Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicken Giardino from Olive Garden

This recipe comes straight from Jen over at told me that they had recipes right on their site. I was so excited to see this recipe on there. This was my favorite, and they stopped carrying it at the restaurant a while back. The recipe was not hard to make and it turned out JUST like it did at OG.
Chicken Giardino
Prep Time:
1 hour
Cook Time:
25 minutes
Serving Size:
1 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp dry thyme
½ tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic pepper
1 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ cup water
¼ cup white wine
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced width-wise into ½” strips
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small rosemary sprigs
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Juice of ½ lemon

Vegetables (I didn't use all of them):
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ bunch fresh asparagus (remove bottom inch of stem; cut remainder into 1” pieces)
1 zucchini, julienne cut
1 yellow summer squash, julienne cut
2 roma tomatoes, cut into ½” pieces
½ red bell pepper, julienne cut
1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
½ cup frozen peas (I left these out)
1 cup spinach, cut into ½” pieces
½ cup carrots, julienne cut
1 lb farfalle pasta (bow ties), cooked according to package directions
Sauce Preparation:
  1. MELT butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in thyme, garlic pepper and rosemary. Whisk to thoroughly blend and cook for 1 minute.
  2. COMBINE chicken broth, water, wine, milk, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Add cornstarch and whisk until cornstarch has dissolved and there are no lumps.
  3. ADD liquid mixture to sauce pan. Whisk all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat.
Chicken & Vegetables Preparation:
  1. COMBINE all chicken ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend well.
  2. MARINATE for 30 minutes.
  3. HEAT a saute pan over medium high heat. Add ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.
  4. SAUTE chicken strips until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  5. ADD all vegetables and sauté until cooked through.
  6. ADD cooked, drained pasta and sauce to sauté pan. Stir until pasta is thoroughly coated with sauce.
  7. TRANSFER to a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley.
Finished product!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Top Three Thursday- Food

Our Top Three Thursday is about favorite foods! This one was super easy for me. I like real food mostly and would pass for dessert to eat an extra salad. I know, I'm weird. Anyway here is my top 3!

1.PIZZA- I could eat this every day. Even though most people know I don't like cheese, melted mozzarella is definitely the exception. Can't get enough of it.
2. PASTA! Call me Italian or something, but I love pasta. I could have it for every meal and it runs in the family.
3. SALAD! I don't put too many things in my salad, usually black olives, cucumber, bacon bits, Italian dressing and lettuce. The olive garden makes a great salad and I could get a refill on the bowl about 3 times.
This all made me really hungry and I'm thinking a trip to an Italian restaurant is in order soon! What are your top three foods?
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So cute!

Last week we got to babysit Audrina, who is my good friend Amber's daughter. It was Amber's birthday and she wanted to redeem the babysitting coupon Michelle and I got her for Christmas. She even brought the coupon which she doesn't ever need and I hope we get to watch her again soon! Audrina was so cute and was bouncing on the couch playing with Molly when I got this picture.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Dinner Out with Groupon

I recently heard about the website They have it for various cities, so check to see if its in your area. They offer restaurant discounts and sometimes spa items or event discounts. I recently for $15 got $35 worth of food and drinks at Loca Luna in midtown Atlanta. David works in the big city, but I mostly stay put in the outskirts. We like to try to go explore some areas downtown at least a couple times a month so this was the perfect way to save some money eating out and try somewhere new.The catch with the groupon is that a group of people (get it, groupon) have to purchase enough of them for the deal to be valid. So even if you sign up for it by the end of the day you may not have receive it anyway.
This is some of the pretty skyline as we drove down (sorry bad quality, phone pic).

It is a tapas restaurant and after 9pm on some days it turns into a Latin salsa dancing club, we didn't stay for that. I was a little disappointed that we got sat outside on the patio (it was around 35degrees out that night). They had heaters, but they kept going out. We had chicken tacos, carne asada, black bean hummus, caesar salad, and caprese salad with a mojito and sangria for drinks. I think we went over by $3 so it was a great deal.

Here is a picture of us staying in the entrance to the restaurant.
 After dinner we drove around Atlantic Station and ended up at IKEA. I love walking around there looking for ideas. You can probably spend all day there easily. We also enjoyed a little dessert. David got the yogurt and I got a big cinnamon roll (for $1!). It was all very yummy. 
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top Three Trip Thursday!

This week our Top Three Thursday post is about trips we'd like to take. Let's get right started:

1.) Australia! I really want to go explore Sydney, Melbourne, Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, and much more.
  2.) Italy/Europe- I have always wanted to go there and see all the scenic sites that there is to offer. There is too many to list, but Florence, Rome, Tuscany, etc..
3.) California- Sonoma Valley Wine Country. To keep things maybe a little more practical, I've always wanted to go to the west coast. I have only been as far west as Texas. I want to see all the vineyards and go to all the wineries out that way. 
What are your Top Three Trip destinations? If you have been to any of these destinations and can provide tips and great places to go, just let me know! Pin It

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day Fortune Cookies

I decided to make David fortune cookies for Valentine's Day. I kind of had a feeling this was going to be a challenge, but wanted to try anyway. The recipe comes from Our Best Bites blog and if you don't have patience then you should not attempt these. There are too many steps for me to try to explain so head on over to their blog to get the recipe. This one below is the first one that actually came out looking like a fortune cookie.
There are some good... and some bad! These ones I think I over cooked and they don't really resemble a fortune cookie, but they did taste good so I left these in the batch.

My Final Product! I covered some in chocolate and put red sprinkles on it for extra credit :) Sorry for the distracting plate.

I put them in this cute XOXO bag from Kroger.
These are my pretty roses from David. I love roses and all the layers that makes up each rose (I know I'm lame)
Hope you all had a great Valentine's day with people you cared about, let me know if you try these and how yours turned out. I'm curious to see if it was as challenging for other people. By the way, I ended up using just the baking sheet with PAM and no parchment paper. My dough stuck to the paper even though I put PAM on it.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow in GA!

We started the weekend off with some pretty snow! I left work a little early on Friday and was glad I did. It wasn't sticking at first, but a few hours after it started it began sticking to roads. Traffic was not fun. Poor David was stuck in it for 2 hours on the way home. It's a good thing we had dinner at the neighbors house because we wouldn't have left otherwise.
Down the cul-de-sac
Little Molly just loves to play outside! 
Snow is much more fun when it doesn't happen that often. Sorry NY peeps, it's the truth.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Top Three Thursday!

The girls at work decided to start a Top 3 Thursday blog post every week. This week it's our top 3 TV shows. Since I watch A LOT of shows, this was really tough for me. I like to think of it as a hobby. Every night of the week has a different line up and yes, sometimes I'd like to record more than my dvr allows. Here is the countdown!

1.) How I Met Your Mother! This show is hilarious. I love Neil Patrick Harris, or NPH as show watchers like to call him. If you haven't seen this show you need to check it out Monday Nights.
2.) Grey's Anatomy is next. I really like the story lines and it's a good balance between doctor stuff and normal stuff. Thursday nights if you haven't seen it.
3. I choose The Office for number three. This was a toss up between a lot. I just want to give a shout out to a few other shows I watch: Big Bang Theory, Private Practice, Ugly Betty, One Tree Hill, New Adventures of Old Christine.. ok I'll stop.
What are your top 3 TV shows? Pin It

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Superbowl Sunday!

We had david's parents over for Superbowl Sunday! We made calzones, hot bean dip, and guacomole. It
was all very good. We didn't watch very much of the game, we were too busy eating and occasionally watching the commercials.  Here is the recipe for the bean dip. 

Hot White Bean Dip with Bacon
adapted from Cooking Light & Our Best Bites

4 slices bacon
2 garlic cloves, minced (you can add more if you love garlic)
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 can cannellini beans, washed & drained (Great Northern beans work too)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed rosemary

Cook bacon in a small saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add garlic to drippings in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add broth and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Combine bean mixture, onions, and remaining ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Spoon mixture into a bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon reserved bacon (or add to food processor and pulse a few times). At this point taste it and add more salt to taste, as well as hot sauce and lemon juice if desired. (I usually go heavy on both of those) Sprinkle dip with remaining bacon just before serving.
Serve with pita chips.
Storage: This works great to make ahead of time. Just store in the fridge and warm it up in the microwave before serving.
Guacamole (I cheated this time and used a mix, but they were fresh avocados)
David's Mom tried out the Kitchen Aid mixer to flatten out the calzone dough. She did great!
We were all full by this time. Go Saints!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Avatar in 3-D IMAX!

This picture says it all! We went to see Avatar at the IMAX this weekend. David really wanted to see it and it is going to be the number one grossing movie of all time, so I figure we better go see it. I really enjoyed it and the 3-D was awesome! What did you all think?
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Celebrity Look-Alike!

So everyone on facebook has been posting who their celebrity look A-like is and I just have no clue. So I went over here and uploaded a photo to see what mine said. Now you can take a look and judge for yourself, but I would say that one of these looks a little different than the others. Davids on the other hand is impressive. Take a look and try your own!

In case you were wondering, the only one my sister and I had in common was Mariah Carey (must be the hair). Hers is a lot better. Take a look. I can definitely see the similarities with Eliza Dushku!
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Sausage Calzones

We love making homemade pizza dough with our kitchenaid mixer. So we thought this calzone recipe would be great and it was! We use the basic dough recipe that came with the mixer, which I can share with you in a later post. David then ran the dough through the pasta maker step 1 attachment to make it thin and smooth instead of rolling the dough out by hand. It actually worked pretty well. This recipe which I got from The Fairhope Foodie Blog uses Pillsbury type dough (which is easy to use if you don't want to make your own).

1 lb. Italian sausage (was on sale last week!)
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can olives, sliced
1 8-oz. jar pizza sauce (more for dipping)
2 tubes refrigerated pizza crust
1 8-oz. bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook sausage in a medium skillet until browned, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon. Drain off excess fat. Return to pan and add onion, garlic and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Stir in pizza sauce and sliced olives.
Unroll one package of pizza dough across the entire rectangular baking sheet or baking stone. Sprinkle half of the cheese in two rows on the dough with about 2-inches in between (remember you're making two long calzones). Top cheese with the meat & sauce mixture, dividing evenly between the two rows. Top each row with the remaining cheese.

Unroll second package of pizza dough and stretch to cover the top of the first. Press along the edges to seal. Press down the center creating the two calzones. Use a pizza cutter to cut down the center of the dough, making two separate calzones. Press the seam to seal. Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut five two-inch slits in top of each calzone to vent.

Bake 22-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with extra sauce for dipping.

Mmmm This was by far the best calzone ever!!
Happy Weekend! Pin It

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chicken Lo Mein

My Chicken Lo Mein Recipe comes from I love their site and recipes. You can create an account there and add recipes to your recipe box. It is stored for you so you can always go back and look. The recipes have you use some of their dressings and sauces (smart!) so they aren't difficult at all.

1/2 lb. spaghetti, uncooked
1/4 cup  KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 cloves  garlic, minced
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen bell pepper and onion strips, thawed, drained (I used fresh)
1/2 cup  fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 cup  lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp.  chopped PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts (I left those out)
You can always double the liquids and add more spaghetti for leftovers or for more guests!
COOK spaghetti in large saucepan as directed on package.

MEANWHILE, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; stir-fry 3 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Add vegetables, broth and peanut butter; stir-fry 3 to 4 min. or until chicken is done.

DRAIN spaghetti; return to pan. Add chicken mixture and soy sauce; mix lightly. Spoon onto platter; top with cilantro and nuts.

It is so colorful and yummy!

Spicy Chicken Lo Mein: Add 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper to the hot dressing along with the chicken and garlic. Pork Lo Mein: Substitute 1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into strips, for the chicken and reduced-sodium beef broth for the chicken broth. 
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