Tag Archives: Italian

Baked, Not Fried, Ravioli

26 Feb

I had 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese left over from making lasagna. What am I going to do with just 2 tablespoons? I almost threw it away. But then I remembered I had a few wonton wrappers leftover. Why not make a few baked raviolis as an appetizer?

I LOVE fried ravioli dipped in marinara sauce but I hate the fact that it’s fried. After trying baked mozzarella sticks made with wonton wrappers, I figured I couldn’t lose. The results were really yummy. I could see myself making these again and substituting the roasted red peppers for other fillers like spinach or even Italian sausage.

Baked Ravioli

Servings: 2 people, 2 ravioli each but you can adjust the recipe accordingly
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Medium

2 tbsp. ricotta cheese
1 sprinkle garlic powder
1 sprinkle salt
1 sprinkle Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp. roasted red peppers, finely chopped
4 wonton wrappers
2 tsp. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix first 5 ingredients together. Spoon a little of the ricotta mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper.

With finger, moisten the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold wrappers over and press edges together to seal.

Sprinkle wontons with Parmesan cheese. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. Yum!

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

5 Jan

Stuffed shells are so easy and super fun to make! I recently made a more traditional version of this dish with a group of children and they had a blast mixing and filing the shells. Not to mention, they ate every bite… spinach included! If you want to get your kids to eat their veggies, get them in kitchen. It truly makes a difference.

I liked this recipe because I love vegetable lasagna but I can’t afford the time it takes to make and bake in the oven. As you know if you follow my blog, when it’s dinner time, I’m hungry, and it better not take me long to make anything or else I’m out, down for the count, and wasting precious calories on anything I can get my hands on from the pantry. (aka: Wheat Thins and peanut butter)

Stuffing jumbo pasta shells with lasagna ingredients not only cuts down on time but it also helps you with portion control. Sneaking an extra bite of lasagna is easy but grabbing another shell can make you think twice!

Also, I added chicken for the hubs. He’s a meat-a-holic. Not really… he can enjoy a good hearty… key word hearty… vegetarian meal every once in a while but he’d simply rather not. I can’t really blame him but you wouldn’t have to use chicken if you didn’t want to.

Enjoy!

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Time: 45 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 4, 3 shells each

1 chicken boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped into bite sized cubes
15 jumbo pasta shells, in case a few break
1 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1/3 c. carrots, sliced thin
1/3 c. frozen corn
1/3 c. frozen bell peppers
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 egg
1 c. spaghetti sauce
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

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In Honor of the First Day of Summer: A Delicious Chicken and Veggie Marinade for the Grill

21 Jun

It has felt like summer for a month now. But today marks the summer solstice and the official first day of summer. To honor the longest day of the year we’d better fire up the grill!

This marinade is one of my favorites. It is so simple… just two ingredients! And it packs a serious punch after marinating for only 20 minutes. It simply can’t be beat.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetables Marinade

Time: 5 minutes to make, at least 20 minutes to marinade.
Servings: I marinated 2 big chicken breast and about 3 c. of chopped veggies.
Level: Easy

2/3 c. Zesty Italian dressing (you can use lite or fat free)
almost 1 Tbs. Weber Grill Kick’n Chicken seasoning

Mix ingredients together in a large zip-loc bag. Add whole chicken breasts and various chopped veggies. Seal bag and rub marinade all through chicken and veggies. Lay bag flat on the counter and let marinade sit for at least 20 minutes, turning bag a few times.

Grill over medium heat for 15- 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. Yum!

Tips
– I had leftover red and green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and white button mushrooms from my Steak and Veggie Kabobs. I used those veggies plus a roughly chopped onion.
– I grilled my veggies in a grilling basket.

Steak and Veggie Kabobs

16 Jun

This marinade isn’t true to the original recipe because I couldn’t remember it exactly but comes from a great friend and amazing lasagna maker, Web. He made it for us a few weeks back and they were amazing!

Summertime screams “Turn on the Grill!” so that is just what we did. What better way to beat the 100° weather than to spend time outside over a fiery grill? Kidding… it always takes some convincing in this hot humidity to get the grill going in our house but tonight, it was well worth it.

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Steak and Veggie Kabobs

Time: 24 hours… but seriously about 10-15 minutes to prepare
Servings: 4-6
Level: Easy

Marinade:
1 c. Zesty Italian dressing
1/2 c. Worcestershire
1/2 c. Dale’s Low Sodium Steak Seasoning (picture in slideshow)
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Kabobs:
1 1/2 lbs. chuck roast, or your favorite cut of beef… almost anything will do, cut into big bite sized pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 package white button mushrooms, cut in half, length wise

In a long dish, whisk marinade ingredients together. Add meat and veggies.

Toss to coat. Cover dish in plastic wrap and let sit overnight in the fridge, stirring once or twice throughout the day.

When ready to grill, thread meat and veggies on skewers.

Grill over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning often to ensure even grilling.

Yum!

Tips
– Serve with a side of brown rice.
– Skewer pineapple and grill for a sweet addition.
– Use leftovers to make steak fajitas.

Okie Dokie Artichokie Dip

12 Jun

I love artichokes. They are delicious on pizzas, amazing in pasta dishes, and great in salads. I love this artichoke dip recipe because it really brings out the bite that artichokes naturally have. Using a little citrus and tangy yogurt makes the artichoke come alive.

Having a can of artichoke hearts in the pantry can be a life saver when you need a last minute appetizer for impromptu company or for those lovely nights when your husband forgets to tell you, until you’re brushing your teeth for bed, that he signed up to bring something for the potluck at work the next day.  🙂

Artichoke Dip

Servings: 8
Time: 5 minutes
Level: Easy

1 can artichoke hearts
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. mayo
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
1 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Drain artichoke hearts and chop them into bite sized pieces.

Mix all ingredients together and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Yum!

Tips
– Making this ahead of time will help enhance the flavor. Honestly, it’s not that great immediately. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour if you can.
– I used non-fat yogurt and low-fat mayo.
– Try using Greek yogurt instead.
– Don’t have yogurt? Use  1/2 c. of extra mayo or 1/2 c. of sour cream.
– Serve dip with crackers or veggies.

Easy Spaghetti with Chicken

5 Jun

This recipe is sooooo easy and offers a break from the mundane, and often over eaten, spaghetti with meat sauce. In this recipe, I’m not making my own sauce. Jarred sauce works for me in a pinch and keep very well in the pantry as a quick base for many meals.

When choosing which jarred red sauce to use, just pick your favorite. Traditional red sauce is great to have in the pantry. It is smooth so it works well as a pizza sauce. Red sauce with mushrooms and green peppers is great for anything. The mushrooms make the sauce taste heartier and meatier so if you are going the vegetarian route with a dish, this is the sauce I would choose. Red sauce with chunks of vegetables is definitely one I keep on hand in my pantry. I like it because it is not just good as a pasta sauce. I use it to thicken soups and I use it to mix with roasted vegetables as a quick side dish. You can also take that side dish and turn it into a quick meal by adding a meat, such as sliced Italian sausage.

I hope you like this recipe. Serve it along side fresh green beans roasted in olive oil with salt and pepper… delish!

Easy Spaghetti with Chicken

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy

1 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red chili flakes
spaghetti noodles, boiled and drained according to package directions
1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or chopped
1/3 c. Italian cheese blend, shredded (you could use any Italian cheese, like parmesan, if you didn’t have the blend)

Heat spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and red chili flakes. Warm until heated throughout. Add spaghetti noodles and stir until covered. Serve noodles in a bowl, topped with chicken and cheese. Yum!

Tips
– Add fresh basil to your sauce… yum!
– Cook chicken breasts in a skillet and add the same seasonings to the chicken as you do to the sauce, plus salt and pepper.

– Try using Tyson’s Grilled and Ready Chicken to make dinner even quicker.

 

 

 

Simple Summer Salmon Salad

31 May

Grilling salmon is super easy in the summer time. Salmon hold up well on the grill and can be ready in no time. I grilled my salmon on a grill pan indoors but you can always move the party outside for a quick and healthy dinner!

For the salad, use any veggies you have on hand. I wish I would have had cherry tomatoes and fresh red bell pepper. Yum!

Simple Summer Salmon

Servings: 2
Time: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

1/3 c. white wine
3 or so fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
sprinkle of black pepper
sprinkle of salt
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of cayenne
sprinkle of dried dill
2 pieces of salmon, fresh or thawed

Mix all ingredients, except for salmon, in a container with a lid.

Close the container and shake vigorously until well mixed. Let flavors sit for about 3-5 minutes and then shake again. Over medium-high heat, grill salmon, skin side down and covered, for 6-8 minutes.

Brush salmon with wine mixture, flip, and then brush again. Grill, covered, for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve over a green salad with plenty of veggies and the salad dressing of your choice. Yum!

Tips
– 1000 Island dressing was delicious on this dish.
– Seriously, pack your salad out with veggies… I used cucumbers, radishes, spinach, carrots, broccoli, onions, green peas… and a few croutons for extra crunch.
– You don’t have to serve this salmon on a salad. You could serve it over brown rice or alone with a side of veggies.
– Don’t have fresh basil? You could use a little dried basil.

Hash Brown and Ham Upside Down Quiche

22 May

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This morning, we woke up with brunch on the brain. But, seeing as how the Mississippi River has already flooded and dear ole’ Mother Nature decided to grace us with another torrential downpour and what The Weather Channel calls “deadly cloud to ground lightning strikes,” we didn’t quite think going out for brunch was in our cards today.

The solution? An impromptu quiche-ish dish  that turned into something it wasn’t supposed to be. A nice surprise, in fact, because oh, gracious was it good.

Hash Brown and Ham Upside Down Quiche

Servings: 4
Time: 25 minutes
Level: Easy

1 1/2 c. hash browns, frozen (or shoestring potatoes)
4 eggs
1/3 c. milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. ham, cubed (or bacon or sausage or even make it vegetarian and add juiced and seeded tomatoes)
1/3 c. bell peppers and onions, frozen
fresh spinach leaves
1/3 c. cheese, shredded
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400°. On a cookie sheet, bake hash browns for 5 minutes.

Transfer potatoes to a greased pie plate or cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper together.

Top potatoes with ham, bell peppers and onions, and spinach.

Pour egg mixture over top, sprinkle with cheese and Italian seasoning, and bake for 20 minutes.

Once removed from oven, invert onto a plate, allow to cool, and slice. Yum!

Tips
– Instead of using Italian Seasoning, try cumin and chili powder.
– Top with salsa if desired.
– Use leftovers to wrap in a tortilla with tomatoes and extra spinach leaves for a quick lunch.
– You don’t have to invert the dish. You can leave it in the pie plate if you want.

Ratatouille Pizza

11 May

This pizza is perfect for summer! I LOVE all of the veggies sautéed in olive oil. They work perfectly with the pizza sauce. The whole pizza reminds you of a brighter version of Ratatouille.

I came up with this pizza on my way home from work. I knew had half of a zucchini and a squash and just a few other veggies that needed to be used. I wasn’t in the mood to grill and I wasn’t craving a pasta dish. Whenever I’m in an indecisive mood, I always turn to pizza. Tonight, I’m glad I did.

You will truly enjoy this pizza. It far exceeded my expectations and has easily become a family favorite.

Ratatouille Pizza

Servings: 4
Time: 25 minutes
Level: Easy

1/8 c. olive oil
1/2 of a zucchini, sliced
1/2 of a summer squash, sliced
1/4 c. onion, sliced
1/3 c. button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c. bell pepper, sliced
1 tbsp. sweet and hot jalapeños, chopped (can substitute regular jalapeños)
1 clove of garlic, minced (can substitute a sprinkle of garlic powder)
generous sprinkle of Italian seasoning
pizza dough
1/2 c. pizza sauce
3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Bake dough for 8 minutes. In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté vegetables, sprinkled with Italian seasoning, in olive oil.

Top dough with pizza sauce, bacon, veggies, mozzarella cheese, and cherry tomatoes.

Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil dough on top oven rack for 1 minute, until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Sprinkle with pepper. Yum!

Tips
– Try adding cubed or sliced eggplant.
– An Italian cheese blend would be yummy with or instead of mozzarella.
– You can use spaghetti sauce if you don’t have pizza sauce.

Chicken Spinach Florentine

2 May

Yum! This is my mom’s recipe so handle with care!

I halved this recipe tonight and it was a little soupier than it was the last time I made it. Still good… just soupier.  I think I might have needed to use more chicken than I did.  I bet using fresh spinach leaves could make this dish even better and I might try that next time… I might also try adding fresh sliced mushrooms.

The leftovers of this dish are DELISH… especially when wrapped up in a warmed tortilla. Chicken Spinach Burritos, anyone? Yeah, I’ll definitely be having that for dinner tomorrow night!

Chicken Spinach Florentine

Servings: 6
Time: 30 min.
Level: Easy

2-3 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry powder
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/ c. white wine
2 c. cheddar, shredded

Topping:
1/2 c. parmesan
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
dobs of butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9×13 baking dish.

Top with toppings and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Yum!

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