Tag Archive: italian


I confess!  In the interest of saving money, I’ve been shopping at Lucky’s and other stores promising good quality organic boneless chicken at lower prices than Fresh Market.  This Little Big Meal offer called out to me, so I decided to splurge.  Guess what?  There really is a difference in the taste and texture.  I will start shopping the Tuesday sale again religiously in the interest of better tasting chicken!  This meal was super easy.  The website said to fry the chicken up in a skillet with a little oil.  Besides the fact that the thought of standing over a hot stove frying chicken didn’t appeal to me, it also sounded a bit greasy.  I opted for a baked method and the results were amazing.  I am on board every time they run this Little Big Meal deal.

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1 Little Big Meal – which includes:

4 large butterflied chicken breasts with light breading

1 jar sauce (the LBM deal was for a brand called Lucini, but they were out – I chose Cucina Artica fresh spinach cooking sauce – very good straight from the jar, but I always taste and doctor it up)

1 pack Fresh Market shredded Mozzarella cheese

My add ins:  sherry, butter, and jarred pesto sauce for sauce, bread, butter, oil, and pesto sauce mix for the garlic bread, and shredded 6 Italian cheese for on top.

1 box DeCecco pasta (I chose cavatappi)  FYI DeCecco won the blind taste test on America’s Test Kitchen as best tasting pasta.

1 package chop salad (again they were out of what it was supposed to be, so I got baby lettuce to make myself lunches for salad this week)

I also made some garlic bread from wonderful sourdough rolls I picked up at their bakery.

  1.  Line baking sheet with foil and brush with oil (I use a grapeseed sunflower blend).
  2. Place chicken pieces on sheet and drizzle with oil.  By the way, the picture is 1/2 of one of the chicken pieces, so it’s a lot of chicken.
  3. Bake at 400 F, setting the timer for 10 minutes to rotate pan and check for even cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, boil water for pasta and heat sauce in pan.  I doctored the sauce with a couple splashes of sherry.
  5. Chicken will be golden around the edges after about 25-30 minutes total cooking time.  Remove from oven and spoon sauce over the pieces, reserving the remaining sauce to mix with the cooked pasta.  After adding the pasta to the sauce, I added in 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. pesto.
  6. Top chicken pieces with shredded cheese.  I had a little 6 cheese Italian on hand, so I used that and some of the Mozzarella.
  7. Return to oven and allow cheese to melt.
  8. For the garlic bread, I mixed melted butter, oil, and Knorr creamy pesto mix and dipped the pieces of bread in it, and baked them first on the lower rack, and then switching out with the chicken towards the end.

The Little Big Meal sells for $20.00 and is supposed to feed four.  We have some leftovers, so the kids are happy!  It’s a lot of food.  I also opted not to make a salad to go with, opting to use it for my lunches instead.  I did purchase the rolls to make the garlic bread for an additional $4.00 investment in the meal.

All in all a success and a great reminder of why the Fresh Market chicken is worth spending a little more!

 

 

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sam_2969

Today was food preparation Sunday.  I did my shopping yesterday (following the great, inspiring sales this week), and prepared food today.  The meatballs are a combination of several meats and I made them jumbo, like mini meatloafs.

3 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground chicken

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 lb. ground pork  (optional)

2 tsp. baking soda mixed with 2 Tbsp. water

2 c. crumbled cornbread

2 eggs

1/4 c. sweet pickle relish

1/4 c. pesto

3 Tbsp. steak seasoning

1 lb. ricotta cheese

1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used Gia Russa)

4 oz. each ricotta salada and fontina cheeses, shredded

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Combine meats with baking soda water and add in relish, pesto, seasoning, ricotta cheese, and seasoning.

Prepare 13 x 9 baking dishes by spraying with cooking spray.

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Using large scoop, form meatballs and put into baking dishes sprayed with coconut oil.

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Bake at 375F for 40 minutes until internal temperature is 165F.

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Pour  spaghetti sauce over cooked meatballs and top with shredded cheese.  I used ricotta salada and fontina.

 

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Meanwhile as part of food prep Sunday, I browned the remaining ground meats I bought (about 3 lb. total) to freeze and use in a future meal.

I bought a variety of sauces on a clearance sale at the local market and put boneless chicken breasts and thighs into large containers and coated them with the sauces and froze the chicken for future meals.  I only used half of the meatballs I made for tonight’s dinner.  I froze the rest for another night.

 

I served the Jumbo meatballs tonight with a tortelloni that was on a BOGO sale at my local supermarket.  I also bought their spinach ricotta ravioli, and everyone loved the freshness of this delicate pasta.  I will go buy more before the sale ends!

rana-tortelloni

All in all, a successful food preparation Sunday, ending with a delicious, easy meal made of ingredients bought on sale!

sam_2969

 

Pasta alla Norcina

Okay, so I am totally food obsessed and spent the last couple of days binge watching America’s Test Kitchen.  I already know it will totally be worth it, even if I just try the Pasta alla Norchina!  The picture above is from the America’s Test Kitchen website.  I haven’t actually tried the complete recipe, but I have tried the trick about cooking the ground eat as a burger and then chopping it up and finishing the cooking of the meat in the sauce.  I made a lasagna that had ground pork and turkey that were cooked according to the directions for the meat in this recipe and will never again suffer through chopping ground meat as it cooks with a spatula.

Here is the America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Pasta alla Norchina.  If you get a chance to watch the video, it is worth watching!

4 tsp water

1 ½  tsp. salt

¼ tsp. baking soda

Incorporate water, salt and baking soda into 1 lb. ground pork.

Let rest for 10 minutes

Add the following to the pork:

1 tsp garlic

¾ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

¾ tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Smear the meat up against side of the bowl  for approx 15 seconds to blend all the seasonings all the way through.

Form into large patty – place on greased dinner plate and set aside.

Place  oz. cremini mushrooms in food processor and chop finely about 10 pulses.

Heat 2 tsp oil in skillet

Brown both sides of the pork patty, but leave raw in middle – about 2 minutes per side

Meanwhile cook pasta.

Transfer patty to cutting board and chop into fine pieces.  Place in bowl and add ¾ c. heavy cream.

Add oil to skillet and cook mushrooms w/ 1/8 tsp salt about 8 minutes till nicely browned.

Add 2 tsp oil, 2 tsp garlic, ½ tsp. rosemary, ½ tsp. black pepper.  Cook 30 seconds.

Add ½ c. dry white wine.  Cook until wine completely evaporates.

Meanwhile drain pasta and reserve ¾ c. pasta water.

Once wine is evaporated, add sausage cream mixture and ¾ c. pasta water.  Simmer approx 3 minutes until pork is fully cooked.

Turn off heat and add in ¾ c. pecorino until melted and smooth.

Pour over pasta.

Add 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add more pasta water if it looks too thick.

Serve immediately.

 

Ricotta Salata Stuffed Chicken.jpg

10 chicken cutlets

1/2 lb. ricotta salata cheese, cubed

2 c. marinara sauce

1/4 c. pesto

2 c. shredded Italian six cheese

Preheat oven 350 F.

Pour 3/4 of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish.

Roll cutlets around ricotta salata crumbles and place seam side down in sauce.

Mix remaining marinara with pesto.  Spoon over chicken pieces.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over dish.

Bake 40 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 F

Ricotta salata is amazing.  We had this with fresh angel hair pasta, romaine lettuce,  and bread from Fresh Market’s Thursday Little Big Meal.

Everyone loved this.

SAM_2433

1 box large shells

Uncooked Giant Shells

Meatloaf/Meatball mix –

Combine ground turkey, ground Italian sausage (1.5 lb. each) with 1 c. ricotta, chopped red pepper, onion and parsley, 1/4 c. pesto sauce, 1/4 c. sweet pickle relish for meatball/meatloaf mix.

Meatball Mixture

4 C. of your favorite pasta sauce

1 c. wine and 1 c. water

Pour 2 c. of your favorite pasta sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish

Stuff uncooked pasta shells with meat mixture and arrange in sauce.

Mix remaining sauce and wine and water.  Pour over shells.  (You and cover and refrigerate for future use at this point).

Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for one hour.

Remove foil and top with 2 c. of your favorite Italian cheeses.

Bake 15 minutes more.

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Serve with garlic toast.

I make meatballs the same night I make these because I always seem to have too much (usually) or not enough (occasionally)stuffing for the shells!  I use up the mixture with sausage first, and then add in ground turkey to make the meatballs  – adding in egg and bread crumbs – from the remaining shell stuffing.

Turkey Meatballs

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with tuscan seasoning mixture or garlic salt.

Bake 375 F for 40 minutes.

Baked Meatballs

Freeze in plastic containers or zip locks for future meals!

 

Tuscan Chicken

Tuscan Chicken

2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 large onion, finely diced

1/2 yellow pepper, finely diced
1/2 container grape tomatoes, sliced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. basil
1 Tbsp. oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. cooking sherry
Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle chicken with seasonings. Brown both sides in olive oil. Add in garlic, vegetables, butter and sherry. Cover and cook over low heat for approximately 30 minutes – until internal temperature reaches 165 F.

This paired well with the Fall Casserole.

SAM_0585

Aunt Fran and Uncle Bob loved it!

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