Tag Archives: Italian

Upgrades

It’s been a very exciting couple of weeks for my kitchen. So naturally, I’m blogging about it! I was lucky to have my graduation, my 25th birthday, and the arrival of my tax refund all coincide within a few weeks of each other. So my savings account was looking quite healthy. I didn’t spend the money right away because I wanted to wait and see what I got for my birthday and I wanted to think carefully about how I wanted to spend it. It was tough waiting that long (Geminis are not known for their patience!) but it was definitely worth it in the end because my kitchen got a major upgrade! for my birthday, my parents got me a set of three spring form cake pans in different sizes that I’ve been wanting for a long time. And my wonderful aunts bought me a food processor!! I already have the Ninja Master Prep, which is kind of a hybrid blender/food processor, but there are still a lot of things it can’t do. So I’ve been dying for a food processor. Thanks Jackie and Jen!

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Speaking of the Ninja, it was prety inexpensive and for awhile I was using it every single day, 7 days a week. Needles to say, it’s not working quite as well as it used too. So with some of my graduation/birthday money, I bought the Master Prep’s bigger, badder cousin, the Ninja Professional Blender

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I don’t make smoothies as often as I used too because I don’t have time to make and consume them before work in the morning. But I still love them for a quick lunch, and every foodie should have a great blender. If by chance you’re in the market for a blender, I highly recommend this one. A lot of bloggers swear by the Vitamix blender. I’ve never used a Vitamix before, so I can’t compare the two. But the Ninja handles frozen fruit and ice like a dream (even a whole frozen banana cut in half). And at $99, it’s a bargain compared to the $400 Vitamix. Even better, f you sign up for e-mails from Bed, Bath & Beyond, you can get a 20% off coupon. With the coupon, I got the blender for only $94, including shipping!  The blades down the center of the blender are the secret to blending just about anything into a perfect smoothie. the pitcher, lid and blades are also all dishwasher safe, which is especially nice because the blades are super sharp.

To finish off this post, I’m going to post my first recipe in forever. Last night I tried my hand at making spaghetti with Filetto Di Pomodoro, and it was a success! The first time I had this it was made by mom mom with spaghetti that she also made from scratch and oh my God, it’s so good. I’m warning you now, this sauce is 1. Not a fast recipe at all, and 2. Will ruin store bought sauce for you, no matter how much more convenient it is. So proceed at your own risk! It’s so worth it though. And it’s really not hard, just a lot of prepping/chopping and a long cooking time. It also makes a big batch and freezes well, so you can make it once and eat it for several meals.  To give credit where credit is due, this recipe comes from “The New Complete Book of Pasta.”

Filetto Di Pomodoro
Makes 7 cups

You’ll Need:

4 heaping Tbs minced prosciutto fat or bacon (my mom always uses bacon instead and it tastes great, so I wouldn’t even bother looking for prosciutto fat)

2 Tbs high quality olive oil

1 Tbs butter

3 large white onions, chopped (its all going to go through a food processor eventually, so you can roughly chop these)

4 large fresh basil leaves, minced, or 1 Tbs dried sweet basil

10 very large ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and diced, or 9 cups canned italian plum tomatoes  (once again, my mom and I both used canned tomatoes for this. The sauce is so flavorful I’m not sure you’d notice a difference between fresh and canned)

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Black pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a saucepan, over medium heat, saute the bacon in the olice oil and butter until crisp but not overly brown

2. Add the onions and basil, simmer for 6 minutes

3. Add the tomatoes (with juice if desired) and stir well. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently

4. Add salt and pepper and stir well. Raise heat and cook off extra liquid from the tomatoes

5. Allow sauce to cool, then blend it all in a food processor (my food processor holds 7 cups, but I still had to do this several ladlefuls at a time

6. Return sauce to saucepan, heat, and serve over spaghetti

Enjoy!

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Filed under Recipes by Vanessa

Baked Ziti

My best friend makes an amazing baked ziti. When I visited her over this past July 4th weekend, she made it for me and sent me home with leftovers. Unfortunately, I totally forgot it was in my bag and forgot to put it in the fridge until way too late. But it was so good that I briefly contemplated risking food poisoning! Since I usually only see her once a year, I wanted to be able to make it for myself sometimes. Her recipe is a family secret, so I found this recipe online and made a few changes. It tastes like lasagna without all the work! It can’t beat Samantha’s, but it turned out really well! Here’s my version:

*Makes lots of leftovers and freezes well

Ingredients

1 box ziti (I couldn’t for the life of me find any ziti so I used whole wheat penne which is basically the same thing, just smaller)

1 pound ground turkey

3 jars of your favorite marinara sauce

Approximately 5 large spoonfuls ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese

1 pound bag shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring salted water to boil. Cook pasta for approximately 5 minutes, or until it’s al dente (it will cook more in the oven so you want it to be firm)

2) While the pasta is cooking, cook the ground turkey. I cooked mine with olive oil, ground black pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and a little bit of onion powder

3) Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add meat, sauce (save some for topping), ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 3 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, and mix well.

 

4) Pour mixture into a large oven safe dish, and top with more sauce and mozzarella cheese

5) Bake pasta for 30-40 minutes, until cheese melts and begins to bubble.

Enjoy!

XO,
V

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Filed under Recipes by Vanessa

Freaky Fast Pasta

I’m a lover of Italian food. Giada de Laurentiis was the first “celebrity chef” whose show I watched religiously. I am enamored with her! But that is another post for another day…for now I shall give you my super fast and pretty darn healthy pasta dish.

Usually, I try to make most of my food from scratch but with this dish the pre-made foods have “hidden” veggies, upping the health factor!

I can whip this up in less than 20 minutes. No more excuses for fast food, people! Healthy food can be delicious AND fast!

Freaky Fast Pasta

Serves 4

-1/2 jar of Prego Veggie Smart Pasta

-3/4 of the container of skim milk ricotta cheese (In my opinion, in this dish, you can’t tell the difference between whole milk and skim milk ricotta cheese, so why not go with the skim milk and cut down your calories?!)

-3/4 of a box of Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta

-1 TBS of oil (pref. Olive Oil)

-A small palm full of salt

-SaltNPepper+ Garlic Powder

1. Add salt to water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.

2. After pasta has cooked, scoop 1 cup of pasta water and reserve.

3. Drain pasta and pour into a bowl

4. Add ricotta cheese and sauce to hot pasta and mix. If the sauce is too thick, add tablespoons of pasta water until you reach the desired consistency.

5. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste and serve immediately

You can add fresh basil or top it with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. This dish is also vegetarian but you could easily turn this into a meat sauce using ground beef, chicken or turkey.

It’s fast and surprisingly healthy! I recommend it for any night that you need a healthy meal, fast. It also refrigerates well and is easy to reheat and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

-Brittany

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Filed under Creative Concoctions, Healthy Living, Recipes by Brittany