Olive Garden is famous for their soup, salad and breadsticks meal. It is affordable, delicious and surprisingly very filling. While it is easy on the wallet, there are times we simply cannot make it to the popular Italian food chain to satisfy our food cravings. While the salad is easy enough to make, (thanks to them finally selling the dressing in grocery stores everywhere) the soups seem to be a different story.

Luckily, I was able to figure out how to make the chicken gnocchi soup at home, thanks to CopyKat. Over the years, I experimented and was able to give it my own spin. It is #Cost Effective, delicious and quickly became a holiday staple in my house.

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Ingredients

This is actually easier to make than one would think. Most of the ingredients are already household staples, while the others can easily be found in your local grocery store. All you need is 1/2 stick butter, plus one more tablespoon (or five tablespoons of butter), chopped celery, chopped carrots, spinach, 1/4 cup of flour, 1 quart of half and half, 2 cans chicken broth, garlic (to taste), onion (to taste), basil (to taste), oregano (to taste), chicken and 1 package of gnocchi.

I usually use 1 cup of each vegetable, but vary it according to your preferences.

How to prepare

Cook gnocchi according to directions.

Cook chicken according to your own preferences.

Melt butter and add flour to create a roux. Take a little bit of the mixture and mix with half and half to avoid curdling.

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SLOWLY add the half and half. Let it thicken and simmer. Add the chicken broth and spices. Let it heat and thicken before adding remaining ingredients. Cook until heated.

Total time from start to finish: 45 minutes

Tips:

While the recipe calls for chicken stock, I instead use chicken flavored Better Than Boullion. It adds a little bit extra flavor and saves money. Just follow the directions on the can to make the broth.

This can also be made without chicken. My family likes to eat this on Thanksgiving, so we usually double up on the vegetables and forgo the chicken since we are already eating the turkey.

To make it a vegetarian dish, use veggie stock (or Better Than Boullion) instead of the chicken flavor.

Save time by using precooked or rotisserie chicken. (cooking your own chicken can add up to an hour to your prep time!)

Frozen spinach works just as well as fresh.

To save chopping time, buy the precut carrot/onion/celery mix, often found in your local produce section. Added bonus: you don’t have to worry about having undercooked veggies in your soup! Frozen or canned veggies also work in a pinch.

Heavy cream instead of half and half makes it a richer soup. I use half of each to make it a creamier soup.

Feel free to experiment with spices to make it your own. I personally like to add red pepper flakes and Italian spices to mine. #recipes #Olive Garden