Italian Recipes

Lasagna Soup

IMG_0380This lasagna soup is a new family favorite! I got the recipe from my friend, Liz, who I met through social media and now we talk on a weekly basis. We just have a cool friendship, and I can’t wait to meet her in real life one day soon lol! Liz got the recipe from Pinterest years ago, and I tweaked it a bit. This was my first time making Lasagna soup and it was super delicious!!! After the first spoonfull I was wondering where this soup has been all my life lol. I was surprised at how easy and quick this recipe was. Hope your family will enjoy it too!

Lasagna Soup {Serves 4-6} 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 LB Mild Italian Sausage, ground meat
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil, for sauté
  • 1 Onion (finely diced)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (Depending on how Spicy you like it)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 1/2 TBS Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 tsp Basil
  • 1 can Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 8 1/2 Cups Chciken stock OR 8 1/2 Cups water, boiled and mixed with the Better Then Bouillon paste (That’s what I did)
  • 2 Cups (1/2 box) Rotini Pasta
  • Mozzarella Cheese (1 block) To garnish
  • Parmesan Cheese (1 block) To garnish
  • Sour Cream, To garnish, *Optional

IMG_0373Directions:

1) Fill a medium pot with 8 1/2 cups filtered water and bring it to a boil. When it boils, turn burner off and add 8 1/2 tsp of Better Then Bouillon paste. Mix well and set aside for now.

2) In a large frying pan, heat up 2 TBS olive oil. Add the ground Mild Italian Sausage meat  and cook, mixing, for about 5 minutes. Then add the finely chopped onion and cook another 3-5 minutes until onion is soft and sausage meat is well cooked through and browned.

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3) Add 4 minced garlic cloves to the pan. Then add 1 tsp Salt, sprinkle some pepper, and about 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it, I did 1/4 tsp). Add 2 1/2 TBS Tomato Paste. Mix everything thoroughly. Then add the can of roasted tomatoes. Turn burner off and let it simmer for a few minutes as you mix.

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4) Transfer everything from the frying pan to the pot of chicken bouillon water (or Chicken Stock) and bring to a boil. Add 2 bay leaves. Then turn the heat down to Low, and let it simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

5) After 30 minutes turn the heat up to Medium, Add the basil. Then add the pasta to the soup pot, and let it cook until the pasta is soft and cooked through about 10-15 minutes. Do not over cook the pasta will be too mushy!

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6) Garnish each bowl of soup with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and sour cream (optional) I liked only cheese in my soup.

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7) To reheat, simmer on Medium heat for 5-10 minutes.

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Important note: After a few hours, the pasta in the soup expands and soaks in some of the broth so it is much thicker! Still tasted great, it just becomes a chunkier, thicker soup!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

IMG_0120This tomato basil soup is creamy and dreamy! One of our new favorite family recipes. We get this soup all the time at Dean & Deluca restaurant and I really wanted to recreate the same tasting soup at home, so I did just that! This recipe requires very minimal ingredients so it is budget friendly and the best part is how fast it is to cook. With prep work and total cook time it only takes about 45 minutes! I made this soup for our friends and for a ladies night event at my house and both times it was a hit. Even my picky 5 year old loves this soup, with oyster crackers of course! Mmmm this soup is perfect for the cold and windy weather we have today! Enjoy! 🙂

Creamy Tomato 🍅 Basil 🌿 Soup {Serves 4-5}

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Tomatoes (Peeled & De-seeded)
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 Cups Tomato Juice (Organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Basil Leaves Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil Leaves (And more to garnish soup)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Oyster Crackers (optional, to top)

IMG_0116Directions:

1) Peel the tomatoes using a peeler. Cut them into 4 and de-seed them. Put tomatoes into a medium pot, add in the 4 cups of tomato juice. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes.

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2) Transfer the cooked tomato and tomato juice mixture into a blender. Blend until it turns into a puree/smoothie consistency.

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3) Transfer the puréed tomato mixture back to the pot.

4) Turn the heat up to low-medium (I did 4). Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Add the Italian Seasoning, Basil Leaves Spice and Dried Basil Leaves. Then add 2 Tablespoons butter. Sprinkle salt/pepper according to your preference, you don’t need much salt because the tomato juice already has salt in it. Mix, everything together and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, don’t let it come to a boil.

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5) Serve hot, with Oyster Crackers on the side. Sprinkle each bowl of soup with a little more dried basil leaves.

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Veggie Marinara Meat Sauce

img_0074Last week I started a healthy eating journey. Not just a diet to loose some weight but a lifestyle change. Although I do work out consistently, I know that diet is super important too. They say it is 20% workout and 80% diet that matters over all. So I wanted to make some changes and be a healthier version of myself. I have successfully cut out sugar, with the exception of a few pieces of dark chocolate every once in a while lol, and am trying to stick to a gluten free, low carb food diet. However I am a big pasta girl and the day I was really craving pasta, I decided to use gluten free pasta which is a bit better and a bit healthier. Keep in mind that even gluten free pasta does have carbs in it but if I have a cheat day, may as well make it as healthy of a cheat day as I can right? I also wanted to incorporate some veggies into the marinara sauce. This veggie marinara sauce is tasty, healthy, simple to make, and goes great with pasta, gluten free pasta, rice, or buckwheat. Left over sauce can be frozen in a plastic container and reheats very well. That’s why I make this big batch of it and freeze half. When I am craving a hearty, veggie, not your ordinary marinara sauce this is my go to recipe!

Veggie Marinara Meat Sauce {Serves 12-14}

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 4 Ribs Celery
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 Jar Marinara sauce
  • 1 Can Crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • Parsley (Optional, to top)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil (For sauté)
  • Real Block Italian Parmesan Cheese (Shredded, to top)
  • Pasta of choice ( I used Glutten Free Penne pasta)
  • Seasoning: Salt. Pepper, Mrs.Dash, Italian Seasoning

Directions:

1) Do all the prep work first. Chop the celery ribs and carrot into small dice and set aside, chop small onion into small dice and set aside separately. Set a big pan on Med.- High heat (7.5) with just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of pan.

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2) When the oil in the pan heats up and starts sizzling, add the 1 LB ground beef into the pan. Mash with a fork and spatula to break it up into small pieces, season with salt & pepper. Add in the chopped onion. Cook until beef is cooked through and onions are soft and translucent. Meanwhile start cooking your pasta.

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3) Add the diced carrot and celery. When veggies cook through add in the marinara sauce and crushed tomatoes. Season with seasonings of choice. I used Mrs.Dash and Italian Seasoning. Mix, turn heat down to a lower simmer setting ( I did 3) cover with lid, and cook for 20 to 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

4) Add chopped parsley and minced garlic in the last 5 mins of cooking.

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5) Serve over pasta, gluten free pasta, rice, buckwheat, or mashed potatoes.

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Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

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This Chicken Alfredo Pasta is a new favorite in our house. It takes very little prep work and bakes in the oven for about 45 minutes. I got the idea for this recipe from my friend Natasha. Shout out to Natasha Babinov for this amazing recipe! She made this dish for dinner once when we came over, and I knew I had to get the recipe because it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten.Tasted like a restaurant dish! If you are looking for the easiest recipe, this is probably it right here. It’s also very versatile so you can add or remove anything you’d like to it and if you are looking for a healthier option you can go with gluten free pasta. I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas. Enjoy!

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta {Serves 8-10}

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Rotini Pasta (Or Pasta of your choice)
  • 2 LB Chicken Breast (Boneless, Skinless, I use organic)
  • 1 Package of Cooked, Frozen Broccoli (1LB 6 oz, or 22 oz.)
  • 1 Can Prego Alfredo Sauce (29 oz. or 2 cans of 14.5 oz.)
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (For Frying Chicken Breast)
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/4-1/2 Cup)

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Directions:

1) Wash the chicken breasts and chop them up into small cubes. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and seasonings of choice. I used McCormick Montreal chicken seasoning. Set a pan on Med-High heat (I did 7.5) Add the olive oil and cook the chicken until it’s done. Meanwhile take the frozen broccoli out of freezer, and boil a pot of water for the pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions

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2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When chicken is done cooking, set it aside. When pasta is done cooking, drain water from it and add the butter to it. Take a big glass baking tray and put the pasta and chicken in. Cut the broccoli florets into small pieces and add into the tray. Pour the Alfredo sauce all over the pasta into the glass baking dish and mix very well to incorporate everything.

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3) Bake on 350 for 30-45 minutes. In the very end add the shredded Parmesan cheese and mix the Alfredo. This dish reheats well in a pan on Med-Low heat setting.

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Shrimp Salad

DSCN4076This Shrimp Salad recipe was created by me but inspired by a salad I had at a restaurant called Canyon’s, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It was the perfect meal for me after a long, hot, exhausting day of exploring Tweetsie Railroad (a wild west theme park) in the beautiful mountains of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I had to recreate it at home and I did. The restaurant version was great but this home made recipe is even better, so much more flavor and you can add as much shrimp as you’d like. I love shrimp! And this shrimp salad takes it to a whole notha’ level (lol I know I’m corny). So fast and easy to prepare and definitely a summer favorite in our house now. I could literally eat this salad every single day! We ate it as a meal for dinner, but you could also make it as a side dish/salad. You can omit the shrimp if you are not a fan, and add anything else you want to it and get creative. Please don’t forget to share your idea’s with me, I would love to hear them!

Shrimp Salad {Serves 2 as meal, 4 as side}

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 package Grape Tomatoes
  • 2 Cucumbers or 1 long English Cucumber
  • 1 to 2 LB Shrimp, Raw (I used 2 LB as we love our shrimp!)
  • Dressing of choice (I used Marzetti Brand Classic Ranch Dressing)
  • Croutons of choice (I used Texas Toast Cheese & Garlic Croutons)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • Lawry’s Herb & Garlic marinade sauce

Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Peel & devine the shrimp, rinse through with cold water and let dry. Wash all the veggies and chop everything up into one big bowl. I chopped the lettuce into small squares. The grape tomatoes in halves. The cucumber in fourths and then chopped into pieces.

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2) Set a pan on Med-High heat (I did a 6) add some olive oil. When the oil heats up, add the shrimp. Add salt/pepper to shrimp and mix. When the shrimp looks done, lower the heat to low (I did 2) and add some Lawry’s Herb & Garlic marinade sauce, I added about 2 tablespoons and 2 pressed garlic cloves. Simmer with the lid on for a few minutes until shrimp is well cooked through. Turn off heat and keep shrimp hot.

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3) When you are ready to eat, add the shrimp into the salad bowel. Mix gently. Each person can add dressing and croutons to salad individually to their liking. Enjoy!

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Shrimp Scampi (Easy One Pan Meal)

DSCN3974 (2)It’s summer time and I am really into easy, one pan meals right now. I know I am not the only one that likes to relax by the pool instead of spending hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. But I do like to eat lol. Well let me tell ya, This Shrimp Scampi pasta dish is exactly that, fast, super duper easy, but is absolutely delicious and looks just as great as it tastes! I do have another Shrimp Scampi recipe on here, but this one is a bit different in taste, and much faster and easier to make. It also tastes better in our opinion. Basically what I am trying to say is, you need to make this for dinner asap because you are going to love it! Also I wanted to add that to our surprise, this dish tasted better the next night for dinner preheated. Not sure why, Maybe because while it was standing over night the flavors mixed well and the wine really marinated the shrimp and spaghetti. But it is a great dish to make ahead and does reheat easily. I got the inspiration for this recipe idea from the Shrimp Scampi Dish at the Nothing But Noodles Restaurant.

Shrimp Scampi (Easy, One Pan Meal) 

Ingredients:

  • 2 LB RAW Shrimp (Thawed, deveined, and peeled)
  • 1 LB Angel Hair Spaghetti (Or any spaghetti of your choice, I used this one)
  • 3 Tablesppons butter (For the spaghetti)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Lemon (For the juice)
  • 1 Large Farm Fresh Tomato
  • 1 small (147 ml) bottle of White Wine, I used Chardonnay (3/4 Cup)
  • 4 to 5 Cloves Garlic (Peeled and pressed/minced)
  • Salt/Pepper (to taste)

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Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Devein and peel the shrimp, then wash them thoroughly. I usually  rinse them 3 times, then place them in a strainer to get rid of all water. Wash and dice the tomato into small cubes. Set a pot of water to boil, for the spaghetti, make sure when it comes to a boil, add salt to the pot before you throw the spaghetti in and cook it according to package instructions. *I found that Angel Hair spaghetti tends to stick to itself, so make sure you mix it well and keep mixing throughout while you cook it.* (Meanwhile move on to step 2.)

2) While you wait for the water to boil, Set a big pan with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil on Medium-High heat (I did 7). When the oil heats up, throw in the raw shrimp and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Cook until the shrimp is well done, stirring occasionally to make sure you cook it evenly on both sides.

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3) Add the wine to the pan with shrimp. Then throw in the tomatoes. Then add the lemon juice, I do this by cutting the lemon in half, getting the seeds out, and squeezing the juice out of the lemons halves. Mix well. Turn it down to a low setting. (I did 3).

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4) Peel the garlic and either mince it or use the garlic press, add it to the pan of shrimp. Wash and finely chop the parsley, leaves only no stems, and set aside.

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5) At this point your spaghetti should be done cooking. Drain the water out of the pot. Add the butter to the spaghetti and mix well. Then add the spaghetti to the pan with shrimp and sauce. Turn off the stove at this time. Mix it very well to incorporate everything. Then add the fresh parsley. Mix and now your dish is ready to eat! To reheat, set the pan on low heat (3) and cook until warmed up. This dish reheats well!

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And of course a close up… 😉

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Fried Calamari (Carrabba’s Italian Grill Recipe)

DSCN3770I hope you guys don’t mind, but I have really been into Italian food and Carrabba’s recipes lately, hence all my latest posts lol. This is another one of our favorites and Carrabba’s Italian Grill makes it the best, maybe that’s why it is actually their best selling appetizer. I have always wanted to make this dish at home, so I finally did. This is the exact Carrabba’s recipe. The fried calamari turns out perfect…tender and crisp with a light and delicate coating. We like to dip it in Marinara Sauce and Garlic Aioli sauce. I must admit that I had a hard time making this dish because it was my first time dealing with (and touching) raw squid, and I have a very weak stomach. So consider this a warning: Calamari is made from squid and you will have to touch it! I told my husband I was making it for him and that I wouldn’t eat it, but it turned out so delicious I ended up eating half lol. I was surprised at how fast and easy it is to make Fried Calamari, in the restuarant it looks so perfect and that makes it intimidating to cook but it’s actually very simple. If you are looking for a yummy new appetizer or if you love seafood, this recipe is for you! I made Marinara Sauce and Garlic Aioli Sauce for this appetizer and I highly recommend you make both sauces for dipping too, if you want to get the ultimate, restaurant, taste. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pd. Calamari, cleaned
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • Vegetable Oil (For deep frying)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (I used Sea Salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black Pepper
  • Lemon Wedges, for serving *Optional
  • Marinara Sauce or Garlic Aioli Sauce
  •  * (Ingredients and directions for Marinara sauce is on this page, below. Or you can use canned marinara sauce, heated up. The recipe for Garlic Aioli Sauce is posted on the recipe for Zucchini Fries here https://sofiesbestrecipes.com/2014/03/03/zucchini-fries-with-garlic-aioli-sauce/)*

DSCN3730Directions:

1) Wash the Calamari (Squid). Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line 1 baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Have a 2nd baking sheet ready nearby.

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2) Pour enough oil to come 1 inch up the side of a large, heavy saucepan. Heat over High heat to 350 Degrees (On a deep frying thermometer).

3) Cut the Calamari bodies (Sacs/Tubes) crosswise into 1/2 inch-wide rings. Cut each cluster of tentacles in halves or thirds. Season the Calamari with salt/pepper and mix.

4) Pour the flour into a bowl. Divide the calamari into 2 batches. Put the first batch of calamari into the bowl with flour and coat it with the flour, shaking off excess flour.

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5) Add the coated calamari into the saucepan with the hot oil. Cook over High heat until the calamari are golden brown, about 2-4 minutes.

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6) Using a slotted spoon transfer the calamari onto the baking sheet lined with paper towels to briefly drain.

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7) Move the calamari to the second baking sheet and place in the oven, to keep it warm and crisp. Repeat the same steps with the 2nd batch of calamari. Add more flour to the bowl if there is not enough, I did add a few spoons more of flour.

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8) Transfer the calamari to the serving plate. You can add lemon wedges to the plate, for decoration. Serve with marinara sauce and or garlic aioli sauce for dipping, if desired. I served with both sauces because we like our calamari with yummy sauces.

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Marinara Sauce:

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small Yellow Onion, Finely chopped
  • 2 Scallions (white & green part) Finely chopped
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped (Optional*)
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 Cup hearty Red Wine (Such as Citra Montepulciano)
  • 1 Can (28 oz.) Whole Tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hot, Crushed, Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

1) Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, anchovies (if using), garlic, and cook. Stir occasionally until garlic is fragrant for about 1 minute.

2) Add the wine. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl. Crush the tomatoes between your fingers, and pour the mixture into the saucepan. Add the oregano, hot pepper flakes, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to med.-low. Simmer, stirring often, until the tomato juices have thickened and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 30 minutes.  * The sauce can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 2 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

Carrabba’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes

DSCN3714This is the recipe for the authentic Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I always order this as one of my sides when we are at the restaurant. Let me tell you, these garlic mashed potatoes are the best! My husband asked me to make them again before we were even done with dinner! I like that this is an interesting twist on the usual mashed potatoes recipe, it’s like a whole fresh new dish. I got the recipe from my Carrabba’s Cookbook but I did change a few minor things. It tastes exactly like the restaurant version except you can eat a little more then just a few spoonfuls lol. I don’t know about you guys, but I always get disappointed at how much mashed potatoes they serve with the entree, that tiny little scoop. So I am so glad I can make this at home now. Did I mention it is much cheaper too? lol. I recommend serving this dish with some steak or other meat of your choice, or if you prefer to go vegan, I’d serve it with some roasted or steamed vegetables. Although they are “garlic” mashed potatoes, they are actually not garlicky tasting at all because the garlic is roasted in the oven for 1.5 hours, and that gives it a sweetly unique taste, so don’t let those 2 heads of garlic in the picture throw you off. I could eat the roasted garlic just like that because it’s seriously so tasty lol. So yeah.. You absolutely have to make these garlic mashed potatoes. Enjoy! 🙂

Garlic Mashed Potatoes {Makes 4-5 Servings}

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 LB Red-Skinned Potatoes, Scrubbed and washed But unpeeled, cut into 3/4 inch dice
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream, at room temperature
  • *For the roasted garlic: 2 Large, Plump heads of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt/Pepper to taste

DSCN3685Directions:  

1) To make the roasted garlic, preheat a small conventional oven to 300 Degrees. Cut the top 1/2 inch from each garlic head to reveal the cloves. Discard the tops. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil on the cut surfaces of the garlic heads, and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt/pepper.

2) Place the garlic heads, cut side up, in a small baking dish lined with foil. (I used the one that comes with the conventional oven.) Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 1.5 hours until the garlic is deep beige and very tender when squeezed. Set aside when ready.

3) Put the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat to medium low (I did 3.5) and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.

DSCN36934) When the potatoes are cooked through and tender, drain out all the water, and return the potatoes back into the pot. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher, or fork if you don’t have one.

DSCN37045) In a small bowl, squeeze out the garlic cloves from the 2 heads of garlic . Mash the cloves with a fork. (They will be very tender.) Add the stick of butter and cream into the bowl. Mix very well using a fork and spoon. Until it becomes a creamy texture.

DSCN37016) Add the roasted garlic, butter, and heavy cream mixture into the mashed potatoes. Mix very well. Mash potatoes again with the masher until they become as smooth as you prefer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I did 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a serving bowl or scoop into individual plates. Serve hot.

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DSCN3714*To reheat: Heat a skillet on medium heat with some butter, add the mashed potatoes. Mix until heated up. These reheat very well.

 

Rigatoni With Marinara Sauce and Roasted Bell Peppers/Onions

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This Rigatoni Macaroni recipe is delicious. It is a classic Italian style dish served at many Italian Chain Restaurants. You can pair it with meat balls, Parmesan chicken, or Italian sausage, for a perfect Restaurant, Italian style meal. Feel free to get creative with this recipe and add or subtract any veggies of your preferences, I have made this recipe before with all kinds of different veggies. What I love most about this recipe is the minimal ingredients you need to prepare it and how quick it is to make, about 20 minutes total. Enough said, this recipe is a winner so next time you are in a pasta or Italian food kinda mood, make this delicious Rigatoni Pasta and I know you’ll love it! 🙂

Rigatoni With Marinara Sauce and Roasted Bell Peppers/Onions {Serves 4-6} 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Rigatoni (16 oz.)
  • 1 Jar marinara Sauce, Any brand (24 oz. I used Victoria Marinara Sauce, from Costco and it was delicious. I used half of this Jar in the picture.)
  • 1 Onion (I used a Sweet Vidalia Onion)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (I used an Orange Bell Pepper)
  • Olive Oil (2 Tablespoons)
  • 1-2 Garlic Cloves
  • Mrs.Dash Seasoning (A sprinkle of it)
  • Salt to taste

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Directions:

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wash/cut the bell pepper into thin little strips. Chop the Onion into thin half rings.  On another burner, in a large pan, Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil on Medium High heat (I did 7.0).

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2) When the pot with water comes to a boil, add some salt and throw in the Rigatoni Macaroni and cook according to the package instructions.

3) Add the chopped onion into the pan with the olive oil as soon as it heats up. Cook until the onion gets soft then add in the chopped bell pepper. Mix thoroughly and continue cooking until both the onion and bell pepper are soft and tender.

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4) Add the Marinara Sauce to the pan with the onion and bell pepper, Mix thoroughly. Then add a sprinkle of Mrs.Dash seasoning. Mix again. Close the lid and let the sauce come to a boil.

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5) When the sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat to Medium-Low (I did a 4.0). Add the crushed garlic cloves to the pan, close the lid and let it simmer until the Rigatoni Pasta is done cooking.

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6) When the Rigatoni is done cooking, drain out all the water from the pot. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter to the Rigatoni and mix well. Then add the Rigatoni Pasta into the pan with the sauce. Mix very well and turn the heat off. The Rigatoni Pasta is now all done. Scoop into plates and enjoy! I like to eat this with meat balls. 🙂

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Marinara Meat Sauce (For Spaghetti) Super Easy!

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This tomato meat sauce is delicious! It is my son’s favorite thing to eat, well anything with spaghetti really, is his favorite lol. This recipe is super easy and fast to make but tastes like something served at an upscale Italian Restaurant. Olive Garden ain’t got notin’ on this dish! It is perfect for those really busy weeknights as it takes a total of about 30 minutes to make and impresses even the pickiest eaters. You can never go wrong with spaghetti! I made this dish for dinner at my friends house last week and it was gone fast. Everyone really enjoyed it and kept saying how great it tasted, even the kids got seconds! I am actually putting this recipe up as it was requested. So next time you are craving a hearty, savory, meaty, Italian sauce with spaghetti but don’t feel like going out, give this recipe a try. It is a winner for sure! Especially if you serve it with some hot, fresh bread sticks. Bon appétit! 🙂

Tomato Meat Sauce {Serves 8} 

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 (25 Oz.) Can of Marinara Sauce (I use the Organic, Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Mrs.Dash Original Seasoning (Or seasoning of your choice)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (Finely minced)
  • Spaghetti (Any kind you want)
  • Bread sticks *Optional (I buy the frozen ones)

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Directions:

1) Heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large pan, on Medium-High heat ( I did 7.5). Add the ground beef to the pan. Using a large cooking spoon, mix the ground beef and divide it into little chunks of meat.

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2) Season the meat with salt/pepper and about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of Mrs.Dash (optional) to taste (you can always add more later). Mix every once in a while to cook all the beef evenly. Start cooking the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Finely dice the onion.

3) When the ground beef is almost cooked through, add the diced onion. Mix well to combine.

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4) When the beef is cooked through and the onion becomes soft, add the Marinara Sauce and lower the heat to Medium-Low ( I did 3.5). Cover the pan with the lid and let it simmer until the spaghetti is ready, mixing it every once in a while. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the 3 (finely minced) garlic cloves to the sauce.

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5) I serve this in individual plates. Everyone can put their own serving of spaghetti and marinara meat sauce into their plate, as they want. That way if there is any marinara meat sauce left over, you can just reheat the sauce in the pan the next day and make fresh spaghetti.

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(That is how it looks if you mix the spaghetti and the sauce together in the plate. YUM!!!)