Everyday Mom's Meals: September 2022

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Welcome Soup Season With A New Copycat Recipe

 How has your September been going? It's been so busy around here, the month kind of flashed before my eyes. We celebrated an 18th birthday, our first school-related illness resulting in the little guy missing two days, attended our homecoming football game, took Max's very first field trip to an apple orchard (which Bubbie took the day off school to join us), I went to my first PTL (think PTA) meeting, and more I can't even remember right now. You can understand why I blinked and now it's almost October. 

When does soup season begin in your house? For us, the minute Labor Day was over, I started putting more soups on our weekly menu. Even though we had some summer-like hot days, it was time! Now that the temps have indeed fallen to more autumn like highs, and October knocking on the door, I'm sure more families are ready to celebrate all things soup, chowder and stew. 

I'm sure this will be the first of many new soup recipes over the next several months, as we enter into even colder weather, but I wanted this to be the debut because it has quickly become one of our favorites.

A copycat of an Olive Garden classic, this Chicken Gnocchi Soup can be on your table in about 30 minutes! Perfect during the crazy busy week when you're exhausted and just need to eat before heading out the door again. 

Let's stop here for a minute and talk about the chicken in this soup. I can't believe the price of fresh chicken these days at the store, so I decided to use canned instead. Leftover rotisserie or roasted would be great too, but I didn't have any on hand, and didn't want to spend the $$$ on a package of boneless breasts. Sure, canned chicken won't work in certain recipes that call for cooked chicken, but I have found that in many soups, it's perfect and much easier on the budget. 

This creamy, hearty soup will fill you up and thaw you out at the same time. It is filled with so much flavor, it tastes like it cooked all day, and not quickly on the stove top. Add a big bowl of copycat Olive Garden Salad and you have a complete meal; and don't forget some crusty bread too! 

However you decide to welcome fall, and with it, soup season, I hope you're finding ways to put some fun into your busy days and yummy things to come home to after!


Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

2 (12 oz.) cans chicken, drained and broken up

1 (16 oz.) package gnocchi

1 TBS olive oil

1/4 cup butter

1 quart half-and-half

3 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup flour

1 cup matchstick carrots, rough chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 heaping cup spinach, rough chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Salt and pepper  

In a large pot, melt butter with olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté onion, celery and garlic for 5 minutes until soft. Sprinkle with flour and cook 1-2 minutes more. Whisk in half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in chicken broth and simmer 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, chicken, thyme, parsley, and gnocchi. Simmer until gnocchi float to the top. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and cook 5-10 minutes to heat through. Serve immediately. 


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Welcome Fall and Milestone Birthdays

I know, I know, fall isn't officially here, but once September comes and Labor Day passes, it kind of feels like it is. Even on those summer-like hot days, autumn is still in the air. All things pumpkin and apple are every where you look and it's only a matter of time before the leaves begin to fall.

I've spent the last week decorating both inside and outside the house will all of my favorite fall things. This lover of all things summer isn't ready to say goodbye to hot, sunny days, but I do adore fall decor. There is a chance I *might* be addicted to pumpkins...is there a support group for that?

Why decorate so early? It's a tradition that goes back to when Alex was little. In those days I did more Halloween decor, while today it's general fall. But every year he would ask for the house to be "spooky" by the time his birthday came on 9/16. That timing got chiseled into my internal clock, so all these years later, the house tends to be decorated in the first couple weeks of September. 

Speaking of the big birthday coming up, this year we celebrate Alex turning 18. I can't even type that number without tearing up. When they say don't blink, it's 100% true. I'm positive we just brought him home from the hospital, new parents driving 5 mph because we were terrified of every bump. Wasn't he just turning 1, loving all things Blue's Clues? Or 5 riding a school bus for the first time during a preschool field trip? Or 7, 10 and 13? It's been 2 years since he turned 16 and was thrilled to start driving? 

18 years, 6,570 days, 157,680 hours, and 9,460,800 minutes since this precious boy made me a mommy-truly the only thing I ever wanted to be. I loved him the minute I knew he was growing inside of me, but the second they placed him into my arms, he looked into my eyes and my soul was complete. My first born. My pride and joy. He finds ways to make us proud every single day and the privilege of being his parents is a blessing from God above. 

This Apple Crisp recipe is one I saved to share as a way to welcome autumn, but it's also appropriate for the week of my Alex's birthday because apple desserts are some of his favorite.  

This is a super easy sweet treat celebrating fall's favorite fruit, apples! You will want to use tart ones for best results. I had Granny Smith, from a neighbor's tree, but Golden Delicious would work too! They just stand up to baking the best and don't turn into applesauce in the oven. The buttery crumb topping takes the flavor and texture over the top of yummy goodness. 

This week is a big one in our house with a very special reason to celebrate, come Friday. Happy Birthday Alex!! Your mom loves you more than words can say, and it's been my honor doing so for the last 18 years!


Easy Apple Crisp

10 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 tsp. white sugar

1 TBS brown sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 TBS butter

1 TBS lemon juice


1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Arrange apple slices in bottom of dish. Toss with lemon juice. Sprinkle with white sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Slice 1 TBS butter and arrange over apple mixture. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle topping over apples and pat down slightly. Bake 50-60 minutes until golden brown and apples are soft. *NOTE* You need enough apples slices to cover bottom of baking dish. The number will depend on the size of apple.