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!
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!