Tag Archives: Olive Garden

Repetitive eating.

repetive eating

I’m fascinated by stories about repetitive eating. Like the dude who ate Chipotle at least once per day for nearly 200 days. Or the guy who ate pretty much nothing but Olive Garden for seven straight weeks (and enjoyed it!). I’m all for a good food ritual — like going to the same spot for brunch every Saturday morning or always cooking up spaghetti on Thursday evenings. I even ordered a bagel sandwich for dinner pretty much every Monday night for probably close to a year. But some people just take it to the extreme…and their stories make me curious. What restaurant would you willingly eat 100 meals at over the course of 100 days? Is there a fast food chain you would return to every day for a whole month?! I think I could make it work at one of those non-chain Mexican restaurants but anything else would be tough. And I ESPECIALLY don’t think I could stomach fast food for an extended period of time.

Kinda makes you want to eat IN tonight, doesn’t it?

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Recipe: Olive Garden Soup

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As I’ve mentioned before, I spent my early twenties getting REAL familiar with hotels, airports, highway truck-stop gas stations and casual family dining restaurants as I traveled the country competing (and then coaching) for a collegiate speech and debate team. And for some reason, on these journeys, our little cast of crazy characters LOVED dropping in to a certain family-style Italian restaurant–whether in San Diego, California or Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Don’t ask me why. Maybe the twenty year old mind thinks this is a classy choice? I have no idea. Anywho, being that I was broke as a joke and any waitress was gonna have to pry my allotted per diem cash out of my cold, dead hands, I always tried to cheat the system and order the heartiest thing on the menu at the cheapest price. Hello Pasta E Fagioli soup! Nice to meet ya! Now, I can’t say Olive Garden is a restaurant I’ll ever seek out again now that I’m a little older and wiser (unless it’s for their coffee…which I learned about on this visit) but THAT SOUP. I figured it would be an easy enough hack so I put my hand-me-down 80’s crockpot to good use and got to batch cooking. Now I realize this dish invokes some real personal nostalgia for yours truly but I’m sure, as the weather starts to turn, ANYONE could find it a delicious choice. Enjoy!

What you’ll need…

-1 lb of ground beef (I used Marksbury. If you’re in Central Kentucky do check them out. Beef is a rare purchase for me but when I need it I go with these guys.)

-1/2 a chopped onion

-2 med. carrots cut into coins or half moons.

-2 med. chopped celery stalks

-1 can of diced tomatoes, juices and all

-1 can of red kidney beans, drained

-1 can of navy beans, drained

-2 cups of beef broth

-3 tsp. oregano

-2 tsp. pepper

-3 tsp. basil

-1 tbsp hot sauce

-1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I ended up only using a little over a half a jar because I wanted to use up what I had instead of opening a brand new jar. This is why mine ended up a little less BROTHY. I think it’s fine both ways. 🙂 )

-4 oz. (give or take) of Ditalini pasta (I had this Eden Foods Kamut Ditalini pasta on hand that I’d gotten as a product sample months ago and never used. They sent it before deciding they didn’t care about women’s health and birth control so don’t judge me too hard for using it. It WAS a nice product and definitely a good whole grain pasta.)

and how it all comes together…

-Brown the ground beef in a pan and drain the fat.

-Add the cooked beef and all the other carefully chopped and measured ingredients to your crockpot.

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-Cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 4-6.

-Once you’re ready to dish it up, cook your pasta. Drain the pasta and add it in.

-Give everything a nice stir!

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I had a bowl straight away, topped with some shredded Parmesan cheese. Just as I remembered!!! Although I gotta admit, those O.G. breadsticks and salad would have been clutch too. Next time.

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Did I mention you’ll be eating this for awhile? I froze the big container on the right and the littler containers were great work-time meals. Nostalgia batch cooking complete!

What is your favorite dish to batch cook? Do you have any go-to recipes you’ll bust out the crockpot to make as the leaves start to turn? I can’t wait to put mine to good use this season! 

Summer days/Summer nights.

Hey y’all, just wanted to share a few pictures and fun stuff from the last couple of weeks. No rhyme, nor reason…just a trip to Bowling Green, K.Y. and the ol’ fourth of juLY! Ok so maybe some rhyme.

Chet and I met in Bowling Green when he was getting his masters and I was working for the WKU forensics team so fueled by the promise of nostalgia and some beloved familiar faces we decided to load up the Subaru and swing down to Warren County for a couple of days. In true BG fashion we did a LOT of casual family dining at various restaurants new and old (thumbs up to 643, thumbs down to Novo Dolce and always and forever my ❤ belongs to the Ichibanians).

Hilariously, our friends Ben and Chad clued us in to a hidden secret: The best coffee in Bowling Green can be found at Olive Garden. Wacky, right? But I’ve gotta hand it to them…we went and tried it out and both agreed our cup(s) of joe were super on point. Just ask to sit in the bar area (there are cozy lil booths and the service is snappy) order up a carafe or two and get a round of tiny desserts. So random but surprisingly a decadent experience. Only in BG…HA!

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We also hit up a bunch of consignment stores. There seems to be one of these establishments on every block in the beege but unfortunately, the consignment game in Lexington is considerably lacking. We scored a red coat wrack with shiny silver hooks and a Mark Twain voodoo doll from Consignment Corner. The former is looking fantastic hung by my back door and the latter is resting happily atop a bookshelf. At Labold and Sons, Chet and I clocked this sweet print from Print Mafia as soon as we walked in the door.

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We took these lil babes home, along with a Polaroid camera that would, later in life, inspire the design for the Instagram logo.

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Chet found a recipe for some magical solution proclaiming to work wonders on whitening and brightening old electronics. I’d like to see if we can’t get this thing looking sparkly and new!

We had such a wonderful time catching up with our BG pals (and watching COPIOUS amounts of drag queen videos) that we needed a LOT of fuel to make it back to Lex…some more fuel than others.

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Now, jumping ahead a week or so! I had to work on The Fourth of July which was sort of a huge bummer because it’s a favorite of mine. Luckily, I came home to a sparkler party! What a save!!!

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Just serving some patriotic, Lady Liberty realness (did I mention we’ve been binge watching Rupaul’s Drag Race since returning from BG…that Ben…what an influence!)

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So happy to spend my Fourth with this one. He’s pretty much the cutest…and takes all my requests for front-facing camera selfies in stride, even when they involve holding fire.

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