Olive Garden Is Selling Pasta Nachos For The Super Bowl (Photo)


By Cooking Panda

There are nachos — your go-to plate when it’s just you and a few friends.

Then there are lasagna nachos — your go-to plate for you and a few friends so long as those friends are not full-blooded Italians.

Olive Garden has unveiled an Italian-inspired “dish” billed as “Loaded Pasta Chips” — which are essentially nacho chips made from pasta — as a hopeful addition to America’s traditional Super Bowl fare.

And it’s not exactly a hard sell.

The dish consists of a generous heap of pasta chips, enrobed in melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese with just enough space for a three-meat Italian tomato sauce already loaded with chicken, meatballs, sausage, and cherry peppers, plus just a delicate drizzle of alfredo sauce. Fresh parsley and a careful sprinkling of Pecorino Romano and Parmesan for a finishing touch.

Like most Super Bowl cuisine, the stipulations are simple: It must taste good; it must hold well on cheap paper plates or hands; and, when serving said cuisine, calories and general health concerns should be treated as afterthoughts.

And by those standards, Olive Garden’s Loaded Pasta Chips fit the bill. Gluttonous, gratuitous, and a visual spectacle.

The writers at Foodbeast already signed off on the dish themselves and reported in considerable detail of the “more savory than spicy” pasta chips. When paired with the “creamy, nutty Alfredo,” the wonton-like chips create a welcoming “harmony” with the hearty meat sauce. The dish is of generous proportion and, given how much goes on top of the chips, it is “incredibly rich” and can be shared or eaten in one ambitious solo mission.

But just how rich is this loaded pasta nacho dish?

According to Olive Garden’s menu, the dish will set you back 1,520 calories, which on Game Day is just a starter. You still have a rack of ribs, wings, beer, and pizza to get through, and any devil-may-care food challenges you may incur from fellow Super Bowl viewers.

But, still, these loaded nachos are certainly worth a try for just $8.49, but be forewarned — there are no safeguards in place in the event that you enjoy the dish in its entirety all by yourself.

Sources: Grub Street, Foodbeast, Olive Garden / Featured Image: Anthony92931/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: Olive Garden, Pasta Nachos
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Olive Garden’s Breadsticks Are The Perfect Holiday Gift (Photo)


By Cooking Panda

Never underestimate the value of a quick sugar spike or an instant carb-induced coma. Bread, made simply with flour, water and yeast, was the first holy grail of food and took hours to make before 1928 when sliced, plastic-wrapped white bread was born.

At the center of a good, true-blue Italian restaurant table are bread and butter. Writer and naturalist, John Muir, was quoted saying, “Bread without butter or coffee without milk is an awful calamity.” There’s also a saying that “gratitude remains bread and butter of the humble.” Our love for carbs is written in our language; it’s a descriptor of necessity. And who doesn’t love a fresh slice of bread?

This year you can share the love of the basic “bread and butter” of the holidays (family, loved ones, phoneless reunions) with well, bread, and butter.

Olive Garden’s simple take-out service is an unexpected fix to contrived Christmas wine, snowman cookies and hot chocolate mason jars. You can order the chain’s popular breadsticks to-go and request that they be placed in a box. Dress the box in gift wrap and bows for an original holiday gift that will surely be gone by the time it’s handed over to eager hands. Pull out all the bells and whistles and the end result could look like a Christmas miracle.

Olive Garden’s bottomless breadsticks, which the company billed as a practice of “Italian generosity,” draws in such a large cult-like following that there is a chance of an Amazon Prime on-demand delivery service for the Italian restaurant chain, according to Insider.

Darden Restaurant CEO Gene Lee revealed that the company is running tests through Amazon Prime delivery service, which could mean a bottomless feast of breadsticks in the comfort of your own home. Should you decide to gift breadsticks this year, you can act as Amazon Prime’s proxy, the bearer of bread and butter — the essential piece to grace the holiday dinner table.

Also, make sure to leave an extra breadstick on the side. On the busiest night of the year, even Santa requires the occasional carb overload.

Sources: Delish, Today, Insider / Featured Image: Bev Sykes/Flickr ​/ Embedded Image: Delish

Tags: Breadsticks, Olive Garden
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Olive Garden’s New Dessert Menu Item Is Mind Blowing! (Photos)


By Cooking Panda

Cookie Butter Cake sounds almost too good to be true, but it’s very, very real — and for a limited time, you can eat it at Olive Garden.

The Italian-American chain, which CNN notes has seen a huge boom in profits since revamping its image in 2014 and paying more homage to traditional Italian food, has just released a handful of new menu items you can order through late September, according to Brand Eating.

Most important, the Cookie Butter Cake layers a mixture of crumbled speculoos cookies in sweet butter (cookie butter, basically) between a base of vanilla cake and tops the whole thing off with a caramel drizzle.

Take a look at this beauty:

For about $7.99 and a caloric sacrifice of 530 calories, it’s all yours!

There are 10 other items you might see on the menu, also available until late September. Check them out:

Angry Alfredo Spicy Chicken Dip: Angry Alfredo sauce is pretty self-explanatory and pretty delicious. This cheesy, creamy dip has chicken mixed right in, and you get to scoop it into your mouth with breadstick crostini.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip: This isn’t your average spinach-artichoke dip; it has five different cheeses in it and is served warm with breadstick crostini.

Dip Duo: Between Angry Alfredo Spicy Chicken Dip, Spinach-Artichoke and Five Italian Cheese Fonduta, you get to pick two and eat them with warm breadstick crostini.

Parmesan Zucchini Bites: Lightly breaded, flavorful fried zucchini served with marinara sauce to dip.

Meatball Stuffed Pizza Fritta: Fried pizza dough filled with meatballs, mushrooms, onions, cheese and marinara sauce. Dip in either marinara or Alfredo sauce.

Sirloin with Fettuccine Alfredo: This grilled six-ounce steak is topped with garlicherb butter comes with fettuccine Alfredo and parmesan-crusted zucchini.

Lobster Ravioli: Lobster Alfredo sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and basil top this cheese and lobster-stuffed ravioli. Double lobster=double awesome.

Citrus Glazed Salmon: This citrus red pepper grilled salmon filet comes with citrus fettucine Alfredo.

Warm Berry Crostata: Vanilla ice cream and a berry drizzle sit atop a pastry filled with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Milan Mai Tai: Thirsty? This drink, featuring Malibu Rum, grenadine, amaretto liqueur, pineapple juice and sour mix should do the trick!

Tropical Margarita: El Jimador Silver 100% blue agave tequila gets mixed with Malibu Rum, Blue Curacao liqueur and a splash of pineapple juice for a tasty twist on the classic cocktail.

Sources: Brand Eating, CNN / Featured Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr / Embedded Images: Brand Eating

Tags: cookie butter cake, Food News, Olive Garden, Olive Garden dessert, Olive Garden menu
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Go Build Your Own Tour Of Italy At Olive Garden!


By Cooking Panda

Honestly, what’s better than one Italian entree? Three Italian entrees. 

Olive Garden fans, there’s some great news for you. 

If you’re on a budget and can’t make it to Italy this summer, don’t fret. You can “Create Your Own Tour of Italy” now at Olive Garden!

Sure, it’s not exactly the same as touring the Italian countryside and trying the authentic cuisine there, but hey, we’ll take it! 

The “Create Your Own Tour of Italy” menu is now back at Olive Garden for summer 2017. The limited-time menu allows you to choose from three categories of dishes, so that you end up getting a plate with three different entrees, according to Brand Eating.

If you’re like me and you can never make up your mind about what to order for the main course, then this menu is for you.

The first category offers a choice between four specialty dishes: Grilled Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Parmigiana, Shrimp Scampi or Lasagna Classico (or, in Italian, lasagna classica). Once you’ve picked one of these, you get to choose between three filled pastas: Cheese Ravioli with Marinara, Tortelloni al Forno or Spinach Ricotta Mezzaluna Ravioli with Pesto Alfredo.

Finally, finish off your dish with one of Olive Garden’s “signature” pastas, either the Fettuccine Alfredo or the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.

And that’s not all. Just like with every other Olive Garden entree, the Tour of Italy menu also allows you to get unlimited soup or salad, plus Olive Garden’s signature breadsticks (and who could forget the breadsticks?).

Prices for this fun, three-pronged menu start at $12.99, but may vary.  And if you’re ordering from this menu, you’ll definitely want to come hungry.

If I had to craft my own personal “Tour of Italy” menu, I’d go with the Grilled Chicken Parmigiana, the Spinach Ricotta Mezzaluna Ravioli with Pesto Alfredo, and the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.

What combination would you choose? 

Source: Brand Eating  / Photo credit: Anthony92931/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: Olive Garden, tour of italy
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Olive Garden Rewards Early Diners With Special Deal


By Cooking Panda

If you’re somebody who likes to eat earlier (it’s better for digestion and sleep health, right?) but also like to save money, then Olive Garden should probably be your next stop.

For a limited time, Olive Garden is offering those with an insatiable appetite earlier in the evening a special called the “Early Dinner Duos” deal.

Basically, for $8.99 (although this may vary from location to location), you’ll be able to take your pick from unlimited soup or salad (and breadsticks, of course!), as well as a choice from a limited selection of entrees.

The deal is available during non-peak hours, obviously — so you’ll want to get to Olive Garden between 3 to 5 p.m. to capitalize on the deal. Additionally, it’s only available on Monday through Thursday, so weekend diners will have to pay full price.

The different entrees you can choose from include:

– Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

– Fettuccine Alfredo

– Eggplant Parmigiana

– Five Cheese Ziti al Forno

– Soup & Salad (in case you want to forgo an entree and just get both)

– Lasagna Classico

– Cheese Ravioli with Marinara

– Ravioli di Portobello

– Chicken Parmigiana

– Grilled Chicken Parmigiana

– Chicken Piccata

Did you know that there are a staggering 50 different possible combinations you can make with the options available?

Soup options at Olive Garden include Minestrone, Zuppa Toscana, Pasta Fagioli, and Chicken & Gnocchi.


Source: Olive Garden / Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr

Tags: dinner duos, italian restaurant, limited time, Olive Garden, unlimited breadsticks
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Olive Garden’s New Pasta Deal Is Amazing


By Cooking Panda

Olive Garden is entering the next phase of its Never Ending Classics promotion, and we are stoked!

Delish reports that this throwback to unlimited pasta will include all the classic favorites, such as spaghetti with meat sauce, fettucine Alfredo (with or without chicken), chicken parmesan and lasagna. You can even swap out your lasagna (or whichever first dish you chose) for a chicken parm (or whichever other dish you chose) if you’d like! The price is $11.99, so make sure you wear some baggy clothes and fill up.

The limited time offer runs until March 6, 2017, and according to an Olive Garden press release, the five entrees that are part of this program are the customer favorites.

“First we introduced unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. Then we debuted Never Ending Pasta Bowl. And now we’re excited to give our fans the chance to revel in unlimited helpings of their favorite Olive Garden classics,” said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing. “We selected five of our most popular entrees so guests may indulge in as many of their favorites as they want, all at an incredible value.” The deal also includes “homemade soup or salad,” and breadsticks.

This is the first time Olive Garden has ever made their classic dishes endless, according to their website. The inspiration came from how well the endless pasta bowl promotion worked the last time around. I have to admit, it’s not surprising. “Endless” has a pretty good ring to it.

If you aren’t familiar with Olive Garden’s classics, now’s the time to jump onboard and try a bit of everything. The spaghetti and meat sauce involves beef and Italian sausage in a tomato sauce over spaghetti noodles. The Alfredo sauce in the fettucine dish is made with heavy cream, garlic and parmesan cheese. The Lasagna Classico features layers of pasta with the meat sauce described above and parmesan, mozzarella and pecorino-Romano cheeses. Finally, the chicken parmesan consists of two breaded chicken breasts covered in Olive Garden’s homemade marinara sauce and Italian cheeses.

If those descriptions don’t make you want to run to your nearest Olive Garden, I don’t know what will.

Sources: Delish, Olive Garden Press Release, Olive Garden / Photo Credit: Olive Garden

Tags: Classic Dishes, Never Ending Pasta, Olive Garden, pasta
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Prepare Yourselves: Olive Garden Is Offering Even More Unlimited Pasta Passes


By Cooking Panda

Olive Garden fans, listen up: This could be your year!

The Italian-American chain is bringing back unlimited pasta in a huge way over the next couple months, and if you are willing to shell out a little extra dough, you could be the lucky recipient of a Never Ending Pasta Pass, which will allow you to eat as much pasta as you can possibly imagine over the course of seven weeks, for the reasonable price of $100.

Here’s why: Sit-down chains like Olive Garden have seen their sales dip dramatically while struggling in recent years to compete with the ever-popular fast-casual chains, according to Bloomberg. As a result, over the last couple of years, Olive Garden has changed around its menu, Sticking to their classic offerings and working to bring in higher customer volumes through promotions like this one, which is bumping up the unlimited pasta card sales from 2,000 last year to 21,000 this year.

“Last year, we saw our Pasta Pass holders use their passes an average of 28 times over the seven-week promotion — often bringing along groups of friends,” said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “We were able to generate new excitement for a fan-favorite promotion while tapping into our most loyal guests and allowing them to serve as brand ambassadors.”

The link to the sale starts Sept. 15 at 1:30 pm Eastern Time with the sale itself at 2. If you’re one of the lucky ones to score a credit-card style pass (and you can get only one pass per online transaction), you’ll be able to enjoy as many Never Ending Pasta Bowls (with toppings) for yourself and unlimited soft drinks for you and your guests to your heart’s content. The promotion runs between Oct. 3 and Nov. 20, Olive Garden’s official website says.

If you are interested, you better act fast — last year, the 2,000 passes sold out in only one second.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Sources: Bloomberg, Olive Garden / Photo credit: Olive Garden/Instagram

Tags: never ending pasta pass, Olive Garden, Olive Garden unlimited pasta, restaurant deal
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Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli


By Cooking Panda

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Olive Garden Debuts A New Dessert Lasagna


By Cooking Panda

Olive Garden is debuting a new dessert, just in times for those mid-summer night outings.

The national chain is introducing a Chocolate Caramel Lasagna dessert, an interesting twist on a classic Italian dish.

Featuring layers of chocolate, caramel, vanilla-soaked sponge cake, and creamy custard topped with chocolate shavings, this lasagna will appeal to all sorts of dessert lovers.

On the Wreckless Eating YouTube channel, Matt Zion reviewed the Chocolate Caramel Lasagna. Although he said the lasagna was “Boom Shakalaka good,” he also felt that the cake took away from his overall enjoyment of the dessert.

“Texture-wise, [the cake] throws it off,” Zoin said. “But it’s got a good flavor, very chocolatey, you do taste the caramel … I think I expected a little more from the picture of it that I saw on the menu.”

Over the past two years, Olive Garden has made several changes to increase its sales and the overall quality of its restaurants.

“We’re just running better restaurants today,” said Gene Lee, chief executive officer of Olive Garden, as reported by Fox News. “I don’t think we should discount the importance of ensuring we’re properly staffed, our teams are properly motivated, simplifying the operation, reducing the size of the menu, processes and procedures.”

In addition to improving their staffing procedures, the Orlando, Florida-based chain has also concentrated on encouraging to-go customers to come to the restaurants.

“We benefit significantly at Olive Garden because food travels so well, especially when we put it in bulk containers,” said Lee.

Carryout orders have increased over 40 percent in the past two years, which is 10.5 percent of total sales throughout the country. The restaurant also added large-order delivery services to improve its catering options.

Although the restaurant has been successful with its Never Ending Pasta Pass, company executives believe the key to the restaurant’s success  has been its simplicity.

“One of the things we’re focused on now is trying to keep things simple,” Lee explained. “Doing simple things every day is really hard. That’s what’s given us the biggest lift at Olive Garden. We’re not relying on promotional activity to drive business.”

Sources: Brand Eating, Fox News, WrecklessEating/YouTube / Photo credit: Olive Garden via Brand Eating

Tags: Chocolate Caramel Lasagna, dessert, increase in sales, Olive Garden, review
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Homemade Olive Garden Breadsticks


By Cooking Panda

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