Original Post September 2010: We had a family BBQ over the weekend and with our crazy schedule, I had to make a menu that takes minimal effort. The night before I threw this together and it worked out really well. Instead of trying to come up with a homemade salad dressing, I figured it’s easier to buy the salad dressing and just “jazz” it up a little with fresh basil & garlic.
If there are some ingredients that do not appeal to you, feel free to substitute. Here are some ideas:
– grated parmesan instead of mozzerella
– Minced onion instead of garlic
– Chopped celery
– chopped tomatoes
Have fun with it because that’s what it’s all about…
Easy Italian Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Refrigerator: 2 hours
8 ounces pasta
8 ounces Italian ham
1 can artichoke hearts – rinsed and drained
8 ounces roasted red peppers – drained and rinsed
¼ cup pitted calamata olives
1 cup low fat Italian salad dressing
2 cloves garlic – minced
½ cup low fat grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup fresh basil – chopped
Bring a large pot of water up to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions then drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool to the touch.
While the pasta is cooking, chop the ham, artichoke hearts, red peppers and olives and spoon into a large mixing bowl.
Add pasta, salad dressing, garlic and cheese. Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
prepare mushrooms, wipe off any dirt with damp cloth and remove any stem. Heat pan on medium heat.
Combine olive oil, salt and pepper and, using
a brush, coat the mushrooms with the olive oil mixture. Heat sauté pan and spray with cooking
spray. Sauté mushrooms on each side for
about 3 – 4 minutes, covered until most of the liquid is absorbed. TIP: you may
have to work in batches, do not overcrowd the mushrooms.
mushrooms and set aside.
prepare filling: cook spinach in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 2 –
3 minutes. Let cool then squeeze out any
spinach with cream cheese, Italian blend grated cheese, and basil.
baking, place mushrooms on a baking sheet, spoon cheese mixture on top of each
and bake for 8 – 10 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
grilling, place mushrooms on grill for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted
and slight browned.
Correction: In the video I had called for ¼ cup
olive oil but it should be 2 tablespoons.
This is an Italian classic made light. Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit . Enjoy
I served these on Sunday over the holiday weekend and they were such a hit, Dean went out and bought all the ingredients Monday morning so I could cook up another order for some family friends. They are a little heavier on calories and fat than most recipes I cover but after having 2 (which is a serving size), you are full for a while. You can even have these as a meal with a salad on the side and feel very satisfied.
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes seasoned with garlic, basil and oregano
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Sweat eggplant slices by lightly coating with salt and placing paper towels on top to absorb the excess water. Rinse salt off of the eggplant slices.
While eggplant is sweating, coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and add sliced Italian bread. Toast for about 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned.
Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and coat with cooking spray. Dip eggplant slices in egg substitute then coat with bread crumbs. Add to the skillet and cook for about 3 – 5 minutes on each side to brown the bread crumbs.
Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and add browned eggplant slices. Roast for 15 minutes until eggplant is cooked through.
Top the toasted Italian bread with a slice of mozzarella, an eggplant slice, a little diced tomatoes and some grated parmesan.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and serve.
Boil a large pot of water and add penne. Cook for 5 minutes until al dente (still firm). Drain and add to a large mixing bowl.
Squeeze excess water from defrosted chopped spinach and add to pasta.
In a medium size saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg. Heat on medium low, stirring constantly until mixture begins to bubble. Increase heat to medium and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add ricotta and parmesan. Stir until cheeses are melted. Add salt to taste.
Add cheese mixture to penne and spinach and cool for about 20 minutes.
Stir in egg substitute.
Coat a 8” springform pan with cooking spray. Spoon in quiche mixture and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen penne. Let stand 20 minutes. Remove from pan and serve.
To make the meatballs: Combine the ground turkey, ground sirloin, bread crumbs, egg substitute, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and parmesan cheese and mix well with your hands.
Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray and set on the side. Roll meat mixture into small balls (about ½ teaspoon in size) and place meatballs on broiler pan.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, boil orzo pasta until al dente (about 5 minutes). Drain and rinse and set aside.
In a large pot, combine chicken broth, frozen spinach, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, bay leaves and cooked orzo and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
Once meatballs are cooked, add them to the soup and serve hot with parmesan cheese on the side.
Our dinner tonight is a classic Italian recipe that makes good use of our garden vegetables. Giambotta is classically made with potatoes and I have included them in the recipe below. However, you may notice that the picture is showing a vegetable stew over pasta. This is because we did not have any potatoes in the house so I substituted with 8 ounces of penne. You can do the same if you prefer.
This is always a vegetarian meal but if your family likes to include meat at, this is a great accompaniment on top of grilled chicken breasts.
Italian Vegetables Stew (Giambotta)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Estimated Values per Serving (without bread and cheese):
Calories: 80 Fat: trace Points: 1
1 large onion – chopped
1 bell pepper (green or red) – chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 large (or 2 medium) zucchini – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup white wine
½ pound string beans
2 cans (28-ounces each) diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh basil – chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 potatoes – diced
Heat a large saucepot on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add onion. Sauté onion for about 5 minutes until soft. Add pepper and sauté. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add zucchini, wine and string beans and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, basil, oregano and salt and pepper, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add potatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are soft.
Serve with Italian bread and parmesan cheese on the side.