Monday, March 28, 2011

Comfort Food

I know this isn't really leaning toward super diet friendly, but today was just one of those days I REALLY needed some comfort food.  Let me back up for a minute....I've been in extreme vacation mode since Sunday morning.  The day before, we had just finished our first huge preschool fundraiser, and now, this week, was my 12yo.'s spring break.  My husband also has this week off, so we had a great plan lined up for our "staycation."  Sunday was our re-coup day from all the pre-planning and working the event.  But as of this morning....I was all raring to go to Denver and enjoy our family time of hiking and visiting some cool museums.  Well.....of course, it dumped snow overnight and ALL DAY!  As a result, the pass is closed.  Booo!  For those of you that don't know, we live at approx. 9,000ft in a gorgeous valley, next to a destination ski resort.  Don't get me wrong, I love the snow.  Otherwise, why would I live here?  But I just wanted a brief break and enjoy some well needed sunshine.  Okay, sob story over....really!  So, since we're house-bound now for today, and maybe even tomorrow by the looks of it( dumping hard!) I've decided to share this super-yummy soup recipe I created a while back after visiting Olive Garden last year(or at some point, I can't remember when.)  Enjoy!

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

By Amy Fox

3 ribs off a stalk of celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 tsp. minced garlic
Approx. 2-4 tsp. of each; thyme, rosemary, & marjoram; divided
Salt & pepper to taste in veggies & chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
4 Tbsp. Olive oil, divided
2 16-oz jars of Ragu's Light Parmesan Alfredo sauce
1 15-oz pkg Ricotta cheese, part skim
1/2 of a 32-oz carton of low-sodium chicken stock
10 oz. Fresh Baby Spinach, washed & chopped
16-oz pkg Gnocchi, cooked according to directions

In a 6-8 qt. pot, heat 2 Tbsp. of Olive oil on medium high heat. Add minced garlic, and sauté for 1 min. stirring frequently. Next, add carrots, celery and onion, 1-2 tsp. of each; thyme, rosemary, and marjoram, salt & pepper to taste. Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender. In the meantime, heat remaining olive oil in a skillet and cook chicken, remaining herbs, salt & pepper to taste, until chicken is no longer pink. Transfer chicken mixture to veggie mixture & mix well. Add stock, alfredo sauce, and ricotta cheese. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow soup to begin to thicken.  Stir frequently. While soup is heating up, cook the gnocchi, drain well, and then add to the soup. Reduce the heat of the soup to a simmer. Add the spinach, and continue to stir frequently. Once the soup is thoroughly heated, serve immediately.

Yields: Approximately 1 – 1 ½ Gallons of soup.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Blog Ever!

So, I've been contemplating this for a while, and decided it's time to create my space, so to speak.  I've posted lots of creations on Facebook, and get great response.  So, now you will be able to find some of my recipes, creations, whatever as well as my weight loss journey along the way.  And I'll throw in some pics of my fun-loving family as well.  Welcome to my lifestyle journey!