Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Olive Garden soup, salad and breadsticks

(recipe taken from this blog

**** So i had to post this one. My husband who is not a salad eater has fallen in love with Olive garden salad. I found this recipe for their dressing and the Zupa Toscana soup, and lets just say he said this is the best meal I have ever made for him. It was so good! I put the whole meal together in about 35 min too. the dressing was a little milkier in color than the one at olive garden, but the taste was really close to the real thing, and i think the soup is better than Olive Garden's.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a blender until well mixed. If this is a little to tart for your own personal tastes please add a little extra sugar.

For salad- use iceburg lettuce, olives, fresh tomato, croutons and parmesan cheese. They also put on red onion slices and whole jalapeno's but I left that off.

Zupa Toscana (just like Olive Garden's)

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1 large onion, chopped

2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in ¼-inch slices

2 cans chicken broth (or 2 chicken bouillon cubes + 2 cups water)

1 quart water

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ can or jar of bacon bits (I just chopped up cooked bacon)

2 c. kale or Swiss chard, chopped ( i just cut up a 8 0z block of swiss)

1 c. heavy whipping cream

Cook sausage thoroughly. Drain on paper towels. Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water and garlic in a pot and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage and bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat. Add kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

p.s. I added crushed red pepper to spice it up. The first time I added too much, the second time probably not enough. You'll have to experiment with how spicy you like it!


you can be fancy and make your own, but i just used the large rhodes rolls and after they thawed a bit i rolled them in butter and garlic powder, then rolled them out into breadstick form, let them raise until double in size, cooked them for like 15-18 min on 350 degrees.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tikka Masala

Again, I thought I had already posted this on here, guess not!

So, everyone, EVERY. ONE. ate this and loved it tonight. If you will recall Bentley normally only eats Cheez-Its. Nothing else. He gobbled this down. So did Gwen, and Ivy. I am just beaming with mortherly pride. Sure it has two cups of cream in it, whatever!

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 C plain yogurt
1Tbs lemon juice
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper (I substituted paprika so it wouldn't be too spicy for kids)
2 tsp black pepper
1T minced fresh ginger (three cheers for me for actually having this! Dry works too)
1 t salt
3 bnlss skinless chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for one hour. Grill or cook chicken in frying pan. Discard marinade (or cook it till all the marinade evaporates, and the chicken starts to burn like I did).

1 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalepeno pepper finely chopped (I just used some nacho jalepenos I had in the fridge)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1-8oz can tomato sauce
1 C cream
1/4 c chopped cilantro

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalepeno for one minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about twenty minutes. Add grilled chicken and simmer ten minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice.

* I doubled the sauce part of this. We're saucy people, what can I say!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pasta, Bacon & Asparagus

We had this tonight with this homemade pasta and thought it was excellent. I haven't been in a real meat mood lately but the bacon added awesome flavor and it was perfect with some cut up fruit.

Adapted from this recipe, which you might prefer if you have any kind of love for peas (we do not and asparagus was on sale).

1 pound dry pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons heavy cream
zest of 1/2 lemon
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 cups asparagus, thinly sliced on the diagonal
salt and freshly ground black pepper
torn fresh basil leaves (I had to use the dried stuff, unfortunately)

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss with the olive oil.

2. While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream and lemon zest.

3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook until the bacon is crisp and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon and remove the bacon, keeping as much of the bacon drippings in the pan as possible.
4. Return the pan (with the bacon drippings) to medium heat. Add the onions and asparagus and saute until the onions are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds until fragrant.
5. Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk in the egg/cream mixture. Let the sauce bubble briefly and then quickly add in the pasta and the cooked bacon (you don't want too much of the egg/cream mixture to evaporate, so work quickly)
6. Toss so that the ingredients are well mixed throughout. When the pasta is heated through (about 4 minutes) season with salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt - remember the bacon is salty and you've salted the pasta water.) Toss well with the torn basil leaves and add additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken Azteca

I am a little bewildered that Chicken Azteca is not already on here. It's simple, it's good....but I couldn't find it on here today.

It's another Ralphie original, but actually I think she may have gotten it from Gretchen or someone. Regardless, yum.

Chicken Azteca

1 15 oz can black beans, draned
1 15 oz can corn
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 t cumin
1C chunky salsa divided
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 oz (1/2 pkg) cream cheese, cubed

lemon juice
cooked rice

1. Combine beans, corn, garlic, cumin and half of salsa in crock pot
2. arrange chicken over top (I cut it up so it will cook faster) and pour remaining salsa over chicken
3. cover and cook 4-6 hours
4. Use a couple of forks to shred chicken while in pot
5. stir in cream cheese and lemon juice, cook on high till cream cheese melts
6. spoon over rice


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tomato Tortellini Soup

From my mom's Taste of Home magazine:

1 pkg (9oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini

2 cans (10.75 oz) reduced sodium tomato soup, undiluted

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups milk

2 cups half and half cream

½ cup chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp salt

½ cup shredded parmesan

Additional parmesan for topping

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven, combine the soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes and seasonings. Heat through, stirring frequently. Drain tortellini; carefully add to soup. Stir in cheese and sprinkle each serving w/ addition cheese if desired.

This seriously took less than 10 minutes to prepare (especially since I used fresh tortellini that takes like 2 minutes to cook) and mostly just used stuff I normally have on hand. I served it with garlic toast and we all really enjoyed it. It was perfect for the rainy weather we've been having!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Have you seen these little buddies at Costco? They are like $3 and they are awesome! Way less expensive than buying a bunch of bell peppers, plus they are sweeter and more colorful and just more fun. This is what I buy now and use in all the recipes that call for green or red or yellow pepper. I used these in the fiery fish tacos, and in the Quinoa, and I just thought I would give them a shout out. Also we like to cook some rice and then cook some of these peppers in olive oil and mix it all up for a nice side dish.
And they are a good source of vitamin c.
Just so you know...
Got any food products that I should know about?

Fiery Fish Tacos

I hopped on the other day and this was one of the featured recipes and since I spend a hundred dollars a week on fish tacos at Del Taco I thought I would give this recipe a shot, we loved it! I adapted it slightly, the original recipe called for way more cayenne and all the reviewers thought it was too spicy, I also added avacado.

Fiery Fish Tacos

1 C corn
1/2 c red onion diced
1/2 c diced red pepper
1 avacado cubed
1 C fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
1 lime zested and juiced
sour cream
1t cayenne pepper
2 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
6 tilapia fillets
2T olive oil
12 corn tortillas, warmed

Preheat grill for high heat (we used our george foreman with great results!), in a small bowl combine cayenne pepper (or chili powder would work), salt and pepper. Brush each fish fillet with olive oil and rub the pepper mixture on the fish.

Arrange fillets on grill and grill 3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile mix together corn (I cooked the corn on a hot fry pan with no oil, I guess this is called "blackened corn"), red onion, red pepper, avacado, lime zest and lime juice, mix all together.

Heat the corn tortillas (you don't have to but they hold together much better if you do) for about twenty seconds on each side on a warm fry pan. Or I bet you could wrap them all in foil and stick them in the oven.

layer two corn tortillas (or they'll break, promise!) and top with fish, the salsa, sour cream, and cheese (if you want!).

They were so yum!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sweet Chicken Tacos

In a crock pot combine:
3-4 Chicken Breasts
1 tsp mustard
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups brown sugar

In 2-3 Tbsp butter saute one small onion. Add to crock pot.

Once cooked, shred chicken, then return to crock pot. Now ready to serve.

For tacos:
heated refried beans
shredded lettuce
diced tomatoes
shredded cheese
sour cream

Very simple and delicious.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Keen-wah! Quinoa!

Quinoa, it's all the craze! It's some super healthy grain that has lots of protein or something. Anyway, I decided to give it a whirl and bought a big bag at Costco, my friend had a yummy salad recipe that I tried, it was awesome! It got all eaten up tonight at a family party, give it a try!

2C uncooked Quinoa
1/2 green/red/or yellow pepper diced
1 can black beans
1 1/2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 C frozen corn
Cherry tomatoes cut in half
avacado, diced
1/4 C cilantro

5 Tbs Lime Juice (fresh is best)
1 t salt
1 1/4 t cumin
1/3 C Olive Oil

Cook the Quinoa according to the package directions. While it is cooking soak the beans (rinse them first) in the red wine vinegar with salt and pepper (to taste). When the Quinoa is all cooked add all the other stuff, mix the dressing ingredients and add that too! I served it with fresh slices of lime for people to squeeze on top.

*It's kind of debatable whether this should be served hot or cold. I liked it cold...but uh...not sure what the right way to serve it is : )

If I had it all to do over again I would add more lime to the dressing, but it was pretty good as is. Give it a try, it's pretty yum!

I just posted this recipe then went and re-read it and noticed I had spelled wine "whine". I guess it's official that I am a parent now : )

Buttermilk Blueberry Coffee Cake

I made this over the weekend and halved the recipe, which was a very good idea, because I have eaten nearly the entire thing on my own!

For the Cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
For the Streusel:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch pan.  
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.
3. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time until well incorporated.  Add vanilla.  
4. Slowly add flour mixture, and than buttermilk until just combined.  Do not overmix.
5. Stir in blueberries and lemon zest.
6. Pour batter in the pan, it will be slightly thick. 
7. Make streusel.  Mix sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Add butter and mix with hands, or a pastry blender until mixture is the size pea sized crumbs.  Sprinkle evenly over cake batter.
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a  toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Recipe from here: Stephanie's Kitchen

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got this recipe from the book "The Essential Mormon Cookbook." They really are the best chocolate chip cookies I've made.

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 bag chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix together and stir in chips. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes (mine actually took more like 10-12 minutes).