Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)

Dying to make this soup for years: this rainy fall day proved to be the perfect time! I brought it over to my cousins house to enjoy for dessert and little Audrey couldn’t get enough of it. She kept wanting more bowls and when we cut her off she kept saying I wish I could have more!!!  Thanks Cinnamon and Spice! 

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced ( didnt use celery I hate it)
4 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 + 1/2 cups half & half
2 cups cooked white meat chicken, shredded or cut into small bites
1 pound potato gnocchi ( Found this at target)
3 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil ( I didnt use this)
fresh grated Parmesan and/or Romano, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat the butter and oil together over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender over medium-low heat about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir into the vegetables, cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the chicken broth 1 cup at a time, followed by the half & half.
  3. Add the cooked chicken. Bring up to a simmer and maintain for 20 minutes stirring often. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook the gnocchi separately according to package directions. Add them to the soup along with the spinach. Simmer until spinach is wilted. Stir in basil. Serve with grated cheese.

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Taco Salad- The Unhealthy Kind

I randomly decided to make this one day when one of my coworkers asked me if I have ever made it before, I said no but I did know how to make it , so I decided to put my skills to the test! My speciality is Paleo Taco Salad, but I decided for the dirty kind.

Here is how I cooked the meat: Just like Paleo Style: Paleo Taco Salad 

To make Dirty Taco Salad

  • Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Cucumbers
  • Catalina Dressing
  • One bag of Nacho Dorritos

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Bruschetta

This an appetizer I used to make in high school when I thought I Was a highly skilled cook. It can make people think you are at least!

 

  • One loaf of baguette bread
  • 3 vine tomatoes
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • One ball of Mozzarella Cheese

Chop up that bread in slices. Chop your garlic add to olive oil. Brush the olive oil on the bread, if you need more just add more garlic and olive oil!!! Chop tomatoes, and sprinkle them on top of slices. Finely slice mozzarella, and put on top.

Throw in the oven on a HIGH broil until the cheese is melted!!!

Serve while warm, Enjoy!!!

 

Asian Salad

I had this recipe has a party, and I modified it to make it something that I would enjoy. The dressing is so tasty, and it wen’t great with my Ah- So Ribs. A great summer dish! You can add grilled chicken for protein, if you don’t want to do the ribs!

For the Salad!

  • 1 plastic square container of mixed greens
  • 3 romaine lettuce (package)
  •  red pepper (1-2 sliced)
  • grape tomatoes (1-2 packages)
  •  pea pods (1 package)
  •  1 bag of LaChoy chow mein noodles
  • sliced almonds

For the Dressing!

  • • 1 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  •  1/2 cup sugar
  •  1/2 cup cider vinegar •
  • 4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  •  2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • a couple of dashes of sesame oil Topping

 

Tasty Dip

Okay so my Aunt June, always brought this to parties, and I decided I needed the recipe to bring along with me to any party. I also used this at my VMA viewing party. I recently brought this to game night, where we played Left, Center, Right, who’s played that yet? Its super fun. We love playing with bills, makes it super competitive. I brought this dip, and once you have one you cant stop.

 

2 Blocks of Cream Cheese

Green Onions

Cloves of Garlic

Wet Crushed red pepper, ( I use dry)

Appricot Jelly

Box of Ritz crackers

 

I didn’t use any amount because I wasn’t giving any amounts! Put in as many green onions as you want chopped, as many cloves of garlic. I use three usually. I don’t have wet red pepper so I use dry. Just a few sprinkles. Soften the cream cheese and mix in all the ingredients. I form a ball on a plate, microwave the jelly and pour it over the cream cheese dip. I chop additional green onions and sprinkle them over the jelly.  Lay out ritz crackers and it will literally disappear .

 

Success! yummy!

Mushroom Garlic Cream Tartlets

VMAS 2013. Rumors flying around of an Nsync Reunion. I had to be prepared. What snacks do you serve at a VMA viewing party where your childhood boy band is reuniting after 11 YEARS? My prayers were about to be answered. I was frazzled. I dug my old Nsync poster out of my closet put that up on the wall, and furiously starting making appetizers. I wanted to make something with pillsbury rolls cuz I always liked appetizers like that, so I searched the pillsbury website and found this. 

 

Ingredients

 

    2 tablespoons butter or margarine
    1 package (8 oz) fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
      1can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, flour, onion and garlic; mix well. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender. Add cream and cheese; mix well. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of liquid has evaporated.
  2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles; firmly press perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into 2 long rectangles.
  3. Cut each rectangle into 12 squares. Place 1 square in each of 24 ungreased miniature muffin cups. Firmly press in bottom and up sides of cups, leaving corners of dough extended over edges of cups. Spoon 1 heaping teaspoon mushroom mixture into each cup.
  4. Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley. Cool 5 minutes. Remove tartlets from pan. Serve warm. Cover and refrigerate any remaining tartlets.

Heres how I felt about it: First off I didn’t use the parsley, cuz… eww. I thought it was a lot of work for just the few tartlets it made. One little pan of mini muffin tartlets. Definitely tasty, not worth to make for any kind of party because its so much work for such a small amount of product! I would recommend for a very small party where you feel like making a tasty appetizer. 

 
 
 

Stuffed Grilled Cheese

I saw this on pinterest and since I am unemployed and it was a rainy day I thought what better of a time to make this. I bought the ingredients and headed over to my Aunt June’s house to make it for her family.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of buttermilk biscuits
  • One package of velveeta cheese
  • One stick of butter
  • Can of tomato soup for the side! :)

So heres the problem my grocery store didn’t have veleveeta cheese so I got mild cheddar.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in the microwave and pour some into your 9 inch round cake pan. Take two biscuits at a time stuff them with as much cheese as you can fit. and stuff them into the pan. Pour butter over it, I didn’t use a whole stick like the recipe called for I just couldnt bring myself to do it.

You throw this in the oven for 15 minutes. Then cover with tin foil for the last 15. Mine took far longer to cook and were still even doughy when we pulled them out, they needed more time but we were just IMPATIENT!!!

It was tasty, I wish I had velveeta, and I also wish that they cooked better. But I do recommend! Success!

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Homemade Whipped Cream

I first decided to venture into home made whipped cream when I made crepes. I’ve seen my Vavo make it so many times and it didn’t seem to hard. 

I first put the bowl, whisks and even the heavy whipping cream in freezer for a few minutes.

  • 2 Cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Dash of Vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar  

 

Just whip these ingredients together until they cream can make peaks, Really pay attention because if you whip just a little bit too much it will turn chunky and turn into butter!!! 

 

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Crepes between Friends

Whilst visiting my best friend Narragansett Rhode Island, I decided that in the morning we should try making crepes for breakfast. I’ve seen them make them on the today show so how hard could they be

Heres the recipe I used:

  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter

What I did was mix all of these items a blender, because you want the batter to be nice and thin and airy. Sometimes I use whole milk and sometimes I use skim, just depends on my mood but I really don’t ever notice a difference.

Pour a very small amount of batter just enough to coat the pan, usually two tablespoons on a pan that is heating at medium heat.  Pan is prepped with oil and or a bit of butter.

Cook until light brown, I like to flip several times because it helps get those beautiful air bubbles.  This recipe can make quite a few crepes, maybe enough to feed a family of four.

I add chopped strawberries and home made whipped cream.

My Favorite is Lemonade Crepes. Young girl I babysit taught me the recipe to lemonade crepes and they are a light delicioustreat. Juice one lemon, and add two tablespoons of sugar, take this mixture and spread it over a fresh tasty crepe, you wont regret it!

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Retirement Cake- & My easy EASY Fondant Recipe

My dad retired this friday after 31 years at the same company. He worked for Nstar and my mom and I were throwing him a surprise party. She asked me to make the cake and I of course said yes.

The cake had to be large, but I didn’t want it to be your average sheet cake. MY mom and I came up with three cake spread all circles, I made this cake at work, (babysitting) and they didn’t have enough pans so some of the cakes are 9 inch and some are 8 inch. no biggie.

I have ALWAYS had a problem frosting a cake, getting the crumbs everywhere trying to make it look good, breaking the cake all common problems, my mommy would always have to help me, thats why for the past years, I have just used fondant. its that much easier to me. We wanted a frosted base cake, so I was FORCED TO FROST.

Heres what saved me.

Helpful Trick: Take canned frosting, and WHIP IT. With your beater, whip for a few minutes until it is light and fluffy.

This is literally SO GREAT. It almost doubles your frosting, it also doesn’t appear as canned frosting anymore. BEST OF ALL. its not heavy, so it doesn’t pull crumbs off your cake when your spreading. So I SPREAD FROSTING WITHOUT CRUMBS, BREAKAGE AND A DISASTER :)

Making fondant:  Fondant is EXPENSIVE at boxed. Much cheaper to make your own, but easier? It can be with this recipe!

  • One bag of Mini Marshmallows
  • 2 tbl of Water
  • BIG OL bag of Powdered Sugar- (okay just the average size)

Microwave the marshmallows in a microwave safe dish, but FIRST add in the two tbls of water over the marshmallows. Microwave for about 45 seconds, take out stir, repeat until they are smooth, should take about two  times. Now time to get sticky, Add in powdered sugar, like A LOT, start with a cup, and then another, I always use more than two cups, This is all under your digression, you have to get the fondant so its not sticking to the bowl, or the spoon or your fingers, but you also need extra sugar on the counter and for your hands when your rolling it out.

Since I was babysitting I hired the kids to help. The oldest was great at mixing the colors, I use wilton colors. I then asked the kids if they had play dough letter cut outs. THEY DID, so the letters came out perfect because we had “cookie” (playdough” cutters for them!!!

 

Here comes the cool part, So since he worked for the electric company, responding to every storm when poles where knocked over, I had to incorporate them! I took large and small pretzel rods and attached them by fondant. Made a trip to  a penny candy store with the kids and bought black licorice. This was the cord that attached from pole to pole. I very carefully stuck the rods in the cake and strung the cords.

PROBLEM. CALL NSTAR. The last pole kept FALLING OUT OF THE CAKE. Soon the hole got so big it was no longer staying. But we only say HAPPY ACCIDENTS around here. and we made the best of it.

 

The kids and I grabbed little lego man, and began making an NSTAR truck out of legos. We have the little lego man tools in his hands, and made a crane/ladder for him to be up in the air fixing the pole. Just like Daddy’s REAL JOB. always cleaning up after the storm!

I bought kids handcuffs from the dollar store, and placed them on the cake, one hand cuff open and one closed. In the closed handcuff it said the date he began working, and in the open, the date he retired. The theme of the cake

” You did your time now your free”

I didn’t get a good picture of the final product, because it was surprise party and I was in charge of setting the thing up!!! My dad’s friends shined a flashlight on it during the party and I snapped a picture.

 

Dad was surprised the cake was a hit. SUCCESS!

P.S. I discovered RUM CHATA at this party. Its a rum horchata drink Anyone who is portuguese and ever had rice pudding, this is  A DREAM. Tastes like Vavo’s kitchen. EXACTLY LIKE RICE PUDDING. Great drink to bring to parties.  I highly recommend it, and you can find it in the cordial section of the liqueur store. Spring some cinnamon on it over ice and its so great. I miss is greatly since YA KNOW Paleo DIET.