Posts tagged ‘Italian’

April 24, 2013

Meal plan week of 4/21

I was inspired by Deriving Mommyhood’s meal plan post to put ours up. I put together a meal plan every week, since otherwise it would be way too easy to just order pizza or go out.

Several days have to be fast and easy since we have plenty of evening activities, but that’s the case pretty much every week. We usually have sandwiches of some kind on Girl Scout night, since I’ve got an extra kid to feed (one of the Scouts) and we all have to be fed and at the meeting on time (well, I like to be there early to set up).

So here’s this week’s plan, which we’ve stuck to so far, along with recipe links:

Sunday: Italian wedding soup, bread

(Meatless!) Monday: hummus, pita, carrots, celery

Tuesday: crock pot mac & cheese, sausage, salad

Wednesday: baked potato soup, roasted broccoli (my modifications: toss florets with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice; roast at 425 for 20 mins)

Thursday: BLTs, fruit

Friday: Chicago-style hot dogs, fries, salad

Saturday: caprese pasta skillet, sausage, salad (this may become a pizza night due to schedule demands, and we’ll push everything back a day)

Sunday: Italian tilapia, pasta, salad (we use about 2 tbsps oil and add dried basil and oregano to the panko for the fish). This is a great emergency meal since everything for the main course can come from the pantry or freezer, it takes less than 20 minutes to make, and you can sub in frozen green veggies for the salad.)

The baked potato soup and caprese skillet are new this week, from Iowa Girl Eats, which is my new favorite food blog. Everything I’ve tried from her site has been great, including the Italian wedding soup, which is a semi-permanent fixture in our meal plans because we love it so much.

I’m looking forward to the baked potato soup tonight, despite the fact that it is 70 degrees here in CNY today! Guess I’m going to have to stop planning so many soup dinners soon… but we should also be able to pull the grill back out soon.

October 20, 2012

Recipe review: Food on the Table’s Sausage and Tortellini Soup

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We’ve been continuing to try out the recipes on Food on the Table. Up for today: Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup. This dish cost a bit more than we normally spend on a dinner (I think it was about $20 all told, including the bread we had on the side) but we all ate until we were full at dinner and had about 2 quarts left over, so it was decent (although not great) on the price. It was, however, 20 minutes from start to table – which is awesome in my book.

W ate the sausage and pasta; KG did as well, plus a little bit of the broth. We did the veggies as “add your own” – you’ll note we modified the recipe a bit and used mixed frozen veggies instead of green beans. We also added some fresh spinach, chopped roughly to make it more spoon-sized; used the 20-ounce package of fresh tortellini from the refrigerator section of the grocery store; and added about 4 cups water plus 3 teaspoons chicken broth granules. Oh, and we used poultry sausage instead of pork (although that wasn’t specified in the recipe).

Will we make this again? Definitely. Will we probably swap out some ingredients to make it a little more budget-friendly? Absolutely.

April 6, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

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Last week was cold and rainy – so we made soup several times. This was our favorite – note the kids’ spinach in yet another dish!

I adapted this recipe from Slow Cooker Favorites Made Healthy. The recipe instructions were to make your own meatballs – I cheated and bought frozen turkey meatballs. I just threw the frozen meatballs in the bottom of the slow cooker, topped them with chopped fennel & onion, minced garlic, dried basil & oregano, and chicken broth. Then turned the cooker to low and left it for 10 hours. The orzo cooked for about 5 minutes at the end, and I put the fresh spinach in the bottom of everyone’s bowls before serving, so it wouldn’t overcook.

Delish! I don’t normally cook with fennel and I loved it in this soup. I sold it to the kids as “meatball soup” and they dug in. Made great leftovers, too.

March 9, 2011

Not-my-Nana’s Lasagna

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(Had to take a bite before snapping the pic. Too yummy!)

As I was flipping through my cookbook while doing menu planning last weekend, I happened across the America’s Test Kitchen lasagna recipe.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m Italian (half, actually). So I should be able to make rockin’ lasagna without a recipe. But I can’t. I’ve tried. And as much as I’m sure my Nana would kill me for not remembering how she made lasagna, I don’t. Sigh.

This recipe seemed pretty easy… it even called for no-boil lasagna noodles. Now, whenever I’ve made lasagna before, I’ve always used traditional noodles, par-boiling them and then trying to make nice neat layers with sticky wet pasta. Not my forte. No-boil noodles seemed like cheating. Well, I have to say that this is one cheat I’m going to use from now on.

N0-boil noodles are so easy to use, it’s ridiculous. First off, they aren’t a giant sticky glob that has to be unraveled, and which then rips into shreds. They are nice even planks. Second, they don’t have those curly edges (at least the ones we bought didn’t) which makes layering even easier. Finally, they are perfectly sized to cook within a 9×13 pan.

I made half beef and half spinach lasagna – carefully segregating the parts as Lent is here. Just finished a piece of the spinach section for my Ash Wednesday lunch, as a matter of fact. Which is the best thing about lasagna – not only is it the classic make-ahead meal, it re-heats wonderfully.

I think, thanks to my new friends the no-boil noodles, lasagna is going to be making a regular occurence at our dinner table.

March 3, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter

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From my Twitter:

Italian genes breed true. Kids favorite meals this past week: gnocchi (one of W’s first 150 words) and polenta. Love it!

When I posted that, my Italian bro-in-law said I should try making my own gnocchi. “It’s easy,” he said.

Well, I couldn’t let that challenge pass, could I?

I also love sweet potato gnocchi and figured if I was going to make pasta, I’d make one of my favorite kinds. I found this recipe:
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/sweet-potato-gnocchi/Detail.aspx

Of course, I had a couple technical difficulties.

1: I don’t have a ricer. So I whipped the potatoes with the stand mixer, then switched to the dough hook when I added the rest of the ingredients.

2: I thought it would be fun to let the kids roll the dough into “snakes” with me before I cut it into gnocchi. I am not sane. W tried to eat the dough, pulled little bits off and scattered them all over, ran over to hug Daddy covered head to toe in flour. KG thought the best part was coating her dough in the flour on the counter. But eventually we did get the dough rolled out and cut up.

I made a simple brown butter for the sauce, which I tossed with both the pasta and the broccoli. The sausage is chicken/turkey Italian from Wegmans.

Dinner was a huge hit – W had four servings of gnocchi and 1.5 sausages. Will definitely make again!