Happy middle of August! Thank you for checking in on the blog; I would love to have comments and know who is visiting, here and on the Dished With Love Facebook page!
It has been a wonderful, busy Summer! The dog sitting jobs have ended for the Summer and now I've taken a little part-time job. I am still keeping Sawyer two days a week, hopefully until she's grown! The Department of Agriculture folks came out last week for a home inspection so I'm eagerly awaiting my Cottage Food License. In the meantime...
I was able to do one of my favorite things last weekend, and that was to fix friends' favorite foods for them. Sadly, the occasion was the passing of my friends' father, so this was my way of showing them some love. The food was greatly appreciated, and my family appreciated it, too! I was glad I could do this for my "family" who I have known for at least two decades now. We've shared so much over the years!
My dear friend, Lynette, told me recently about one of her favorite things to eat, and that is Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup, so of course I had to try it, and it was delicious! It's spicy and hearty enough to have as a meal on its own, but Lynette and April, my friends, they have some pretty hearty boys, including Kenneth, so I decided to go all out and fix another of their favorites, the Olive Garden Steak Gorgonzola!
Here are my copycat versions of the Olive Garden favorites!
This dish has a few steps, so let me make it simple for you. Once you've made it you'll want to make it over and over again. The most important part of preparing a stress-free meal is "mise en place", or "everything in its place". Organize all of the required ingredients and have your necessary utensils and pots and pans at hand before you start cooking anything! I promise, it makes a huge difference in enjoying your time in the kitchen!
Step 1 - Balsamic Reduction
In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet, combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar over med-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat. Set aside. The sauce will thicken as it cools. A heavy-bottomed saucepan is good for making delicate sauces or for cooking anything that burns easily because the heat is distributed evenly. The first batch of the balsamic reduction I tried to make I had in a non-stick pot, and it never thickened.
Step 2-Cheese Sauce
In a small saucepan melt butter with the garlic clove over low heat. Once melted remove the garlic. Turn heat to medium; add heavy cream. Whisk constantly until it starts to thicken; remove the butter and cream mixture from the heat; add gorgonzola and parmesan cheese and continue stirring until the cheese is melted. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to package directions.
Step 4-Steak Medallions or Beef Tips
Preheat grill or grill pan. Salt and pepper beef tips. Add to grill, cook for about 7 minutes; this is for a medium. Cook to your liking.
Step 5-Put It All Together!
Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, add just a dash of olive oil. Throw in the kale or spinach, wilt down. Reduce heat, add drained pasta and gorgonzola-alfredo sauce. Stir to combine.
To plate: place fettuccine mixture in a pasta bowl, top with a few steak medallions, drizzle with balsamic glaze.
And there you go! It was loved by everyone!
Like I said earlier, this soup is hearty enough for a meal by itself. Once you get the prep work done it just all goes into the pot and it's easy as pie to make! This was a big project, and thankfully my Sous Chef (my sister, Janise) was eager and willing to help. She did a great job peeling the potatoes and preparing the kale. The potatoes look a little funky because I didn't realize at first that I had the crinkle blade on the mandoline, but I just kept going with that.
Ingredients and prep instructions:
Kenneth specially requested bread, so I made this easy popover recipe for him! If you're going to make this with a meal I suggest you make it ahead of time. It is four or five simple ingredients, but it takes 50 minutes to finish baking, so it will tie your oven up for a while. I have posted this recipe before and it included Gruyere Cheese, but this time I made it without the cheese, and I liked it better that way. Click on the picture for the recipe!
If you make these dishes for your family and friends, they will want them over and over. If you can line up a dishwasher to work with you, that would be so much better!
I hope you like these recipes and that you will try them. Let me know if you have any questions, and let me know how they turn out! Until next time, Dished With Love, Denise!
Hello, my Friends! I just realized that I missed the whole month of July on my blog! I really don't want to be out of touch that long, but I have had a busy and fun-filled Summer so far. I can't believe it's already August. I've been away from my home almost the whole month of July and I've been dog sitting and housesitting for friends while they are on vacation. I love the animals. I'm posting current pictures on the slideshow on the side of this page so y'all can see them.
I've also applied for a cottage food industry license in Georgia so I've been working on storage space in my home. I have done a lot of cleaning out! I can't wait to get started on some of the goodies I'll be making and selling, and I'll be showing you those, too.
In the middle of all that, I have started a part-time job AND I have had jury duty this week. So far I've reported twice. All of you know Sawyer from this blog, the most beautiful girl in the world, and I am blessed to be able to keep her two days a week while her parents are working. She is napping currently, so I'm grabbing this time to catch up with you all! If it sounds like I'm in a hurry, I am. :-)
On a couple of days that I have been home, I grilled and baked some chicken dishes, and they both turned out beautifully, and tasted as delicious as they looked. This dish I just made last night, and it is a complete meal. I am going to show it to you first.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line your baking dish with parchment paper. Make sure your chicken is dry by drying it with a paper towel anytime you're going to cook it. This will allow the seasonings to adhere more to the chicken and the chicken will cook properly instead of "steaming". Coat your chicken with the seasonings that you have mixed up in a bowl. Wrap each piece of chicken with bacon, seam side down. Then lightly coat each piece with brown sugar, drizzle or mist with olive oil, and bake for 25 minutes. How easy is that!
If the bacon is not as brown as you like, turn the heat up to broil and watch that chicken until it is like you like it. Never leave food in a broiler setting unattended, it will be food history before you know it. Paula Deen always leaves her oven door cracked open when she needs to broil something, she says that is plenty of heat, and I guess you can watch it better, too. I try to remember to do that.
While the chicken was baking, I sautéed some small diced onions and minced garlic in a little butter and olive oil, then I added arugula and spinach and sautéed it, stirring it constantly. It doesn't take long for greens to wilt, and it takes a good bit of fresh greens to make a decent portion when you cook them. The greens were a great, fresh accompaniment to the chicken.
The chicken was delicious and the breasts turned out so juicy and moist, seasoned with those peppery seasonings and wrapped in bacon. And...it was all so easy!
This recipe is another delicious and easy dish! Click on the picture above for the link to the recipe. It calls for ground red pepper, and since that could be paprika or cayenne or a chili powder, I used my personal favorite, cayenne, for a little heat. I cooked this on the grill, and since I have trouble regulating the heat on my grill, it did not take 30 minutes to cook. Just make sure you have an internal temperature of 165 degrees on that chicken! If you don't have one, get a small kitchen thermometer. The chicken can also be baked in the oven. Since I had buttermilk, I had to make cornbread, so we had the chicken with some black beans and cornbread and we were in heaven.
I hope you'll try these recipes and love them as much as we do!
I hear a baby, so I must go. Here's a recent picture of Sawyer, the most beautiful girl in the world, who is almost 18 months old now, and who gets more beautiful every day, if you can believe it. It has been a year now that Sawyer had heart surgery and she is such a joy. We can't be thankful enough!
I will see you soon! I hope to be getting back into somewhat of a routine next week. Please feel free to comment on the website or on the Dished With Love Facebook page. If you comment on Facebook it will help me to be viewed by more people. Please share my page with your friends, too! Thanks!
Dished With Love! Denise
A place to share my favorite things...friends and food, dogs, college football, and my inspiration, Sawyer, the most beautiful little girl in the world!