My family heavily believes in family obligations. No one is allowed to just get by without doing anything. So whenever I'm home (like now for winter break or summer) I'm required to cook at least once a week. And do the dishes. So last night was "my night" and I decided to go with an Italian theme. I have a nice assortment of cookbooks but I still love to find recipes via the world wide web. I would recommended the sites Allrecipes and foodnetwork because they are widely used by people and reviewed so that you know what's good and what isn't. The meatloaf in the pictures was the most delicious that I have ever eaten and it was ALL. GONE. by the end of the night. So was the pasta. But the meatloaf was the fan favorite. Since I was serving 5-6 very hungry people I doubled the meat to 2 lbs, the eggs, the worchestire sauce, the balsamic vinegar but I kept most of the proportions the same.
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello via foodnetwork
Prep Time: 10 min Inactive Prep Time:5 min Cook Time:1 hr 0 min Level:Easy Serves: 4 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, seeded, small diced
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons (about 3 cloves) chopped garlic
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the peppers, onions and garlic. Saute until just soft, remove to a plate and cool.
When the peppers and onions are cool, combine all of the remaining ingredients together except for the marinara. Pack the meat mixture into an oiled loaf pan, if you do not have a loaf pan, form the meat mixture into a loaf shape on an oiled oven tray or baking dish. Top with the marinara making sure to spread evenly over the top.
Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F in the middle of the meatloaf. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis via foodnetwork.com
Prep Time:15 min Cook Time: 40 min Level: Easy Serves: 4 servings
1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.