Category Archives: Italian

Warm Your Soul Tuscan Soup

I have never been to Tuscany, but if this is what people are eating there, then I need to get myself there ASAP.

1 lb mild Italian sausage
32 oz chicken broth
12 oz evaporated
6-8 red potatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach

Cook the sausage in the same large stew pot you’ll use to cook the soup, drain excess fat and return sausage to pot.

Add the chicken broth and evaporated milk and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat so soup simmers. Add potatoes, onions, seasoning, salt and pepper.

The soup is done when the potatoes are cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Add spinach during the last few minutes of cooking.

What did the family think? My husband is not a huge soup-for-dinner fan and he loved this. I loved it too. The kids did not…they like miso, occasionally a little chicken noodle and any kind of soup with meatballs in it, but that’s about it.

Where did this recipe come from?

photo from

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Italian, Stew/Soup

Sausage and Broccolini Risotto

I love risotto and this looked like it might be a good dish for a chilly night, too. I am so glad we gave this a try. It was SO good and pretty easy too.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 bunch broccolini, roughly chopped (about 8 ounces)
12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over high heat. Add the broccolini and stir-fry until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. Add the sausage, Italian seasoning, onion and carrot to the pot and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 5 more minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 more minute.

Add the wine to the pot and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a boil.

Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven. (Don’t worry if the risotto seems wet; it will thicken when you add the cheese.) Vigorously stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the cheese until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the broccolini and divide among bowls.

Did I change anything? I added the Italian seasoning and I changed the cheese in the recipe from fontina to Parmesan.

What did the family think? Everybody ate it, even our youngest,even after he had spent a good 15 minutes telling us all the reasons why he couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t eat it.

Where did this recipe come from? Food Network

Photo from Food Network


Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It, Italian

Baked Spaghetti

The other day my good friend, Candy, had said that she was going to make baked spaghetti and chocolate chip cookies for dinner. That just sounded so good to me, so I went searching for a baked spaghetti recipe. This is an adapted version of Paula Deen’s baked spaghetti.

4 cups pasta sauce
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, turkey or chicken
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey Jack

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Heat pasta sauce over medium heat in a medium sauce pan.

Crumble the ground beef in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked, with no pink color remaining. Drain the fat from the meat, and then add the ground beef to the sauce.

Cover the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with sauce/meat mixture. Add a layer of pasta and then a little less than 1/2 of each cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, return it to the oven, and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 more minutes.

Did I change anything? This recipe has been greatly simplified by using jarred pasta sauce.

What did the family think? They really liked it. I thought it might be a bit disappointing because I thought it might taste too much just like plain spaghetti, but it was different enough to be interesting.

Where did this recipe come from? adapted from Paula Deen

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make

Crock Pot Pasta

Even my kids weren’t quite sure why we needed to cook pasta in a CrockPot, but they are always up for anything that involves pasta, so we gave it a shot. It turned out great, but be forewarned, this recipe makes a LOT of food.

1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
16 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded, divided

Brown Italian sausage with onion and garlic. Put in crock-pot and add sauce, tomatoes and seasonings. Cook 6-7 hours on low.

Add the last 4 ingredients during the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir well and turn crock-pot to high. Add the last 1/2 cup of mozzarella to melt on the top, replace lid.

Did I change anything? The original recipe called for hamburger instead of Italian sausage and it called for more onion and more spinach. The above recipe is how I made it.

What did the family think? I am glad they liked it because it made so much we’ve been having it for lunch for two days now.

Where did this recipe come from? Becoming Betty

photo from Becoming Betty

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Filed under Everybody Ate It, Italian, Make Ahead of Time

Braided Spaghetti Bread

This looks like it’s hard to make. It’s not, but let your family think you worked for hours in the kitchen whipping up this fancy looking dinner that tastes great and will make your house smell fantastic.

1 Loaf Rhodesâ„¢ Bread Dough or 12 Rhodesâ„¢ Dinner Rolls, thawed to room temperature
6 ounces spaghetti, cooked
1 cup thick spaghetti sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
Melted Butter
Garlic Powder
Parmesan cheese
Parsley flakes
Parchment paper (not necessary, but will make things a lot easier)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray or use parchment paper (I highly recommend using parchment paper for when you have to transfer this to the baking sheet). Roll loaf or combined dinner rolls into a 12×16-inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10-15 minutes.

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and let cool slightly.

Remove wrap from dough. Place spaghetti lengthwise in a 4-inch strip down center of dough. Top with sauce and cheese.

Make cuts 1 1/2-inches apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2-inch of filling. Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling. Then braid strips left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid. Lift braid with both hands and place on a large, sprayed baking sheet. (If you used parchment paper just transfer everything onto the backing sheet.)

Brush with butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and parsley.

Bake at 350°F 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and slice to serve.

Did I change anything? I added garlic powder and brushed it with butter since a friend of mine had made this earlier in the week and thought it would taste better that way.

What did the family think? Yum! Everyone had seconds.

Where did this recipe come from? Rhodes Bread

photo from Rhodes Bread

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Lent, Make Ahead of Time, Vegetarian

Meatball Sandwich

I realize this is more of a dinner idea than a dinner recipe, but it was quick and easy and was perfect last night when I only had about 35 minutes to make dinner and get it on the table before I had to zip out the door to go to a meeting.

Hoagie/hot dog or sub sandwich-type buns
Frozen Meatballs
1 jar pasta sauce
Mozzarella Cheese

Thaw frozen meatballs in the microwave.

While those are defrosting heat pasta sauce in a medium sauce pan until it begins to simmer and then turn down to low.

Put warmed up meatballs in the sauce and let them simmer for a few minutes.

Spoon meatballs and sauce into bun and sprinkle with cheese. (If meatballs are too big, you may need to cut them in half.)

Top with a sprinkle or two or three of cheese.

We had this with fruit salad and a green salad.

What did the family think? They loved it and I sent leftovers in lunches today.

Where did this recipe come from? Desperation on my part for a quick meal that everyone would eat.

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Sandwich, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make

Pizza Casserole

In my weekly challenge of taking some sort of noodle and combining it with red sauce and some sort of Italian-type of meat (think meatballs or Italian sausage) and coming up with something new so that my children will eat without complaining, I give you (drumroll please) the pizza casserole from For Mamas.

2 jars pasta sauce
1 bag egg noodles
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 lbs. crumbled Italian sausage or hamburger
1 package pepperonis

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the egg noodles according to package directions and drain.

Cook sausage and drain off fat.

Using a casserole dish begin layering ingredients. First pour about 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. Then put half of the meat, then half the cheese, then half the noodles and then more sauce and repeat until you end up with the last layer being sauce.

Place the pepperonis on top.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted and it’s bubbling. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Did I change anything? I didn’t use any pepperoni. I think it would be have been super tasty that way, but certain people in our family would have had a fit. In retrospect, they could have just picked them off.

What did the family think? This made quite a bit of food, but after having seconds and eating it for lunch in leftovers for a couple of days, it’s now all gone. They must like it if they keep eating it. 🙂

Where did this recipe come from? For Mamas

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Six Ingredients or Less

Roasted Red Pepper, Meatball and Pepperoni Pasta Bake

We love Italian food in our house. This cooks up pretty quickly and made everyone happy.

1 lb. penne, ziti or farfelle
4 cups pasta sauce
1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1 cup cooked meatballs, quartered
1 cup pepperoni, chopped
1 cup ricotta
3 cups fresh mozzarella, divided
1 cup parmesan, divided
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain when done.

Heat pasta sauce in a pan. Add red peppers, meatballs, pepperoni and ricotta and stir to combine.

Prepare casserole dish with cooking spray. Add cooked pasta and sauce to casserole dish and stir to combine.

Add half of each of the cheeses. Stir.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta.

Bake, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes.

What did the family think? Lots of happy people at the dinner table last night.

Where did this recipe come from? Food Network Magazine, March 2011, p. 59

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian

Beer Pizza Dough

This is a no fail way to make pizza dough that doesn’t involve yeast. One recipe makes two pizza which works out perfectly for our house…one pizza for the kids and one for the adults. There is also something very rewarding about making your own pizza dough. I highly recommend it.

3 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz can beer (use a light kind or your crust will taste “hoppy”)
olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the beer and mix well.

Spread a handful of flour on your work surface and dump the dough onto it.

Toss the dough around to coat it with flour and prevent it from sticking.

Knead it 2 or 3 times.

Shape the dough into a ball and divide it in two if you are making 2 thin crust pizzas.

For a deep dish pie do not divide.

Grease your pizza pan with oil and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a circle.

Brush crust with olive oil lightly and then add your sauce and toppings.

Bake for 12- 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

What did the family think? I made two batches of this which made two deep dish pizzas. I think everyone would have been happier had I just made one batch of it that would have made two thin crust pizzas. Our oldest and I liked the crust the way it was, but hubby and our youngest weren’t too thrilled.

photo by me

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Italian, Lent, Six Ingredients or Less, Vegetarian

Goat Cheese, Meatball and Sun-dried Tomato Panini

This is what happens when you are super hungry and all you have are interesting tidbits of things in your frig to eat. Everything in this panini was leftover from some other recipe I’d made, but together they were yummy and perfect.

2 slices bread
2 meatballs, cut in half
2 sun-dried tomatoes
Goat cheese, the soft spreadable kind

Make a sandwich out of the above ingredients. If you have a panini maker, use it. If not, heat a skillet over medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. Place sandwich in skillet and put a heavy skillet on top of it for a few minutes. Flip the sandwich over, place the skillet on top of it again and cook for a few minutes on that side.

What did the family think? I was the only one who ate this and I would make another one right now, but I am out of meatballs.

Where did this recipe come from? Me

Photo from Appliancist

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Italian, Sandwich, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make