As you may have come to observe, most of my recipe-searches begin with the question, "Will Steven Eat This?" So, whenever he happens to like a particular dish at a restaurant (especially a dish with vegetables), I make a mental note to hunt down a similar recipe.
This method is how asparagus began to make regular appearances in dinners at our house -- Steven's favorite meal at The Cheesecake Factory is their Chicken Madeira, which is essentially chicken, cheese, mashed potatoes and asparagus. As we were waiting for the waiter to bring us take-home boxes and the check, I thought to myself, hey, I could probably make that.
And so I did. And now this is my fun little game -- watch to see what Steven orders at a restaurant, to see if I could duplicate it at home. Recently, we were at the Macaroni Grill, and Steven was raving about their Chicken Toscana Soup. I grabbed the menu and read the description: "Roasted chicken, fresh spinach, tomato and onion in a cream broth with parmesan gnocchi."
Hey, I could probably make that.
When we got home from dinner, I consulted the Mighty Internets to see if I could find a recipe for the soup. My google-fu skills came up with this recipe:
Chicken Toscana Soup, a la Macaroni Grill
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 cup chicken stock base
1/4 cup onions (chopped)
1 tomato (chopped)
3/4 cup fresh spinach leaves (chopped)
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 cup pre-cooked chicken, cubed (preferably roasted but mine was just sauteed)
4 oz parmesan gnocchi, cut in half (I used regular storebought, but I have a recipe for homemade gnocchi in the works....)
1/2 cup cream (or half-and-half)
Cook onions and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes (or until onion is soft and garlic is golden). Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add precooked chicken, gnocchi and chopped tomato. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream and spinach. Stir until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Sprinkle parmesan and basil to serve.
I couldn't take a decent picture of the soup to save my life, but it was actually quite tasty. In retrospect, I would have pre-cooked the gnocchi as well as the chicken - it ended up tasting a bit gummy and undercooked in the end.
Not bad, overall. I am adding it to the repertoire. Next up? Trying to figure out how to fake a recipe for the beef fajitas at On The Border. (That's what we had for lunch today, and I could so totally make those. Right?)
(Ooh and remind me to show you my new recipe book I'm working on. Its a red Moleskine and I've got it all tabbed and everything. It greatly appeals to my obsessive/compulsive need to write everything down in one place. You know how it is with me and my journal-y books.)