For my birthday, my mother-in-law gave me a gift card to the Olive Garden. It was a wonderful present because 1. it represented two dates for me and my husband, 2. it wasn’t something I was going to have to find a place to store and 3. it was an opportunity to go out and eat….for free. Remembering that I live in Small Town, AZ, with limited restaurants and that my in-laws live in a Seattle suburb so there were few options for gift cards.
The second time we went, I just had soup. I chose their Chicken Gnocchi variety. Served with their bread sticks, it made a wonderful lunch. So good was it, in fact, that I wanted to make it at home a few days later. I did a few searches and ended up at copykat.com, a site that has changed a bit over the years and is now in a blog form. So two birds were killed with one stone. I got my soup and I got another edition of “Your Recipe, My Kitchen.”
Stephanie’s version says it makes 8 servings, but I knew by reading it that it wouldn’t be enough for my family, so I doubled it. Sort of. I used homemade gnocchi instead of store bought (at $3.49 a package I would have had to spend roughly $12 on that alone). I used a single chicken breast I had in the freezer and then used a large can of chicken. I used one quart of half and half, because I had it and then added canned milk for the doubled amount. I had Swiss chard on hand, not spinach. So, there were definitely some changes. The results however, were wonderful. Two thumbs up from the pickiest of eaters. Served with homemade bread sticks, it was everything I had hoped it would be.
- 1 cup chicken breasts, diced and cooked (can use canned chicken or turkey)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 quart half and half (can use evaporated milk)
- 1 14 ounce can chicken broth (I added five when I doubled it, so you may want at least 1 more can)
- ½ cup celery, sliced
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup carrots, shredded (mine were coarsely shredded)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (the Swiss chard was great, so that's another possibility)
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (my addition)
- 16 ounce package gnocchi
- In a large stockpot, saute the onion, celery and garlic in the butter and olive oil.
- When the onion is clear, add the flour and form a roux.
- Stir and cook a minute.
- Add the half and half .
- Meanwhile in another pan, cook the gnocchi.
- (I cooked mine in the chicken broth, but it was about triple the called for amount).
- Add the carrots and chicken to the stockpot.
- Stir often and when it gets thicker, add the chicken broth, gnocchi, spinach and seasonings.
- Cover and heat through.