.

Turkey Salisbury Steaks

1 lb. ground turkey, uncooked
1 envelope beefy onion soup mix, divided
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, divided
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced (8 oz. pkg)
¾ cup beef broth
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup tomato paste
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Combine turkey, 2 tbsp of the soup mix, and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Shape into 4 oval patties about ½” thick.

In skillet cook patties in hot oil over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until browned; turning once. Remove; set aside. In hot skillet cook garlic in butter 30 seconds. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Add broth, wine, tomato paste, and remaining Worcestershire sauce and soup mix. Stir, scraping up browned bits. Return patties to skillet; spoon sauce over. Cover; cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes or until patties are 160°. Sprinkle with thyme.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts*:
Calories 285
Fat 15g
Sat. Fat 5g
Cholesterol 97mg
Sodium 1008mg
Carbohydrate 12g
Fiber 1g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 3%
Iron 15%

*A note about the nutrition info: It was calculated using chicken broth instead of beef broth. I wasn't sure what changes that would make, so I just left it. It will still give you a rough idea of the nutritional values.

So these don't photograph very well because they are dark in color, but they are super tasty. And really easy to throw together. The only thing I changed about the original recipe is that I used beef broth instead of chicken broth. I changed it because I thought beef broth went better with mushrooms, red wine, and tomato paste. It was really good that way.

The original recipe called for serving it with a white bean mash, but I'm not a big fan of beans and served it with mashed potatoes instead. My husband said that if he hadn't already known, he wouldn't have thought this was turkey instead of beef.