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I love cooking shows. I love Italian food. I have spent many happy hours watching Nick Stellino, Michael Chiarello, Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Giada De Laurentis cook. I am fond of pasta. I love tomatoes and garlic. I love cheese. Put them all together and you have some great Italian inspired food. There are some dishes that we think of as Italian that are more American like pizza but still they are delicious if not exactly authentic. I have to admit that I don’t have any Italian blood in me but that doesn’t stop me from trying to make food Italian style. Here are some of my Italian influenced recipes.

Italian Baked Beans With Meatballs
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure           Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------          --------------------------------
28             ounces              baked beans
1               tablespoon        low sodium Worcestershire sauce
½              small                 onion -- chopped
1               clove                 garlic -- minced
1               tablespoon        molasses
4½            ounces              canned mushrooms -- drained and sliced
8               ounces              no salt added tomato sauce
1               teaspoon           Italian seasoning
1               pound                ground beef, extra lean
1               whole                egg
½              cup                    bread crumbs -- plain
½              small                 onion -- chopped
1               clove                 garlic -- minced
¼              cup                    red wine
½              teaspoon           salt
¼              teaspoon           seasoned pepper
½              teaspoon           Italian seasoning

Combine ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, ½ small onion, 1 clove garlic, milk, salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning.  Mix thoroughly.  Shape into 20 meatballs.  Fry 15 minutes until browned.  Drain.

Combine beans, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, ½ small onion, 1 clove garlic, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning in an 11 inch by 9 inch casserole dish.  Top with cooked meatballs.  Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.

Per Serving: 297 Calories; 11g Fat (33.4% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 66mg Cholesterol; 722mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); 1½ Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Italian Beef and Pasta Casserole
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure            Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------            --------------------------------
1               pound                 ground beef, extra lean
½              pound                 Italian sausage
16             ounces               no salt added tomato sauce
6               ounces               no salt added tomato paste
1               cup                     red wine
1               medium              onion -- chopped
2               cloves                garlic -- minced
1½            teaspoons          Italian seasoning
8               ounces               elbow macaroni -- cooked and drained
1               cup                     mozzarella cheese, part skim milk -- shredded
½              cup                     Parmesan cheese -- grated

Cook onions, garlic, sausage, and ground beef until the beef and sausage are no longer pink.  Drain.  

Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, and Italian seasoning.  Mix well.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Cook macaroni according to directions and drain.  Add to sauce mixture.  Pour into a 9x13 inch pan.  Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Let set for a few minutes until cheese starts to melt.

Per Serving: 467 Calories; 23g Fat (46.8% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 72mg Cholesterol; 469mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 2½ Fat.

Italian Beef and Vegetable Casserole
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure            Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------           --------------------------------
4               cups                  elbow macaroni -- cooked
1               pound                ground beef, extra lean
2               medium             zucchini, Italian style -- sliced
14½          ounces              no salt added stewed tomatoes -- drained and sliced
1               medium             onion -- chopped
2               cloves                garlic -- minced
3½            ounces               black olives -- drained
8               ounces               no salt added tomato sauce
½              cup                     red wine
½              teaspoon            salt
¼              teaspoon            pepper
1½            teaspoons          Italian seasoning
1               cup                     cheddar cheese, low sodium -- shredded
½              cup                     Parmesan cheese

Cook ground beef, onion and garlic until no pink remains and onion is soft.  Drain.  Add tomato sauce, red wine, salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.  

In a 2-quart casserole combine meat mixture with macaroni, zucchini, tomatoes and olives.  Cook in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.

Combine cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and sprinkle over cooked casserole.  Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Per Serving: 392 Calories; 18g Fat (41.7% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 57mg Cholesterol; 621mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain(Starch); 2½ Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat.

Italian Breakfast Casserole
Serving Size: 6    

Amount     Measure              Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------       ------------              --------------------------------
1               small                    onion -- minced
2               cloves                  garlic -- minced
14½          ounces                 low sodium tomatoes, canned
4               large                     eggs
2               cups                     potatoes -- cooked and diced
1               cup                       ham, extra lean, diced
1               teaspoon              Italian seasoning
¼              teaspoon              seasoned salt
¼              teaspoon              seasoned pepper
1               tablespoon           olive oil
1               cup                       Italian six cheese

Heat oven to 350°F.

Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Add potatoes, ham, onions and garlic. Cook until potatoes brown and onion and garlic soften.

Mix together the remaining ingredients. Add to potatoes mixture and mix well.

Pour into a 1-quart casserole dish.

Bake uncovered in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.

Per Serving: 160 Calories; 7g Fat (38.1% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 151mg Cholesterol; 347mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; ½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Italian Breakfast
Serving Size: 4    

Amount     Measure            Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------            --------------------------------
6                whole                eggs
¼               pound                ham, extra lean
1                cup                    hash browns, frozen
½               cup                    low sodium cheddar cheese -- shredded
2                tablespoons      onions -- minced
1                clove                 garlic -- minced
1                teaspoon           Italian seasoning
½               teaspoon           seasoned salt
¼               teaspoon           seasoned pepper
1                tablespoon        olive oil
2                tablespoons       2% low-fat milk

Mix eggs, salt, pepper, and milk together and set aside.

Heat oil in a frying pan and add hash browns. Cook until warmed through and starting to brown.

Add ham, onions and garlic to pan and cook until warmed through.

Add egg mixture to pan along with Italian seasoning. Cook eggs until desired doneness.

Add cheese and cook until melted.

Per Serving: 286 Calories; 17g Fat (55.2% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 346mg Cholesterol; 700mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 2½ Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Italian Meatball Soup
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
1                pound             extra lean ground beef
1                cup                 bread crumbs -- plain
1                whole             egg
2                teaspoons      Italian seasoning -- divided
2                cloves            garlic -- minced fine
1                medium          sweet onion -- minced fine
8                ounces           no salt added tomato sauce
½               teaspoon        salt
¼               teaspoon        pepper
2                tablespoons    olive oil
1                cup                 burgundy
3                cups                low sodium beef broth
16              ounces            frozen mixed vegetables
8                ounces            Portobello mushrooms -- sliced
1                medium           zucchini -- sliced
14½           ounces             low sodium tomatoes, canned -- drained and diced
2¼             ounces             black pitted olives -- drained and sliced
1                 tablespoon      low sodium Worcestershire sauce
½                teaspoon         seasoned pepper
½                teaspoon         seasoned salt
¼                teaspoon         crushed red pepper

Mix together ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 clove garlic, half the onion, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Form into 2-inch meatballs.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add meatballs and brown. Do in batches is necessary. Remove from pan.

Add wine to pan and deglaze the pan and loosen all those delicious browned bits.

Add everything except meatballs and mix well. Heat to boiling.

Reduce heat and add meatballs. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Per Serving: 352 Calories; 16g Fat (42.0% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 66mg Cholesterol; 518mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 3 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Italian Meatloaf
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure            Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------           --------------------------------
1                pound               ground beef, extra lean
½               pound               Italian sausage
4                ounces             black olives -- drained and sliced
1                small                onion -- diced small
2                cloves              garlic -- minced
14½           ounces             low sodium tomatoes, canned -- drained and diced
1                whole               egg
1                cup                   Burgundy
¼               cup                   bread crumbs -- plain
1                tablespoon        low sodium Worcestershire sauce
1                teaspoon           Italian seasoning
¼               teaspoon           pepper
1                teaspoon          dijon mustard
8                ounces              no salt added tomato sauce
1                 cup                    Italian six cheese

Heat oven to 350°F.

Mix all ingredients except tomato sauce and cheese together.

Spread into an 8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2 or 9x5x2 inch loaf pan.

Spread tomato sauce on top of meatloaf.

Bake for 1 hour.

Sprinkle cheese on top of meatloaf and return to oven for 15 minutes.

Per Serving: 321 Calories; 21g Fat (63.0% calories from fat); 17g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 87mg Cholesterol; 437mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 3 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Italian Vegetables
Serving Size: 4    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
1                small               sweet onion -- sliced thin
1                large               red bell pepper -- roasted and sliced
8                ounces            Portobello mushrooms -- sliced
2                cloves             garlic -- minced
1                teaspoon         Italian seasoning
1                teaspoon         balsamic vinegar
¼               cup                  sherry
1                tablespoon       olive oil
1                tablespoon       butter

Roast the bell pepper until the skin is blackened. Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let set 15 to 20 minutes.

Add butter and olive oil to a large frying pan. Add sliced onions. Cook until the onions are caramelized.

Remove the skin from the red pepper. Slice discarding the top, seeds and ribs.

Add the sherry to the frying pan, deglazing the pan. Add pepper slices, garlic, mushrooms, Italian seasoning and balsamic vinegar. Cook until the mushrooms are softened.

Per Serving: 111 Calories; 7g Fat (58.2% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 34mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1½ Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1½ Fat.

Italian Salad
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure             Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------            --------------------------------
4               whole                  Roma tomatoes -- sliced
16             ounces                fresh mozzarella cheese -- sliced
¾              ounce                  fresh basil leaves -- minced
¼              cup                      olive oil
⅛              cup                      balsamic vinegar
½              teaspoon             Italian seasoning
¼              teaspoon             salt
⅛              teaspoon             pepper

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella and place in a bowl. Tear the fresh basil leaves and add to tomato and cheese mixture.

In a small bowl put vinegar, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Mix well. Slowly drizzle the olive oil whisking to form an emulsion.

Dress the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with the dressing or have the dressing on the side and people can dress their own salad.

Per Serving: 254 Calories; 21g Fat (73.0% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 51mg Cholesterol; 308mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 2 Lean Meat; ½ Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 3 Fat.

Red Pepper Pizza
Serving Size: 16    

Amount      Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------         ------------         --------------------------------
¼                teaspoon        seasoned salt
1                 whole              shallot -- minced
1                 clove               garlic -- minced
8                 ounces            mushroom caps -- sliced
6                 ounces            roasted sweet red peppers -- drained and chopped
14½            ounces            tomatoes with green pepper, celery, onion -- drained and diced
6                 ounces            no salt added tomato paste
8                 ounces            no salt added tomato sauce
20               ounces            pizza dough
8                 ounces            Italian five cheese
1                 teaspoon         Italian seasoning
¼                teaspoon         crushed red pepper
2¼              ounces            black olives -- drained and sliced
                                           vegetable cooking spray

Heat oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl mix tomato sauce, tomato paste, seasoned salt, crushed red pepper, shallots and garlic.

Spray 2 pizza pans with vegetable spray. Divide dough and spread half on each pan.

Spread half of sauce onto dough of each pan.

Divide tomatoes, olives, red peppers, and mushrooms and spread on top of sauce.

Sprinkle half the cheese onto each pizza.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until cheese melts.

Per Serving: 158 Calories; 5g Fat (27.7% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 10mg Cholesterol; 259mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; ½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Italian Salad

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cookies (17+ / 0-)

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Mon May 14, 2012 at 09:18:12 AM PDT

  •  Ever Been To Italy? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, yojimbo, high uintas, DJ Rix

    If not, you would love it.  I spent 8 glorious days there....it was heaven.

    Of all the wonderful food we ate including the pastas, my favorite was a simple, classic Margherita pizza w/ red sauce, mozzarella & fresh leaves of basil.  

    •  Not Yet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, DJ Rix

      I would love to go. The closest I've been is looking at my brother's pictures.

      My dream is to get the cookbooks I'm writing sold and to make enough money that I can travel to places whose cooking I love and get more recipe ideas.

      "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

      by michelewln on Mon May 14, 2012 at 09:43:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good Luck With Your Cookbook..... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, michelewln, DJ Rix

        A few years ago we found a 3 week tour for $1500.00 including air fare.  We went to the UK, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy & France.  There are some great deals out there.....yours is coming.

        Don't forget Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, Venice, Florence, Rome, sitting on the opera steps in Paris & the Moulin Rouge.  Ireland & Scotland are amazing, as well.  

  •  Atsa speecy-spicy meataball-a!! (6+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry to say that, of all the Italians in the world, I'm the only one with a nana who couldn't cook. When I was a kid, we couldn't figure out why my father wanted all his food burnt - I don't mean well done, I mean BURNED BLACK! It wasn't until we were teenagers that we realized that nana was just a really bad cook, and that's what he grew up with, so he came to like it. We tried to eat some of the meals she made - needless to say, not a good experience. And she was a peasant immigrant from a small town!

    So it wasn't until my 20s that I learned to have any appreciation of real Italian food.

    Romney 2012 - The price of Freedom is NOT eternal vigilance - my handlers have told me that it will cost us $250,000,000 to buy this year!

    by Fordmandalay on Mon May 14, 2012 at 09:44:26 AM PDT

  •  The recipes are authentically American (8+ / 0-)

    though inspired by a few ingredients that are associated with Italian cooking--not that there's anything wrong with that!  If it tastes good, eat it, I say, regardless of authenticity.  Nevertheless, an Italian wouldn't recognize most of these recipes, with the exception of the insalata caprese.  

    I live in Rome and it has taken me a long time to adapt to an Italian way of cooking.  For example, tomato sauce here is usually made of only 3 ingredients:  tomatoes, olive oil and salt.  No garlic.  Maybe a couple of fresh basil leaves in the summer.  The real key to Italian cooking is the best-quality, freshest ingredients you can get.  Real parmigiano-reggiano cheese, no canned stuff.  Meat and pasta, with the exception of a ragù or bolognese sauce, are kept separate.  Same with pizza, with the exception of sausage.  One of the greatest abominations according to my husband and my Italian friends created in the U.S. is the addition of chicken to pizza.  Don't do it!

  •  Something I want to try (5+ / 0-)

    A rather soupy tomato sauce packed with onions, red & green peppers. Poach 1 egg per person in it with a little grated cheese on top and the lid on the pan. eat with a soup spoon.

    Depending on the seasonings you use, this could be Italian, Mexican or almost any style you like.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Mon May 14, 2012 at 10:11:33 AM PDT

  •  Here are a couple recipes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, michelewln, DJ Rix

    on the recipe page.
    I'm curious as to the source of the calorie/carb/sodium etc. counts in your recipes. Do you devise them your self?

    •  Master Cook (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SneakySnu, yojimbo, DJ Rix, grover

      I type up all my recipes in a program called Master Cook and it has a feature that will automatically come up with the nutrition figures for you. When you make changes to the recipe it will make changes to correspond. It is a great program.

      "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

      by michelewln on Mon May 14, 2012 at 10:35:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cookies you say? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, yojimbo, DJ Rix, grover

    I grew up with Italian American food, my sis' first husband was 1st generation Italian. His mom cooked on a coal stove that was on the back porch even tho she had a modern gas range in the kitchen. It's been more than 50yrs and I can still taste her meatballs and gravy.

    Cookies...Pizzelles!. Oh yum....

    "But much to my surprise when I opened my eyes I was the victim of the great compromise." John Prine

    by high uintas on Mon May 14, 2012 at 10:28:04 AM PDT

  •  Sorry, gotta rec & run (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, DJ Rix

    But I hot listed it for the recipes.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Mon May 14, 2012 at 10:56:27 AM PDT

  •  Irish Pizza (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, DJ Rix, grover

    I once had an Irish pizza. It was made with lamb and potatoes.

    NOT RECOMENDED

  •  Thank you for the recipes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln

    I don't really use recipes. I just use them as guides. But there are some interesting ideas up there. I've printed this out.

    Growing up as a Southern Italian/Sicilian, preparing, cooking and sharing food is in my blood. We all cook: both my grandparents did. My aunt and mom both do. My sisters do. And everyone is a very good cook, although we all cook differently. Our gravy (sauce) differs from each others slightly, but distinctively (at least, to the rest of us).

    I can go to my mom's, heat up and take one bite of leftover baked ziti and know she didnt make it, that my aunt or my sister made it and brought some over to share with my parents.

    My mom and I will sit on the phone talking about food  we've cooked in the last day or two, recipes we've tried, problems we've run into with new recipes, for an hour or more, often several times a week. She loves the cooking shows and gets a lot of great ideas from them. Other than Chopped, I don't watch them. I just go into my kitchen and experiment with whatever I happen to have in my kitchen at the time.  So we always have ideas to share.

    I think something has been lost in society's hurry, rush and eat prepared foods life that we live now. I'm certainly not above ordering pizza or even buying  pollo asado that the butcher has prepared at my local health food store (they make it better than I could anyhow).  But there's something about coming together over a meal you've created mostly  by hand.  It just makes us all slow down a little.

    So I appreciate the recipes. That meat loaf especially looks intriguing. I've been adding more whole grains and healthy stuff like sweet potatoes (yep!)  to my meat loaf. My husband might really enjoy a nice meaty meat loaf for a change!

    Thank you! {big Italian hug!}

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Mon May 14, 2012 at 05:10:49 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the Hug -nt- :-) (0+ / 0-)

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Mon May 14, 2012 at 05:19:23 PM PDT

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