I’m always amazed at how sharp and intuitive kids are these days. There’s no better place to see this play out than in a kitchen. Add to that observation a growing number of young people who are interesting in cooking, and you have a picture of what my kid’s cooking class was like this week. They made a fantastic one-skillet wonder of raw pasta, lots of cheeses, sausage and marinara sauce that magically all cooked together in no time! The big surprise was how tasty the actual pasta was! How can it not? The pasta is actually cooked in all of those tasty sausage juices, red sauce and garlic instead of being boiled separately in a pot of water. (Salt can only add so much flavor to pasta!) The kids in my cooking class told me they love pasta and wanted an easy way to cook it without a lot of pots and pans. This recipe was perfect for them, and I guarantee it’s going to be perfect for you and your family! Buon Appetito!
garlic cloves, minced
Meatloaf with Sweet & Savory Sauce
I’ve never been a picky eater. But meatloaf was not one of my favorites, even though the dish has withstood the test of time as a favorite comfort food. Well, what a difference one recipe can make! I went from never giving meatloaf a second thought to maybe thinking about it a little too much. These days I can’t get enough of this special recipe that makes meatloaf so very flavorful and moist. What secrets does this variation hold? There are several. First, the two cups of whole milk that the breadcrumbs happily soak in. That alone gives the meatloaf a rich and ultra moist texture. Second, sautéing the sweet yellow onion adds to the moisture plus gives the loaf a slight natural sweetness. Then the sauce that gets brushed over the top before baking gives this meatloaf a hint of spice, a bit of heat from the dry mustard and sweetness from the brown sugar. All in all, this is a wonderful meal for the family, especially when paired with mashed potatoes, gnocchi, pasta or just some charred crusty French bread. This quote from Bon Appetite magazine summed up meatloaf the best: “Meatloaf in its many iterations and guises was often a sort of culinary scrap heap, a refuge for leftovers, in the spirit of many casseroles and of shepherd’s pie. It was a way to stretch protein. It was a way to use up excess vegetables. It was a ragtag orchestra of ingredients on the verge of expiration. And it made music more uplifting than anyone could have anticipated.” This recipe is definitely music to my ears and a brand new one woman fan favorite!
Greek Meatballs “Soutzoukakia”
Growing up Italian, homemade meatballs were a dinner staple enjoyed over pasta, in a sub roll or as savory appetizers before the main meal. But last week, while teaching a cooking class on Greek foods, I had to set my Italian roots aside and absolutely drool over Greek Meatballs known as Soutzoukakia. These morsels of magic have a wonderful combination of spices like cumin, cinnamon and oregano with a red sauce that completely enrobes them with even more flavor! Greek Meatballs are delicious with seasoned Orzo, rice or, dare I say, on a bed of Italian pasta?
Eggplant Pattie Casserole
Today is a fun day for Italians and those who love Italian cuisine and culture! The Italian Association of Arizona is hosting the first-ever Italian Pizza & Wine Festival at Scottsdale City Hall. Even though I wrote my own Italian cookbook, I decided on a recipe for Eggplant Pattie Casserole from an extraordinary cookbook to mark this fun foodie festival! The Modern Family Cookbook is a 900 page compilation of three daily menus for a family of five for an entire year. It was written by a woman named Meta Given who began writing recipes at age 10. As a famed home economist, and food editor for the Chicago Tribune, Given made certain that with each recipe, your family would be well-nourished since all dishes were built around a nutritious dietary plan. But the recipe I really loved is the Eggplant Pattie Casserole. Make or buy your favorite meat or marinara sauce, cook up some pasta and try it for a hearty family meal. Thanks, Italian Association for make today delizioso!
It’s one of those favorite dishes on the menu at Mexican, Tex Mex and Southwestern-style restaurants. Fajitas refer to grilled meat or chicken usually served as a taco or alongside grilled peppers, onions and flour or corn tortillas. Fajitas are so simple to make at home. A delicious fajita starts with a great marinade. For this recipe, I’ve chosen a simple combination of ingredients, but if you prefer more heat, you can always add some red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne. For the chicken, I prefer skinless boneless chicken thighs, but chicken breasts work well too. For the meat, you’ll want something with a little bit of fat like a skirt or flank steak. With colorful peppers always available, a combination of green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers make a beautiful presentation along with a large, sweet yellow onion. To give the fajitas a real authentic flavor, you can toss your flour tortilla into a hot dry skillet or griddle for just a few seconds to give it the char marks and delicious flavor. Of course, you’ll want to top off your fajitas with all of your favorite fixings’ like avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro, shredded cheese and sour cream. Plan ahead so the protein can marinate for several hours, then fire up the skillet or grill and get cookin’ south of the border style!
Watch my How To Video for Fajitas here!