Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Tag: Italian

Potato Gnocchi

Whenever I am in the mood to cook Italian I always turn to my favorite Napa Valley Chef, Micheal Chiarello. His recipes are always clean and full of flavor. This recipe for Potato Gnocchi does not disappoint. Gnocchi [pronounced ‘Nyoke-ee’] is a type of dumpling […]

Basic Homemade Pasta Dough

We do not eat very much pasta around here. When we do I prefer to make my own. I found a pasta maker years ago for $13.00. It seemed like such a bargain as the Kitchen Aide attachment can run you $150. I do not […]

Cheap and Tasty: Skillet Tamale with Polenta

Skillet Tamale with Polenta

One of the first questions I am asked after someone finds out that I am from Southern Florida is, “so did you have alligators in your backyard?” No alligators but we did have a family of peacocks down the street. And by the way, there is a single peacock down the street where I live today on the other side of the continent. When I hear it call I am reminded of the days as kids we roamed the back alley behind our house trying to spy the birds and their eggs.

Florida today has become a melting pot of many cultures. Even the dynamics of the small agricultural towns have traces of a diverse population of people and foods. One of my favorite Southern breakfast foods is grits. It is similar to cream of wheat but a little grainier. It must be an inherited trait as most transplants cannot stand grits. Polenta is the Italian version of grits. They are both made of ground corn simmered in water until set. Grits are most commonly eaten as a side with breakfast while polenta may replace rice in main dishes. Polenta is also enjoyed baked or fried similar to a piece of bread.

Source: unknown
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 14-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 3-oz. can chopped green chiles
1 package (3-4 tablespoons) taco seasoning mix
Salt and Pepper
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup polenta
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, place the olive oil and onion and saute until the onion is translucent. Add the ground beef and brown; drain the fat.

Stir in the tomato sauce, black beans, water, green chiles and taco seasoning mix. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Prepare the corn muffin mix according to package directions. Drop small spoonfuls of batter over the meat mixture in the skillet; don’t worry if there are some small uncovered places. Cover and cook over medium heat 15-17 minutes until the batter is cooked through.

Sprinkle the mixture with the cheese and green onion. Re-cover and cook 3-4 minutes over low heat until the cheese melts.

Serves 4-6.

Cheap and Tasty: Chicken Sorrento

This recipe is perfect for anyone who forgets to marinate the chicken. The chicken simmers in creamy Italian salad dressing until perfectly tender. Add whatever vegetables are on hand for a super fast and ultra cheap meal. Source: Woman’s Day 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast […]

Cheap and Tasty: Super Quick Minestrone

I really jumped on the eating fresh band wagon years ago when I spotted Michael Chiarello on the Food Network. His dishes looked amazing. He made making gnocchi and tomato puree look so simple. In some recipes that call for pancetta I will go ahead […]

Italian Sausage and Pasta in a Cream Tomato Sauce

Italian Sausage and pasta in a cream tomato sauce

Tonight’s menu called for spaghetti but I really did not feel like spaghetti. A variation of stroganoff with the use of sausage came to mind. I used mild Italian sausage but feel free to pump up the heat with medium or hot sausage. The great thing about cream sauce is there are several ways to go about making it. The first is using a rue of butter, flour and milk, the second is using cream and the third way is a can of cream of soup. Tonight I used a can of cream of mushroom soup plus a half can of milk.

8-10 ounces pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can Italian-style plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage, stirring occasionally to break up large clumps. Cook until completely browned. Stir in onion, garlic and red pepper, cooking until tender. Stir in tomatoes, soup and milk. Simmer until mixture thickens, 5 minutes.

Stir cooked pasta into sauce and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

In the place of the cream of mushroom soup and milk use 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup milk and 1/2 tsp salt. Or use 1 1/2 cups cream and 1/2 tsp salt.
Add some chopped carrots or zucchini with the onions.
Add kale or spinach with the tomatoes.
Substitute Bulgar wheat, barley, potatoes or roasted vegetables in place of the pasta.