Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Italian Sausage with Broccoli Rabe

I first had this Italian Sausage with Broccoli Rabe as a side dish with a meatless main course Rigatoni with Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella. But, it would make an excellent main course with potatoes, pasta or rice and a dinner salad. Serves 8


2 lbs Italian sausage
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon each smoked paprika and red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs broccoli rabe, trimmed and stems removed
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup pecorino cheese


In a large bowl combine the sausage with the spices, garlic and salt with your hands until evenly distributed. Add the parsley and kneed the mixture until combined. In a large skillet over medium heat add the oil. When oil shimmers add the sausage and cook until browned. Add in the shallots and scrap the fond off the bottom of the pan while you are stirring. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the broccoli rabe and the stock, cover and cook about 8 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Stir in zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and top with pecorino. Serve immediately.

Instant Pot Spinach and Herb Lasagna

This spinach and herb lasagna was the second recipe we made in cooking class. Lots of cheese and fresh herbs made this dish Buonissimo!

You're going to need a steam rack and an 8 oz round soufflé or casserole dish.  I know steam racks come with the Instant Pot, but the rest of us will have to improvise. 

Our teacher told us to make a foil sling under the dish to put it in and take it out. I must have been sleeping at this point, because I honestly don’t remember how we got it out. I just remember how good it was.  


1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 lb ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
8 oz aged mozzarella cheese
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 1/2 cups favorite marinara sauce
8 no-boil oven-ready lasagna noodles 


Insert the steam rack into the pot (I placed a small bowl upside down) and add 1 1/2 cups of water. In a medium size bowl beat the egg with the salt and pepper. Add in the ricotta, pecorino and 1/2 the mozzarella, mix to combine. Fold in the spinach, parsley and basil.

In the bottom of your 8 oz dish spread 1/3 of the marinara sauce. Top with 2 of the noodles (break to fit). Dollop with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with 1/r of the remaining cheese. Top with 2 noodles, 1/3 of the marinara, 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat. End with the last 2 noodles, the remaining sauce and mozzarella.

Tent some aluminum foil over the dish and make your aluminum foil sling 3”x 20” to lower the dish on the rack (or on top of the bottom of the bowl).

Lock your lid. Cook on high for 10 minutes. Use the natural release method for 15 minutes, then vent the rest of the steam. Open the lid carefully. Lift the lasagna out and discard the foil. If desired, put lasagna under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Yum Yum! And I really mean it this time.😀

Just wanted to let you know I did make this lasagna. I just got carried away and before I knew it the lasagna was in the Instant Pot and I forgot to take my pictures ☹️. Very easy and very good👍🏼.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Rigatoni with a Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella

You can make this Rigatoni with a Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella with boxed rigatoni or cannelloni noodles ...or you can make fresh rigatoni noodles. But if you want to save time and just use boxed noodles. Here’s the recipe.....


How to Make Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce

1 lb rigatoni, boiled 6 minutes or 12 oz cannelloni, boiled 4 minutes and cut to fit baking dish. 
6 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into 1/4” pieces 

2 cups ricotta cheese 
1 cup mascarpone 
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
2 tablespoons chopped parsley 
1 teaspoon salt 
Ground pepper, to taste 
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 400F. In a 13x9-inch baking dish spread a layer of the tomato sauce. 

In a medium bowl combine all the filling ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a large pastry bag and snip off 1/2” of the tip with scissors. Fill each noodle and lay on top of tomato sauce. Spoon remaining sauce on top of noodles. Bake 20 minutes, remove top with mozzarella pieces then bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Oven-Baked Italian Hasselback Chicken

You’ll love this hasselback, girl!  If you ever had any other hasselback chicken, you’ve got to try this Oven-Baked Italian Hasselback Chicken loaded with salami, cheese and topped with a tomato pesto sauce. Only 6 ingredients! Serves 4 Total Time: 45 minutes 


1 cup sun-dried tomato-pesto sauce
1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese, cut into strips
10 slices salami, chopped
Garnish: freshly chopped basil


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat bottom of 11x7- or 12x8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon from 1 cup sun-dried tomato-pesto sauce.

Arrange 1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms in single layer in bottom of dish. Coat mushrooms with some of remaining sauce.

In tops of 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, make slices from top to almost bottom and 3/4-inch apart to form pockets; be sure not to cut all the way through. Spread 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of sauce over each chicken breast half, making sure to also coat inside of pockets.

Fill pockets with strips cut from 4 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese and 10 slices salami, chopped. Place chicken over mushrooms in dish. Coat tops of chicken with remaining sauce. Bake 30 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted into chicken (not into filling) reads 165°F. Gnam Gnam! 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Oven-Baked Italian Sausage Ziti

Easy oven-baked recipe in just an hour. Just what you need after a hectic day at work or on a busy weekend when your children insist on a sleepover at the last minute. This Italian Sausage Ziti serves 8!

This recipe was would go great with my mama’s Arroz con Leche or a Creamy Grape Salad, which my granddaughters loved so much they learned how to make it themselves!


4 cups (14oz) uncooked ziti
1 lb bulk Italian pork sausage
1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
2 jars (26 oz each) organic roasted garlic pasta sauce 8oz  presliced fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package, using minimum cook time. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Remove from skillet; set aside. Cook mushrooms and onion in drippings 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.

In large bowl, stir together cooked pasta, sausage, mushroom mixture and pasta sauce. Spoon half of mixture into baking dish. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon remaining pasta mixture over cheese. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese slices. Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes or until heated in center and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer. Gnam Gnam!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Italian Sausage and Peppers A One-Pan Meal

This easy one-pan recipe combines Italian sausage and peppers with sweet onions and rice to make a quick dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes! Serves 4-6

My favorite ground Italian sausage comes from Meijer. You don’t have to worry about removing the meat from the casing, as you do with link sausage. 

If you want spicy hot Italian sausage, rather than this mild one, I think Johnsonville makes both link and a ground hot Italian sausage you can pick up at Walmart or check with your local grocer.


3 tablespoons olive oil 1 lb Italian sausage, if links decase 1 large sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small 2/3 cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced small 2/3 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced small 3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced 2 cups dry/uncooked minute or instant rice 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely minced (stems discarded) Salt and pepper, to taste


To a large pan, add the olive oil, sausage, onion, and sauté for about 8 minutes over medium-high heat, or until sausage is cooked through and onions are lightly golden browned. Stir and flip intermittently. Add the peppers, garlic, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir intermittently. Turn the heat to medium-low, and add the rice, chicken broth, and cook covered for about 5 to 10 minutes or until rice is tender, done, and all liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, add the parsley, and stir to combine. Taste dish and add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately. Dish will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 days. Reheat gently as necessary. Gnam Gnam!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

My Easy Cannelloni Recipe

My EASY Cannelloni recipe has only 5 ingredients and takes under and hour to make. A must for any busy work day. Change it up a little and use ground turkey or shredded chicken instead. Experiment using feta or ricotta instead of cottage cheese. Serves 4


1/2 lb ground beef
16oz cottage cheese
1 egg
Cooked lasagna noodles
Ragu Thick and Zesty with Meat sauce or Homestyle Thick and Hearty with Meat sauce


Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.

Cook your lasagna noodles al dente, drain and rinse in cold water. While the noodles are cooking, in a bowl combine your cottage cheese and egg. In a skillet brown your ground beef, drain grease and let cool. Mix the ground beef to the cottage cheese mixture.  Roll the mixture in the noodles and place in the prepared baking dish. Cover with the Ragu sauce. Bake 45 minutes. Serve hot. Gnam Gnam!

This would go great with a Iceberg Wedge Salad with a Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Homemade Marinara Sauce

This easy homemade marinara sauce can be used for any pasta dish, to add flavor to meat (meatloaf, meatballs) and can be served cold as a dipping sauce for appetizers; like mozzarella sticks. Serves 4 Total Time: 20 minutes 


1/3 cup olive oil 
2 cloves garlic, sliced 
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion 
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes 
1 bay leaf 
Salt and pepper, to taste 


In a large saucepan heat oil on medium heat add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the parsley and onions, stir to combine; then slowly add in the tomatoes. Stir to break up tomatoes the add bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce to simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Serve hot with pasta, meatloaf, meatballs or even pork chops. Let cool and refrigerate if serving as a dip. Gnam Gnam! 

Lemon Basil Pasta

This fresh five-ingredient summer pasta has a dose of lemony zing that's complemented by sweet basil and hearty cannellini beans. It's fresh, easy, and delicious—exactly what we're looking for on a sweltering summer night. Total Time: 25 minutes


10 ounces dried linguine or desired pasta 
1 19 oz can white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained 
1/2 of a lemon 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves 


Cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquids; set aside. Drain pasta and beans; cover to keep warm. 

Meanwhile, finely shred peel from the lemon half (about 2 teaspoons). In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add lemon peel; cook and stir 1 minute, or until lightly golden. 

In a food processor combine cooked lemon peel, basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice from the lemon half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Add reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency, processing mixture after every addition. To serve, toss hot cooked pasta mixture with lemon-basil mixture. Makes 4 servings. Gnam Gnam! 

Applebee’s Tuscan Garden Shrimp Salad

I had this new Tuscan Garden Shrimp Salad at Applebee’s and fell in love with it. If you haven’t tried it yet, here is the recipe to make it at home! You’ll ❤️ this Gamberetto Insalata! Serves 1 Calories 530 

2-3 cups mixed greens
10-15 medium size shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4th cucumber, diced
1/4-1/2 cup bruschetta tomatoes
1/4 cup edamame
1/4 cup red onion, chopped

Bruschetta Tomatoes:
6 or 7 ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar.
6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced* or chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste 

Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette:
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
1 teaspoon sugar.
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste.
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
Freshly ground black pepper to taste.


In a small bowl combine all the bruschetta tomatoes ingredients and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate while cleaning, deveining shrimp. In another bowl combine all the vinaigrette ingredients together, transfer to a oil & vinegar dispenser. 

If you buy frozen shrimp that’s already been cleaned and deveined (I do), just thaw them out in a bowl of cool water. Drain then season shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a skillet on med/high heat and add the oil. Once the oil glistens add the shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, 1-2 minutes. Turn over and remove from heat, let sit 1-2 minutes. 

Arrange salad in a medium size serving bowl, add in the mixed greens, then the diced cucumber, bruschetta tomatoes, edamame and chopped red onion. Top with shrimp and drizzle on the lemon olive oil vinaigrette. (Or serve on the side) Serve with a bread stick (optional). Gnam Gnam 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Italian Tomato Soup Pappa al Pomodoro

All of your favorite pizza flavors-tomatoes, pepperoni, Italian seasonings and cheese make a delizioso soup. Just add your favorite garlic crusty bread and a salad..oh and don’t forget a glass of red wine 🍷, Serves 4-6 Total Time: 30 minutes 


2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 medium onion, chopped 
1 green bell pepper, chopped 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
2 teaspoons dried basil 
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup uncooked rice 
1 cup diced, canned tomatoes with juice 
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth 
1-2 oz thinly sliced pepperoni 
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
Garnish: 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 


In a large saucepan heat oil then sauté the onions and peppers until softened, add in the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add in the seasonings, rice, diced tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes or until rice is done. Stir in pepperoni and sprinkle on the cheese; cook another minute or two. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Gnam Gnam!