We’re having guests today and I have a few meetings. This can be the perfect recipe for a larger crowd who loves Italian food. At the same time, it is a very easy meal that can be ready whenever you are ready.
Breakfast: Apricot – Wheat Germ Muffins
Lunch: Scallop Pasta
Snack2: Corn Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper
Dinner: Chicken Parmesan
Dessert: Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches
As previously mentioned, today’s recipe is perfect for the larger group. Ideal when guests with kids are joining you for dinner. You cannot go wrong with Chicken Parmesan!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (for 10 guests):
- 10 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups breadcrumbs
- 10 tablespoons olive oil
- 300 gr mozzarella
- 150 gr parmesan cheese
- 150 gr pecorino romano cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
For the sauce
- If you have time to make the sauce, 600 g ripe tomatoes
- If you don’t have time, then buy 2 cans (28-ounce) whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 3/4 cup grated peeled carrots
- 1 3/4 cups onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- Start with the sauce by adding the onion, garlic and parsley in the blender and chopped it all together
- Take a saucepan and heat the olive oil, add the mix you just chopped and saute until the onions are golden for about 7 minutes. Then add the carrots and thyme for another 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and leave it boiling for about 1 hour. Just remember to add the water gradually. Don’t ever let the sauce change the red color.
- In the meantime place the chicken breast between two sheets plastic wrap
- With a meat mallet, pound the breasts to 1/4-inch thickness andadd the salt and pepper
- Place the breadcrumbs on a flat plate
- Place the flour on another flat plate
- Whisk eggs to blend in a bowl
- Coat both sides of chicken with flour first, then the eggs and then the breadcrumbs.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Take a saucepan and heat olive oil
- Add chicken breasts making sure you leave enough room between them. Cook until they turn brownish.
- Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of a large baking dish
- Arrange 1 layer of chicken over sauce. Spoon 2 cups sauce over. Cover with mozzarella, parmesan and pecorino.
- Repeat step 14 with all the remaining chicken
- Bake until cheeses melt and chicken is cooked for about 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with parsley, parmesan and marjoram when served
On with our super easy recipes while the kids are at home. I try to introduce fish to our diet at least twice a week. It helps the kids a lot because of the high level of proteins, but also to expose them to new and different flavors.
Breakfast: Baked Apple – Cinnamon
Snack1: Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter
Lunch: Burritos (using the rice and meat from yesterday)
Snack2: Matcha Shortbread
Dinner: Scallops in Garlic Cream Sauce
Dessert: Ginger Yogurt with Fruit
Scallops in Garlic Cream Sauce
This is super easy to cook and decorate. You can serve it on pasta (as shown on the top) or alone with some veggies. The kids can have a lot of fun with the decoration. I tell my kids that scallops are fish nuggets! so they eat it with even more pleasure.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 800 g scallops
- 5 tablespoons of heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons white wine
- Take a flat pan and add the butter
- When the butter has melted and it’s warm, add garlic, parsley, wine, salt and pepper
- If serving with pasta, this is a good time to start boiling your pasta
- In the meantime, move the mix for 5 minutes and add scallops
- When scallops are mixed, add the cream and move for another 5 minutes
- Keep moving until the scallops are well cooked (it takes about 5 to 8 minutes based on how fresh your scallops are).
- If served with pasta, serve the plates of pasta and pour the scallops on top. Otherwise, you can serve them alone with spinach or baked potatoes. You won’t go wrong with this.
Salt and pepper to taste
On Sundays I try to make really easy recipes. It must be a family day, focused on spending time together and relaxing. Certainly not a heavy cooking day. That’s the main reason why we send everyone (if you can) to go out for lunch. I would love to hear your reviews about good Kid Friendly places to go eat in Northeastern NY. This post is for Sunday, December 26, 2010 (we publish one week ahead so you can plan your menu one week ahead of time).
Breakfast: Tostada Waffles
Snack1: Apple Spice Cookie Bar
Lunch: Go out! we went to “La Fiesta” see my Yelp Review – Go show them some love. They got 5 stars from me (they’re not family/friends nor did they pay me for this review).
Snack2: Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter
Dinner: Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Dessert: Sweet Pizzas
Now to today’s recipe: Bucatini all’Amatriciana
This is a super easy and nutricious recipe which can be simply done in 20 minutes and feed a whole army of hungry people. Typical and traditional Italian pasta. The secret to this recipe is the pecorino cheese that you put on top (instead of the parmessian cheese).
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- 400 gr Bucatini (you can use spaghetti or any other pasta here)
- 100 gr Guanciale cut into small pieces (the Italian bacon made from the pig’s cheek area)
- 400 gr Ripe tomatoes (or 200 gr pealed tomatoes)
- 4 spoons of grated Pecorino Romano
- 1 spoon of olive oil
- 2 spoons of white wine (dry)
- Place the tomatoes inside boiling water for 10 seconds (count to 10), then put them in cold water. Peal them off and cut them in small slices.
- Put water on a pot to boil. That way when the sauce is ready, you can put the pasta
- Clean up the outer part of the guanciale (the bacon), and cut them in small but kind of long pieces.
- Heat up the oil, put the guanciale. When this takes a little color, pour the white wine until it evaporates. Then remove the guanciale from the pan.
- Now on the same pan, cook the tomatoes and add the salt. Keep it on high for about 5 minutes.
- Add the guanciale back to the sauce for another 2 minutes.
- At this point, put the pasta (100 gr per person) to boil for 7 minutes.
- Once the pasta is “al dente” you can put it back on the sauce for 2 minutes.
- Serve hot and put the pecorino romano cheese on top.
Today’s Menu (Sunday, November 28th 2010) right after the long Thanksgiving weekend, we have to take it easy and try to use as many left overs as possible. Here is the meal plan for the day:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Fruit and Nuts
Snack1: Whole Grain Toast with Nutella
Lunch: Go Out Eat (you deserve it) My restaurant reviews coming soon
Snack2: Trail Mix
Dinner: Suppli al Telefono
Dessert: Brazo Gitano
Today’s recipe: Suppli al Telefono
This is nothing but rice balls stuffed with Mozzarella cheese. It’s super simple and easy to do and the kids love making them and eating them. Use whatever rice you might have in the fridge. However I’m starting the recipe from scratch just in case you don’t have any left over rice.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes (if you have rice left over) or 45 minutes if you are starting from scratch.
- 1 pound rice – (400 gr) – that will make 20 supplies
- 300 gr tomato sauce
- 2 spoons ground beef (already cooked)
- 200 gr mozzarella
- 33 oz broth
- 3 large eggs
- 80 gr parmigiano cheese
- 4 large spoons flour (see great coupon)
- 2 oz beer (yes beer)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 50 gr onions
- 30 gr butter
- 2 cup of vegetable oil (see coupon)
- We’ll be making the typical rissotto. So first put the broth to boil. After boiling bring the fire level down.
- Add the oil, onions and rice in a large pot. Move it for about 2 minutes.
- When you can see the onions get some color, add the tomato sauce and the broth with a ladle (one spoon at a time)
- Add the broth every time the water level goes down. The water should never cover all the rice. The ideal risotto has the water and rice always at the same level until it’s finally cooked. Move it every 5 minutes for a total of 4 times. Every time you add broth, you should move it.
- Once the rice is cooked (by cooked I mean al dente), let the water dry a little. Usually until the wooden spoon can stand in the middle without falling to the side. Add the butter at that point, add an egg, the parmiggiano, move it well and let it cool off.
- While the rice gets cold, you need to prepare the pastela. So take a separate bowl and add 3 spoons of flower, the remaining egg, add the beer and some salt.
- On a flat plate, you need to add the breadcrumb
- When the rice is cold, take a spoon full of rice, give it the suppli shape, add a square of mozzarella, then deep it in the pastella and then on the breadcrumb.
- Repeat step #8 for every suppli and heat abundant vegetable oil in a frying pan.
So just remember the two secrets for this recipe. First to cook the risotto al dente. That way when you fry it there will be less risk to destroy the rice (into a pure). Second to use the pastella with the beer before you pass it by the breadcrumb. This will give it that nice crispy texture to make your guests feel in a trattoria romana.
Today’s Menu (Friday Nov. 26 2010):
Breakfast – Honey-Nut Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Snack1 – Matcha Shortbread
Lunch – Fresh Turkey Salad (from last night’s turkey)
Snack2 – Apple Maple Pecan Bread
Dinner – Baked Salmon & Spinach al Ajillo
Dessert – Tiramisu (a video ’cause you have to see this recipe)
Recipe of the Day:
Baked Salmon & Spinach al Ajillo
This is one of the healthiest, most practical and fastest meals you will see in my kitchen. I do this after a big feast to take a rest and also to bring the stomach back to normal. Plus it’s really tasty.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Fillets Salmons (6 oz each, based on the number of members in your family)
- 3 Lemons
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Peper
- 1 pound of washed spinach
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)
- Place the Salmon in an medium glass bowl, then brush the sazon and oil on both sides of the fillets
- Bake it for 30 minutes
- In the meantime, boil the spinach just for 5 minutes until it soften just a little
- chop the garlic
- Heat 5 spoons of olive oil in a pan and place the garlic for 2 minutes until it takes a gold color
- Pass the spinach by the oil for 5 minutes
- Add salt and pepper to your taste
- You can create all kinds of shapes with the Spinach on top of the Salmon for the kids to play (I always do a happy face with the Spinach mouth on top of the Salmon)
October ’10 – Week 1 – Tuesday Dinner
I have been known to spend a lot of money on Italian food, eating out at restaurants. Never again! Since I really learned how to cook, I’ve found it way easier to stay home and spend the same amount of money that I would have paid for my dinner alone, and make dinner enough for five people! These shells are no exception. You can feed an army with this pan of burgeoning, cheesy pasta. This recipe utilizes the leftover meatballs from last night’s dinner. (*Orange text highlights easy steps that kids can do.)
1 Package Large Pasta Shells
2 Eggs, beaten
1 32 oz tub Ricotta cheese
1 lb Shredded Mozzarella
8 oz Grated Parmesan
1 lb Meatballs, crushed
1 t Dried Oregano
1 t Dried Basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Jar Pasta Sauce of choice (our family’s favorite is Newman’s Own Organic in Traditional Herb.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add shells and cook until according to package directions, drain.
In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the parmesan, crushed up meatballs, salt and pepper and herbs until well combined. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and line up in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce and reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells, covering them evenly.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until edges are bubbly and browned.
October ’10 – Week 1 – Monday Dinner/Entree
I think about this recipe and I see it as being something to come inside to after a long afternoon of shoveling snow. Steaming stewed veggies from the slow cooker served with tender orzo pasta and savory meatballs. This recipe could very easily be vegan, just omit the meatballs! Ragout is a French way of saying that it’s a heavily spiced stew, but no worries, this one is lightly seasoned, letting the winter veggies speak for themselves. This recipe calls for frozen meatballs, which I buy pre-made at a local butcher, but you can make your own from scratch and keep them frozen on hand, too. (*Orange text highlights easy steps that kids can do.)
1/4 C Olive Oil
4 Carrots, chopped
4 C Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
2 Red Onions, cut into thin strips
2 C Green Cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 Turnips, coarsely chopped
2 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 C Vegetable Stock
1/3 C Dry White Wine
3/4 t each Dried Sage and Thyme
1 lb Orzo pasta
2 lb Frozen Meatballs, partially thawed. (Cook two packages, you’ll use half of them for tomorrow’s dinner recipe!)
Preheat a large skillet to med-high heat, add olive oil. Brown meatballs on all sides before transferring to the slow c0oker. Deglaze skillet with the white wine, pour deglazing liquid, including any remaining olive oil, into the slow cooker as well.
Arrange veggies on top of the meatballs, pour over the stock, and season with the salt, pepper, and herbs. Allow to cook on high for 6 hours, or until sauce is thick and veggies are tender. About 20 minutes before serving time, cook orzo according to package directions. Serve together with the ragout.
September ’10 – Week 4 – Friday Lunch
Spaghetti allo Scoglio (‘reef spaghetti’) is a traditional Italian pasta and shellfish dish that beautifully showcases the delicate flavors of the sea. The picky eaters in the family may simply eat the pasta without the shellfish. The sauce that occurs as a result of the cooking process is truly a thing of beauty.
1 1/4 lbs Clams, scrubbed
1 1/4 lbs Mussels, scrubbed
1 lb Shrimp, de-tailed & de-veined
3 Plum Tomatoes
1 lb Spaghetti
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the spaghetti.
In a medium skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Toss in garlic and white wine, then add clams and mussels. Cover and let steam until shells have opened. Remove and set aside all clams and mussels.
Into the white wine broth in the bottom of the skillet, add the tomato, chopped roughly, and some basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add shrimp into the pan, cooking until just done and bright pink, about 3 minutes. Toss in fresh parsley, cooked spaghetti, and arrange the clams and mussels on top. Serve immediately.
September ’10 – Week 4 – Wednesday Lunch
1 Large Onion, diced
2 Carrots, diced
3 Ribs of Celery, diced
4 cloves Garlic
3 lbs Ground Beef
2 C Tomato Paste
3 C Red Wine
3 Bay Leaves
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
1 lb Spaghetti
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
Mince onions, celery, carrots and garlic finely into almost a vegetable confetti. Add to a saute pan with olive oil heated to med-high. Saute vegetables with salt until softened and lightly browned.
Add the beef to the pan and allow it to brown deeply. Add tomato paste and cook until caramelized and brown, about 5 minutes. Add red wine and let reduce by half.
Add enough water to the pan to cover the meat by one inch. Add thyme and bay leaves, tied into a bundle (or bouquet garni.) Cook for at least an hour, allowing flavors to develop. Season well and add water as needed. Once thick and tasting perfect, remove bouquet garni and serve on pasta.
September ’10 – Week 4 – Tuesday Dinner/Dessert
If your kids already like pudding, ice cream, and Jell-O, they will naturally like Panna Cotta! This traditional Italian dessert is simply a super creamy gelatin dessert, delicately flavored with vanilla. It’s easy to serve with a drizzle of chocolate, fresh berries, whipped cream, or even something more grown up, like a red wine reduction. If you don’t have individual dishes to mold this in, it’s fine to make it in a large fish and scoop or slice it as you would flan or pudding.
1 packet Unflavored Gelatin
2 T Cold Water
2 C Heavy Cream
1 C Half and Half
1/3 C Sugar
1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand, allowing to bloom, about 1 minute. Heat mixture on low until gelatin is dissolved. Remove pan from heat.
In a large saucepan bring cream, half and half, and sugar to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture and vanilla.
Divide cream mixture among 8 4-6oz dessert cups or ramekins. Let come to room temperature. Once cooled, place in refrigerator, allowing to chill, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To release, dip ramekins into a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Run a thin knife around edge of each ramekin and invert ramekin onto center of a small plate until the panna cotta slides free, or just eat them right out of the cup. Garnish with whatever you like.