Tag 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

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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

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

Eggplant Lasagna

We LOVE eggplant at my house. One of my 2 year old’s favorite things besides Eggplant Parmesan is my Eggplant Lasagna. This low carb meal can be served meatless or with the ground meat of your choice. Essentially the eggplant replaces the pasta, and the flavor goes through the roof!!The easiest way to slice the eggplant is with a mandolin, and I use the largest setting (1/4 inch). (Peel them first!)

Warm a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté salted eggplant slices for a couple of minutes on each side until they soften. I only do a couple at a time and then place on a paper towel lined plate. Once you finish sautéing all of your eggplant, prepare the sauce of your choice. Construct just like lasagna:

Eggplant Slices ~ Ricotta ~ Sauce ~ Mozzarella ~ Shredded Parmesan ~ Repeat

Finish with a layer of eggplant topped with cheese.😋

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about an hour until browned and bubbly.☺️

We grow lots of eggplants. Most of the veggies we use come from our garden during the summer months including the eggplants I use in my freezer meals. So much fun!


Look how beautifully the eggplant slices replace boring ole lasagna noodles.


Fresh from the oven. It’s impossible not to have seconds. 🍆🍆🍆

Homemade Marinara

When I first decided I wanted to up my cooking game for my family, I knew I wanted to cut out store bought sauces. However, it’s actually one of the later things that I started doing. I assumed it would be super labor intensive and require more money at the grocery store. Neither of those sounded appealing. Boy was I wrong. Not only was it super easy, most of the ingredients were already in my pantry. And the difference it made in my meals…..wow. I guarantee once you start making your own sauces, you won’t be able to return to those over processed, over salted shelf varieties! A sauce most folks buy for everything from spaghetti to pizza is marinara. This can be modified based on what’s in your kitchen, but here is the basic structure:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons EVOO in a medium saucepan. Add in a small diced onion and a bit of minced garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes or so until onion is translucent.

Stir in: 28oz can crushed tomatoes, 8 oz can tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 2 bay leaves, small handfuls of chopped fresh parsley and basil. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2+ hours. Remove bay leaves and enjoy!!