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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Italian category.

I wasn’t permitted to read Dr. Seuss as a child

He brought everything back,

all the food for the feast.

And he, he himself, the Grinch,

carved the roast beast

Oh my goodness! Friday I decided to make dinner for the boyfriend. He’d just returned from a trip to Pennsylvania and I wanted to do something special. Plus a friend was coming over and I figured why not cook up dinner for everyone. But what to make? Well, not so long ago the boyfriend requested pot roast. I have issue with pot roast. It’s just not one of my favorite things to eat. I’m not saying I don’t like it exactly…there are just other forms of beef I’d rather indulge in. I’ve always had these feeling about pot roast. Give me a roast chicken any day! But I agreed to get around to it for him and Friday was just as good a day as any.

And I blew myself away! I’m not sure if what I made could be classified as pot roast or braised beef (aren’t they rather the same thing?), but I kept calling all kinds of names (roast beef, pot roast, the beast in my pot) so I suppose it doesn’t really matter. All I know is that it was pretty dang tasty and I shall definitely be filing it away for future use. The best part? The dish ended up making two meals! But I’ll get to that later.

Let’s talk about my method real quick. As mentioned, I’m not a fan of traditional pot roast so I decided to give it an Italian twist. Whenever in doubt, always employ Italian twists. In my opinion, it’s extremely hard to go wrong with Italian. Besides, the boyfriend’s Nana sent him back with all kinds of canned goodies-tomatoes, peppers, beets, peaches- and I decided the tomatoes and peppers would serve my purpose superbly. Dump everything into the dutch oven, add some good herbs, and let the whole thing go for a few hours! I love one pot meals.

Once again, sorry for no pictures. I’ll get around to replacing/upgrading my phone eventually. Then I’ll just have to remake all these delicious dishes again for you. Sounds like a deal to me!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs chuck roast (I used boneless but by all means keep the bone!)
  • 2 jars canned tomatoes (or get a couple cans of crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 jar canned/pickled peppers (I’d bet money that a jar of pepperoncinis or roasted red peppers would work)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (feel free to use beef stock. I don’t like strong beef flavors)
  • 1 can spaghetti/marinara sauce (for added depth)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced (because everyone is getting sick- no thank you!)
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil

Okay, let’s get to it! The first thing we want to do is sear our meat. Heat  a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a dutch oven on high heat. Medium-high if you hate how the oil tries to jump up on you from the pan. Quickly season your meat generously with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, using tongs place the chuck into the pan. Sear all sides until brown then remove from pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium-low.

Now, my pantry is a little empty right now so I didn’t include extra vegetables, but if you have onions and carrots on hand then add them in! Chop those babies up and toss them into the remaining oil and let them cook down a little bit. But if you’ve neglected to go grocery shopping skip all that and use about half  the chicken stock to deglaze the yummy bits left from the chuck in the bottom of your dutch oven. I also added my garlic in during this step and let it simmer in the liquid. After a few minutes, add the remaining stock. Once again, feel free to use beef stock if you prefer or even water with bouillon cubes.

Everything is downhill from here. Empty both jars of tomatoes into your pot. Dump in the peppers. I added all the peppers, but only half the juice. If I were using pepperoncinis or roasted red peppers, I’d use all the tasty liquid to my advantage. Next, pop open your can of tomato sauce and add that in too.

My jars of canned tomatoes were just plain old tomatoes, so I spiced things up a bit with the oregano, basil, and parsley. You can do this to taste. I probably used between 1/2 a tablespoon to a whole tablespoon of herbs. Sprinkle in some sugar, as well. To counteract all the acid. Also, I like things hot so I added copious amounts of crushed red pepper flakes.

Is that everything? Place the chuck roast smack dab in the middle of all the red goodness and bring to a quick boil. Turn the heat down to low, top the pot with a lid, and leave it alone for 3-4 hours depending on your patience. The longer it cooks, the more tender the meat will be. I took mine out after only 3 hours, but we were all starving and I started cooking later then I had intended. But you’ll be on top of your game, I’m sure.

After the prescribed time, you have two choices. You can either shred your meat and serve it in the red soup that has been created inside your dutch oven. Or you can remove the meat, slice it, and serve it on a platter. I chose the latter route. Mmm mmm mmm. So yummy for something so usually not yummy. Everyone loved it, myself included. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and Italian sauteed green beans. It was a wonderful meal.

You wanna know what else was great about my roasted beast? All those tomatoes and peppers and chicken stocked turned themselves into a lovely, spicy soup that I saved and served for dinner the next night. Can I get a big CHA-CHING?!

Two meals in one!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did

Tijuana

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Under a minute

Mmm I’m not sure which I like better- Italian food or chicken. Really, these are the staples of my diet. If I’m not whipping up some sort of chicken dish, I’m usually eating something Italian (that is, when I’m not having a Chinese food attack!). I can’t help it. I grew up eating Italian. That’s my comfort food. Plus, some of my best dishes are Italian inspired. It’s just in the blood. It helps that there doesn’t seem to be very many mom and pop Italian restaurants around here either. I have no choice but to create my own. I’m sure there might be a few hole in the wall places somewhere that I just haven’t stumbled upon, but most of the joints so far are either chains like Olive Garden and Carrabbas…or are hella expensive. Remember my post about $5 calzones? Yeah, I’m not about to spend 15 bucks for something I can just make better myself.

There is one restaurant back home that I miss. Ah, Carini’s. Now they had some good food. How I wish there was a Carini’s here in the Hampton Roads. They had great pizza, great stromboli, awesome cheese fries. But my favorite dish hands down was the chicken parm sub. Oh man that was one good sandwich. I have yet to find a chicken parm to beat it. I don’t know if it was the delicious sauce, the generous amount of cheese, or the thick breast they used, but I’m drooling just remembering it. I might just have to open up my own mom and pop Italian place. Maybe I’ll recruit my dad to go into business with me.

Anyway, for memory’s sake I decided to make chicken parmesan for dinner. I would’ve made it into a sub, but unfortunately didn’t have any sub rolls. That’s okay! It was just fine without the bread.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts (keep in mind I’m only cooking for two)
  • 1 bowl flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bowl bread crumbs
  • 4 slices provolone
  • Tomato sauce
  • Splash of milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For this recipe, we’re going to need some hardware. That’s right, we’re getting hardcore here. So, go find a hammer. Of course, if you have a nice kitchen with nice gadgets you can just use a  meat mallet. I prefer to keep things interesting

Now that you have your fancy hammer ready to go, pull out your chicken breasts. Lay down some saran wrap. Place your chicken on the saran wrap. Cover with another sheet of saran wrap. How many times can we say saran wrap?

Alright, pound out your anger! Or just have some fun. If using a hammer, be gentle with your chicken. A hammer doesn’t have as large of a surface as a mallet. Nice and thin!

Preheat you oven to 450 degrees before you forget and have to waste precious time before you can eat. Okay, build an assembly line! Set out your bowl of flour. Season with salt and pepper generously or to taste. Whisk your egg with some milk and set it out in the next bowl. Finally, pour some bread crumbs into another bowl. I used pre-seasoned Italian style


Dredge your chicken cutlets through the flour. Shake off the excess flour

Dip chicken into egg mixture

Dredge through breadcrumbs

Heat a skillet on medium heat. I like medium heat because I’m prone to burning things when I turn up the heat. So I like to play it safe. But if you think you can handle high heat, go for it! Drizzle oil into pan

We aren’t cooking the chicken all the way through. Just until nice and golden on both sides. Mine aren’t as pretty as they could be, but it’s still going to taste rad. Once desired color is reached, put into a baking dish. You can also leave the chicken in the skillet if it’s ovenproof. Save on dishes!

Spoon tomato sauce onto chicken

Layer with provolone

Bake for 15 minutes uncovered. Mmmmmmmm

Boil some spaghetti while the chicken is cooking and warm up some more tomato sauce. I spruced mine up with a little crushed red pepper flakes and some fresh basil from the garden

Don’t forget to salt your pasta water!

Dinner is served! Don’t forget to sprinkle with some parmesan

It might not be Carini’s, but the boyfriend surely wasn’t complaining. Are there any restaurants that you guys miss from your hometown? I know I sure can name a few!

Tijuana

 

 

 

 

 


Dionysus

I don’t eat a lot of snacks. A long time ago I learned that it was best not to tempt temptation and just leave all that stuff out of my cabinets. If I really want a cookie or some chips that badly, I’ll just have to whip it up myself…and usually I don’t really want it as badly as I thought. But there are those moments late at night when all you want is something crunchy to munch on. You have a craving so strong you could smack someone. Of course, those moments usually involve a little bit of vodka. But hey! We all like to indulge every once in awhile. Sometimes it’s just best to give in to your Dionysian nature and tell Apollo to beat it! Nietzsche, anyone? I had such a moment last night. The munchies took over and I raided my kitchen to no avail. That is, until I spotted the zucchini. You remember that giant zucchini that came into my custody? Well, it’s still kicking! So I decided to make some yummy crispy we-must-be-in-Italy zucchini chips.

(This big guy could feed a family for years! I still have a huge chunk left)

But there’s a catch! The hour was approaching midnight. Who really wants to heat up some oil that late at night and smell up the whole house. Not I! So rather than frying the zucchini, I decided to bake it. Go preheat your oven to 500 degrees! Also, I didn’t really do much measuring for this. Eyeball it. Things will turn out just dandy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 giant zucchini (or whatever zucchini you have on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • Flour
  • Italian style breadcrumbs
  • Hot sauce (I used Texas Pete)
  • Parmesan
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Basil

If you like, go ahead and heat up some oil. In my opinion, these taste better fried anyway. But baking them is a close second. We have to pretend to eat healthy sometimes. Anyway, first pull out three bowls. Fill one with flour, one with breadcrumbs, and crack your egg into the third

Generously pepper the bowl with flour. Add the hot sauce in with the egg. Mix the breadcrumbs with a good amount of Parmesan (who doesn’t love cheese?), a dash of garlic powder and a dash of basil.

Next, slice the zucchini into thin disks. Thin=crispy

This is my least favorite part and probably the reason I don’t make a lot of fried foods such as chicken or country fried steak. Using your fingertips (or some tongs!) pat a zucchini disk down into the flour. Shake off any excess flour

Take that floured zucchini disk and coat it with the egg mixture

Almost there! Cover with breadcrumbs. I like a good dusting of breadcrumbs, but be sure not to let it get all clumpy. That wouldn’t taste so great

CLOB FINGERES!!!!!

Spray a cookie sheet with PAM. In my case, I used a pizza pan. It worked just fine. Place your zucchini onto the pan and bake for about 5 minutes. Flip and bake for another 5 minutes or until golden. They don’t take long and cook up real quick!

Eat! Naturally, these would be great with marinara, but ketchup got the job done just as well

Tijuana