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Italian Food in America

While hubby-do and I were in Italy we made a vow to one another that we would begin eating healthier when we returned home. We loved every meal we had while there, and surprisingly, most meals were lighter and seemed healthier than the “Italian” meals we’d been preparing prior to the trip.

Pasta in Italy

The pasta, as well as the sauces were much lighter than what we prepare in the US.

Appetizers in Italy

Antipasti was simple and fresh… Fresh bread, herbs and cheese.

Meals in Italy

Servings were small, yet verrry filling. All were delicious and left us looking forward to how our next meal would be prepared, so….

First on my list when I returned home was to purchase a truly Italian cookbook. Not the American style of Italian food, but what our tour guide/sommelier/cheese taster had recommended. Most truly Italian food has few ingredients and is simple to make. Well, guess who was all over that?

After an extensive search, I finally found the cookbook that I believe will fit our lifestyle. Lidia’s Italy in America. Funny, that once I found the book, I discovered that the author is famous and also has a website. I’m sure you have heard of her, but she is new to us. My new Italian love, (second only to the country itself) is Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and her website is Lidia’s Italy. Most of the recipes seem simple enough, but there’s an occasional time-consuming dish, like the Lamb Stew for Monday.

This week our fresh and healthy choices will be from Lidia’s Italy in America, Cooking Light, and Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook. We will be preparing the following:


Lamb Stew:

  • 10 tablespoons olive oil
  • flour for dredging
  • 3-4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 1 cup each of chopped celery and onion
  • 2 cups dry red wine

  • 28 oz can crushed roma tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano

  • 1 large stem rosemary

  • 6-8 baby carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons salt

Salt and pepper the lamb and dredge in flour. Brown the lamb over medium heat in two batches, using 3 tablespoons each of olive oil.

Add celery, garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and onion to a food processor, pulsing to make a paste.

After browning the lamb, push it to the side of pan and add the celery paste. Cook over medium heat until the paste begins to dry out – about 10 minutes.

Pour in the 2 cups of red wine, bring to a boil and cook until it has reduced by half. Then add carrots, rosemary, oregano, tomatoes and potatoes to the pot. Rinse out the tomato can with 1 cup of water and add that as well. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

Italian Cole Slaw

    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, eyeball it
    • 1 sack, 16 ounces, shredded cabbage mix for slaw salads
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Salt and pepper
  • Mix vinegar and sugar. Add oil. Add cabbage to dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss with fingers to combine. Adjust seasoning. Let stand 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve.


Fratelli Vogadori Valpolicella Wine – straight from the Veneto wine tour we experienced while in Italy.

TUESDAY: Lidia’s Italy in America

Spinach Salad

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups sliced botton mushrooms
  • 9 oz bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, cook until crisp, then drain on paper towels. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of fat out of the pan. Toss in the mushrooms and cook just until wilted – about 2 or 3 minutes. Combine the mushrooms and bacon in a large serving bowl, and scatter the spinach on top.

Set the skillet over the heat. Pour the vinegar into the pan and bring to brief boil, then remove from heat and pour over the salad. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Toss and serve immediately.

Crab Cakes (picked up from East Shore Cafe in Daphne, AL) Best crab cakes in Baldwin County in our opinion.

WEDNESDAY: Cooking Light

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place broth in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 15 seconds or until warm. Stir in butter and garlic. Combine bread crumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and paprika in a medium shallow bowl; set aside.
  3. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, oregano, and pepper. Top each breast half with 1 slice of prosciutto and 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Roll up each breast half jelly-roll fashion. Dip each roll in chicken broth mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place rolls, seam side down, in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour remaining broth mixture over chicken. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until juices run clear and tops are golden.

Angel Hair Pasta tossed with olive oil and fresh garlic.

THURSDAY – SATURDAY: Out to dinner with business associates.

SUNDAY: Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook

Artichoke and Feta Pizza

  • 1 6.5-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, 2 tablespoons marinade reserved
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza crust dough
  • 6 ounces plum tomatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup crumbled herb-seasoned feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 medium-size sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui), thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut artichokes into 1/2-inch pieces. Sprinkle baking sheet with yellow cornmeal. Unroll pizza crust dough onto prepared baking sheet; press out dough to 11-inch square. Brush dough with 1 tablespoon reserved marinade. Top dough with artichokes, plum tomato slices, crumbled herb-seasoned feta cheese and sweet onion slices. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon marinade.

Bake pizza until crust is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with mint. Cut pizza into 4 squares and serve.

Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Dressing

Our servings will be small and all ingredients fresh. What are you eating this week?

#cozinest, #emptynest, #menuplanning #Lidia’sItalyinAmerica


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