Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Tonight was a special Soup Sunday, as we shared it with the Hubby's family.  Wanting to impress, we decided to pull out the big guns and try a copycat version of Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocchi Soup, with homemade Gnocchi.  I was a little leery as to how our Gnocchi would turn out, seeing as it was our first time, but to my surprise they turned out great!  Our modified recipe and Gnocchi making instructions are below.  Happy Eating!

Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Chicken Gnocchi Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups half and half
3/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
16 oz chicken broth
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded (substitute rotisserie chicken if preferred)
1 lb Gnocchi, cooked (We made ours from scratch, but you can find them pre-packaged at the grocery store) 
1 cup of fresh spinach coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large stock pot saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes soft. Add the half and half.  When the soup reaches a simmer, add carrots, seasoning, and chicken.  Once the mixture becomes thick, add chicken broth and spices and allow to thicken again.  Then add the cooked gnocchi and spinach and let simmer until soup is heated through.   Season to taste with additional salt and/or chicken bouillon cubes.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Homemade Potato Gnocchi
I was first introduced to Gnocchi in Mexico while on a vacation with the Hubby's family.  (I know what you are thinking.  Yes, Mexico - we were staying at an all-inclusive resort with a fantastic Italian restaurant.) It has now become a favorite dish.  The pre-package Gnocchi works just fine, but homemade is always better in my opinion.  If you have the time, it is easy to make and takes just a few ingredients.

4 Medium-Large Russet Potatoes
2 cups flour (Approx. 1 1/2 for dough and more for kneading and rolling)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt

Peel and slice raw potatoes.  Add to a large pot of boiling water and cook until soft.  Drain and let potatoes cool.  Mash cooled potatoes.  In a large bowl mix flour and salt.  Add mashed potatoes into flour mixture.  Then knead egg into mixture.  

Roll dough into long ropes approximately 3/4" thick and slice into 3/4" pieces using a sharp knife.  


Roll Gnocchi down the back of a fork to create the ridges.  (Note: We found that once cooked, the ridges didn't keep their shape, so save yourself time and skip this step.)  Boil Gnocchi 1-2 minutes or until they float.  Drain and add to soup or toss with desired sauce. (Note: We tossed our Gnocchi in olive oil to prevent them from sticking together while we waited for our soup to thicken.)

We are by no means experts when it comes to Gnocchi.  Some recipes say to bake the potatoes and skip the egg to keep the moisture content down.  Other recipes suggest using a ricer if you have one.  I truly think Gnocchi is an art form and it may take a few times to get your recipe right. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

I've been seeing recipes for Tortellini soup all over Pinterest lately.  So when I ran across this recipe for creamy tomato, I just couldn't help myself.  We paired the soup with a salad, french bread and a white wine.  Our adjusted recipe can be found below.  Enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 10 oz cans tomato soup
  • 9 oz package cheese filled tortellini
  • 3 tbsp sun dried tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Pour the heavy whipping cream, chicken stock, and tomato soup into a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the sun dried tomato paste, italian seasoning, minced garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk all ingredients together and bring the soup to a simmer. Next add the tortellini and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve the soup with a tablespoon or two of parmesan cheese per bowl.

In the beginning there was SOUP!

Fall is our household's favorite season of the year!  Football, pumpkin anything, apples, a change in temperature and the beautiful changing leaves.  The Hubby and I decided we were going to try something new this year - Soup Sundays!  Nothing is better on a chilly fall or winter day in Minnesota than a hot, hearty bowl of soup.  Plus we figured leftovers would provide the perfect thing to pack for lunches during the week.

We started last week off with a traditional, creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  The original recipe was a "Copycat" Panera recipe, but The Hubby has modified the recipe to his liking.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup paired with Alaskan's Pumpkin Porter

The Hubby's Famous Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • 1 bunch of fresh broccoli
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream or half and half
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 heaping tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 tbsp butter
Pour the chicken stock, heavy whipping cream, and 4 tbsp butter into a large pot over medium-low heat. Chop the onion into 1/8-1/4 inch chunks and then saute in 1 tbsp of butter. Cut the broccoli into small florets and julienne the carrot. Add the broccoli, carrot, and sauteed onion to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Whisk in the sharp cheddar and continue to simmer. Once the cheese has all melted, add flour to thicken the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The Hubby is a Beer Connoisseur and paired this soup with Alaskan's Pumpkin Porter.  Delish!