Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

This recipe is a copycat version of the Chicken and Gnocchi soup at Olive Garden. I had that soup for the first time last week while at lunch with my friend Tiffany and I knew I had to find the recipe. This did taste a lot like the restaurant version, it was a big hit with the boys so I will definitely be making it again. I followed the recipe I found, which called for heavy cream, but I will make it with whole milk next time to reduce the fat content.

I meant to make homemade focaccia bread with the soup but I didn't have time, but I will make it next time. I think bread would go really well with this soup, but it was fine on it's own. I also had a glass of Bogle Chardonnay, it was a great dinner.

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 cups heavy cream (or whole milk, for lower fat)
4 cups chicken broth
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 vidalia onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
16 oz package potato gnocchi


1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and saute carrots, onion, and garlic until soft and translucent.

2. Add chicken stock, thyme, salt and pepper, cream, and chicken and bring to a boil.

3. Add gnocchi and boil for 4 minutes

4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes

5. Add spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chicken Souvlaki with Fresh Pita Bread

I have seen this recipe on so many blogs that I just had to try it for myself. Every time I go out to lunch with coworkers to a diner near the Space Center, I order the chicken souvlaki, so I decided to make this version I got from Joelen's Culinary Adventures.

I did make my own pita bread but I wasn't thrilled with how it came out. I like a crispier pita and these were very soft. They tasted great, but I will experiment a bit more before post the recipe. The yogurt sauce can be a taziki sauce or a yogurt dressing. I mixed plain yogurt with red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a dill spice blend.


3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed into bit sized pieces


1. In a bowl or freezer bag, combine ingredients and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

2. Soak wooden skewers in water to prevent charring on the grill.

3. Skewer marinated chicken and discard excess marinade. Grill on high, 5-7 minutes for each side until juices run clear.

4. Serve with pita bread, yogurt sauce, and greek salad.

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken

Since being on maternity leave, I have had a hard time getting a healthy lunch in the afternoons. I don't want to cook something because it takes way too long. I also don't want to have a lean cuisine or other processed meal because they are usually full of sodium and aren't very tasty. I went to Park Avenue in Winter Park last week on a shopping trip and had a bit of my little Sister's lunch at a restaurant called The Briar Patch. She had a salad with spinach, blue cheese, bacon, and grilled chicken with a balsamic vinaigrette. I liked it so much that I decided to create my own recipe with stuff that I like.
My salad has the spinach and a very small amount of bacon, feta cheese, Apple, grilled marinated chicken, and my favorite vinaigrette recipe. I plan on experimenting with the ingredients in the future, maybe using blue cheese or adding walnuts or almonds. Either way, it came out great! I will definitely be making this again.

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken

1 Marinated chicken breast, grilled
1/2 Apple, sliced into small pieces
2 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons feta or blue cheese (such as gorgonzola)
Crumbled bacon (optional)
Balsamic Vinaigrette (see recipe below)


1. Toss spinach in with salad greens.

2. Sprinkle salad with cheese and bacon

3. Slice chicken breast on a bias and place on top of the spinach.

Balsamic Vinaigrette ( makes 1 cup)

3/4 cups Olive Oil
1/4 cups Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Mix balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.

2. Slowly add olive oil while mixing with a whisk or wooden spoon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Beef tips with gravy

I found this recipe on a few different cooking sites, so I figured it would be a good one to try. I make A LOT of chicken so I figured we could try a beef meal that tastes good but is still inexpensive (strip steaks are so pricey lately!). You can adapt this recipe to make large batches, just increase the amount of ingredients proportionally.

This recipe was made in the oven but could easily be adapted to the slow cooker if you are not home during the day. TIP: If you make a smaller-size batch in the slow cooker, place the ingredients in a smaller baking dish inside the slow cooker, it'll cook the food the same but won't have that burnt smell that you can sometimes get in a slow cooker.


1-1.5 lbs beef tips or beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup (low fat version works too!)
1 can french onion soup mix


1. Mix beef tips, cream of mushroom soup, and french onion soup mix in a baking dish (or slow cooker).

2. Cook at 325 F for up to 4 hours our until beef is tender. For a slow cooker, cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Serve with egg noodles or rice and a veggie and voila! Super easy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Yummy Pork Chops and Potatoes

Now that I am on maternity leave I have some time to plan meals and make some yummy new dinners for my blog. I lately bough the book Skinny Italian by Teresa Giudice of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I am actually not a huge fan of the show, but when I saw an episode where they were canning their own tomatoes for sauce, I got curious about her cooking and decided to buy the book from It turned out to be a really good book, I'm glad I bought it. It has a lot of good recipes that don't use a lot of fat, just a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Last night I decided to try her Pork Chops Alla Salvia and Rosemary Potatoes recipes. Both turned out really good, but the potatoes were a huge hit. My husband and Nate both loved them and wanted seconds (which I didn't have), so next time I'll be making a bigger batch!

Pork Chops Alla Salvia
From Skinny Italian


1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Four 8-ounce center-cut pork loin chops, on the bone (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup tomato or marinara sauce


1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Sprinkle the pork with the salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the sage.

3. Add pork to skillet and cook, turning once until browned on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side).

4. Add the tomato sauce and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sage and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until the pork is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the pork, the juices will run clear).

5. Serve hot with the sauce

Rosemary Potatoes


6-8 Red-skinned Potatoes, washed and unpeeled
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper


1. Pierce each potato a couple of times with a fork and place in a microwave-safe baking dish and cover with plastic wrap.

2. Microwave on High until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Carefully remove the plastic wrap (it will be very steamy), and allow the potatoes to cool. Cut potatoes into quarters when they are cool enough to handle.

4. Heat the oil and rosemary on Medium-High heat until the oil is hot

5. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until crispy and golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Nate loves his pork chops and potatoes!!