Showing posts with label Restaurant

Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 29, 2022

If you've ever had the Lemon Cream Cake at Olive Garden, you know just how delicious it is.  This is a copycat recipe that I've made for years now, but wow, does it taste like the OG's.  This is a knockout recipe and shortcuts make it easy to prepare...


1 pkg. White Cake Mix, plus ingredients to prepare
1 pkg. Lemon Cake Mix
½ cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Lemon, juiced
1 cup Whipping Cream
1 pkg Mascarpone Cheese
1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
4 Tbsp Melted Real Butter


Prepare the white cake according to the directions on the box, adding the sour cream and vanilla. Bake in a 10 inch round baking pan, or if you don't have a 10 inch round baking pan, you can just use a 9" pan and it will be a thicker cake, if you have too much batter, just make a few cupcakes.  A 10 inch cheesecake pan will also work. Cool the cake completely.

For the lemon cream filling, whip cream until stiff peaks form, then fold in the mascarpone, sifted powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest of half the lemon.  For the crumb topping, combine 3/4 cup of the lemon cake mix with the melted butter to make a crumb topping. To assemble the cake, cut the white cake in half to spread the lemon cream filling between the two layers of white cake. Frost the top of the cake with a thin layer of cream filling and sprinkle the crumb topping.  And finally, a dusting of powdered sugar just finishes it off...

Helpful Tips:

 The secret is the mascarpone cheese.

A little lemon zest always makes things better :)

#lemon #lemoncake #lemoncreamcake #olivegarden #olivegardenlemoncreamcake #yummy #foodie #homemade #easterdessert #jancooksrealfood #jancancook #janspicx

Restaurant Quality Lemon Creme Brulee

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 23, 2022

Oh my, what a special dessert this is.  This Lemon Creme Brulee is a totally decadently richly lemon infused custard topped off with a crackly torched sugar top and it is beyond delicious.  If you are a fan of creme brulee, this takes it to a whole new level.  I first experienced this at The Cooper House, a wonderful little cafe in New Harmony, Indiana many years ago.  I had gone for a girls lunch with my friend, V, and we both were absolutely swooning over how wonderful this dessert was.

I came home, researched many recipes and adjusted them until I found this one that is just perfection.    It's one of those desserts that I don't make often, and only because of the calories.  This is absolutely sinfully delicious, but oh, it's so worth the calories for a special occasion. 

To ensure the custards cook gently and gradually, place the ramekins in a baking pan lined with a kitchen towel and partially fill the pan with hot water (known as a water bath). This helps insulate the delicate custards from the heat. 


Juice of 2 lemons
2 cups heavy cream
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plus 6 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 egg yolks 


Preheat an oven to 300°F. Line a shallow baking pan with a kitchen towel. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the lemon juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the juice is reduced to about 1 Tbs., 3 to 5 minutes.

In another saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, lemon zest and the 1/2 cup sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until steam rises from the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the vanilla and egg yolks until smooth and combined. Slowly add the cream mixture, whisking constantly, then stir in the reduced lemon juice. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and divide among six 3.5-oz. ramekins. Place the ramekins in the prepared baking pan and add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set, about 40 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Let the custards cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar evenly over the surface of each custard. Using a kitchen torch according to the manufacturer’s instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

#cremebrulee #lemon #lemoncremebrulee #restaurantdessert #yummy #foodie #jancooksrealfood #jancancook #janspicx

Portillo's Famous Chopped Salad with Bacon and Pasta

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 28, 2022

Oh, this is the stuff that Italian dreams are made of, Portillo's Chopped Salad, creamy dressing, lots of bacon, cheese, pasta, what's not to love...

It's Monday, I was going to post a healthy salad and then I thought, no, why would I do that when I can share this knockoff Portillo's Chopped Salad with all of you.  If you're not familiar with Portillo's, it's a famous Italian restaurant in Chicago who's humble beginnings go back to 1963 when it all started as a hot dog stand.

Over the years, Portillo’s has developed a huge fan base that includes many Hollywood actors, professional athletes, and politicians – you can see many of their pictures hanging on their restaurant walls. 


1/3 cup white or regular balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons sugar, honey or maple
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


8 ounces (about 1 cup or so) uncooked Ditalini pasta (see note)
5 cups chopped lettuce (use what you like: romaine, spring mix, iceberg or a combo)
1 cup chopped red cabbage (see note)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/4 - 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (see note)


Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender or jar. Process or shake until well-combined. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. You can make and refrigerate the dressing a week or two in advance.

Cook the pasta according to package directions in boiling, salted water. Drain and rinse quickly with cool water so it doesn't stick together while it cools. Pour a few tablespoons of the dressing over the pasta and stir lightly. Set aside to cool to room temperature (spreading it into a flatter layer - versus mounded in a bowl - will speed up the cooling process).

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, and green onions. Add the cooled pasta, bacon, gorgonzola cheese, and chicken.

To serve, you can toss the salad with the dressing before serving - or, if you anticipate leftovers, add dressing only to the portions of salad served and then store the dressing and salad separately for fabulous leftovers.


Pasta: ditalini pasta is a tiny tube-shaped pasta. If you can't find it, you can easily substitute another small pasta shape. Even small elbow macaroni would work. You're looking for about 3 cups cooked pasta when it's all said and done. 

Lettuce: the lettuce is really customizable, the original Portillo's salad is a combination of iceberg, romaine and red cabbage. 

A rotisserie chicken works great here, as well as any other kind of leftover cooked/grilled chicken (the more flavorful, the better!). You could also leave the chicken out completely for a side dish salad.  

Vinegar: white balsamic vinegar works really well, but regular dark balsamic will work, too, just keep in mind that the darker dressing will add color to the salad.. I think you could easily use red or white wine vinegar, too. 

Leftovers: this salad makes the best leftovers. If you aren't going to eat the entire salad, just don't add the dressing until you serve it so it doesn't get soggy.

#salad #choppedsalad #jancooksrealfood #portillos #bacon #tomatoes #healthyeating #healthyfood 

Janet's Pad Thai from Food Network

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, May 08, 2010


  • 5 ounces strip steak, cut into 1/2-inch thinly sliced strips
  • 1/2 tablespoon red Thai curry powder
  • 1 (7-ounce) package rice stick noodles
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Asian sweet red chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 generous pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives

Garnish -

  • 1 cup shredded or julienned carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
  • Spicy chili sauce, optional (recommended: Sambal Oelek)


Put the sliced strip steak and red Thai curry powder in a resealable container and shake until the meat is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, to marinate.

Meanwhile soak all the noodles in cold water for 30 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. When the water comes to a boil add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes.

While the noodles are cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a wok, over medium-high heat. Using a pair of tongs, remove the noodles from the boiling water and allow them to drain of any water over the top of the pot, and then carefully put them into wok and stir. Crack 2 unbeaten eggs directly into the wok along with the garlic, and stir until the egg is incorporated. Push the noodles to the rear portion of the wok and add the seasoned strip steak. Sear the meat for 1 minute, then turn and sear the other side for 1 minute. Mix the noodles back into the center of the wok along with the meat, and then add the sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce, tamarind, sugar, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in the basil and chives and remove from heat. Divide the noodles into 2 to 3 portions on serving plates. Garnish each serving with carrots, cabbage, sprouts, chopped peanuts, wedges of lime and spicy chili sauce, if desired.

Source:  FoodNetwork

Nick And Toni's Penne alla Vecchia Bettola from The BareFoot Contessa

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 28, 2010 recipe is from Nick & Toni's, a popular restaurant in the Hamptons. It's their signature dish, obtained while traveling in Italy twenty years ago, and served in the restaurant ever since.

1/4 cup good olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes (Cento's San Marzano)
Kosher salt
1 pound penne pasta
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
Grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over
medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes
until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes, dried oregano and vodka,
and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve,
crush them with your hands, and place them in a 5 quart ovenproof pot
or Dutch oven. Add the onions to the tomatoes and cover with a tight
lid. Place the pot in the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the
pot from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water
to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Set

Place the tomato mixture in a blender and
puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency, and return to
the pot.

Reheat the tomato sauce and add the heavy
cream, fresh oregano and salt, to taste, and simmer for 5 minutes. Toss
the sauce with the pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, to taste.

Source:  The Barefoot Contessa