Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Marinara

While this post is about dinner for two, I am posting my traditional meatball recipe because when I make the entire recipe. That way I can freeze them in small batches for the future. Add a Garden Salad to round out the menu.

Italian Meatballs

Makes 18 to 20 meatballs. Make the meatball mixture early in the day.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
Olive oil

Directions

Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Blend bread crumbs into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still, hold its shape. Refrigerate for several hours.
Shape the meat mixture into 3-inch balls.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches.

When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, remove it from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)
For dinner for two;
Place a ladle of sauce in a small baking dish. Place 4 meatballs in the dish. Cover with sauce. Cover the dish and bake in the oven with the ravioli.


Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
Two 26 oz containers can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until well mixed. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.

Ravioli Bake

I love that ravioli; i can be cooked this. No more breaking apart in boiling water. If you double the recipe use two baking dishes that can go into the dishwasher. The ravioli need to be in a single layer to cook properly.

Ingredients

2 cups marinara sauce
Half a package of frozen cheese-filled ravioli (25 to 27 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Defrost the ravioli on a plate in a single layer covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of rectangular baking dish 13x9x2-inches, with cooking spray.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in a baking dish. Arrange the ravioli in a single layer over the sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered 15 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center.


Cauliflower Parmesan

Ingredients

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg and ¼ cup water, beaten together
1 ½ cups panko Italian unseasoned bread crumbs
Kosher salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
1 small-medium head cauliflower, trimmed and divided into large floret clusters
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups Marinara Sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place flour, eggs, and panko into three wide, shallow bowls. Season each with salt and pepper. Dip a cauliflower piece first in flour, then egg, then coat with panko. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.


Fill a large skillet with oil. Place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry cauliflower in batches, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Transfer fried cauliflower pieces to a paper towel-lined plate.
Spoon the marinara sauce over the bottom of an 8-inch baking pan. Place the cauliflower evenly in the baking dish. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and return to the oven until the cheese melts.

Lemony Chicken or Turkey Cutlet Piccata

Ingredients

4 servings

1 lb boneless skinless chicken or turkey breast cutlets
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup flour for dredging
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Pat the chicken breast pieces dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides. Lightly coat the chicken on both sides with the flour (shake off any excess flour).
In a medium skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Cook the chicken on 1 side for about 2 minutes, then turn over to cook for 3 minutes. Add the butter and capers. Drizzle the lemon juice over the cutlets and let simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Linguini with Pesto Cream Sauce

6 servings

Ingredients

Pistachio Basil Pesto Sauce
4 cups washed basil leaves
½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil

Cream Sauce
1 lb linguini
1 cup pistachio basil pesto sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Directions

For the pesto sauce
Place the pistachios, garlic, salt, and pepper in a processor bowl. Process until the nuts and garlic are chopped. Add the basil leaves and process for a minute or two. In the opening spout at the top, pour the olive oil as you process. Keep processing until the mixture is smooth.
Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander.
In the same pot add the pesto, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Warm over low heat and then add the cooked linguine. Cook for a minute or two. Pour into a serving bowl and top with freshly ground black pepper.


Easy Sausage and Pepper Stew

Ingredients

Olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 links spicy Italian pork sausage, or any style sausage, cut into one-inch pies
1 medium onion, diced
2 large bell peppers, cut into one-inch pieces
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
1/2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into one-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons tomato paste
28 oz container of finely chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Pour enough olive oil into the bottom of a Dutch Oven and heat over medium-low. Add the sausage and cook until brown on all sides, stirring the sausage pieces often. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and tomato paste and stir until completely combines. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and bring the mixture to a slow boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer the stew for about an hour or until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into individual bowls and serve with a slice of Italian beard.


Serves 8

For the beef
3-4 pound chuck beef roast
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Flour for coating meat
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce
1 large carrot, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large celery stalk, diced (about 1 cup)
1 bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
1 onion, diced (1 cup)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup medium-bodied Italian red wine
2 cups low sodium beef broth
Two 28-ounce containers of chopped Italian tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 lb. pasta

Directions

Trim most of the outside fat from the meat. Pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with the salt and pepper and lightly rub with all-purpose flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the roast and brown on all sides, 10-12 minutes. Transfer the meat to a platter.

Reduce the heat to medium and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes. Add the tomato paste and seasoning and stir for about 1 minute.

Add the wine and stir to incorporate the vegetables. Add the beef stock, the tomatoes, the bay leaf, and the roast with any juices accumulated on the plate. Bring to a boil.

Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer on very low, turning and basting the meat every half hour or so, until the meat is very tender about 4 hours. (You can also put the pot into a 300°F oven and turn the roast every hour.)

Boil the water for the pasta.

Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a cutting board, covered loosely with aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust sauce seasoning, remove bay leaf, and keep the sauce hot.

Cook the pasta.

Cut the meat into thick slices and place them in a deep serving dish. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and reserve the rest to add to the cooked pasta.

Toss the pasta with the remaining sauce and serve with the roast.


Skillet Chicken Parm

Ingredients

2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 12 oz total)
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour
¾ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
1 large egg
Olive oil
Warm Marinara sauce, recipe below
6 ounces Italian Fontina or Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
Cooked spaghetti

For the Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
26-28 oz container Italian chopped Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions

Prepare the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Prepare the chicken
Cut off any fat on the chicken. Place a breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly with a meat mallet to an even thickness. Repeat with the second breast. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Spread out the flour and breadcrumbs on two separate plates. Beat the egg in a wide shallow bowl until thoroughly blended. Dredge the chicken in flour to coat lightly and tap off excess flour. Dip in the beaten egg, hold them over the bowl, letting the excess egg drip back into the bowl. Transfer the chicken, one piece at a time to the plate of breadcrumbs, turn it to coat with breadcrumbs, patting gently, and making sure that each breast is well coated with breadcrumbs. If you have time refrigerate the breaded chicken for several hours.

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until a corner of one of the coated breasts gives off a sizzle when dipped in the oil. Add the chicken pieces without touching each other. Fry, turning once, until golden on both sides and cooked through about 6 minutes. Top each chicken breast with several spoonfuls of marinara sauce. Place the sliced cheese over the sauce to cover the chicken completely. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook a minute or two until the cheese melts. Serve over spaghetti.

Green Beans With Garlic

Ingredients

Salt
2 pounds green  beans, trimmed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-size garlic cloves, minced

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water. Boil beans until just tender but still crisp and bright green. Start testing after 4 minutes or so, being careful not to overcook. When done, drain in a colander. Heat the oil in the pan over high heat. Add beans and garlic, and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until beans are heated through. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

 


Serve this pasta with a mixed greens salad and Italian vinaigrette.

Ingredients

4-5 cups cooked (leftover) pasta. I used linguine
3 links of Italian sausage
2 cups Marinara sauce
11/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Directions

Brown the sausage links in a skillet and add the marinara sauce. Simmer the sausage in the marinara sauce for 30 minutes. Remove the sausage and cut it into thin slices. Set aside.
Mix the marinara sauce with the pasta. Set aside.
Combine the ricotta, egg, parmesan, parsley salt, and pepper. Mix with the pasta. Coat a 12-inch x 8-inch baking dish with olive oil spray.

Spread the pasta out in an even layer in the baking dish. Top with the sliced sausage and cover the top with slices of mozzarella.


Coat the dull side of a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Place on the top of the baking dish. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 45 minutes, uncover the dish and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


For 2 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup quick-cooking Italian farro (available at Whole Foods)
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large minced garlic clove
Salt & pepper to taste
1 large green bell peppers halved lengthwise and seeded
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese plus more for topping

Directions

Combine the farro, water, and salt in a microwave bowl. Microwave on high for 9 minutes. Set aside the bowl without draining the farro while you prepare the stuffing.
Mix the Italian tomatoes with the red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning. Pour into a baking dish large enough to fit the peppers.
In a large skillet, cook the onion and olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add the beef and sausage. Cook until light brown. Let cool.
Drain the farro.
In a mixing bowl, combine the meat mixture with the farro, mozzarella cheese, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together..Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture.


Place stuffed green bell pepper halves in the baking dish over the tomato sauce; cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, top each pepper with additional shredded mozzarella cheese and return the dish to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Sauteed Tuscan Kale

Ingredients

2 bunches Tuscan Kale
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Wash the kale thoroughly. Remove the stems and cut the leaves into smaller pieces. Heat olive oil and red pepper flakes in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers, and the red pepper flakes start to sizzle. Add the garlic. Working quickly, so the garlic does not burn, add the kale. (Some splattering and crackling of oil may occur from the water on the kale.) Using tongs, toss the kale in the pan for 2-4 minutes until the kale has wilted and cooked to desired tenderness. Keep the kale moving to avoid scorching any pieces. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese just before serving.


Crispy Baby Kale Chips

The kale chips were tasty but small and fragile after baking. I think the next time I make this recipe, I will use regular-sized kale for a hearty chip.

Ingredients

1- 5-ounce package organic prewashed baby kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets or rimmed baking pans with parchment and set aside.

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl until the kale leaves are evenly coated.

Lay the leaves in a single layer on the pans and put them into the oven. Switch and rotate the pans halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Bake for 30 minutes, until crisp.

Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool before eating. Leftover chips can be stored in an air-tight container or ziplock bag for 4 days.

Southern Style Air Fryer Chicken

The chicken turned out delicious and crispy. The best thing about making fried chicken in the air fryer is that there is no messy/greasy clean up after cooking.

Ingredients

Chicken

4 skinless bone-in thighs, about 1 ¼ lb
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon paprika

Dry Coating
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup cornstarch

Wet Coating
1 egg room temperature
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons water
Butter flavored or olive oil cooking spray

Directions

In a bowl combine chicken with olive oil and then add the spices. Rub it in and set aside. In a large shallow dish, mix together flour, cornstarch, and spices. In a medium dish, mix together eggs, hot sauce, milk, and water.
Coat chicken very lightly in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
Place on a plate to allow time for some of the flour to be absorbed; set aside for about 10 minutes
Coat the chicken in the egg mixture; shaking off excess.


Immediately, coat the chicken in the flour mixture making sure all areas are coated, shaking off excess.
Let chicken rest for 15 minutes.


Coat the chicken all over with cooking spray.
Place chicken in greased Air Fryer basket, allowing room for the air to flow all around the chicken.
Cook on 350 F. for about 16 minutes, turning the chicken over halfway through the cooking time.


Remove and serve immediately.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

This recipe is amazing. It tasted like real pizza and you can actually hold the slice of pizza in your hand. Great for a low carb option.

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini about 1 1/2 cups shredded
1/3 cup almond or cassava flour
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
¾ cup pizza sauce
¾ cup mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
¾ cup optional Toppings: olives, mushrooms, peppers, pepperoni, cooked sausage, or whatever you prefer on pizza
Olive oil cooking spray.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Line a pizza pan (14-inch) with parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray, set aside. I use a cast iron pizza pan.
Place shredded zucchini on a kitchen towel.


Sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt.
Set aside for 10 minutes.
Squeeze the excess moisture out of the zucchini in the towel. Place the squeezed zucchini on a paper towel until ready to make the dough.

In a medium bowl, mix the shredded zucchini, flour, egg, cheese, Italian spices, and garlic powder with a spoon until combined; then by hand form the dough into a ball.

Transfer the mixture on to the greased parchment paper on the pizza pan.
Press the dough into a 12-inch round on the greased parchment paper.


Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust looks set and is starting to brown.


Remove the pizza crust from the oven.
Add the sauce, followed by the toppings and scatter the cheese on top.
Return the pan to oven and bake for another 8 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. Let rest a few minutes and then cut into serving pieces.


4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely diced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped Italian tomatoes
12 ounces skinless sole or flounder fillets
4 ¼ inch slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in half
4 oz fettuccine or wide needles, cooked

Directions
Coarsely grind fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, place in a resealable freezer bag. Crush with a rolling pin or large skillet. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, cook stirring often, until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and spices and cook about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste; bring to a simmer and cook uncovered to meld flavors, about 5 minutes.

Season fish with salt and pepper and gently place fillets in the sauce. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low. Cook 4 minutes. Turn fish over with a wide spatula and evenly top with mozzarella slices. Cover the pan again cook for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Place the cooked noodles on a serving dish. Place the fish and sauce on top of the noodles and serve.

Italian Style Fried Cauliflower

Ingredients

1 head of fresh cauliflower washed and cut into large florets
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg
2/3 cup cold seltzer or ice water
Vegetable oil for frying
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Whisk all dry ingredients together, set aside. Beat in another bowl the egg and seltzer or ice water. Stir into the dry ingredients, stirring until a smooth mixture forms.
Heat the oil, about 1-inch deep, in a deep skillet (chicken fryer) on low to medium heat.


Add the cauliflower to the batter, using thongs or a slotted spoon, letting the excess drop back into the bowl.
Add the cauliflower to the preheated oil. Do not crowd them or touch them together.
Fry each floret until golden brown on each side around 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter. Keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan while still hot and serve.


 

The Tri-Tip goes by so many (often incorrect) names — California cut, Newport steak, sirloin tip, sirloin butt, culotte, bottom sirloin, top sirloin and more — that it’s sometimes confusing.
The term tri-tip is correct and descriptive because the steak is triangular and is the tip of the sirloin.
Serve this main dish with a salad or sauteed greens.

Ingredients

Cherry Tomato Marinara Sauce

One 28-ounce can whole cherry tomatoes (Cento brand)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovies packed in olive oil
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Steak

1 tablespoon olive oil
One 24 oz trip-tip steak
1 medium onion, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine (such as Chianti, Montepulciano)
8-10 oz spaghetti
Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine all the ingredients for the marinara sauce together in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Season the roast lightly with salt and pepper. Put the roast fat-side down in the pot. Cook until the bottom is browned, about 3 minutes, then carefully turn the roast to brown on the other side, an additional 3 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate.

 

Add the onions and stir periodically until they soften and start to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sauce ingredients and wine. Add the meat with all its juices back to the pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover, transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the meat is very tender about 2 hours. Place the meat on a cutting board and slice into thin slices.

Cook the pasta to the al dente stage. Drain and stir into the sauce in the Dutch Oven. Pour the pasta onto a platter and place the sliced steak on top. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.



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