Category Archives: Italian

Spicy Italian Drunken Noodles

New favorite pasta alert!! I made this for my hubby last night for Valentine’s Day and it was all I hoped it would be and more. Full of spice, flavors, beautiful colors, and the pasta was so silky and delicious. You could lighten this up with turkey sausage, but it was a special occasion, so I went all in.

Begin by warming a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove casings from 5 spicy Italian sausage links and crumble into medium size pieces.

Once browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Now add a thinly sliced onion and cook for 5 minutes or so in the sausage drippings until they begin to caramelize. While the onions cook, thinly slice a red, yellow, & orange bell pepper.

Add the peppers into the pot with the onions along with about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and cracked salt & pepper.

Once the peppers soften, add in about a tablespoon of minced garlic and a half a cup of white wine. Once the wine has reduced, add a 28oz can of diced tomatoes with the juice and fold your sausage back into the mixture.

To finish the sauce, drizzle more EVOO on top, and about 1/4C of fresh chopped basil leaves & around 2tbl freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley.

Prepare pappardelle noodles according to the al dente instructions. Toss the noodles into your sausage mixture. Serve and top with additional basil and shredded Parmesan cheese.

So, so good!!!

Adapted From: The Cozy Apron

Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

I literally hadn’t made these in years and we forgot how amazing they are. They were one of my original freezer meals back in the day. This meal is so easy and tasty – perfect for kids and grownups alike.

Begin by cooking 16-18 jumbo shells about 2 minutes shy of their cooking instructions. Drain and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat. Add an onion and a pound of Italian sausage and cook through. Add a spoonful of minced garlic, cook for 30 more seconds, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Now combine 7-8 ounces of fresh, cooked spinach or a box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and wrung out with the following: 1 lightly beaten egg, 1.5C grated Parmesan, 1/4C Italian style breadcrumbs, 15oz ricotta cheese, 1tbl chopped fresh basil, and cracked salt & pepper to taste.

Add in your sausage and onions and fold to combine.

Using a 28oz can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, spoon a layer into the bottom of a large baking dish. Begin filling your shells and line them close to each other.

Top with the remaining tomatoes.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes.

Top with shredded parmesan. Serve with salad and crusty bread to complete!🥖🍷

Adapted From: Everyday Annie

Crockpot Pesto & Mozzarella Chicken Pasta

On Sundays we put the lean eating aside for an indulgent family dinner. I look forward to this tremendously.😋

Trying out new recipes makes my heart so happy. As soon as I saw the words pesto, cheese, & pasta I knew this would not disappoint.

I always make my own pesto because it’s super easy and noticeably better, but if you’re short on time you could substitute with a jar variety. My pesto is easy: Simply combine the leaves of 1 basil plant, 1/3C pine nuts, 1/2C shredded Parmesan, 1/2C EVOO, juice of a lemon, and cracked salt and pepper to taste.

Trim 3 chicken breasts and place them in your crockpot. Top with a liberal amount of cracked salt and pepper.

Top with your pesto and one tablespoon of stick butter.

Turn your crockpot to low and let cook for 5-6 hours (don’t remove the lid!).

Shred you chicken and add in 1/2C shredded Parmesan and 1/2lb pasta.

Grate 2C mozzarella. Buying shredded cheese isn’t the same as grating your own. Trust me.

Combine your Parmesan and pasta with the chicken. Top with the mozzarella and cover for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with grated parm, dried basil, and cracked pepper. Bread and a mixed green salad would complete this meal.😋

Adapted from: The Magical Slow Cooker

Turkey & Spinach Meatballs

So I convinced my husband to do a juice cleanse with me for the past couple of days. About halfway through (in the midst of stomach growling and grumpiness overload), I told him that at the end of the tunnel (today), I would make him anything he wanted for dinner. Much to my surprise he asked for something from the vault…..something I haven’t made in so many years…..something I used to make weekly when we were getting in shape for our wedding.👀

I honestly forgot what they tasted like. That was before I attempted to up my cooking game when I became a stay at home wife. They were part of the menu when there were only about 5 things on the menu. So, I wasn’t sure if they would be worth talking about…but they are!

Start with 2lbs of lean ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Add a pack of frozen spinach (thawed and wrung out with a kitchen towel), 1 large egg, 3/4c Italian bread crumbs, 1/2c grated Parmesan, 2tsp minced garlic, 1/4c milk, & 1/2 of a finely diced onion. With your hands, mix to combine.

Divide your mixture into 4 sections for easy dividing. Now form 12 large meatballs and place on prepared baking sheets.

Drizzle with EVOO and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

These can be served many ways; over sautéed veggies, spaghetti squash, traditional pasta, alone with melted cheese? The possibilities are endless. Tonight, I made homemade marinara and served them over angel hair with pecorino romano cheese. They were so good. Back on the rotation for sure.😋

Adapted From: Rachel Ray

Sausage Stuffed ‘Shrooms

I feel like winter holidays need a sausage dish; whether it be sausage stuffing or sausage balls, it’s just a festive comfort food. This year I made something different and I’m so glad I did! I made around 50 of them, and there was not a single one leftover.

Begin with whole Bella mushrooms and rinse well.

Remove the stems and save them for dicing.

Spray a baking dish (or 2!) with non-stick spray and place your mushrooms hole side up.

Warm a tablespoon of EVOO in a sauce pan and combine your diced stems, 1 chopped onion, and 1lb of Italian sausage. I used mild, but sweet or spicy would be delicious as well. Cook until sausage is fully browned. Add in 1 minced garlic clove and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Remove from heat.

Let cool completely.

Stir in 1C herb stuffing mix, 1/3C Monterey Jack cheese, 3tbl mayo, and 1/2tsp black pepper.

Fill your mushroom caps. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, top with fresh parsley and serve!

Note: These can be prepared the night before.🙌🏼

Adapted From – Spicy Southern Kitchen

Creamy Sundried Tomato & Mushroom Chicken

This may be the ultimate comfort food without the guilt.I made it last night and am still thinking about it — so, SO good!! It tastes like it must be loaded with butter and heavy cream, but guess what? It’s not!!🎊

Combine 2tbl flour, 2tbl grated parm, 1tsp salt, and cracked pepper.

Slice 2 chicken breasts horizontally and dredge them through your mixture.

Rinse 2 cups of sliced baby bellas and drain an 8.5oz jar of Italian sliced sundried tomatoes (save the oil).

Warm half of the reserved oil into a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add in your chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side until it’s browned and cooked through.

Remove and place on a warm plate.

Pour the rest of your tomato oil into the saucepan. Now add 2tbl of minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (until fragrant). Add your mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and cook until mushrooms soften.

Turn your heat down to low. Add in 12oz of evaporated milk. I used reduced fat, however I think fat free would be fine as well. Stir in a couple of teaspoons of Italian seasoning and cracked salt & pepper to taste.

Combine 2tbl milk and 1tbl cornstarch.

Once the sauce is simmering, quickly stir in your cornstarch mixture. Once it thickens, add in 1/3C shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.

Now add back in your chicken and top with fresh basil.

Serve over pasta, rice, quinoa, veggies, or anything really. Top with more shredded Parmesan and cracked pepper. Try not to have seconds (or thirds!)!😃

Adapted from – Cafe Delites

Classic Chicken Parmesan

We love comfort food in my house and this ranks right up there with all things warm and cheesy. It’s so simple, anyone can do it.

Begin with a couple of large chicken breasts and slice them horizontally. Make an assembly line of 1C of flour, 3 beaten eggs, and 2C Italian style Panko bread crumbs.

Salt and pepper your chicken and dredge them through the flour (pressing the flour in tightly), then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Lay them onto a plate and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Now I like to prepare my homemade marinara that is super easy and about a million times better than the store bought variety. That recipe is also on this blog. If you are short on time, the jar variety is just fine.

Warm a few tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat in a sauce pan and add in the chicken. Cook 4-6 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken into a prepared baking dish. Slice fresh mozzarella onto each piece.

Set oven to broil and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Prepare the pasta of your choice – I like angel hair with this dish but anything is fine. Lay a spoonful of marinara on top and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Now place a piece of chicken on top with more marinara, cheese, and parsley. Serve with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. Enjoy!

Meatball, Spinach, & Tortellini Soup

I love soup in the cooler months. We don’t have many of those here, so I like to make the most of “soup season” while we can. This is one of my favorites and talk about quick and easy! It’s very hearty so even big appetites will fill up, especially if you add a mixed green salad and a crusty bread. Voila, dinner is served!

Begin by warming a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat in a large, deep pot or Dutch oven. Sauté a medium onion until soft (about 5 minutes) and then add in a teaspoon of minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. 

Now add in 2 cups beef bone broth, 28oz can undrained diced tomatoes, 8oz can of tomato sauce, 1/2tsp salt, and 1/2tsp of oregano. 

Add in 20-25 frozen, Italian style mini meatballs and let simmer for 15 minutes. 

Now add in 3-4 cups of pre-cooked, refrigerated tortellini. They only need to cook for a couple of minutes to become al dente. 

Stir in 2 big handfuls of baby spinach. Once the spinach wilts, remove from heat. 

This last step is optional but ’tis the season for a little indulgence so go ahead! Add 1/3C heavy cream (everything is better with heavy cream!). This freezes beautifully, so make a big batch and enjoy more than once!😋

Inspired By – Spicy Southern Kitchen

Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna

We made this on a whim tonight and boy, it did not disappoint. I love a good veggie meal, and this will most certainly be added into my rotation.🙌🏼

Begin by dicing an onion and slicing 1/2lb of baby bella mushrooms. Measure out 3 cups of fresh spinach and set aside.

Warm 3tbl EVOO over medium heat and sauté a yellow onion plus a teaspoon of minced garlic together for about 3 minutes (until onions soften). Now toss in your sliced mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes. Salt and pepper to your flavor preference. 

Add in 2tbl of flour and stir quickly for 1 minute. Now add 1/4C vegetable broth and stir to combine. Now add in another 2.5C vegetable broth slowly. Add 3/4C milk and bring your pot to a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes.

Add in your spinach and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. 

Add 1.5C good shredded Parmesan. Stir until the cheese melts. 

Cook Lasagna noodles according to package minus 2 minutes. Spoon a thin amount of sauce into baking dish and layer 3 noodles. Top with mushroom mixture and top with more shredded Parmesan. Repeat twice, ending with a layer of mixture topped with cheese. 

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes until it’s hot and bubbly. Enjoy!!

Adapted From: Life As A Strawberry

Eggplant Parmesan


Tip of the day: Eggplant is another veggie that many folks seem to avoid. The most common complaint is that they taste bitter. Well, the simple secret to bringing out their wonderful flavor without a trace of bitterness is salt. Peel and slice your eggplant. Arrange a layer of slices in the bottom of your colander and salt HEAVILY on both sides. Now stack the remaining slices on top of each other ~ now you only need to heavily salt the top (see what I did there?!). Let those beauties sit in the colander in their salt rub for a good 30-45 minutes. Now rinse well, dry, and they are ready for your grill, oven or pan.🍆🍆🍆
Aside from eggplant lasagna, eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite dishes. It’s a bit labor intensive, but so worth it!! Once you have prepared your eggplant slices, coat each in beaten egg then Italian style breadcrumbs. I place 4-5 slices at a time in EVOO warmed to a medium heat. They take about 3 minutes per side depending on thickness. Once all of the slices have been lightly fried and placed on a paper towel lined plate, prepare your marinara as follows:

This is how golden I like mine. (I have a freezer meal business and this is a top seller. This pic is from a meal prep.)

One pot of homemade marinara (or you can use a store bought jar if you like) plus 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes and 2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce. 

Layer your eggplant in a baking dish, top with marinara, then mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat. 


Finish with a healthy amount of cheese.


Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!

Adapted from: EatingWellSpendingLess