Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I was at Olive Garden a few weeks ago and tried their Chicken Gnocchi Soup and was inspired to make my own version that was much chunkier with more veggies and chicken in a delicious creamy broth. This made a huge pot that I can’t wait to dig into! Very filling, and a different take on a traditional chicken soup / chowder.

Chicken Gnocchi

Chicken Gnocchi Soup: Serves 12-16

6-8 Chicken Thighs – Skinless
1 Large Onion – Diced
4-5 Celery Stalks – Diced
4-5 Carrots – Diced
2 Bay Leaves
1TB Chicken Bouillon (I use Better then Bouillon)
1C Heavy Cream
1.5C Milk (I used Fat Free)
2TB Corn Starch
~10-12C Water
15oz Can Creamed Corn
1lbs Gnocchi – I bought Fresh Prepackaged from Wegmans
Salt & Pepper

In a large – and I mean large, soup pot add the chicken, onion, celery, bay leaves, generous salt and pepper (about 1TB salt / 1-2tsp pepper) and water (note I did not measure my water, I was using a huge dutch oven and had about 4-5″ of water in the pan – enough to cover the chicken by an inch or two). Bring this up to a boil and let the chicken cook through. Once the chicken is completely cooked remove it from the pot, remove and discard any excess fat and bones then take the chicken and shred it either by hand, with two forks, or toss it into your stand mixer and beat on low for about 30 seconds.

While you are shredding the chicken turn the the pot down to a low simmer and remove and discard the bay leaves. You’ll notice that excess grease will be gathering on top, with a large spoon carefully remove this grease from your pan and discard. Add the chicken back to the pot with the carrots, creamed corn and bouillon and give it a taste test – is it flavorful? is it bland? adjust as necessary – I like mine peppery so I always use fresh ground pepper in high quantities.

Next mix the milk with the cornstarch until completely incorporated then add to the soup pot, bring up to a boil and stir for a few minutes, add the cream and continue to stir another 3-4 minutes letting all the flavors mesh together. Lastly add the Gnocchi and cook for 2-3 minutes per the package instructions, remove soup from the heat and let the soup sit. Ideally you would make this the day before eating as the cream sauce will really absorb the soup flavors overnight but you can eat it now if you can’t resist! (I may of had a bowl!)

Serve & Enjoy!

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WW: 7 Points Plus / serving @ 12 servings
5 Points Plus / serving @ 16 servings

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Creamy Shrimp, Zucchini & Bell Pepper Pasta

One of my favorite recipes to adapt is originally from Skinny Taste for a Creamy Chicken Pasta that I subbed Shrimp for and now I’ve substituted even more. I dropped the tomatoes and added julienned zucchini strips which blended right in with my noodles – note if you have picky eaters you may be able to fool them into eating something green with the zucchini prepared this way! I love this recipe, it tastes so decadent as if I used all kinds of cream and cheeses and other deliciousness to achieve the creamy when in reality I used nice healthy alternatives.

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Zucchini Pepper Pasta

Creamy Shrimp, Zucchini + Bell Pepper Pasta: Serves 4

8oz Pasta
1 Red Pepper – Sliced
1 Large Onion – Sliced
1 Large Zucchini – Julienned – Approx 3-4C
2 Garlic Cloves – Minced
1lbs Shrimp – Peeled & De-veined
1/4C Cream Cheese (1/3 less fat)
1/3C Milk (Fat Free)
1TB Flour
1/2C Chicken Stock
1-2tsp Old Bay
1TB Olive Oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente and set to the side. While the pasta is cooking, toss your shrimp with 1tsp of olive oil and 1/2tsp of old bay seasoning. Add to a skillet that has been preheated over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until completely cooked through. Remove from the pan and set to the side (or pour in the pasta pot if the pasta is done cooking and has been drained).

Now onto the vegetables! I like to cut all the veggies into strips / slices so once they are softened they will twirl easily with my pasta. I have a julienne peeler which makes cutting the zucchini a breeze, I highly suggest investing in one or using a julienne attachment on a mandolin to make fast work of this task. Place the remaining 2tsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat with the garlic cloves and let them cook for up to a minute being sure not to let them burn, add the peppers and onions with approximately 1/2-1tsp of cajun seasoning (if you aren’t a fan of heat go with the 1/2tsp). Give it all a toss and let it cook for 2-3 minutes then add the zucchini and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Either in a blender or with some determination, blend the milk, chicken stock, flour and cream cheese together until nice and smooth. Add to the cooked vegetables and bring up to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes to thicken, add the pasta and shrimp, toss, remove from the heat, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes, give it one last toss, serve & enjoy!

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WW: 10 Points Plus / serving

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal

Happy Almost Labor Day, Jillian’s Kitchen Fans. I hope you have all had a nice summer so far. I have obviously been taking a bit of a hiatus from posting and can’t guarantee that I will be posting tons and tons of recipes anytime soon but I will be trying to post more often then I have been. This fantastic recipe came from a friend of mine who wanted to modify her baked oatmeal to include Zucchini, which I know if you have a garden at home, you are probably overrun with! I thought this was a great idea and offered many possibilities. I think I’m seeing a cinnamon raisin version in my near future! For those zucchini haters, I promise, you won’t have any clue you are eating zucchini! Thank you so much Iris for this great recipe.

Zucchini Baked Oatmeal

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal: Serves 12-18

4 Eggs
3C Milk (I use Fat Free)
3C Zucchini – Shredded and squeezed (discard excess liquid from squeezing)
2tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Salt
1tsp Vanilla Extract
2tsp Cinnamon
4TB Cocoa Powder
1/2C Brown Sugar (optional/change to suit taste)
6C Oats – Old Fashioned, not quick cook!
1C Mini Chocolate Chips – I used Semi Sweet

Mix the eggs and milk together then add all remaining ingredients. I let it sit for 5 minutes so the oats can absorb some of the liquid and stir again. Pour into a greased 13×9 or 10×15 pan and bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes until the top of the oatmeal is evenly cooked. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the counter, then slice into 12-18 slices, and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. I personally like to eat them plain, with a tsp of butter, a TB of cream cheese, some honey or some maple syrup, I really haven’t found a way that I don’t like baked oatmeal!

Other Baked Oatmeal’s to Try:

Cherry Baked Oatmeal
Gingerbread
Blueberry Lemon
Strawberry Banana
Banana Bread
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie

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WW: 8 Points Plus / serving @ 12 servings
5 Points Plus / serving @ 18 servings

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Tortellini Pasta Salad

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! As we remember all the wonderful men and women who have served our country many of us will be attending BBQ’s and get togethers. I was talking with my cousin the other day about the two BBQ’s I am going to this weekend and saying how I wanted to try some new things and she suggested doing a salad with Tortellini. I thought that was a great idea so I modified my normal Summer Pasta Salad to use the tortellini. I Love this salad, it is made with nice vibrant fresh ingredients, is extremely pretty and there isn’t much worry about it being outside as there is no mayo to go bad. Give this a try at your next get together and enjoy.

Tortellini Pasta Salad

Tortellini Pasta Salad: Serves 10-12 (as an appetizer / side dish)

1.5lbs Frozen Cheese Tortellini
1 English Cucumber – Peeled & Chopped
3 Carrots – Peeled & Shredded
2 Bell Peppers (I used Yellow & Red) – Diced
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes – Halved
1C Kraft Fat Free Zesty Italian Dressing
2TB McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the tortellini and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, drain and toss in the fridge to cool down while you get the rest of the salad ready. Prepare all your veggies and place in a large bowl, take the cooled tortellini and place in the bowl – note they will probably all be stuck together, gently pull them apart so you don’t have one massive tortellini in the bowl. Give everything a toss then add the dressing and salad supreme seasoning and toss it all again. Take pleasure in the pretty rainbow in front of you, keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve, toss one more time then serve and enjoy!

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WW: 6 Points Plus / serving @ 10 servings
5 Points Plus / serving @ 12 servings

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Recipe Flashback – Canadian Bacon Shrimp & Grits

Two years ago I wrote to you guys of my favorite ever Shrimp and Grits recipe, I found out the secret to grits….milk and lots of it! These grits are so creamy and wonderfully decadent that every time I have them I ask myself why it took me nearly 30 years to discover them. This recipe is one that I often go back to, it is comforting, filling and not too bad for you either, not to mention insanely tasty. I had this last night and switched up one ingredient – regular paprika for hot smoked which completely changed it and gave it some more pizzazz! If you like hot and spicy try this swap and let me know what you think, if hot and spicy isn’t you thing try the original recipe.

Canadian Bacon Shrimp & Grits

Canadian Bacon Shrimp & Grits: Serves 4-6

2C Water
1C Grits (not instant!)
3C Milk – I use fat free
1TB Butter
1/2tsp Salt
1lbs Shrimp – Peeled & De-veined
6 Slices Canadian Bacon
1 Onion – Chopped
1 Bell Pepper – Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves – Minced
1tsp Hot Smoked Paprika
1/4tsp Thyme (dried)
2tsp Flour
1/2C Milk
1C Chicken Stock
1TB Olive Oil

In a sauce pot bring 2C of water to a boil and whisk in the grits, bring up to a simmer and continue to whisk until the grits thicken – this will happen within a minute or two. Add the 3C of milk, butter and salt to the pot and whisk over medium heat until it comes up to a simmer. I know that it will look like you are making a pot of soup…believe me those wonderful grits will absorb all of that milk. Once the grits come up to a simmer, stir, turn down to low and cover with a lid, stir every few minutes as it slowly thickens.

While the grits are thickening chop your veggies and set to the side, peel your shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel, and cut the bacon into small pieces (approx 1/4″ x 1/2″ slices). Once everything is prepped place 1tsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add in the bacon – cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally to crisp up the meat. Add the shrimp with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir it around in the bacon – cook the shrimp flipping once until they are just cooked through. Remove the shrimp and bacon to a bowl and set to the side. Add the remaining 2tsp of olive oil to the pan over medium heat and add in the peppers and onions with another pinch of salt and pepper and stir fry for 6-8 minutes, add in the garlic, paprika, thyme and flour and stir to coat the vegetables then add in the remaining 1/2C milk and chicken stock. Stir to distribute the spices into the sauce and bring up to a simmer stirring often. Cook for 4-5 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken, add the shrimp and bacon back to the pan and allow it to heat through.

Your grits should be done by now, when you stir them you should be able to see the bottom of the pan because they don’t fall back into place immediately. Scoop the grits into the bottom of a bowl and then spoon some of the shrimp and vegetable mixture on top. Prepare to have your socks knocked off because I can honestly say mine were. Wow. I cannot wait until lunch when I can have some left overs :)

Serve & Enjoy!

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WW: 11 Points Plus / serving @ 4 servings
7 Points Plus / serving @ 6 servings

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