Lasagna Primavera

Olive Garden Copy Cat Recipe

12 lasagna noodles
2 baby zucchini
2 baby grey (Mexican) summer squash
2 baby yellow summer squash
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Fill a large pot of water and bring to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta noodles until they are pliable, and mostly cooked. Remove and place in a bowl of cold water.
While the water is coming to a boil, slice the squash on a mandolin or thinly with a sharp knife. Set aside. Place about a half a cup of pasta sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 pan and spread around.

Lay a noodle out on a cutting board or clean flat surface. Top in the middle third with 6 slices of squash. Fold the ends over the top and place folded ends down on the sauce. Continue with the remaining noodles. Top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Notes:  Serve with a salad and garlic bread. These photo above also has spinach in the lasagna.

Sausage Pomodoro Sauce

Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Serves 2-4

1 (28 oz) can plum tomatoes, with juice
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Start off by dicing the onions. Set aside in a bowl. Mince the garlic, then form a garlic paste. Puree whole tomatoes in a food processor or blender, or until desired consistency .

Saute onions for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat in half the olive oil, until soft. Do not burn.
Add garlic, red pepper flakes. Saute 3-5 minutes stirring frequently, careful not to burn the garlic.
Add pureed tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and remainder of olive oil, stir to combine everything.

Cover and cook for 30-60 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Taste halfway through and at the end to adjust seasoning. If using real imported tomatoes, they have almost no salt, so you will need to adjust the salt content accordingly, or the sauce will taste bland. Just before serving, add the chopped basil.

Notes: This is a basic pomodoro sauce recipe.  You will need to add cooked crumbled Italian sausage into the pot when you add the other ingredients to simmer.  The longer you cook the better the flavor.  To form a garlic paste, mince garlic, add some sea or kosher salt and olive oil, and use the back end of a chef's knife to work the garlic into a paste.

Asiago Garlic Alfredo Sauce

Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Makes 2 Cups

1/3 cup butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan, Asiago and Romano cheese blend
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
fresh cracked pepper

In a microwave glass bowl melt butter with garlic in microwave oven for 30 second. Whisk in cream and cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds more. Season with nutmeg and pepper. Pour over your favorite hot veggies or hot pasta.

Notes:  This is sauce is one of the choices available on the 2013 Never Ending Pasta menu.

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Serves 4

2 medium baking potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium green pepper
1 medium red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
4 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Romano cheese grated pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.   Peel potatoes and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Core and seed peppers and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.   Mix olive oil, rosemary, salt, garlic and pepper in a bowl.   In a small baking pan, toss potatoes and peppers with the oil and herb mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Sprinkle potatoes with parsley and Romano cheese.

Peach Tea

Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

2 quarts unsweetened fresh brewed tea
1 1/2 cups Torani peach flavored syrup

You can use Lipton Cold Brew tea bags to make the tea. Add peach syrup to the unsweetened tea and stir well. Serve over ice.

1 quart tea to 3/4 cup peach syrup
1 8-oz glass tea to 3 tablespoons peach syrup

Black Tie Mousse Cake

Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Chocolate Cake Crust:  (First Layer)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large (or extra large) eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup dutch baking cocoa
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9" springform pan.
In a medium bowl cream butter & sugar with a hand mixer.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla & mix well.  Sift cocoa & flour & add to mixture, until combined. Batter will be thick, but light & fluffy; not pourable, but easily spreadable.

Bake cake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.  Remove from oven & cool completely; may even use the freezer to speed process along.

Chocolate Cheese Cake:  (Second Layer)
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dutch baking cocoa
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until incorporated.  Add cocoa & blend well.  Set aside.
In a stand mixer whisk heavy cream until it starts to get fluffy.  Add powdered sugar a little at a time.  Whisk until stiff peaks are achieved. (You may do the whipped cream mixtures for both cheesecake layers together at the same time in your mixer & then divide in half evenly.)
Add whipped cream to the chocolate mixture & beat until well combined.  Cover bowl & put in refrigerator.

Plain Cheesecake:  (Third Layer)
8 oz cream cheese (may use 1/3 less fat)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until incorporated.  Set aside. In a stand mixer whisk heavy cream until it starts to get fluffy.  Add powdered sugar a little at a time.  Whisk until stiff peaks are achieved.  Add whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture & beat until well combined.  Cover bowl & put in refrigerator.

Assembly:  Once cake is cooled you may run a knife along the edges & release the spring-form edge to help ensure it's ability to release after all the layers are complete.  If you release the edge, put the edge back on & then continue with the layers. Spread the chocolate cheesecake mixture evenly over the cooled chocolate cake.  Spread the plain cheesecake mixture evenly over the chocolate cheesecake mixture. Cover pan with saran wrap (try not to let it touch the cheesecake) & freeze for 4-6 hours in the freezer. After the cake is frozen.  Use a warm offset spatula to run along the edge of the pan & remove the spring-form edge.  (Keep cake on the base.)

Ganache:  (Fourth Layer)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 (10-12 oz) bag dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
Nestle mini chocolate chips

Put dark & white chocolate chips in separate bowls. In a small saucepan on LOW, heat heavy cream & butter until it just comes to a boil. Measure 3-4 tablespoons of the cream/butter mixture & put it on top of the white chocolate chips.  Pour remaining butter/cream mixture over the dark chocolate chips.  Let cream melt chocolate chips & then stir them up in their separate bowls.  Let the ganache cool slightly until spreading consistency.

Using a cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet, set cake on cooling rack (the ganache that falls off the cake will be caught in the cookie sheet, underneath the cooling rack) & pour dark chocolate ganache over the top of the cake; spread evenly with an offset spatula.When the chocolate drips over the edges, smooth the ganache with your spatula & immediately apply mini chocolate chips to the sides before the ganache hardens from the frozen cake.  Continue around all sides of the cake saving extra dark chocolate ganache to swirl with the white ganache on top & enough to pipe a border for the edges.

Once the cake is ganached & chocolate chips decorate the sides, drizzle the white chocolate ganache on the top.  Add small dollups of dark chocolate ganache (saving enough to pipe a border on the edges) & using a toothpick/knife swirl the two ganaches together. Use the remaining dark chocolate ganache to pipe a border around the edge, once the ganache has set/thickened a little bit, but still soft enough to work with. Store cake in freezer.  Cut & enjoy cake frozen.  

Potato Parmesan Chicken

This Olive Garden dish contains parmesan cheese and potato crusted chicken breasts served with linguine in a creamy garlic scampi sauce. This restaurant copycat recipe is broken down into steps so that you can make it at home.

Olive Garden Copycat Recipe

Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons cooking oil

To make the Chicken:  In a shallow dish, mix together potato flakes, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dip chicken, first in beaten eggs and then in potato mixture, coating all sides well. In large skillet over medium high heat, place oil. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken to baking sheet and place in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Garlic Scampi Linguine:
1 lb linguine, cooked

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup Chardonnay wine
1 cup chicken broth, divided

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

To make Sauce: Add 1 tablespoon of to a large skillet. Cook the shallots and garlic in the oil until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and the lemon juice. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth, tomatoes and the cream, and simmer until sauce is reduced and thickened slightly, approximately 10 minutes more. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

To Serve:  Pour the sauce over hot pasta.  Sprinkle with the parsley and Romano cheese before serving.  Place a chicken breast on top of the pasta