Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I HEART Olive Garden

I have always had a love for Italian food, and I enjoy the food at Olive Garden.  But now that I have a family and a budget, I tend to think that it's got to be one of the most overpriced restaurants out there.  I mean, pasta and tomatoes...seriously.

Generally, most of my trips to the Olive Garden recently have been for date nights, and I gravitate to their all you can eat soup, salad, and breadsticks.  Mmmmmm...

I lived most of my life with no clue what potato gnocchi was or that it even existed.  But then the Olive Garden added a chicken and gnocchi soup to the menu.  It is definitely yummy!  Still, paying that much for soup is a rare treat.

That's why I was so interested when I found a package of gnocchi during my last trip to Aldi.  If you shop there, then you know a bit about how some of their products can come and go with the seasons, and sometimes it's like a little treasure hunt.  I wasn't sure how it would go over with my family, but I knew that I wanted to try to make my own chicken and gnocchi soup.

I came home armed with that $1.69 package of potato gnocchi and a can of cooked chicken breast since I already had plans for all the chicken that I knew was waiting for me at home.  Then I set out to search for a recipe.

In the end, I mixed a couple of recipes and sort of made it up as I went along. I thought it was very tasty, so I wanted to share the recipe I put together with you all.  It ends up with more veggies than the Olive Garden soup, but that's a plus in my mind.

Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

3 Tbsp butter
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 rib of celery, thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh spinach leaves
1 cup frozen peas
potato gnocchi (around 11 oz)
1 can cooked chicken breast (around 12 oz. I think)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the butter until melted over med/hi heat.  Add pressed or minced garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the sliced carrots and celery, and saute until they begin to get tender.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Remove stems from the spinach leaves, tear them, and add them to the boiling broth.  Add the gnocchi and cook 2-3 minutes.

Add the cream, milk, cooked chicken, and frozen peas.  Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Season with pepper to taste, and serve warm.

In the end, this was very easy to make, and my 7 year old (who professes not to like spinach or peas) said that it was good.  I loved it, and will definitely be adding it to my list of lunch ideas for the winter.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.


  1. Yum! I'm going to make this. I went to Olive Garden and tried and was not impressed, an I remember saying "I can make this at home".

  2. I think the actual Olive Garden version is lacking in substance. It's pretty much just chicken, gnocchi, and spinach. I definitely like the added veggies in this one.

  3. Anonymous8:33 PM

    I am going to try this! We love that soup at OG, too!


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