Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Olive Garden Breadsticks

Quick, easy, and delicious!  Finishes off any meal.  Soup, pasta, pizza, etc...

Recipe is from Full Bellies, Happy Kids Blog

1 1/2 cups warm water (between 110 - 120 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt 

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, covered. Mixture should be frothy.

In separate bowl, combine flour and salt. 

Add to yeast mixture. Add melted butter. Mix with paddle attachment of stand mixer or wooden spoon until fully combined. 

Knead dough for a few minutes just until dough is smooth. Do not overknead!

Grease a cookie sheet. Pull off pieces of dough and roll out into strips.

Now, I tend to make pretty thick breadsticks so I normally end with around 10 or so, but I'm sure that if you rolled yours out more thinly you'd have at least a dozen.

Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and once heated, pop in the bread sticks. In microwave, combine the following:

1 stick unsalted butter (or 1/2 cup margarine)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt

After 6 or 7 minutes, brush the bread sticks with half the butter mixture. 

Then continue to bake. Honestly, I almost never leave them in there for an entire 15 minutes - normally it's closer to 12 because I like them softer and less crisp on the outside, but to each their own. Either way, immediately upon removal from the oven brush the other half of the butter on the sticks.

Allow them to cool for a minute or two, and enjoy! 

Chicken Corn Chowder

I have done my fair share of chowders and cream soups, but I loved this one.  It was also really easy with minimal dishes.  The Jalapeno gave it such a great flavor, but didn't add heat.  Also I didn't add the ham and i always substitute the veggies with what i have on hand (ZUCCHINI, asparagus, squash, potatoes, etc...).  The cream flavor was awesome though.  Topping it off with bacon would be perfection.
this recipe is from Mel's kitchen cafe.
I am not yelling, I can't get the typing out of caps...?...
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped 
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and membrane removed (this is important for flavor – but doesn’t add heat because the seeds and membranes are removed and it is cooked with the other veggies)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or cooked chopped ham
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 ears of fresh corn kernels or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute celery, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ham; cook for another 3 minutes. Whisk the broth with the flour in a liquid measuring cup or bowl and then stir into the soup. Stir in the corn and chicken. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat.
  2. Whisk together the cream cheese and milk in a large bowl until smooth (I had a difficult time getting my cream cheese to completely whisk into the milk so my soup had some minor small lumps but next time, I’ll soften the cream cheese until almost melted in the microwave).
  3. Whisk the cream cheese/milk mixture into the soup along with the salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Simmer on low until ready to serve.