Olive Garden Salad and Dressing

WARNING – This Post contains lots of BUTTER!

I had been looking forward to Friday this past week, all week as we had plans to have some friends over for dinner. First time having them over. Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE to have people over for dinner. I plan for a week! I clean the whole apt, and I mean clean, clean. I have O.C.D. and well the thought of anyone thinking I am messy or my house isn’t clean would be the worst thing to me. I am the cleanest, neatest person I know. I mean, I dust baseboard, window ceils, I have dusted light bulbs and cleaned my entire shower with a tooth-brush. There are NEVER dishes in my sink and if there is I freak out. Can’t stand when there are spots on my carpet, hate dust. Can’t STAND finger prints. I will vacuum the whole apt if I find one piece of link on the carpet. (I think I have mentioned in previous posts how clean and O.C.D I am). I’d rather be overly clean than messy or dirty!  Paper towels are my best friend! I have issues with using a sponge to wipe counter tops. I have tons of picture frames and I wipe each one down with paper towels and windex. Yes I know I have issues! But I think there could be worse things than being clean!

So we had Dan and Kelli over for dinner tonight! Normy plays WOW -World of Warcraft with Dan and I know Kelli well through Normy. Normy Met Dan through his sis cause they went to high school together. Kelli also LOVES my food pictures and she is my best cupcake customer! She was also the one who gave me the idea to be a personal chef. She had me make her Anniversary dinner! Kelli also knits! She made me a couple scarfs and socks! I will trade her food and cupcakes for scarfs and socks!

On the Menu:

Chicken Parmesan – Normy makes the chicken and it is so moist and juicy and so flavorful. He actually does the chicken better than I do! Probably because he’s had LOTS of practice! Chicken Parmesan is what Normy has made for his mom for Mother’s day for the past 5-6 years (maybe longer) So he’s gotten quite good at making it!

Olive Garden Salad with Dressing – I found this recipe online and I recall Kelli saying something about liking Olive Garden so I thought this salad would be PERFECT! (Recipe below)

The Bread – By The Pioneer Woman. I got the tip from Lori (My #1 food blog fan) to make this bread and she introduced Holy cow dip to Normy and I!

finally Nutella Wontons – Kelli Loves Nutella so I ALWAYS like to make something that someone really likes. I always make mental notes of things they like so that when I have them over for dinner I make something extra special just for them! Who doesn’t like to feel special!? I know I do!

When having a dinner party (these are rules by Jamie):

#1 you MUST have wine!  Like in the song by Billy Joel – Scenes From An Italian Restaurant:

A bottle of white, a bottle of red…
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#2 usually I like to cook the meal by myself. But I think its great to have help, especially from a Puerto Rican hubby, who knows how to cook a mean chicken breast! I guess when you add cheese, butter, and bread crumbs, you CAN’T GO WRONG:
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#3 You gotta use butter! (I am all for working out and being in shape and looking good and eating good) Sometimes you just need to take a day off from being good and add some butter! I told Kelli that it was Friday and Calories don’t count on Fridays! So bring on the BUTTER!
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and CHEESE!
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#4 You have to be willing to dive in and get your hands a little dirty, this is cooking! A chef’s best tools are their hands, (clean hands) so dive in and get those hands messy and dirty:
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and last, you need some good peeps to cook for! Peeps who LOVE food and aren’t afraid to eat and drink! Peeps who aren’t all worried about what’s in their food. Peeps who say damn that looks good and dive in and eat!

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Recipe

1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/3 cup White vinegar
1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Corn syrup
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Romano cheese
1 clove Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Parsley flakes
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 bag American blend Dole salad
4 sliced rings Purple onion
8 jumbo Black olives
6 Banana peppers
1/2 cup Croutons
2 Roma tomatoes
Parmesan cheese
Peppercorns

For the dressing:

Mix the first eleven ingredients in a blender until well mixed. If this is a little to tart for your own personal taste, add 1 Tablespoon of sugar.

For the salad:

Pour 1/2 package of the salad blend into a large salad bowl. Top with 1/2 of the onion, olives, banana peppers, croutons and tomatoes. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Add the other 1/2 bag of salad and more dressing to taste. Toss well. Top the salad with the remaining onion, olives, banana peppers, croutons and tomatoes.

Pass the grated parmesan cheese and black pepper mill at the table
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