Tag Archives: Italian

Zuppa Toscana ~ Low Carb

That frosty chill in the air means it’s soup weather!  

This is a delicious make-at-home version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana.

This rich creamy soup is easy to make so don’t let the unusual ingredients scare you off!   I found the kale at the grocery store and the turnips I got fresh from the farmer’s veggie stand.
zuppa

Zuppa Toscana ~ Made with Turnips

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage – crumbled
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1 32 oz chicken broth
4 small to medium turnips, scrubbed clean, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves – peeled, crushed
1 med. onion – peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped or torn kale
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot or dutch oven,  over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain and return to pot.  In the same pan, cook the  bacon til done.  Drain, reserving about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings.

Add chopped onions and garlic; sautee  in bacon drippings until tender. Add the chicken broth and turnip slices to the pot.  Simmer over medium heat until turnips are tender, maybe 15 minutes.  It didn’t take too long, but my turnips were fresh smallish turnips from the veggie truck.

Add the kale pieces and cream to the pot; season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes.

Serve with your favorite toasted bread or bread sticks.  (I used some homemade coconut flour “cornbread” muffins.  I’ll be sharing that recipe in the near future.)

For 6 servings:  Calories 388, Carbs 9, Fat 18

kale

COOK’S NOTE: Some people subsitute cauliflower for the potatoes to make it low carb.  I subbed turnips and they were very similar in texture and appearance to potatoes.  The cream helps reduce the tart taste that turnips sometimes have.  Everyone loved it and really couldn’t tell the difference.

Shared with Inspire Me Tuesday.

Friendship Casserole – Keep one, share one

This hearty meal makes enough to share!  

friendship-casserole

 

I happened upon this recipe when I was looking for a dish to take to a friend who had just had surgery.   This recipe is just right!  It makes enough for you to keep and then you get to share with a friend.

FRIENDSHIP CASSEROLE

2 pounds ground beef, browned
1 jar 48 oz of your favorite spaghetti sauce
16 oz bag medium egg noodles
½ cup butter
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350º
In a skillet, brown meat and drain fat. Then put the meat back in the skillet.  Add spaghetti sauce to meat; simmer for 20 minutes.

Cook noodles as directed on the package (cook to al dente); then drain and
toss the noodles with butter, seasonings and parmesan cheese.  Spray two
9×13 pans with non-stick spray ( I prefer to use my Misto sprayer that I fill with oil).

In each pan layer one quarter of the sauce, half of the noodles, then split the remaining sauce between the two. Top each with half of the mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil; bake 45 minutes.

*You can also add some sauteed green bell peppers, onions and
mushrooms to the sauce.  I added mushrooms after checking with my friend to make sure she liked them, too.

**You can use foil pans like these if you’re sharing with a friend.

Frienship Casserole 2

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NOTE:  I use Dreamfields pasta for low carbers.  It’s possible that another low carb pasta or veggie “pasta” could be substituted as well and be equally delicious.  Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks and Happy New Year!

Olive Garden Salad

Did I mention how much I love salads

I really do!  

OG salad

This is another special salad I enjoy and got the recipe from my niece who makes it quite often.  When she serves this, she also serves Zuppa Soup (yum!) and breadsticks.  What a meal!

This is some of what you’ll need:

OGsaladstuff

Doesn’t it look good already?!

OLIVE GARDEN SALAD

1 (12 ounce) bag iceberg garden salad (I used iceberg lettuce)
1/4 small red onion, sliced thin
6 -12 pitted black olives
3/4 cup pepperoncini pepper rings
1 -2 small roma tomatoes, sliced bite-size
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned croutons
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

½ cup Mayonnaise
1/3 cup White vinegar
1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Corn syrup (I use 1 Stevia packet)
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Romano cheese
1 clove Garlic
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon Parsley flakes
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sugar (optional -I use Stevia if I add this)

In a large glass or wooden salad serving bowl, toss together the lettuce,
onion slices, olives, pepper rings, tomatoes, and croutons. Add dressing and toss to combine.

Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese and black pepper to taste.

hands

 

 

 

Toss with these unique bamboo salad hands.

Serve chilled.

 

Disclaimer: When ordering from the links in this post, you help support HoACH without any added expense to yourself.  Thank you.

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Carbonara

I ran across this super rich classic bacon and egg spaghetti dish and it sounded so easy and delicious that I just had to try it!

Talk about the ultimate comfort food.   It has everything I love…bacon…pasta…and cheese!  Yummo!

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on authentic Italian cooking.  🙂

Carbonara

1 lb. spaghetti *pasta
8 slices bacon, cut in small pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
4 egg yolks
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
diced green onions
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the pasta as directed on package.

Fry bacon and garlic in a heavy skillet until crisp (mine is actually more done that what it looks like ;)).   Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Set bacon aside.  Set skillet aside, but save bacon fat.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, half of the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well blended.

When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving about 1/3 cup cooking water, and immediately add to the skillet with the bacon drippings.   Place over low heat and toss for 1 minute, scraping the pan to loosen the pan drippings.

Stir in the egg mixture and toss thoroughly until combined. Add the pasta cooking water as needed to form a creamy sauce.  Add the bacon and remaining cheese and toss again to coat.  Top with diced green onions.  Serve immediately.

*Can substitute Dreamfields Spaghetti to lower carbs.

Another option is to use diced ham instead of bacon.  I believe the authentic recipe calls for pancetta, which is a yummy salt-cured Italian bacon made from un-smoked pork belly.

From Wikipedia:

Pasta alla carbonara (usually spaghetti, but also fettuccine, rigatoni or bucatini) is an Italianpasta dish based on eggs, cheese (pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano), bacon (guanciale orpancetta), and black pepper. The dish was created in the middle of the 20th century.

The pork is fried in fat (olive oil or lard), then hot pasta is dropped into the pan to finish cooking for a few seconds. A mixture of raw eggs, cheese, and a fat (butter, olive oil, or cream) is then combined with the hot pasta away from additional direct heat to avoid coagulating the egg, which must remain a liquid component of the sauce as it cooks.  Guanciale is the most usual meat, but pancetta, or local bacon are also used.

Cream is not common in Italian recipes, but is often used elsewhere.  Other variations on carbonara outside Italy may include peas, broccoli, mushrooms, or other vegetables.  Many of these preparations have more sauce than the Italian versions.   As with many other dishes, there are ersatz versions made with commercial bottled sauces.

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Roasted Cherry Tomato Focaccia Bread

My nephew blessed me with a bunch of cherry tomatoes.  

I had been wanting to try roasted cherry tomatoes for a while so I figured this was the best time.  What a delight!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (Ina Garten)

4 pints cherry tomatoes
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped or julienned  (I used some dried spice here)
Sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

 Toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil on a sheet pan.  Spread them out into one layer and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.   (I wanted mine a little drier so I left them in about 45 minutes while checking on them ever so often.)

Transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter and sprinkle with basil leaves and sea salt.   Serve hot or at room temperature.

They are so tasty right by themselves, but I wanted to make a focaccia bread so I prepared the dough and topped with the roasted tomatoes.

Here’s the bread ready to go into the oven.

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When it came out, it looked like this.

It was quite delicious fresh out of the oven and would have gone great with a salad.

Easiest Focaccia Bread

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F .

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the dough with oil.   At this time add the roasted tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 12 to 22 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you’ll have to wait just about 12 minutes.  If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 22minutes.  Mine was baked for about 22 minutes.

Later on my sweet sister-in-law called me over for supper.  Here’s what we had.  I’m ashamed to say this is my plate!  lol

My hubby cooked the fish and I made the corn salad and hush puppies.  My sister-in-law made everything else and my brother–in-law made his famous Banana Pudding.

What a delicious Southern supper made greater by time spent with family!

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My take on Slow Cooker Italian Pork Chops

I love my crock pot!

The other day I rushed home for lunch, mentally checking

the freezer and kitchen cupboard contents.

My goal was to throw something in the crock pot,

grab some lunch, and rush back to work.  Goal accomplished!

When I got home a wonderful smell greeted me.  What a

great feeling to know that supper was almost done!

Slow Cooker Italian Pork Chops (my version)

6 (1″ thick) bone in pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes in  sauce
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1 package of pasta (I used Dreamfields spaghetti)
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Cook chops in olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until browned, about 3-5 minutes, turning once during cooking.   Place in 3-4 quart crock pot.  Add onions and garlic to skillet;  saute for about 5 minutes, then add to slow cooker.

Top with tomatoes and vegetables.  Cover crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until pork is tender and thoroughly cooked.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  When plating, top a serving of pasta with a pork chop and some vegetables and sauce.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan.  Serve with warm buttered bread and a side salad.

COOK’S NOTE:  Instead of pasta, use cauliflower or veggie pasta made with a spiral pasta cutter found here.

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