Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

posted by Nina on May 16

I like regular marinara sauce, but my favorite types of sauces are ones with a little dairy mixed in with the marinara. (In my book, dairy makes just about everything taste better.) This creamy tomatoey sauce did not disappoint.

12 ounces whole wheat penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium tomatoes chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
Grated parmesan cheese, garnish
Optional add-ins: meatballs, shrimp, Italian sausage

Cook penne according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for 2 minutes.

Remove lid and place skillet back over low heat. Add the penne, Greek yogurt and pasta sauce. (Add cooked meat in at this time if you are using it.) Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through.

Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

What did the family think? As usual, 3/4 of us really liked. There was enough for leftovers today too which is always a bonus.

Did I change anything? The original recipe called for mushrooms, but I left them out since there would have been an uprising if I had put them in the sauce.

Where did this recipe come from? Back to Her Roots

photo from Back to Her Roots

posted by Nina on May 10

First of all, I love a good pot pie…the flaky crust and all of the rich and creamy goodness inside. I also love pizza. So pizza pot pie must be the best thing ever. You could also call these Dump Pizzas or Upside Down Pizzas because you end up flipping the pizza over so the cheese is on the top and the crust is on the bottom. Be forewarned: flipping these are not for the inexperienced. It might just be easier to eat them like a pot pie with the crust on the top. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1 can refrigerated pizza dough (or make your own)
1 jar pizza sauce
18 mozzarella cheese slices (3 per pizza)
pizza toppings
ramekins or oven-safe bowls
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut 6 circles of dough about one inch larger than ramekin or bowl.

Coat the bottom of ramekins or oven-safe bowl with cooking spray.

Arrange three mozzarella slices in the bottom and around the sides of the ramekin making sure they overlap.

Add pizza toppings as desired.

Ladle the sauce over the fillings just until the ramekin is almost full.

Spray the outside of the ramekin with cooking spray, then stretch a round of dough across the top and let hang over the edge.

Bake for 12 minutes until dough is golden. Invert each pizza onto a plate and lift off the ramekin. (or just eat it like a pot pie with the crust on the top)

What did the family think? Yummers!

Where did this recipe come from? Plain Chicken

Before Flipping

After Flipping

Note: These are not the super cute ramekins I had mentioned previously on Facebook. Those are in the dishwasher. These lovely pics are from Plain Chicken.

posted by Nina on May 1

We love Italian food in our house and I loved this recipe because it’s so versatile. I took the basic recipe and added kale, garlic and Italian sausage. You could add mushrooms, onions, spinach…whatever you think your family would like. This dish lends itself very easily to being a great vegetarian meal as well.

1 (18 ounce) package polenta, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 cups kale or spinach, chopped
1 lb ground Italian sausage
2 tsp garlic
1/2 (24 ounce) jar bottled marinara sauce
1/4 cup pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place polenta on a cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray.

Cook polenta for about 5 minutes, turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, saute kale, Italian sausage and garlic until Italian sausage is cooked through.

Spray a 11×7-inch casserole dish lightly with cooking spray and line it with 1/2 of the polenta.

Spread a thin layer of pesto on the polenta. Spoon half of the sauce on top of that.

Top with Italian sausage mixture.

Place the remaining polenta on top and cover with the rest of the sauce.

Bake for 25 minutes and then top with cheese and turn on the broiler until cheese is lightly browned.

What did the family think? They love anything that has cheese and pasta sauce. The kale wasn’t well received by the youngest member of our family, but there was so much else to like that it wasn’t a big deal.

Where did this recipe come from? Allrecipes

Photo from Mangia Bene Pasta

posted by Nina on Apr 9

Yes, it’s as good as it sounds and better. Anything with cream cheese is going to be good and this yummy dish is no exception!

12 oz spaghetti
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

In a skillet, brown the ground beef until cooked through; drain fat and stir in spaghetti sauce. Set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on package. Drain and place cooked spaghetti in bowl. Add cream cheese, Italian Seasoning and minced garlic. Stir until cream cheese is melted and the spaghetti is thoroughly coated.

Lightly grease a 9×13″ pan. Spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of the dish. Put spaghetti on top of sauce and top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

What did the family think? Yum, yum, super yum!

Where did this recipe come from? Plain Chicken

photo from Plain Chicken

posted by Nina on Mar 21

Yep, that’s right, another pasta dish. We do love our pasta around here and this one was no exception. Yum!

1 pound ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 package (25 ounces) frozen ravioli
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.

In a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish, layer a third of the spaghetti sauce, half of the ravioli and beef and 1/2 cup cheese; repeat layers. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover and bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.

What did the family think? They loved it and it made enough for lunches the next day, too.

Where did this recipe come from? Taste of Home

photo from Campbell Kitchen

posted by Nina on Mar 16

Everyone in our house loved this recipe and I feel like that hasn’t happened in a really long time. This was also super, duper easy which was also awesome.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
2 1/2 cups water
12 lasagna noodles, broken
1 tub (10 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Tomato & Basil Cooking Creme

Brown meat in a deep large nonstick skillet; drain.

Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Bring to boil. Stir in noodles; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 18 to 20 min. or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cooking creme. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 3 minutes.

What did the family think? Everyone loved this and most of us went back for seconds.

Did I change anything? The original recipe called for some chopped green and red peppers. I left those out. Next time I might add some chopped zucchini or some spinach though. Also, I have a feeling that any sort of macaroni/penne-type noodle would probably work just fine.

Where did this recipe come from? The back of the carton of the tomato and basil cooking creme

posted by Nina on Mar 9

It has been beautiful here the past couple of days, but the nights are still chilly. I was worried it might be too warm outside to make this soup, but it turned out to be the perfect weather and this soup went beautifully with a green salad and and the yummy baguette I picked up from the bakery.

15 oz white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
32 oz chicken broth
15 oz cans Italian style diced tomatoes
1 lb Italian sausage
2 oz fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan, to taste

Cook Italian sausage in a large pot. When cooked through, add all other ingredients. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

What did the family think? Hubby and I thought this was great. Our kids are not soup people unless it’s miso, so I knew they wouldn’t like this.

Where did this recipe come from? The Girl Who Ate Everything

Photo from My Recipes

posted by Nina on Feb 26

We eat salmon every Sunday for dinner per my husband’s request. You can imagine that it might get a little boring if I don’t figure out different ways to make it. I usually just sprinkle a little lemon pepper on it and call it good, but this evening I got a little adventurous.

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 T Parmesan
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dast of garlic powder
1 lb salmon filet

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray glass cooking dish with cooking spray.

In a small bowl combine all ingredients except the salmon.

Place salmon skin-side down in glass baking dish and sprinkle breading mixture on top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

We had this with Lemony Green Beans and a baguette.

What did the family think? Hubby and I really liked it.

Where did this recipe come from? adapted from a recipe from Allrecipes

posted by Nina on Feb 24

This dish was a huge ginormous hit at our house. I have to admit that as I was making it I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over. First, I thought I had bought the right type of pasta, but it turned out I didn’t and then I wasn’t sure I had enough meatballs. Did I mention that I didn’t even start cooking dinner until after 8:00? If this dish was a bomb I had no idea what Plan B was going to be, especially since it was so late. Thankfully everything worked out beautifully and there were happy bellies all around the table.

1 (16-ounce) package frozen precooked meatballs, thawed
1 (16-ounce) package orzo pasta (or any other type of small pasta)
1-1/2 cups baby frozen peas
1 (16-ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
1 (6 to 7-ounce) container basil pesto
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until almost al dente, about 1 minute less cooking time than the package suggests.

Place peas in colander and drain pasta over peas; return all to pot. Add meatballs, Alfredo sauce, sour cream, milk, and pesto and mix gently. Pour milk into Alfredo sauce jar, close lid, and shake; add that to the pasta mixture and stir. (By doing this you can get more of the Alfredo sauce out of the jar.)

Pour into 2-1/2 quart casserole dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes until casserole is bubbly and top begins to brown.

What did the family think? They loved it! I think everyone had seconds.

Did I change anything? I left out the peas…no time for drama at the dinner table last night. Also, since I didn’t have the right type of pasta, I used some pasta that I had bought for another recipe that never got made…it was teeny tiny star-shaped pasta…it worked beautifully.

Where did this recipe come from? Busycooks

photo from Busycooks

posted by Nina on Feb 17

My kids like lasagna and I thought maybe they’d like it in a little muffin cup. These are super easy to make and are easy to heat up if you have leftovers, too.

2 packages plain or buttermilk biscuits
1 jar pasta sauce, divided
1 lb Italian sausage
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
Ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook Italian sausage in a pan over medium heat.

Spray muffin pan.

Press one biscuit into each muffin cup, pressing around the edges forming a cup.

Mix sausage, cheese, and 1/2 cup pasta sauce in a mixing bowl.

Place a spoonful of the sausage/cheese mixture in each muffin cup and
top with a small dollop of ricotta cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Serve with pasta sauce on the side for dipping.

What did the family think? These went over VERY well. I think our oldest went back for thirds.

Where did this recipe come from? Spark Recipes

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