Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Chicken Meatball Subs

July 31, 2010

These chicken meatballs are absolutely delicious. I had them as subs, as well as with pasta….delicious!

Highly, highly recommend these if you’re looking to do something a little different with your meatballs 🙂

Chicken Meatballs

(How Sweet It Is)

1 pound ground chicken

2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil


– Heat skillet on medium heat. Add one tablespoon olive oil.

– Mix chicken with remaining ingredients. Form into meatballs about 1 1/2 inches thick. Brown in pan on all sides until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

– Makes about 8-10 meatballs.


Lasagnas for Two

May 8, 2010

I love these. And honestly? I can’t believe I didn’t think to do it.

Making lasagna in a disposable bread pan — it’s just the right amount for two people for one meal!

And even better — it makes 3 loaf pans, so you essentially can make 3 meals and freeze the other 2 for later.

I recently made them for friends who just had a baby — and made some for DH and I as well. Pictures are unbaked — we haven’t eaten one yet! LOL

You can make any flavor/type of lasagna you want with this method. Check out Joelen’s original recipe through the link to see some of the other creative lasagna ideas she lists!

Lasagnas for Two

(Joelen’s Culinary Adventures)

1 package lasagna ‘no boil’ pasta sheets (Barilla makes a good one that fits)
1-2 jars pasta sauce or 4 cups homemade pasta sauce
1-2 packages or 4 cups shredded mozzarella or shredded Italian blend cheese
1 large tub part skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (or dried)
Optional – 1 lb bulk Italian sausage or links (removed from casings)
1 package of disposable foil loaf pans (which usually comes in 3)

Yields 3 foil loaf pans


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees if you’re planning on eating one of these as soon as you make it.

– If you choose to include italian sausage in your lasagna, crumble the bulk Italian sausage or sausage removed from casings into a hot non stick skillet. Cook the sausage completely, drain from any oil and set aside.

– In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese, chopped parsley, and salt & pepper to taste; set aside.

– Prepare your loaf pans by putting a few tablespoons of pasta sauce on the bottom. This helps prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan and gives the no boil pasta sheets some moisture to cook. As you build your lasagna, be sure to have the pasta sheets surrounded by pasta sauce – on the top and bottom. This helps the dry pasta sheets cook with enough moisture since they are not being cooked beforehand.

– Next, place one no boil pasta sheet in the loaf pan. It won’t sit in perfectly but that’s okay. Continue layering the lasagna because eventually it will settle flat on the bottom as it cooks.

– Top the pasta with another few tablespoons of pasta sauce, followed by a few spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese mixture, a sprinkling of shredded cheese and more pasta sauce. Repeat until you’ve filled the loaf pan to the top, making sure to end with a pasta sheet. Top the pasta sheet with more pasta sauce.

– You also have the option to top the lasagna with shredded cheese before baking, but I tend to hold off so that the cheese doesn’t burn since it’s being baked uncovered. I sprinkle the cheese on top just before serving but do whichever you prefer

At this point, you can:

1) Cover and place in a freezer bag, freezing it to enjoy later.
2) Place it on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes.

Last Minute Lasagna

January 3, 2010

This Real Simple recipe was quite tasty! I’d make it again for a fun twist on lasagna 🙂

Last Minute Lasagna

(Real Simple, via Carrots N Cake)

1 24- or 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
2 18-20-ounce refrigerated* large cheese ravioli
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed dry
1 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 375° F. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover with a single layer of ravioli. Top with half the spinach, half the mozzarella, and a third of the sauce. Repeat with another layer of ravioli and the remaining spinach, mozzarella, and half the remaining sauce. Top with another layer of ravioli and the remaining sauce (not all the ravioli may be needed). Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

CALORIES 385(40% from fat); FAT 17g (sat 8g); CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 507mg; CARBOHYDRATE 35g; SODIUM 1183mg; PROTEIN 22mg; FIBER 4g; IRON 3mg

* I used frozen ravioli instead of the expensive refrigerated kind. I defrosted the frozen ravioli before using them in the recipe. The frozen ravioli worked great!

Baked Ziti

November 21, 2009

Annie’s baked ziti is the best.

Hands down.

I’ve tried dozens of recipes, and DH was never quite satisfied with it….until now. He actually told me “Don’t change ANYTHING. Do it exactly this way, again”

That means he liked it. LOL

I did make some changes, and they’re noted below…

I also made this dish completely except for cooking it (I let the sauce mixture cool before assembling) and let my DH pop it in the oven for dinner the following night. The only change is it took about 20 more minutes in the oven, since it was cold from the fridge.

Baked Ziti

(Annie’s Eats)

1 lb. whole milk or 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
Table salt
1 lb. ziti
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
20 oz. turkey Italian sausage (I used 1 lb. regular sweet italian sausage)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided (I used dried)
1 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3 cups baby spinach (I added this to the cheese mixture)

– Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.

– Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl, gently stir in spinach; set aside.

– Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes.  Drain the pasta and leave in colander.

– Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Crumble in the turkey sausage and cook until nearly browned.

– Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned.

– Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

– In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and heavy cream.  Transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.

– Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella.  Stir to combine.

– Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.

– Transfer the pasta to a 9Ă—13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top.

– Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top.

– Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

– Remove the foil from the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer.

– Cool for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.


I don’t usually make things up… (Vegetable Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce)

August 12, 2009


I don’t normally make up recipes.

I’m just bad at it.

Maybe that’s why I like baking — I love having precise measurements for EVERYTHING.

That being said, when someone on my cooking message board posted about “veggie stuffed shells in tomato cream sauce” last week, I was dying to try it.

And then she said she didn’t really have a recipe, and was just winging it.

Now, I could’ve panicked, or I could’ve just not made them.

But I foraged ahead.

And they were delicious.

Measurements are obviously approximate…I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in my abilities, and figured they would suck, so I didn’t really keep track LOL

Vegetable Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce

(Me, with the assistance of StephnJohn on What’s Cooking)

1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli

1-1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 small zucchini, shredded and squeezed of all it’s extra juice

1/2 lb white mushrooms, finely diced

1 box jumbo shells

2 large cans crushed tomatoes (You can easily do it with 1 — I made two so there would be leftover sauce….I used 1 can roasted garlic flavor and 1 can basil flavor, and added some oregano, additional garlic, salt and pepper to it)

1/2 – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

16 oz part skim ricotta cheese

16 oz lowfat cottage cheese

1/2 cup – 3/4 cup light cream

1 tbsp olive oil


– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

– Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the jumbo shells according to the directions; drain and rinse and set aside to cool slightly

– Combined two cans  crushed tomatoes — I used one roasted garlic flavor and one basil flavor to automatically flavor the sauce. Add some oregano and a little more garlic and let simmer

– Chop up fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms, canned artichokes, fresh broccoli, and shredded fresh zucchini — really anything you like! Eggplant would be delicious….

– In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add chopped vegetables.  Cook it for 5 minutes or so until veggies begin to wilt/cook down.

– In a large bowl, mix the veggies with 16 oz ricotta and 16 oz cottage cheese, salt and pepper.

– Remove the sauce from the heat, and add the cream, stirring to incorporate it

– Place a small amount of sauce in your bakewear, then begin stuffing your shells and placing them in the dish

– Cover with sauce (you will definitely have leftover sauce if you use two big cans), then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

– Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Roasted Garlic and Mozzarella Meatballs

August 12, 2009

These meatballs were delicious! And it was fun cutting into them and seeing the mozzarella cheese oozing out 🙂


Roasted Garlic and Mozzarella Meatballs

(Culinary Carrie)

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground italian sausage

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup breadcrumbs

1 head roasted garlic (cut off top of bulb, drizzle olive oil, bake wrapped in foil for 1 hour, 400 degrees F)

1/2 cup cubed mozzarella


– Preheat oven to 350 F

– Squeeze garlic into mixing bowl and add in all other ingredients

– Combine all ingredients with your hands until it looks uniform throughout

– Form mixture into golfball sized balls trying to get all mozzarella covered in meat so that when it melts it doesn’t run out completely (it will probably run out a little bit which is fine) and place in a greased baking dish

– Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done

Trying new sauces…

April 19, 2009

My own homemade spaghetti sauce is good, but, DH isn’t the biggest fan of it. I thought it’d be fun to choose a few from the blogs I read, and try them.

The first one I made was from smitten kitchen. I doubled her recipe, because she warned it didn’t make a lot….but somehow ended up with 3 containers full of sauce.

So luckily, we liked this one — because we’ll be eating it several times!

I changed it from a spaghetti-and-meatballs recipe, to just a meat sauce recipe. I love meatballs, but sometimes it’s just easier when the meat’s in the sauce.

Spaghetti Sauce
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 lb 80% lean ground beef (a little fat makes the sauce taste better)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
3 tsp minced garlic
2 pinches red pepper flake
1 cup good red wine (I used some tomato sauce because i dont like to cook with wine)
29 oz. can pureed tomatoes
29 oz. can chopped or diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

– Brown beef in large stockpot; remove to bowl and set aside
– In same stockpot, heat olive oil, then add onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5-10 minutes
– Add the garlic and red papper flakes and cook for 1 minute
– Add the wine (or tomato sauce), and move heat to high, scraping up all the brown bits from the meat. If using wine, cook until liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. If using tomato sauce, just turn heat back down to medium and continue
– Stir in tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper
– Simmer sauce as long as you like…at least 30 minutes. I simmered it for an hour.

Skillet Noodle Lasagna

February 17, 2009
DH and I LOVED this recipe, and it makes so much food we had it for 2 dinners, and a couple of lunches! It actually re-heats really well — better than regular lasagna!

I made it as a weeknight meal, so it’s pretty quick as well.

Our only complaint is we’d like more spinach — next time I’ll make it with fresh, chopped spinach so I can add as much as I want!

Skillet Noodle Lasagna

1/2 lb pasta, any size/shape you prefer (I used shells)
1 container (1 lb) cottage cheese
1 10 oz package frozen creamed spinach, thawed
1 lb ground meat (I used beef)
Pepper, oregano and garlic powder to taste
1 large 32 ou jar pasta sauce
1 package (8 oz) shredded cheese (I used mozzarella/provolone mix)
1/4 c grated Parmesan

– In a large skillet (12″ and probably somewith with high sides, as this layers up quickly) cook your ground meat, drain any fat and season to taste with black pepper, oregano and garlic powder.
– When done, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
– Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.
– Meanwhile – combine the cottage cheese and creamed spinach in a bowl.
– In the skillet, spread a layer of pasta sauce, about one cup, over the bottom.
– Top with about 1/3 of the noodles, then layer in your meat, and then top with another 1/3 of your noodles.
– Top those with 1/2 of the remaining pasta sauce, then add your cottage cheese mixture and 1/2 of the package of shredded cheese.
– Finally add on your remaining noodles followed by the remaining sauce.
– Cover skillet and turn to high heat and bring to a rapid simmer.
– Reduce to medium heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
– Sprinkle on your remaining shredded cheese and Parmesan cheese.
– Replace cover and simmer for another 2 minutes.
– Remove from heat and let stand for about 10 minutes.
– Serve.

Completed Italian Cookies

December 15, 2008


Meatball Subs

December 7, 2008

I’m always trying new meatball recipes — I just can’t quite find one I really like.

This is this week’s version. It’s tasty, but it’s still not quite what I’m looking for.

Meatballs always end up tasting like meatloaf to me…which leads me to believe they need more spice in them. Anybody have one to reccommend for my next trial run?

Italian Meatballs
(Brown Eyed Baker)

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried Italian parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, divided
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
– Combine 1/4 cup breadcrumbs with milk and let soak for 10 minutes
– Combine with all remaining ingredients and shape into balls
– Bake for 30 minutes, then add to sauce. If you want to cook them the whole way in the oven, cook for 40-45 minutes, depending on size.