Tag Archives: Italian

Chicken Crocks with Garlic White Romano Sauce

A friend was coming over and I wanted to make a little afternoon snack.  It wasn’t too hot out so I didn’t mind baking something.  I started by pan sauteing some cubed chicken breast with some salt and pepper and putting it in the crocks.

I started on the sauce by sauteing the aromatics in oil.

Browned garlic is the key for this one

I sauteed the aromatics a little longer than usual to really brown the garlic and get a deep almost smoky garlic taste.

Once the garlic was browned enough, I added some fresh basil for the last few minutes of sauteeing.

Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients which is basically an alfredo.  The cheese was grated imported Romano which we got in the Strip District for $6.99 a pound.  What the Strip provides is amazing and limitless!

Then pour the sauce over the chicken until covered.

Add a bit of mozzarella and throw into the oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until browned.

Top with some fresh basil and chopped tomatoes.

Recipe for Garlic White Romano Sauce

Greg


Advertisements

Stuffed Banana Peppers

These were simple and good but they sure were hot!  Start by making the stuffing which was primarily hot sausage with chopped onion, garlic, and Italian cheese.  Make the stuffing with the proportions of your choice.

Cook the sausage about half way and drain the grease.

Add the other ingredients once the sausage is ready and put aside.

Cut the stems off of the peppers and remove the seeds and pulp.  You may want to wear gloves and be sure not to touch your face….TRUST ME!

Then stuff as much filling as you can into the peppers and line in a baking dish.

Cover with a bit of tomato sauce and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

We put them on a bit of pasta to cut the heat of the peppers.

Enjoy!

Greg

Crab Pesto Grilled Pizza

Yes another crab dish and I think that this may have been the best one yet.  We had a hankering for some pizza and being that we live in Maryland, making your own pizza is the only option.  So we stopped at Marchone’s Italian Market in Wheaton and grabbed a frozen dough ball.

A thorough thaw is very important

This was about 2 hours of thawing and the dough had expanded to about twice the original size.

Thoroughly thawed and ready to work with

If the dough is not thawed to room temperature, it will be very difficult to work with which I have learned from experience.  At the same time, you can’t work with the dough too much and remember that flour is your friend!

I rolled the dough out to the desired size while the grill was heating up.  Once the dough and grill are ready, give the top of the dough a thorough spray of oil.  You will then put the dough on the grill otherwise plain.

Straight on the grate oil side down and plain

Leave the dough on for about 3-5 minutes.  Just until the down side is lightly browned and basically firm enough to pick the whole piece up without folding and flopping like raw dough.

We need a new grill!

The bottom of this piece is uncooked.  The top would look better if we had a better grill that cooked evenly(grill companies we are looking for a sponsor!).  When we move, the gas grill is not coming.  The grill doesn’t know that, but I guess once this is published the news will be out.

Now it is time to dress the pizza with your toppings as you normally would and then throw it back on the grill.  Instead of a red sauce we used a pesto base.

Summer basil is great

Next we used some more of the famous leftover crab which was starting to run low.  Note that this was published well after the dish was made and we did not keep fresh crab in the fridge for 3 weeks.

We were able to be pretty generous with the crab since we had so much.  This was almost but not quite a pound.

Cheese it up

We used a store bought Italian blend.

Fresh tomatoes

We love fresh tomato slices on pizza.  Now it is ready to go back on the grill for a little longer than the plain dough.

Close the lid, which will help to melt the cheese.  I gave it a few turns because of our extremely uneven grill as you can see the full blast flame or no flame options.  It would be a good idea to give it a spin either way though.  This stage will take closer to 7-9 minutes to melt the cheese and cook the pizza through.

Summer basil again

It turned out great!  Slice it up, cheese it up, and go to town!

Recipe for Standard Pesto with Walnut

Greg

(Since I have been begun posting over the last month, we will start to tag our posts)

Chicken Piccata

My sister sent me this recipe for chicken piccata almost two years ago and  Greg and I been loving it ever since. It ‘s certainly a basic version, but it’s  a nice easy to follow recipe and tastes great. I’ve served it with different sides in the past, including pasta, rice and veggies. Rice is probably the best as it soaks up the delicious lemony sauce. For this go round however I served the chicken with some steamed broccoli (another good sauce absorber),  squash and zucchini.

The ingredients include olive oil, chicken (of course), chicken stock, lemon juice, butter, capers and flour ( not pictured). I actually experimented a bit and substituted almond flour for traditional all-purpose flour. Almond flour/meal has more fiber and less carbohydrates than regular flour and worked pretty well in this dish.

I purchased chicken breasts that were already sliced thin. If you are using regular chicken breasts you can slice them in half and pound them out. This is a bit easier if the chicken is still semi-frozen or if you buy it fresh, you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to slice.

The next step is to coat each chicken piece with flour.

Then get your butter and olive oil going in a pan and begin to cook the chicken. Since the pieces are pretty thin they do not need much time, maybe 2-3 minutes per side.

As each piece of chicken finishes cooking just set them aside. Once all of the chicken is cooked and removed from the pan, add the chicken broth and lemon juice to make your sauce. Let the sauce get up to a boil, then turn it down to simmer and reduce. Once the sauce is nearly finished you can add capers (this was not part of the original recipe) if you’d like. Then dip each piece of chicken into the sauce, coating it completely. Plate the chicken and pour sauce over top or serve in a gravy boat.

Some pre-sauce shots:

and after the saucing… (I covered the veggies in the sauce too!)

I hope your enjoy this one!

Recipe for Chicken Piccata (courtesy of my sister)

Eggplant “lasagna”

This one’s for you Jeremy! I decided to make a pasta-less lasagna to please one of our biggest supporters, who had requested a lasagna recipe. Just for the record, this recipe could easily be duplicated with actual lasagna noodles in place of the eggplant. Though, I have to say this is a nice alternative if you like eggplant like me. In the past I have sometimes struggled to make tasty eggplant dishes at home, as sometimes the eggplant can be bitter, the skin off-putting, and the seeds crunchy and irritating. Since I like eggplant so much though, I have continued to try to make it and feel that this dish was a success.

I began by slicing the eggplant as thin as I could. I worked with a sharp knife and took my time. A mandolin probably would have worked a lot better in terms of getting consistency in thickness, but I don’t have one of those so I did the best I could.

I placed the eggplant slices on racks (two from my toaster oven) and the remaining pieces on a paper towel. I generously covered them in kosher salt and let them sit for about an hour.

The salt pulls out the bitter juices (remember what salt does to cells? wahoo, high school chemistry!), which I rinsed off along with the salt.

Next, I wanted to cook the eggplant a little bit so it wouldn’t make the dish too soupy. I used a grill pan, which I coated generously with olive oil so the slices wouldn’t stick. I seasoned about 1/2 of the slices with salt and pepper as they cooked. They only needed about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. This left some beautiful grill marks!

I also grilled up some baby bellas for some extra filler and added veggie-ness.

As the grilling went on, I also made my ricotta filling. I LOVE ricotta and always use it when making lasagna. Some people have told me about using cottage cheese, but I’ve never tried it. I usually buy part-skim ricotta and it’s delicious. To the ricotta, I added an egg, some fresh garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and some chili flakes for a little kick.

Alright. Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna. If you want to go the traditional route using lasagna noodles, cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. In this recipe when you see eggplant slices, substitute that for the lasagna noodles. Easy as pie.

Step 1: Layer the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. I used the leftover marinara that I made several weeks ago, but store bought is fine too.

Step 2: On top of the sauce, create a layer of eggplant slices.

Step 3: Ricotta layer. Spread ricotta mixture all over eggplant slices, creating a thick layer.

Step 4: I threw the mushrooms on at this point. If you wanted to add meat or other veggies, you could add them here.

Step 5: Add another layer of eggplant slices.

Step 6: Add another layer of sauce.

Step 7: And then a layer of cheese.

That’s about it for the assembly of it

After it bakes it’s all cheesy/melty/gooey so let it sit before cutting it.

I couldn’t wait that long, so it was a little goopey, but still delicious!

Recipe for eggplant “lasagna”

Recipe for our basic marinara

Homemade Marinara w/Meatballs and Alfredo sauce

For two people who really enjoy eating tomato sauce, I knew it was only a matter of time before we began to make our own. Coupled with a new-found desire to eat natural foods and stay away from unknown ingredients/chemicals and the fact that homemade things just tastes better than store bought, we ventured down the path of creating our own marinara. We created a very basic marinara, which leaves a lot of room for creativity going forward. For now though, it was a few simple ingredients simmering in low heat for all of a Sunday afternoon that stole the show.

I started the sauce off with some chopped onions and carrots (which, in retrospect I probably should have grated the carrots) and of course, a good amount of garlic. I sauteed all of these ingredients (carrots and onions first, then garlic) in extra virgin olive oil in the dutch oven.

While the onion/carrot/garlic mixture sauteed I also added some spices: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning blend, and red pepper flakes.

I then added some canned tomatoes.  3 big cans (32-oz.) to be exact, 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and 1 can of chopped to be even more exact 🙂

I put the lid on and put the pot into a 300 degree oven for about two hours.

During that time, I also made my spaghetti squash and the meatballs.  Two things I love very dearly at this point!

After the two hours had passed (stirring about every 1/2 hour or so) I turned the heat down to 200 degrees and let the sauce continue to simmer.

When it was nearly done and I was ready to add my mostly cooked meatballs, I added some freshly torn basil.

In went the meatballs and the sauce returned to the oven for another 1/2 hour.

You can see how the addition of the meatballs dilutes the sauce a bit, but in a good way!

Greg also wanted to make an alfredo sauce for this meal. He used our previous recipe for this sauce, but added some fresh parsley and used only one type of cheese, parmesan, I believe.

This sauce is so amazing, but can be very heavy. I opted out of having the alfredo this time around (after several spoonfuls to make sure it was ok during the cooking process though 😉 )

With or without the alfredo this meal was awesome and it was nice to make my own Sunday gravy.

It’s nice to have options too and a little of the alfredo sauce can go a long way. Greg likened the combo to a rose sauce.

The cool thing about making our own sauce was that there was a good amount leftover. I threw it in a tupperware and into the freezer for another meal at a later time. If you have the time, this is the way to go!

Recipe for Basic Marinara Sauce

Recipe for Alfredo Sauce

Recipe for Meatballs

Stuffed Peppers

The other night we made stuffed peppers for dinner and again, this is really one of those meals that you can make unique to your tastes. We used green peppers, but if you prefer sweeter red peppers or even yellow, orange or purple peppers, by all means. We also used ground veal in our peppers, but most people would probably opt for beef (bison, chicken or turkey meat would be even lower in fat) for example. I’m not sure what inspired the use of veal, but sometimes you just want something different.

I have to give Greg all the credit here on this dish- he created it and made it while I was still at work. I love coming home to a dinner cooking in the oven 🙂

Like I said, he used ground veal. He browned it and set it aside. Later, adding some freshly grated parmesan.

To add some sustenance he also added some freshly sauteed onions and spinach and a little tomato sauce. Many recipes call for other fillers, such as rice or breadcrumbs, but he omitted that and honestly, it was not missed!

Then it was time to stuff the peppers, which he cored out nicely.

He baked them for about 40 minutes.

Though the skins were nice and wrinkly, the peppers were still quite firm. I would recommend a little longer in the oven, maybe 50-60 minutes if you prefer them more tender.

All in all, it was a good wholesome dinner!

Recipe for Stuffed Peppers