Archive | Italian RSS feed for this section

Bruschetta, Avocado, & Mozzarella Chicken

24 Jun

Since I posted a fall-flavored Meatless Monday recipe yesterday, I knew I had to share a full-on-in-your-face-SUMMER recipe today!  This is another spectacular recipe I found over at Iowa Girl Eats – I will fan girl over her recipes every. damn. day.  Go check her out!

Bruschetta-Avocado-Mozzarella-Chicken-Balsalmic-Reduction



Bruschetta, Avocado, and Mozzarella Chicken

  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – pounded to about 1/4″ thickness
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 c. bruschetta (homemade or store bought)
  • sliced Mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil, salt, pepper
  • spinach

Preheat the broiler and pour 1/2 c. balsamic into a small skillet and bring to a boil.  As soon as the vinegar begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer it off for about 10-15 minutes.  It will begin to get syrupy and reduce a ton.  You know it’s ready to go when it coats the spoon: Balsamic-Reduction

Meanwhile, heat 1 T. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper, then cook it 7ish minutes per side or until your meat thermometer reaches 165*F.

Chicken

**I don’t mess around with “cook until pink” or “until juices run clear.”  After having a kitchen under construction so long, I’ve learned that lighting can be the difference between food poisoning and a great dinner.  Always go for the thermometer to check if meat is cooked!**

Delallo-Italian-Tomato-Bruschetta

When the chicken is ready to go, spoon enough bruschetta on top to make you happy!  I have never purchased pre-made bruschetta before and I was pleasantly surprised with this Delallo Italian Tomato mixture.   Doesn’t hurt that Delallo is based right here in Pittsburgh.  The pre-made bruschetta was the best idea I didn’t mean to have.  Honestly, it was so sweet that it complimented everything perfectly – I don’t even really like tomatoes!!  Add onto that your sliced avocado, and finally top it with a piece of mozzarella cheese. Chicken-Bruschetta-Avoacdo-Mozzarella

At this point, your balsamic reduction is probably done so just go ahead and set that aside until you are ready to eat!  Pop the chicken into the broiler and cook it until the cheese gets melted and toasted to perfection.

Serve on a bed of spinach with the balsamic reduction!

Bruschetta-Chicken-Avocado-Mozzarella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How’s that for a 20 minute meal?!

 

Advertisements

Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

6 Nov

So, do you want the bad news or the good news first?

The bad news is that Italian home-style cooking would not be considered very clean eating.  Lasagna is typically a heavy, carb (40g!!!) and calorie (upwards of 900!!!) dense meal that I basically only enjoy through osmosis.  (The osmosis of licking a picture on the Olive Garden menu – I swear I gain 5 lbs. just looking at it.)  So, yeah.

The good news is, this recipe is a much lighter version of a traditional lasagna.  In fact, based on my calculations this recipe is around 400 calories a serving, but 47 g of carbs.  So while it’s still a carb dense meal and certainly not what I would consider clean, the calories make it a much more reasonable “not so clean day” option.

The cool thing about lasagnas are that you can kind of do your own thing with the filling – whatever you are in the mood for or whatever you have on hand works.  I’ve also made a Ham, Spinach, & Ricotta Lasagna Roll-Up here before. This particular recipe is an oldie but a goodie, with infinite variations.  The original post had HORRIBLE pictures, taken when I was cooking by lamplight (Yes, I had a table lamp on my stove and that was the only light in the kitchen!), so I thought it could use a good update.

Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

  • lasagna noodles (NOT the oven-ready kind)
  • 8 oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (or fresh, wilted)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms of your choice, sliced thin
  • 15 oz. part-skim ricotta
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • pasta sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • shredded mozzarella or Parmesean

Cook the lasagna noodles al dente (10 min) and then spread them out to cool slightly.  I used a kitchen towel and paper towels for this:

LW.Noodles

While all that jazz is happening, you can make the stuffings.  Brown the mushrooms in 1 T. olive oil.  Salt & pepper them, then add in half a cup of pasta sauce.  Simmer for about 2 minutes and then set aside.

LW.Mushrooms

Also, mix together the spinach, ricotta, egg, and a little more salt and pepper.

LW.RicottaSpinach

Pretty easy so far, right?

Once the noodles are soft enough for you to work with, place about 2 T. of the ricotta mixture on each noodle, then top with 1-1/2 T. of the mushroom mixture.

LW.Rolling

Then, just roll them up!  I put mine in a casserole dish that has a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking.

LW.Before

You could do a few things here:  Put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook, probably freeze, or top with sauce and cheese and bake those em-effers at 375F.

I clearly chose the em-effers option.  We don’t like a lot of sauce with our pasta in this house, but have at it (just remember that jarred pasta sauce is super high in sugar!) with your favorite sauce and cheese of choice.  I just barely sprinkled some Mozzarella on ours because the ricotta is cheesy enough!  Cover the casserole dish(es) loosely in tin foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375F.  Then, remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

LW.Final

As you can tell, its really easy to keep your portions (2-3 roll ups) under control with this recipe because you scoop out one roll-up at a time.  I made the whole box of pasta (17 roll-ups) because we are in dire need of lunch options at our house, so we will be eating leftovers for days!

Ah-voh-cah-doh.

29 Dec

So when I said I reclaimed my kitchen last night, I meant this:

AvocadoChickenParmPlated2

Avocado Chicken Parmesan (from Cuisine Paradise)

What you will need:

2 chicken breasts
Panko bread crumbs
flour
2 eggs & 2 T. milk, lightly beaten until combined
Pasta Sauce
1-2 Hass avocados
mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Step1

Step2

Step3

Pretty basic breading technique here.  Make sure you spray the foiled sheet tray with oil and also spray the tops of the chicken with oil.  This kind of helps the chicken brown because we aren’t doing a pan-sear and Panko browns funky anyway.

Then, bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes.  I keep my chicken in longer because I get really weird-ed out by poultry after serving us raw chicken one night.  (Not my fault – there is no light in my kitchen!)

Grab the essentials:

Step4

When the timer goes off, spoon pasta sauce over the chicken, top with sliced avocados and mozzarella cheese.

Step5

I only used 1 avocado and honestly I can’t imagine using both.  Start with 1, then add more if you need to.

It gets baked another 8-10 minutes and then you have my permission to completely devour it.

AvocadoChickenParmFinished

Now, my cupboard are pretty much bare at this point.  We’ve been surviving off of coffee and Christmas cookies for days.

The best part of this meal is the price tag, which I estimated based on how much I used of the items I purchased:

Receipt

This brings the grand total of our meal (which gave 2 ample servings with plenty of ingredients to spare) to:

CostOfMeal

BOOOOOYAHHHHHH.

 

Ham, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna Roll-Ups ♥

17 Apr
I adapted this recipe from someone I hate, Ellie Krieger. 
I even hate giving her credit for it because her face bothers me that much.
Please keep in mind that I made this 2 days after Easter
and have been sitting on this post (no, I don’t eat super old ham).
 

Ingredients Used In THIS Version (Ham, Spinach & Ricotta):

12 lasagna noodles (I’ll explain what I used in a minute)
12 oz. leftover Easter ham
8 oz. spinach (I used frozen)
15 oz. part-skin ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
pasta sauce
salt, pepper & oregano
Mozzarella or Parmesan for topping
 

First, and I mean first – get those lasagna noodles boiling in some salted water.

I a a stickler for Hodgson Mill organic pasta that’s made with milled flax seed.

Trust me, I know that whole wheat pasta tastes like crap, but this is tolerable and I haven’t tried a type of pasta I didn’t like from the brand.

What’s the deal with the flax seed?

Whole flax seed cannot be digested, but milled flax seed can.  That means that your body gets those yummy Omega-3 oils that make it strong.  Hodgson Mill  claims that one serving of pasta (like 3 lasagna noodles) provides you with 500 mg of Omega-3 oils.

 

Ok, onto the work.  Like I said, get those noodles boiling.  Mine took about 7-9 minutes to cook.  You want them al dente, true; but, you should be able to tell when they’re ready when it seems like they are sturdy enough to be rolled without falling apart.

While you’re noodles are getting their boil on, get the filling ready.

Mix together the spinach (thawed and drained OBVI), ricotta, and egg.

Since I used leftover Easter ham (which was obviously cooked), I just cubed it and reheated it in a little bit of olive oil.

Once it was warm, I added some pasta sauce.  Its really up to your discretion how much sauce you use here.  It will go in both the filling and on top of the roll-ups.

You want this warmed through of course, but it really just needs to simmer until the noodles are ready to be stuffed.

Before the noodles are done, set out some wax paper and prep a dish for the oven (cover in tin foil and pasta sauce).

You can probably turn off the ham/pasta sauce as this point too.

And then, lay them out side by side:

Now the fun part starts – the stuffin’!!

Each one is getting a scoop of the spinach/ricotta mixture:

Followed by a scoop of the ham/sauce mixture:

Then you just roll those suckers up…

Place them side-by-side in a dish (I happened to use this one because I know it holds 1 box of lasagna shells, rolled):

Cover the entire thing with the remaining pasta sauce…

And then cheese (I chose Parmesan and light Mozzarella here):

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes…

After 45 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes.  (I don’t know why, but that’s what stupid Ellie said to do.)

I made garlic bread in the meantime:

And we had ourselves a little Italiana feast!

These are literally the perfect low-cal alternative to lasagna lovers like me.  The roll-ups really allow you to control your portions (I only needed 2 before I was stuffed!), they are incredibly easy to serve once cooked, AND the ingredient options are endless.  Ellie suggests using portobello mushrooms, but I have been getting more experimental each time I make them.

I was also able to save the spinach/ricotta mix for some ravioli a few days later:

Delizioso!

Review: Del’s Bar & Restaurant

1 Mar

As I’m writing this, I am finishing what’s left of my lunch from Del’s Restaurant: half of a Mancini Panino.

I was hesitant about going back to Del’s.  We have been patrons of this restaurant over the years and the decline in quality was noticeable, but the history of the place is undeniable.  Del’s has been owned and operated in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, BY THE SAME FAMILY, since 1949.  Um, hello.  How could you not want to support a business like that?

Plus, I’m from New Castle which means I can’t help but want to adopt every little old Italian lady that I see.

But, I’d been burned by Del’s before.  And so had a lot of other people – so much so that it was chosen to undergo a makeover by Robert Irvine of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible.  The first time we saw this episode was last night, so our choice to patronize Del’s today was no accident.

I had also read a review from Chef Chuck Kerber at Pittsburgh Hot Plate, who attended the re-opening for the television show.  Needless to say, I had mixed feelings about today’s lunch.

Let me start by saying that the decor in the restaurant has improved, tenfold.  I also enjoyed the fact that all three dining rooms were open and being seated.  It really gave me a sense of what Del’s may have been like in its heyday; I would have considered it to be a good sized lunch crowd today.

I didn’t take photos of it because I was sort of incognito today… Several of the waitstaff referred to us as “regulars” as we were being seated and I felt like a lot of attention was being paid to our table.  Don’t get me wrong, it was great – good service means good retention.  It was just a little awkward to take photos because I wasn’t sure if this review was going to be good or bad.

The Food:

I started with French Onion Soup, which was broiled.  Friggin amazing.

I thought it was odd that the waiter asked me if I wanted cheese.  When we got the bill, I realized that we had been billed for cheese on top of what the soup cost.  Really?  Who eats french onion soup without cheese?

As I said before, I ordered the Mancini Panino, which was also delicious.

This doll has capicolla, genoa salami, roasted red and banana peppers, and mozzarella cheese.  So good.  The french fries tasted exactly like everything at Long John Silver’s.  Which tells me that they have been frying fish in the same fryer as everything else.

She♥ ordered chicken Parmesan, not only because it is something she had had before but also because it was something featured on the show.  Apparently, prior to Chef Irvine’s intervention, the DelPizzos had been using frozen chicken breasts for the chicken Parmesan.  He showed them on the show that they could save money and time by freshly breading and frying chicken breasts.  He also plates it with pasta and a little sauce.  This, of course, is what we were expecting to be served.

Wrong.

She♥ was given a chicken breast, which was not crispy as if it had just been fried.  It was alone on a plate, drowning in sauce.  I couldn’t even take a photo of it because it would have been unrecognizable as chicken parmesan.  We asked Travis, our server – what happened to the freshly breaded chicken?  He responded, “Well, he must have gone back the old way of doing it.  I didn’t work here before the renovation, so I don’t know.”

Oh, okay…

The show just filmed December 3rd, aired February 29th and its March 1st.  I, as a former patron and viewer of Restaurant Impossible, would assume that Del’s is serving what I’m being told they are serving.  And don’t worry, for a side of pasta to go with her♥ disgusting chicken Parmesan was $2.

(The other $1 was for a salad.)

Annoyed.

As we ask Travis for our bill, we mentioned to him that we had brought our Del’s loyalty card.  This card had always enabled us to get 20% off of our bill.

Travis informed us that he had only seen 10% off loyalty cards, which made me feel happy because I have an extra special loyalty card that gives me 20% off.  Then Travis informed that it wasn’t valid with any specials, early birds or for lunch.

Sorry Del’s, but I will no longer be referring people your way.  And I probably won’t be using that loyalty card again anyway.  There are other family-owned Italian eateries that I look forward to supporting.

%d bloggers like this: