Just Like Olive Garden Salad

Stay home tonight and make yourself a salad just like Olive Garden!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been inside an Olive Garden restaurant … the unlimited salad and breadsticks used to always get me … I am a sucker for warm, soft bread, you know? Oh, and I just love that salad too … the dressing, luckily, is easy to replicate, as is the salad itself.

IMG_5900.JPG

Quick! Does anyone else have these really cool metal bowls from, probably the mid 1960’s early 1970’s? My mother in law had a ton and when she passed away, I snagged a few to bring home … my all time favorite salad bowls!

The other good news about this salad? Saving you moola … as in a minimum of $20 … like I said, been a LONG time since I’ve been to Olive Garden but I do remember that a dinner entree was at least $12.99 and that was a few years ago … so figure two people, easily $25 AND then most likely, a beverage (or two) and there you have it … el cheapo night out got a little more expensive …

Continue reading “Just Like Olive Garden Salad”

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Easy Clam Chowder

A few years ago, my sister in law shared this recipe with us while we were visiting Indiana … and Mark was like WOW and all over it.

Three of the main reasons we like this:

1 – no chunky tomatoes … Mark, the master chef, will NOT eat cooked chunky tomatoes. It’s either New England Clam Chowder or nothing at all

2 – everything is pretty much from the pantry which is kind of cool to have on hand for a last minute soup

3 – it’s fast and easy to make!

east clam chowder

New England Clam Chowder is creamy. Manhattan is red and chunky. A no no for Mark. Especially now.

Just for the record, I do NOT like clam chowder, normally, AND I don’t normally like things that are highly processed (aka, canned stuff) but hey, it’s tasty, it’s a once in while soup and NOW it’s something that Mark can eat and tolerate so I’m all over it!

chop bacon in food processor

It is a little indulgent so for the average bear, I wouldn’t make this DAILY but once every few weeks would be deemed acceptable ūüėȬ† Here’s what you need!

1 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled. Save a LOT of the bacon grease in the skillet when done

2 medium onions, chopped

4 cans of baby clams

5 cans of diced potatoes, drained

3 cans of cream of celery soup

2 cups half and half

2 cups milk

2 tsp dry dill

chopped bacon
Make you life easier and toss that cooked bacon in a food processor, give a quick whirl and Ta Da! Chopped Bacon! 

Cook your onion in that skillet with some leftover bacon grease. Go ahead, it’s ok! Cook until soft and translucent. Add the¬†juice from the canned clams. Set the clams aside for now.

drained canned clams

Add the potatoes to the pan and cook until they are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the balance of the ingredients EXCEPT the clams. Stir and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes or until thick.

soup coming along

Add your clams in at end here, stir and let cook for a few minutes until they are warmed through. Don’t let them cook too long as they will become chewier and well, we know that super chewy clams are no good.

clam chowder to eat

Dish up and top with some bacon bits and a little fresh parsley if you have. Enjoy!

This makes a LOT and can feed 12 with a few leftover servings. We’ve frozen this in the past and it has re-heated just fine!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these¬†GREAT Parties¬†… go check them out!

#Soup   #FastDinners   #EatDinnerAtHome   #SoftFoods   #BeatCancer 

Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

French Onion Soup

*This is a recipe that I’ve had since 1998! I’ve made it quite a few times and decided to share it with YOU from the “other” site.¬† I’m thinking I need to make this for Mark soon as it’s one of his favorite soups … fingers crossed that he can tolerate it!¬†

I’ve made this specific recipe a few times, but then I get distracted with a newer recipe and try that … and ALWAYS have to listen to Hubby ask why I don’t just stick with the first one I have… he’s right.

So, Saturday, it was a nice, sunny, BEAUTIFUL day, high of around 86. But the nights are getting a little cooler, and this morning it was 72 when I went outside at 8am … hence, it’s FALL TIME in Paradise, time to make soups!

The sprinkler dudes were here making repairs, and since they were digging up in the back yard, I didn’t really want to toss on the ole bikini and jump in the pool to float … just not my idea of cheap thrills, you know? ūüėČ

So, again, I made soup. ¬†AND I used what we had on hand … it’s a miracle, don’t you agree?!

Here’s what you need ….

3 lbs of onions, make sure ONE is a sweet onion, and ONE is a red onion

1/2 pound smoked bacon

2 tbs thyme

12 cups beef stock

1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine

1 tbs sea salt

black pepper to taste

1 tbs dry sherry

6 ounces sliced provolone, gruyere or mozz cheese (whatever you have will work)

6 slices of baguette or other thick bread

Cut your bacon up in 1/2 inch or so pieces and cook in a LARGE heavy bottom pot til crispy.

While bacon is cooking, slice your onions thin, thin, thin. I use a mandoline, and I asked Hubby how on earth I sliced all those onions back in the day so thin before I had this thing? He said it wasn’t pretty … hmmm … I think I need to hold back a bowl of soup from him …

Remove bacon to a lined bowl to drain and toss the onion slices in, on top of the bacon fat, add the 2 tbs thyme. Give a quick stir to mix everything up and then let the onions sit there, undisturbed for about 10 minutes, give them them a quick stir again and really leave them alone for about 20 minutes so they can caramelized. The secret is to NOT TOUCH the onions … hard as it may be.

Once onions are caramelized, pour in the 1/2 cup of vermouth to deglaze. Allow to cook a minute or so and then pour in the broth and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. NOW, add in your bacon and sherry. Let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour and marvel at the lovely, deep color of the broth. Yummm.

When ready to serve:

Toast the slices of bread under broiler. NOTE: I always drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bread just to give it a little more ‘richness’

Place oven proof bowls on a baking tray.

Place bread slice in bowl, ladle a generous portion of soup over the top. Add a slice of cheese carefully over the top of the soup.

Place in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve up and warn everyone that a) the bowl is HOT and b) the SOUP is hot …

Enjoy!

FYI … we served these with some awesome roast beef sliders … never got around to making the ham & cheese ones and Hubby said that this soup needed a beefy dish to go along … watch for THAT recipe soon!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these¬†GREAT Parties¬†… go check them out!

#Soup    #DinnerAtHome   #SavingMoney

 Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Paleo Beef & Broccoli

It’s been a LONG time since I made this recipe … about 2 1/2 years I’d say so why not make it again!

I originally made this while I was under a Pantry/Freezer Challenge and even though I’m not really on one at this very moment, it’s perfect in that I’ve got everything on hand and we are trying to really reduce our spending lately.

Here’s how I made it … keeping it healthier my way …

2 – 2 1/2 pounds of boneless beef of any sort. I used some large sirloin steaks that were in the freezer from Costco

1 bag of broccoli (I used half a bag of the fresh stuff from Costco)

2 cups beef broth (pantry)

1 cup of coconut aminos (update, I opted 1/2 cup garlic sauce and 1/2 cup of coconut aminos)

2 tbs sesame oil (pantry)

scoop of diced garlic

Dash of red pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it!)

4 tbs arrowroot

8 tbs of the sauce when done cooking

Mix broth, garlic sauce, coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in the crock.

Slice the beef in thin strips and add to the sauce. Give a quick stir so that all the beef is covered.

Sorry for the large picture of raw beef, but I wanted to point out 

that you will need to trim some of 

the big chunks of fat off the beef when you are slicing!

Cover crock, turn on high and leave it alone for about 4 hours. After 4 hours, check the beef for doneness. It should be tender, but NOT shredded. If it’s still tough, you will want to let it cook a little longer (30 minutes or so) before you proceed to the next steps! Just remember that there is about another hour worth of cooking to be done ūüėČ

Once the beef is cooked to desired taste/tenderness, measure out 8 or so tablespoons of the sauce into a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot. Try to be quick as you want the sauce to be hot. Pour this back into the beef mixture and stir well. Cover the crock and allow to cook for another 30 minutes on high.

After 30 minutes, add the broccoli (fresh or frozen whichever), stir to coat, cover and allow to cook for another 30 minutes.

During the last 30 minutes, cook your rice, if you are serving so it’s hot and ready when the beef and broccoli are.

Serve up and enjoy! I think this is way better than the take out stuff … I’m sensitive to salt flavors and I can tell you this is so much yummier!

Go ahead, dig out the crock pot and give this a try! I think you will like it!

*I let mine cool off a little and then put in a glass Snapware dish, covered and put in the fridge for a premade dinner come Wednesday night! I’m so excited about being able to pull this out and reheat (on the stove in a pot) for dinner!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these¬†GREAT Parties¬†… go check them out!

#CrockPot    #SlowCooker    #Paleo

#DinnerAtHome     #SavingMoney

Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

Back when I was attempting yet another Whole30, I came across this recipe and immediately modified and made it our way.

Even Mark liked it … what do you know!?

Yeah. It was good!

I’ve since made it quite a few times since … and really should have made it again when I had those bags of fresh broccoli from Costco … I didn’t though as we ended up traveling to Houston for our 2nd opinion with¬† MD Anderson but now thinking I need to make this in March! I also think I need to get a menu plan going and start some meal prep on Sunday after we get back home and so many other things … but FIRST we need to get Mark’s treatments started so we can get moving with our lives …

Regardless. MAKE THIS! SOON!

I haven’t made this with frozen broccoli but I’m thinking that it would be ok? Continue reading “Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry”

Meal Preppin’

I’m off on President’s Day (wheee!) and figured, what the heck, let’s get some meal prep stuff out of the way since I have THREE days instead of just two to get stuff done … I’ve been pretty Hangry lately because there’s been a real lack of motivation to really cook anything up with Mark being iffy on what he can and cannot tolerate … certainly a learning curve, that’s for sure!

Hangry   

[hang-gree] adj.  

Anger fueled by hunger.

My goal/plan is to have some grab and go meals in the freezer. Only problem is the freezers … well, they are rather full AND unorganized.

Yeah, that was NOT an exaggeration, was it? Yes, we have THREE refrigerators with freezers. More than any household should have under normal circumstances and trust me, I’m going to have an adjustment period when we downsize to a smaller house (and kitchen!)…

So first thing I had to do was pull out some beef from the main freezer for the Broccoli and Beef dish to make …

sirloin steaks food saver

Chicken thighs for the Mississippi Chicken (and yes, I had to sing the song to type that out)

chicken thighs food saver

It was a good thing that I had pulled out 2 steaks and box of spinach for Saturday night’s dinner … there’s some leftover creamed spinach that I’ll be incorporating somewhere …

I cooked up 3 large baked potatoes in the Instant Pot at 9:30am (they were done by 10am) …

potatoes cleaned and ready

And then I grabbed a bag of the General Tso Chicken from Trader Joe’s and a bag of fried rice, also from Trader Joe’s (both from the guest kitchen freezer) with the rest of my fresh broccoli to make me a few Take Out Fake Out Bowls … because I’ve been craving chinese take out lately …

And at the last minute, I decided I want to make a quick Unrolled Egg Roll in a Bowl dish …

EGG ROLL COOKING

I realize that I have not been keeping up very well with transferring my recipes over to this site … I promise, I’m working on it!!

Anyone else using that extra day off for meal planning? It can be such a time, money AND life saver, trust me!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these¬†GREAT Parties¬†… go check them out!

#MealPrep    #MealPlan    #UsingWhatWeHave    #SavingMoney

Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

Pressure Cooked Chicken Wings

Want to make chicken wings without a mess?

Wings? In the Instant Pot?? Count me in!

Ok, up front and center:  These only cook for FIVE minutes, BUT they do take time to come to pressure AND do their natural release.  And then you should really toss them under the broiler to give them some color.

Instant Pot Chicken Wings
Instant Pot Chicken Wings

So, yeah, they cook “fast” but not 5 minutes, eat and be done, ok?

I just hate when I see something that says FIVE MINUTES and then you see all the extra time involved ūüėČ

Now, a little background on me … for years, I h. a. t. e. d. wings … like, ew, get those out of here.

ready to eat wings.jpg

Now? I LOVE THEM! So much so that I’m always making them different ways to find the most efficient and best results!

I think the pressure cooking thing is it. I mean, heck, the clean up is minimal … they certainly will NOT be splattering all over your oven …

Ready to do this?

Grab yourself a cup of water. And your wings, however many you’d like … I did 15 (!)

Put water in the bottom of the pot and insert that trivet.  We covered this before, go find it!

Instant Pot Trivet
Instant Pot Trivet

Season up your wings with whatever seasoning you’d like. I opted to use Mark’s Special Seasoning Mix. Be generous!

4 seasons.jpg

Add the wings on top of the trivet. The purpose of that there trivet is to keep the wings OUT of the water!  I did not stand them on end, and yes, they were touching each other, stacked up on each other. Whatever.

Put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure your little knob is flipped back to “pressure”.

Hit manual and set for 5 minutes (high pressure).¬† Walk away and you’ll hear it beep in a few seconds and it will say “on”.

After about 10 minutes, you’ll hear it beep again and now the number 5 will be on the display and it will start counting down! Whee!!

After the 5 minutes are up, let it release on it’s own for about 10 minutes. NOW you can flip that knob forward and let the rest of the steam out.¬† Go ahead and turn on your broiler now (oh, hey, check open that oven door and look inside BEFORE you turn on the broiler, ok? I’ve had a pizza box smoking before! Whoops)

vent open and not pressurizing

Take the lid off carefully, it’s HOT!¬† Remove the wings to a parchment paper lined baking tray. I just re-used the tray that I had roasted some broccoli on earlier for meal prep work! No need to waste resources!

pale cooked wings.jpg

See how pale they are? THAT’S why you want to broil them a little!

If you’d like, brush some sauce on those babies.

broiled wings.jpg

I opted to broil mine naked and THEN added sauce on afterwards … I’m not a big sticky sauce kind of girl, you know?

These were really good and I think may be my new way to make them forever! There’s minimal fuss and mess to deal with!¬† Go ahead and give them a try! Up next will be the salt & vinegar wings … or maybe lemon pepper wings … or maybe ranch wings! The possibilities are endless!

Looking forward to sharing at some of these great parties … go check them out!

#ChickenWings   #InstantPot   #PressureCook   #Appetizers

And yes, we are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.