Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Olive Garden Salad

Olive Garden is well known for their breadsticks and salad. There are other great items on their menu too, but you can't go and not eat these two items. I usually order water at restaurants, but Olive Garden is one place where I get giddy thinking about the Peach-Raspberry Iced Tea coming my way. Eliott and I shared Stuffed Chicken Marsala and we left feeling stuffed. After flying back to Australia, we began to miss the American dining, so I made this Olive Garden Salad. Inspiration came from here.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons romano cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 bag mixed greens (I added some iceberg to a bag)
4-5 slices red onion
3 banana peppers, sliced (can't find these in Oz)
1/2 cup croutons
black olives
cherry tomatoes
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Blend all salad dressing ingredients together and chill until ready to serve. Place bag of salad in bowl and add iceberg lettuce to mixture. Place red onion, black olives, banana peppers, tomatoes, and croutons on top of salad. Pretend like you're the Olive Garden waiter/waitress and add parmesan cheese to the salad. Add plenty of salad dressing and eat! 
E: 10 - super easy and the dressing tasted even better for leftovers
A: 10
T: 10
HH: 9 - our breadsticks didn't come close to Olive Garden's, but we happily consumed the carbs

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Salmon & Green Beans

I'm bad about choosing recipes that feed an army. We don't mind eating casseroles, but we don't love eating leftovers for 10 days in a row. This recipe serves 4 and it was fast, healthy, and fulfilling. It felt like we were at a restaurant when I decided to make a side dish. I tend to cook one-dish-dinners, so the green beans were warmly welcomed. We had two other friends over to share this meal with us and we all really enjoyed it. Cheers to friends and food!

1/4 cup honey
5 teaspoons finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound green beans
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 slices of cooked bacon
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste

honey & pecan glazed SALMON
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil. Combine honey, pecans, and soy sauce in a large Ziplock bag. Season fish with salt and pepper. Add fish to bag and seal. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Remove fish and pecans from marinade, but don't throw the marinade away. Place fish on foil-lined baking pan and top with pecans. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Baste the fish twice with the marinade after 5 and 10 minutes of baking. 

GREEN BEANS with almonds & bacon
Snap off the tough ends and remove the strings from the green beans, then cut the green beans in half. In a large saucepan, place green bans in 1 inch of boiling water and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender (I started simmering the green beans when I put the salmon in the oven). Drain. Melt butter in a small saucepan and add bacon, almonds, garlic powder, and salt. Stir. Pour sauce over green beans and toss. Dinner is served!

E: 9
A: 9
T: 10
HH: 10

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like a dessert. Eliott loves red velvet and I love cheesecake/brownies/food-in-general, so I thought this Pinterest find suited us perfectly. Speaking of... Eliott suits me perfectly. I love him and I love the way he loves me.
1/2 cup butter
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons red food coloring
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
I bought WAY too much chocolate. This is not a problem.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together on low heat. Stir until very smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Add flour and salt into the bowl and stir until everything is combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
To prepare cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter and gently swirl two batters with a butter knife. Bake for 35 minutes. The edges will be lightly browned and an inserted toothpick should come out clean. Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving. Happy Love Day!

Did I have fancy swirls like the Pinterest image? No.
Did they taste amazing? Yes. And that's all that matters.

E: 9
A: 8 - had to buy red food coloring, vanilla extract, & chocolate
T: 8
HH: 9 - 1 serving quickly became 2 servings

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Potato Soup

When you move to another country, you start to crave the things that were part of your life back home. We have thoughts of Chick-fil-A, McAlister's, and Newk's often in Australia. This dinner was my attempt to replicate items from McAlister's, so we had Club Sandwiches, Potato Soup, and Sweeeeeeet Tea. 

Potato Soup
3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1 cup cooked ham, diced
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, carrot, ham and chicken broth in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk so that lumps don't form and until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately. 

Original recipe found at The Girl Who Ate Everything.

E: 9 - feel free to add cheese, sour cream, chives, and/or bacon on top too
A: 9
T: 9
HH: 10 - happy husband due to a full tummy and sugar rush