Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quick, Spicy and Delicious Shrimp fra Diavlo

This dish can be made with just about any type of seafood, but I happened to have some shrimp. I have had it with squid, lobster, scallops, fish, and a combination of seafood. It is one of the most enjoyable pasta dishes that I have ever tasted. The peppery, tangy taste is a perfect compliment to the taste of seafood.

This is a great weeknight dish because you can whip it together in minutes. I used Lizabetti's Marinara Sauce Recipe, which she makes in gallons and keeps around to speed up cooking of Italian style dishes.



Ingredients:

  • 12-18 medium or large shrimps.
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat penne or ziti (or substitute your own favorite pasta). I like whole wheat because it holds on to the sauce better, and it is healthier too.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil. I used our home made spicy olive oil, which I will publish soon. However a good extra virgin olive oil will do nicely, it does not need to be expensive
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped garlic.
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne to taste. I grind Thai red peppers for extra zing.
  • 1 Tbsp dry oregano. The dry herbs have their own flavor and really work great in a dish like this. We grow our own oregano and dry the extra at the end of the summer.
  • 1 Tbsp dry parsley. We also grow and dry our own parsley. I think the home grown spices have more flavor.
  • 4-6 Cups of our Fresh Marinara depending on how saucy you want it. Or substitute your own favorite marinara sauce.
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


Directions:

  1. Follow package directions to boil the paste, set aside. My style for cooking pasta:
    • Bring a large pan of water to a hard boil
    • add the pasta and stir around in the water to separate
    • cook for 7 minutes for al-dente, or 10 minutes for soft noodles.
    • drain and set aside.
  2. Wash the shrimp thoroughly in cold water and drain in a colander.
  3. Mx the garlic, oregano, dry parsley and pepper with the shrimp in a mixing bowl. Make sure that the shrimp is completely coated.
  4. Add half the oil to the shrimp and stir.
  5. Pre-heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and let it get hot, but not smoking.
  7. Throw the shrimp into the pan, it should sizzle on contact.
  8. Flip the shrimp after about 30 seconds of cooking, or after it starts to turn pink. Continue cooking for about 1 minute or until it is pink on both sides.
  9. Take the shrimp out of the pan and set aside.
  10. Sear the pasta in the hot pan, stirring to pick up all the flavors left behind by the shrimp.
  11. Add the Marinara sauce and bring to a simmer.
  12. Throw in the shrimp and mix in, turn off the heat.
  13. Mix in the fresh parsley. This is a good time to taste for spices, you may want to add more pepper if you like it hot like I do !

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved





Light and Healthy Vegetarian Marinara Sauce

This is a staple at our house. Whenever we need to throw together a quick meal, we often use the sauce to make the meal come together. We use to make a quick chicken marinara pasta or chicken parmesan. River recently used it to make a Shrimp fra Diavlo, you can also serve it as a dipping sauce for polenta.


I put extra veggies to make it even tastier as well as healthy too. This sauce is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, not to mention a healthy dose of vegetable fiber.


I make a "vat" of this sauce but it just doesn't seem to last too long. You can freeze this sauce for up to six months. I recommend you freeze it in 1-2 cup portions so that you can use as little as you want, it thaws quicker too.







Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano). The mix just depends on what you might have or your personal taste.
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot or 2 small carrots coarsely chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery coarsley chopped
  • 3 cans(28 oz. each) of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of white zinfandel wine
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar



Directions:

  1. Using a food processor, finely grind the carrots and celery.
  2. Coat the bottom of a large sauce pan with olive oil With the heat on medium, heat oil until it starts to shimmer, add the onions and cook until lightly brown and wilted.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the 2/3 of the herb mixture, the dried oregano, and bay leaves. Mix them in and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the wine which will quickly evaporate. Turn the heat down to low.
  7. Add a can of the tomatoes one at a time. Use a spatula or potato masher to break up the tomotoes slightly.
  8. Add the salt and let the sauce simmer on low. Do not allow the sauce to boil.
  9. The sauce tastes best when left to simmer for a few hours. Stir periodically.
  10. Towards the end of the cooking, add the remainder of the herbs and continue to simmer.
  11. This is optional, but if you want a more smooth sauce, use a hand blender and puree until smooth.



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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved


Monday, April 28, 2008

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread Yummy and Healthy Too !

This is a great recipe to use up some of those bananas that we meant to eat, but just didn't get around to it. Its a great breakfast alternative either as is or with a flavored cream cheese. I make my own honey nut flavored low fat cream cheese.




The other benefit of using up the bananas is that if you are a gardener and have roses, the peels are great food for the roses. I Just chop them up small and spread around the base of the roses and work them into the soil. The peels provide nutrients that will help the roses to grow strong.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick soft butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of low fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup of mashed ripened banana or about 3 large bananas
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts


Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350oF.
  2. Spray a 9X12 loaf pan with nonstick or coat with a thin layer of butter. I like to use butter to coat the pan. I microwave a very thin piece of butter for about 20 seconds and use a silicone brush to spread the butter. I find that this method work well and you use a very tiny amount of butter. I like to cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper because it makes taking the out bread a lot easier.
  3. Mash the bananas and mix with one tsp of sugar.
  4. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. Mix well using a whisk.
  5. Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat soft butter and sugars until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add one egg at a time and mix thoroughly.
  7. Add the bananas and mix thoroughly.
  8. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and stir in.
  9. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and stir in.
  10. Add 1/2 of the remaining flour and stir in. Do not over mix.
  11. Add the remaining sour cream, stir in.
  12. Add the rest of the flour and stir in. Do not over mix.
  13. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the walnuts and mix with 1 tsp of brown sugar.
  14. With the rest of the walnuts and fold them gently with a spatula into the batter.
  15. Pour the batter into the pan.
  16. Sprinkle the walnut/sugar mix on top of the bread.
  17. Bake for about an hour or until the center is done.
  18. Cool bread for about 10 minutes and remove from the pan. Cool completely and its ready to serve.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved




Tasty Croutons and Breadcrumbs

We love fresh baked bread and we buy it almost daily. Our favorite is the baguette. Nothing is more tantalizing than the smell of the baguette as it is being taken out of the oven. We often tend to accumulate bits of old bread. So, instead of tossing out the old bread I turn it into something more appetizing, like croutons and breadcrumbs. My suggestion is to collect the odds and ends in a paper bag. If you have a cloth bread bag, the just leave the pieces in there to dry thoroughly. I don't recommend leaving the old bread in a plastic bag because if there is any moisture left, the bread will become moldy. Once you have collected a reasonable amount, then follow the recipe and you will have great tasting breadcrumbs and croutons which will keep for a long time in the refrigerator. While we use french bread, any bread will do. The croutons are so tasty that my kids have taken to eating them as a snack. It seems that I make croutons about once a week. We use up the croutons quite quickly and take our time using up the breadcrumbs. Originally, the primary reason for the recipe was making flavored breadcrumbs, but now I make it for the flavored croutons and the breadcrumbs are the bonus.

INGREDIENTS

  • old bread -enough to cover a cookie sheet
  • 2tsp of garlic powder
  • 2tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp of dried italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (will give you a really rich taste)
  • 1 gallon size ziplock bag or larger
  • meat tenderizer gadget or mallet
  • one cookie sheet covered with heavy foil
  • food processor

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the bread pieces in the ziplock bag(s) and zip the bag(s)
  2. Place the bag(s) on a cutting board, break the bread using the meat mallet. Use the flat part. You will need to turn the bag(s) at least once to get all the pieces broken. The goal is to get the pieces to about bit size. The rest of the work will be done by food processor for the bread crumbs.
  3. Transfer the pieces and crumbs to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Thoroughly mix the garlic, onion, oregano and parsley all together in a small bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the mix over the bread pieces. Use a spatula and mix the seasonings into the bread
  6. The olive oil needs to be sprinkled a bit at a time into the bread pieces. If you pour it or spread too much over too little bread, then some of the croutons will be too oily and the other pieces too dry. As you sprinkle the oil, keep turning the mixture to ensure uniform coating of the bread. Not all the pieces will be coated, but there will be enough oil that as the mixture sits, everything should be coated enough.
  7. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes and give it a few turns during this time.
  8. Heat the oven to 400F.
  9. Place the bread on the cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. if you have a timer, I would recommend using it since the croutons can burn quite quickly if you don't keep an eye on them. Take it out and mix the bread around.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. The length of the baking will depend on how brown you like the croutons.
  11. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool.
  12. For the croutons, remove the large pieces and store in a air tight container. Use as needed.
  13. To make the breadcrumbs, place the leftover pieces in the food processor and grind the pieces up. Use the pulse mode and check the consistency of the breadcrumbs. You don't want to over process the breadcrumbs or you will have mush.
  14. Remove from the food processor and place in an airtight container.
  15. Store them in the refrigerator.
  16. If the bread covered the cookie sheet, this will yield about a quart of croutons and one quart of breadcrumbs.
  17. I use these breadcrumbs for my Italian turkeyball and mushroom sauce turkeyball recipes.
  18. I use the croutons for salads especially the cesar salad.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Light and Delicious Grilled Chicken Cesar Salad, or is it Caesar Salad ?

This salad is one of our all time favorites. We love all the strong flavors that make this salad so delicious. The dressing should be made at least a couple of hours ahead so that the flavors have a chance to mingle and mellow out together. When we first starting making this salad we used raw eggs, but with the concern with salmonella, we have substituted light mayo for the eggs. The salad is really simple to put together and can be ready in no time at all. The recipe will serve 4 as a salad or 2 as an entree. For an even better flavor, use our Home Made Croutons.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp of anchovy paste or can of anchovies (blotted)
  • 1 tbsp of finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of light mayonnaise
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper
  • 10-12 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese either shaved or coarsely grated
  • 2 grilled chicken breast, sliced

Instructions

  1. Place anchovy, garlic and mayo in a small mixing bowl. If you are using the can anchovies, chop the anchovies before using.
  2. Using a whisk, mix them until well blended.
  3. Add the lime juice from the lime(s) and incorporated it into the mixture using a whisk. How much lime juice you use is a matter of personal preference and also how much juice you get out of the lime(s). We tend to like the dressing on the tart side, so we use all the lime juice.
  4. Slowly drizzle the olive oil and whisk it into the mixture. How much oil you use will depend on your personal preference as to the consistency of the dressing.
  5. Add ground black pepper to taste and let the dressing stand for at least 30 minutes. If you are not planning to use the dressing immediately, refrigerate. Let the dressing come to room temperature before using it. Will yield about one cup of dressing.
  6. Wash the romaine lettuce and either chop or tear into bit size.
  7. Place the lettuce in a serving bowl and add the croutons.
  8. Add the parmesan cheese.
  9. Add the cesar dressing and toss the salad until it is well coated.
  10. Add the thinly sliced chicken breast and drizzle dressing on the chicken.
  11. Grind black pepper to taste on the salad and its ready to serve.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Quick and Healthy Vegetarian Burger Blast



Most of the time grilling involves copious amounts of meat, which makes vegetarians feel left out at a barbecue. Even if you are not a vegetarian, but want to cut down on your meat intake, this meal is a no sacrifice winner. It has all the great grilled taste, but is much lower in fat. The meal is made up of three major items; fresh grilled corn on the cob, grilled cabbage salad, and eggplant-portabello cheeseburgers. The only real fat is the cheese on the burger and the olive oil that is used to marinate the vegetables.

The corn on the cob is a traditional favorite, but gets a delicious smoky flavor with this technique. It can be made juicy or crispy based on your taste.

The grilled cabbage salad is a real treat that incorporates the grilled taste with a vinegary flavor. It is very easy to make and can be served warm, cold, or chilled.

The burgers are the center piece of the meal and really satisfy. When you combine eggplants and portabellos you get a full flavored meat replacement. The cheese and tomato make the flavor complete.

I cooked this meal in the Stone Pony, my outdoor stone oven, but you can use a charcoal or gas grill to make it as well.
Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn (or one per person)
  • 4 large portabello mushrooms (or one per person)
  • 1 medium size eggplant
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar, or 1 oz per sandwich (substitute your favorite cheese)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite Italian dressing
  • 1/4 head white cabbage
  • 1/4 head red cabbage




Directions:

Corn on the Cob
    1. Trim the ends of the corn and soak in cold water while you prep the rest of the ingredients
    2. Once the grill is ready, drain the corn and place on the low heat rack or off to the side.
    3. Corn is best cooked slowly, so keep it on the grill on low heat while you cook the rest of the meal. The husk will keep it from drying out, but make sure the husk does not catch fire. The corn should be put on the grill 20 minutes before the rest of the food to give it a head start.
    4. Some people, like River, like it toasty. To make it toasty peel the husk and grill for an additional 5 minutes on each side.

Grilled Cabbage Salad
  1. Chop the cabbage
  2. mix with a table spoon of the olive oil and lightly salt.
  3. Pre-heat a perforated grill pan. Note that the corn is still cooking at this point.
  4. Add the cabbage to the pan, grill for 5 minutes on high heat.
  5. Stir the cabbage and cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Add the salad dressing to the bottom of a bowl
  7. Toss the sizzling cabbage into the dressing. Stir thoroughly.
  8. Let stand covered while you complete cooking the meal.

Eggplant Bella Burgers
  1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, rub with garlic, paprika, and olive oil
  2. Slice the eggplant 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick, rub with garlic, paprika, and olive oil
  3. Slice the tomato, 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Thin slice the cheese. Hint: I use a vegetable peeler to slice cheese very thin, that way a little cheese goes a long way.
  5. Place the eggplants on the grill first, cook for 5 minutes before adding the mushrooms.
  6. Place the mushrooms on the grill, fin side down first. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Flip mushrooms and eggplants and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Layer some cheese over the eggplant.
  9. Place the tomatoes over the cheese.
  10. Layer more cheese over the tomatoes.
  11. Place the mushrooms on top.
  12. Layer more cheese over the mushrooms.
  13. Serve on a fresh French bread or sourdough roll.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Down-East Style Fish Sandwich with a Touch of Zing


Fish and chips is a Friday supper tradition in the Lizabetti home. Some people like it in sandwich form, while others like it served as a fillet. Whichever way you like it, lightly fried fish is a New England treat that everyone will enjoy. I like to jazz it up a bit because I think fish is a great canvas for flavors. We always serve the sandwich with our Herb-Dijon Mayonnaise sauce.

If you want to make the meal a little lighter, you can serve the fish with our healthy oven fries, instead of French fries.


Ingredients:


  • 1 1/2 pound Pollock, haddock, or cod. I like pollock the best because it is more durable for cooking and still very tender to eat. (will generously serve 4)
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1-2 turns of fresh ground black pepper
  • italian flavored bread crumb
  • 2 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp sliced pepperoncini hot peppers
  • 1/4 cup canola oil


Directions:

  1. Wash the fish thoroughly in cold water, blot dry.
  2. Coat with salt, garlic, and paprika; in that order.
  3. Coat with Italian bread crumbs. I will post a bread crumb recipe for you, but the commercial brand is good too.
  4. Pre-heat a frying pan, add 1/2 inch of canola oil.
  5. Bring the oil to a high temperature. If a small piece of onion sizzles on contact, then the oil is hot enough. Bring the heat down to medium-high.
  6. Depending on the thickness of the fish, cook 2-4 minutes on each side.
  7. Blot the fish on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
  8. Slice the tomato and onion.
  9. Slice the cheese onto the bread. Hint:I like to use a vegetable peeler because it allows me to cut ultra thin slices of cheese. This lets me enjoy the taste of cheese without eating too much of it.
  10. Lay the tomatoes and onions over the cheese and toast the bread.
  11. Place the fish over the tomatoes and cover with Herb-Dijon Mayonnaise sauce. You can also use tartar sauce if you like. Add the hot peppers and close the sandwich.
  12. Alternatively, our kids like the fish fillet served with sweet home made apple sauce.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved





Herb Dijon Mayonnaise Sauce

This is a great sauce to serve on fish sandwiches , it is also great for dipping fried shrimp, chicken tenders or French fries. It has a tangy flavor with just the right amount of zing from the garlic and pepper.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp of light mayo
  • 1 tsp dry or fresh oregano depending on the season. We dry fresh oregano from the garden in the summer to have over the winter.
  • 1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. You should prepare this at least 30 minutes prior to serving so the flavors have time to blend.
  2. Mix the mustard, mayonnaise, oregano, garlic and pepper in a bowl
  3. Drizzle in the oil and vinegar and keep stirring until smooth

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Healthy Mashed Potatoes with Meatballs and Gravy

Healthy Mashed Potatoes with Meatballs and Gravy

This home style comfort food is as delicious as Mom's, but much lower in fat. It makes a great dinner with a salad, and it can be packed up for lunch because it microwaves very well.

For the meatballs I used the Wild Turkey Recipe , but I substituted chicken breast for turkey. If you follow the instructions, this is a great way to feed chicken and vegetables to a meat and potatoes man. You won't miss the beef at all.



Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Yukon gold potatoes (about 4-6 medium size)
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup fat free buttermilk
  • Meatballs and gravy from my Wild Turkey Balls Recipe


Directions:

  1. When choosing the potatoes, you want to make sure that they aren't too big or it will take forever to steam them. So, even if you don't have a food scale use potatoes that are about the size of a fist. They should all be about the same size. Clean them and put them in a steamer that will hold enough water to steam the potatoes for about 30-45 minutes. I like to steam the potatoes because this ensures that they will be cooked without absorbing any water during the cooking process. I think you get the full rich flavor of the potatoes.
  2. Once you can easily poke the largest potato with a fork, the potatoes are done or about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. You can wait till the potatoes cool a bit to peel them. The peel can be left on the potatoes and you will still be able to rice the potato. You will just have to throw out the peel that is left inside the ricer each time a potato is riced. We have made the mashed potatoes both ways, its just personal preference.
  4. Using a potato ricer, push the potato through the ricer. Repeat until all the potatoes have been riced.
  5. Add the butter and olive oil. Mix it into the potatoes.
  6. Slowly drizzle in the buttermilk and incorporate into the potatoes. Use enough milk so that the potatoes have the desired smooth consistency.
  7. Salt to taste and the mashed potatoes are ready to serve.
  8. To reheat any leftovers, you can add a small quantity of buttermilk if needed. Otherwise, they can be microwaved or heated on low/medium.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved





Monday, April 14, 2008

Quick and Tasty Pasta Puttanesca


This is a perfect dish for a Monday night. It takes only a few minutes to cook, and you can be enjoying a first class Italian meal. The puttanesca taste is based on the combination of anchovies, garlic and olives. Even if you don't like anchovies you should still give this taste a chance. The anchovy taste blends in so well that you won't notice any fishy taste. If you leave out the anchovies, this is still a really tasty dish.

In this variation I added grilled eggplants and fresh tomatoes. This really gives it a Proven├žal (pronounced pro-ven-sall) flavor. Proven├žal means from Provence, the southern part of France that contains the French Riviera. The dishes there often contain eggplant and tomato and resemble northern Italian dishes, but with their own unique flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb whole wheat rottini or penne pasta
  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • 1 fresh tomato, diced
  • 6-10 medium sized Crimini mushrooms
  • 5 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 10 Moroccan or French dry cured olives
  • 10 green olives, I used martini olives because that's all I had, they worked fine
  • 1 can of anchovies, drained and blotted on a paper towel
  • 1 shake of sea salt for the tomatoes
  • Dry Oregano to taste
  • 2 oz Romano cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Slice the eggplant and lightly salt, set aside to shed water
  2. Dice the tomatoes, place in a collander. Add some oregano and a shake of sea salt, stir and set aside to drain. This is to remove the excess water so it won't make the other ingredients mushy.
  3. blot the eggplant, brush with olive oil add garlic and dry oregano
  4. Grill the eggplant outdoors or bake for 30 minutes at 400o F
  5. Place pasta in boiling water, cook until slightly al-dente, about 7-10 minutes based on how firm you like it. Drain and set aside, covered so it won't dry out.
  6. Cut each slice of eggplant into quarters.
  7. Heat a frying pan, add olive oil, add 3/4 of the garlic, bring to a sizzle.
  8. Divide the garlic into 2 separate piles in the pan.
  9. Add the mushrooms to one of the garlic piles and add the olives to the other pile of garlic. Keep cooking the two piles separately for a few minutes. This is so that the water in the mushrooms won't affect the way that the olives cook.
  10. Mix the olives and mushrooms and top with some of the Romano cheese. Push to one side of the pan.
  11. Add a splash of olive oil to the other side of the pan and add the rest of the garlic, bring to a sizzle
  12. Throw the anchovies in with the garlic and stir. Bring to a quick sizzle and mix with the rest of the goodies in the pan.
  13. Add the eggplant and some of the cheese. Stir.
  14. Throw in the pasta and mix. Bring to a quick sizzle.
  15. Turn off the heat. Add the rest of the cheese and the tomatoes.
  16. Stir, and pour into a serving dish.


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Light and Healthy Enchiladas

What do you do with leftover taco meat and fresh salsa? You can easily turn them into scrumptious enchiladas. This is another ones of the quick meals that you can whip up in no time at all when you still want a nice home cook meal without all the time and effort. For the meat portion of the recipe, you can just use my healthy taco recipe which should give you enough for tacos one night, and enchiladas the next night. I also re-used the Chunky Salsa that I made with the tacos.

While this dish follows the Mexican theme like tacos, the taste and texture are totally different from tacos. So, while it could be considered a leftover, it is not your average leftover. It is a whole different meal. Add a salad and you have a quick and easy weekday dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Taco meat from the Healthy Taco Recipe
  • Spicy black bean dip, I like Trader Joe's
  • 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 cups Left over (or fresh) Chunky Salsa
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes.
  • 1 Pinch cayenne
  • 1 Pinch chili powder
  • 1 Package high fiber tortillas.

Directions:


Enchilada Sauce:

  1. Place the Salsa and diced tomatoes in a pan
  2. Simmer on low until tomatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. If desired, add cayenne and chili powder.

Enchiladas:

  1. Pre-heat over to 375o F
  2. Cover the bottom of a baking with a layer of the enchilada sauce.
  3. Lay a tortilla on the plate, spread with bean dip.
  4. Layer with meat and cheddar cheese.
  5. Roll tightly, and place in the baking dish, seam side down.
  6. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients.
  7. Once you have all the enchiladas in the baking dish, pour the rest of the sauce on them.
  8. Cover with cheese.
  9. Bake until the cheese is bubbly. About 20-25 minutes.
  10. Let stand at least 10 minutes.
  11. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and guacamole

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Chunky Spicy Salsa

Chunky Spicy Salsa


Salsa is a mandatory ingredient for the total enjoyment of Mexican food. There are lots of good salsas out there, but I like to make it fresh, especially in the summer when the ingredients are all fresh. This salsa is easy to make and much better than anything you can buy. You can use a food processor if you want, but I think that the food processor abuses the ingredients too much. I also enjoy the chunky texture that hand chopping affords.

I use this salsa with my healthy tacos recipe and also for my quick and easy enchilada recipe.


Ingredients:

  • 1 Large juicy tomato, diced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green olive
  • 1 Tbsp dry cured Moroccan or French black olives, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 small chopped red onion
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper, increase for more zing
  • 1 Juicy lime
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shake of salt
  • 1 turn of fresh ground black pepper


Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients.
  2. Squeeze the lime into the mixture.
  3. Stir thoroughly.
  4. Let stand for about 15 minutes, stir again and server.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Delicious and Quick Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan

A delicious dinner that can be put together in no time at all. It is one of our all time favorites. Although chicken Parmesan is delicious, we especially love the addition of the eggplant.
It takes no time at all to prepare this dish, and all the ingredients can be prepped in advance, including the chicken. You can build the final dish shortly before dinner and serve it hot and fresh even if the components had been prepared earlier in the week. You will get just as many compliments for this dish as you would for a much more complex dinner. It is good enough for family as well as company.
This is also a great way to use left over spaghetti sauce and fried chicken patties.


Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast per 2 people
  • 2 tsp of fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • black pepper
  • Italian flavored bread crumbs
  • 1 eggplant
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • canola oil
  • 1 cup of Lizabetti's Bolognese or Vegetarian Marinara Sauce sauce
  • 1/2 cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch of minced Italian parsley


Directions:

  1. Set the oven on 400 F.
  2. Warm the Bolognese/marinara sauce on medium.
  3. Thinly slice each chicken breast into about 4 slices. Place your palm on top of the chicken breast and run a very sharp knife through the entire chicken breast.
  4. Season with the garlic, salt, paprika and pepper. Set aside for about 30 minutes.


  5. Thinly slice the eggplant on a diagonal. This will give you slices that will be about the size of each chicken breast slice.
  6. Salt the eggplant to release some of its water. Set it aside for about 5 minutes
  7. Blot the eggplant. Drizzle it with olive oil.
  8. Set eggplant on a cookie sheet with a wire rack. Bake until the eggplant starts to wilt, about 15-20 minutes. Turn oven off.
  9. Coat the chicken with a thin layer of the Italian bread crumbs.
  10. Fry until golden brown. Set aside on paper towels.
  11. On a cookie sheet, set the chicken breasts.
  12. Sprinkle with a bit of the grated Parmesan.
  13. Coat with a tablespoon or so of sauce.
  14. Lay a slice of eggplant. Sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella.
  15. Add a layer of sauce and sprinkle with final layer of mozzarella.
  16. Place under the broiler, until the cheese begins to bubble, approximately 5 minutes.
  17. Sprinkle with a pinch of fresh chopped parsley.
  18. Serve it with a side of pasta and a nice salad.



Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Heart Healthy Italian Meatballs - Wild Turkey Strikes Again

In keeping with eating healthier and trying to eat less red meat, we decided to make turkey balls with tomato sauce. These turkey balls have taken a definite Italian twist with the change up in the seasoning. I have included a touch of fennel seeds which gives your tastebuds the sensation of eating Italian sausage. I have added the traditional herbs associated with Italian cooking such as basil, dried oregano and parsley. In addition, the tomato sauce is infused with lots of herbs and mushrooms which make this meal a light and delicious entree which even your cardiologist would approve. Stella who is a hardy lover of spaghetti, absolutely loved these turkey balls and spaghetti.


As an alternative you may want to try the Swedish meatball version in our Original Wild Turkey Ball Recipe.



Ingredients:

For the turkey balls (the steps for preparing italian turkey balls are similar to the wild turkey balls recipe)

  • 1 lb of ground turkey breast
  • 1-2 portabello mushrooms
  • 1 medium size carrot
  • 2 stalk of celery, including leaves
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup of flat leave parsley
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp of onion powder NOT SALT
  • 1/2-1 tsp of garlic powder NOT SALT
  • 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp of minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp of minced fresh basil
  • 1 cup of flavored bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of finely ground cornmeal

For the sauce

  • 3 portabello mushrooms (stems removed and added to the turkey balls)
  • 1/2 package of crimini or white mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp of onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 onion, coarsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup of flat leave parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp of minced fresh basil
  • 1tbsp of minced fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsps of dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp of fresh minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves, if they are large, you will need just one
  • 1 cup of red wine or white zinfandel wine
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (28 oz.)
  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (28 oz each)( or you can use 3 cans of tomato sauce)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • 1tsp of salt (more if needed to suit your palate)
  • pinch of sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

For turkey balls

  1. Wipe the portabellos clean with a papertowel.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the entire portabellos, top and bottom.
  3. Season them with onion and garlic powder.
  4. Salt and pepper and set aside to marinade for about 15 minutes.
  5. Clean, peel and coarsely chop the carrot. Put it in the food processor.
  6. Clean and coarsley chop the celery. Add it to the food processor.
  7. Wash the parsley and add it to the food processor.
  8. Coarsely chop the yellow onion and add it to the food processor.
  9. Add the stems from all the portabellos.
  10. Now, process the ingredients in the food processor until they are finely chopped, the consistency will be that of almost a paste.
  11. Place the entire mixture into a fine sieve and let the juice drain out for a few minutes. Be sure to place a bowl under the sieve to catch the juices which will be added to the sauce later.
  12. Using a nonstick heavy bottom large pan, coat the bottom with olive oil. Heat it on medium high and when the oil begins to shimmer, set the portabellos with gills down and saute for a few minutes. Flip the mushrooms up and continue to saute until the juices begin to escape. Remove from the pan and cut them into strips and put them in the food processor. Grind them down until it is like a coarse puree. Let it cool a bit.
  13. Save any juices that may have escaped from the mushrooms and add to the bowl with the other collected juices.
  14. In a large mixing bowl, incorporated the cooled pureed portabellos in with the ground turkey.
  15. Add the chopped vegetable mixture and incorporated into the turkey mixture.
  16. Add the bread crumbs and thoroughly mix it in. This is important because any excess liquid will be absorbed by the crumbs and will make the meatballs tender and juicy.
  17. Add the salt, garlic and onion powder. Mix them in.
  18. Put the cornmeal in a shallow dish.
  19. To form the meatballs, I like to use a small metal ice cream scoop which has about 1 inch diameter. The scoop is great because the turkey balls will be fairly uniform in size so they will cook at the same rate. If you like big meatballs, then use a larger scoop or just form into bigger balls. Scoop the mixture with the scoop and roll it to form a nice ball.
  20. Roll the ball in the cornmeal and set aside on a dish. It will yield about 50 meatballs.

To cook meatballs and sauce

  1. I have used the combination of whole tomatoes and tomato sauce forever. I find that it gives the sauce a nice texture that the entire family likes. Of, course this is a personal preference. It is easier to use tomato sauce. The sauce will be more dense and less chunky than my combination. If you use the whole tomatoes, they will need to be "broken" up a bit. I use a hand blender and chopped them up this way.
  2. Slice all the mushrooms into thick slices, about 1/4 in thick.
  3. Sprinkle the onion and garlic powder on the mushrooms.
  4. Using the same pan that the portabellos were cooked in, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Heat on medium. When it starts to shimmer.
  5. Add the mushrooms and saute until they are wilted and start to release some juice.
  6. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent. Remove mixture from the pan and set aside.
  7. Add a generous coating of olive oil to the pan. Make sure that the entire bottom is well coated with the olive oil. Heat the oil on medium/high. When the oil is hot, start to add the turkey balls. Brown the turkey balls until they are brown all around. During this process, lift the pan off the burner and give it a gently shake to ensure that the balls are not sticking to the pan. You might need to drizzle a bit more oil if they start to stick. However, if you started with enough oil, that shouldn't be a problem. If necessary, brown the meatballs in batches.
  8. When you are done browning all the meatballs, return them all to the pan.
  9. Add the mushroom/onion mixture and cook them for a few minutes together. The best way to mix the whole thing is to lift the pan and give it a few gently shakes to keep the whole moving around the pan.
  10. Turn the heat down to low.
  11. Add the garlic and cook it into the mixture.
  12. Add about half of the of the basil, parsley and oregano. Mix them in.
  13. Add all the fennel seeds and and mix in.
  14. Add the bay leaves.
  15. Add the wine. The pan will still be hot enough that most of the wine will cook off quite quickly. There should be just a little bit of liquid left.
  16. Add the tomato sauce and the other 2 cans. Mix each can in before adding the next.
  17. The heat should be low enough that the sauce should be simmering and not bubbling.
  18. Let the sauce simmer for about 3 hours which will bring all the flavors out of the sauce.
  19. About an hour into the simmering, add the grated cheese and mix it. You can also add the additional herbs and continue to simmer.
  20. This recipe makes a generous quantity of meatballs and sauce. It can be served with any type of pasta, polenta or gnocchi. We also make meatball heros and any extra sauce is used to make chicken/eggplant Parmesan for another meal. You can easily get 4 generous meals out of this batch.
  21. The sauce can also be frozen to be used when you are tired, but want a quick, home cooked meal.


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Copyright © 2007, 2008 Lizabetti.com, All Rights Reserved


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sausage Pepper and Onion Stromboli

Sausage Pepper and Onion Stromboli

This dish captures the traditional taste of Italian sausage with peppers and onions, but adds a that delicious taste of a fresh baked crust with sesame seeds. The crust really amplifies the flavor of the sausage and makes a nice portable container for on-the-go families. It has many of the benefits of Lizabetti's Ham and Cheese Stromboli, but also has a more sophisticated combination of tastes. I actually like it better, but my kids prefer the ham and cheese version.

Like our other Italian Dishes, this dish is just plain fun to eat. You can serve it with a spinach salad for a light dinner, or take it to work for lunch.
This also makes great game time munchies when you are watching your beloved Celtics or Patriots.


Ingredients:
  • 2-4 Sweet or garlic Italian sausage
  • 1 ball of pizza dough, I get mine at a local pizza joint. Allow the dough to rise before using.
  • 6-8 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 portabello mushroom cap
  • 2 tablespoons pickled pepper rings
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful of corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 2 table spoons of sesame seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons garlic, chopped

Directions:
  1. Brush the mushroom cap with garlic and olive oil. .
  2. Grill for 8 minutes per side over medium high heat. If you do not have a grill, you can use a non-stick pan.
  3. Slice the mushroom and let stand for a few minutes.
  4. Grill sausages slowly over medium heat, allow the grease to drain. You can cut the sausage in half length-wise after it is browned to help speed the cooking process. I grilled the sausage and mushrooms at the same time, though the sausages take at least 30 minutes.
  5. slice the sausage into disk shaped pieces about 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Roll out the dough, using the corn meal to prevent sticking to your board.
  7. Lay out the dough on a cookie sheet.
  8. Spread the sausage on the dough, top with onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
  9. Spread the shredded cheese over top.
  10. Roll up the dough around the ingredients.
  11. Press down the ends with a fork to seal, this is important so that you do not lose your cheese.
  12. Poke holes with a tooth pick all along the top. The holes should be spaced at least 1 inch apart. This is important so that your pie does not explode in the oven.
  13. Brush the surface of the dough with milk, this will help the sesame seed stick to the dough.
  14. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  15. Bake at 375o for 30 minutes.
  16. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

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