Italian Breakfast Skewers

Ingredients

  • 8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • ½ pound sweet Italian sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
  • ¼ pound pancetta, cubed
  • ½ cup pineapple cubes, fresh or canned

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Thread the skewers starting with the sausage, then the red pepper, then the pancetta, then the pineapple. Each skewer should have 2 of these sets. Continue with the rest of the skewers.

Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown on the edges and the pancetta is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 20min
  • Inactive Time: 30min
  • Cook Time: 25min
  • Total Time: 1hr 15min
  • Recipe Yields: 4 to 6 servings
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Italian Fish and Veggie Pockets

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 ½ pounds sugar snap peas, stemmed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) trout fillets, skinned (or other fish about ½-inch thick)
  • 8 thin slices lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped mint leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl mix together the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Lay out the 4 sheets of aluminum foil. Place ¼ of the sugar snap peas, ¼ of the yellow bell peppers, and ¼ of the orange bell peppers on each sheet of foil. Over each pile of vegetables drizzle 2 tablespoons of white wine, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, salt and pepper mixture and gently toss.

Top each pile of seasoned vegetables with a piece of fish. Sprinkle the fish with some of the reserved lemon zest mixture. Top each fish with 2 slices of lemon.

Fold up the foil into an air-tight packet. Place the foil packets in the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Sprinkle the fish with mint just before serving.

Notes: I made this for dinner tonight and made a couple of alterations. First I used salmon, and second I marinaded the veggies in the white wine, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning mixture. I will update soon about my personal experience.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 20min
  • Cook Time: 18min
  • Total Time: 38min
  • Recipe Yields: 4 servings

Breakfast Pizza

Ingredients

Breakfast Pizza:

  • 1 store-bought pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons Cinnamon-Sugar, divided, recipe follows
  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 cups mixed berries

Cinnamon-Sugar:

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough to a thickness of about ¼-inch. Transfer the pizza dough to the lined baking sheet and brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Cinnamon-Sugar and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the pizza crust on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, cream, lemon juice, and zest.

Spread the cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top with mixed berries and sprinkle with the remaining Cinnamon-Sugar. Slice like a pizza and serve.

Cinnamon-Sugar:

Cut the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise. Using the back of a knife, scrape along the inside of the vanilla bean to collect the seeds. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into a small bowl. Add sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside in a small serving bowl.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 20min
  • Inactive Time: 30min
  • Cook Time: 15min
  • Total Time: 1hr 5min
  • Recipe Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Lemon and Basil Eggs Over Foccacia

Ingredients

  • 1 large loaf foccacia bread
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon olive oil, or 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil combined with 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the top off the foccacia and hollow out the bread inside. Tear the top of the foccacia and the inside bread into 1-inch pieces and save for the egg mixture. Brush the inside of the foccacia with the Meyer lemon olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the basil, cheese, salt, pepper, and milk. Whisk lightly. Stir in up to 4 cups of the bread pieces.

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the toasted foccacia bottom. Return to the oven and bake until the eggs have cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cut the baked foccacia into 6 to 8 pieces and serve immediately.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 15min
  • Cook Time: 50min
  • Total Time: 1hr 5min
  • Recipe Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Spinach Salad in a Parmesan Frico Cup

Ingredients

Parmesan Frico Cups:

  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan

 Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Spinach Salad:

  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 6 cups)
  • 1 orange, cut into segments
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

Directions

Parmesan Frico Cups:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a silpat mat on a baking sheet. Place 6 (¼-cup) mounds of Parmesan cheese on the mat and gently tap down until each mound is flat and 4 ½ to 5 inches in diameter. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Working quickly, use a thin spatula to transfer the Parmesan Frico to a muffin tin. Gently place a small drinking glass on top of the Parmesan Frico to mold it into the shape 1 of the muffin cups. Let cool until firm, about 5 minutes. Continue with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

Combine all the ingredients in a jar or a tight-sealing plastic container. Shake to blend.

Spinach Salad:

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine. Divide the salad among the Parmesan Frico Cups and serve immediately.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 30min
  • Cook Time: 30min
  • Total Time: 1hr 30min
  • Recipe Yields: 6 servings

Strawberry Strata

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (about ½ cup)
  • 4 ounces ricotta cheese, room temperature (about ½ cup)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and drained (about 10 ounces)
  • ½ cup honey, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (12 to 16-inch) ciabatta loaf, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions

Place the cheeses in a large bowl and stir together with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the milk, strawberries, honey, cinnamon, and bread. Pour into an 8 by 10 by 2-inch casserole dish. If freezing, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.

To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Remove the foil and continue baking for 30 to 35 minutes.

Notes: This recipe makes life easier on you, because it is great for freezing! Feel free to add more fruit and different kinds. Peaches would taste awesome!

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 20min
  • Cook Time: 1hr 20min
  • Total Time: 1hr 40min
  • Recipe Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Bite Size Tilapia Fish Tacos

Sorry if I offend anyone, but I could care less about this year’s Super Bowl. It seems like everyone I rooted for lost. First it was the Saints, then it was the Texans, and then my last resort Niners lost, leaving me with no one. In my opinion it is not even worth watching. However, when I saw these bite size tilapia tacos I wanted to make them ASAP. A Super Bowl party would be the perfect place to showcase these little buggers. Whether it is at my house or yours I am bringing the tacos. I originally got the recipe from the Food Network, but after doing a little research, I found an even better version by the Chef Wanabe. Anna uses the same basic premise, but added some extra things I love, like jalapenos and tomatoes. Can’t go wrong in my opinion.

Ingredients

Wonton cups:

  • 12 (3 ¼ by 3 ¼-inch square) wonton wrappers
  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 tilapia fillets (about 8 ounces total), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 mango, peeled and flesh cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped baby arugula (Chef Wanabe does not use)
  • 1 tomato cut into small cubes*

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (4 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (substitute lemon juice and lemon zest)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley*
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro*
  • 1 garlic clove minced*
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped very thinly.*

Creme Fraiche: (Chef Wanabe does not use)

  • ½ cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Wonton Cups:

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a pastry brush, brush each side of the wonton wrappers with canola oil. Gently press the wonton wrappers into the bottom and sides of a 12-count muffin pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently lift the wonton cups out of the pan and cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Filling:

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Drizzle the tilapia fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the fish in a single layer in the pan and cook until the flesh is flaky and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool slightly.

Dressing:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice. Season with salt, to taste. Add the avocado, mango, green onions, and arugula. Toss until all the ingredients are coated.

Creme Fraiche:

In a small bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, wasabi powder and salt until smooth.

For Assembly:

Put the wonton cups on a platter and divide the avocado mixture into the cups. Top each with 3 to 4 pieces of fish. Spoon about 1 to 2 teaspoons of the creme fraiche mixture on top of the fish and serve.

Notes: The wonton wrappers can burn very quickly in the oven so check them after 5 minutes. I added, subtracted and modified some ingredients (in bold) per recommendation of the Chef Wanabe. I always like a little kick and never discriminate against a tomato when it comes to any sort of taco. Also the Chef Wannabe scrapped the creme fraiche, which makes it a little easier, and just went with the filling and dressing. This version is definitely worth trying and hopefully inspires you to play with it and make your own recipe.* 

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 15min
  • Inactive Time: 15min
  • Cook Time: 12min
  • Total Time: 42min
  • Recipe Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Drumettes

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sweet Marsala wine
  • ¼ packed cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 pounds chicken drumettes
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground arrowroot powder or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, Marsala wine, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, chili powder, and red pepper flakes until the sugar is dissolved. Put the chicken drumettes in a 1-gallon size, resealable plastic bag. Add the pineapple liquid to the chicken and seal removing as much air as possible from the bag. Marinate the chicken for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it liberally with vegetable cooking spray.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange in a single layer on the prepared pan. Season the chicken with salt, to taste, and bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the marinade into a small saucepan. Whisk in the arrowroot or cornstarch, if using, and bring to a boil over medium heat (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, brush some of the cooked marinade over the chicken or pour it into a small bowl and serve on the side. Arrange the chicken on a platter, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 7min
  • Inactive Time: 3hr 10min
  • Cook TIme: 35min
  • Total Time: 3hr 52min
  • Recipe Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Italian Cheese Fondue

One of the fabulous things about getting married is you get fun wedding gifts that you would never buy for yourself otherwise. For example, the Hubby was very excited about registering for our fondue set. Ok ok, I was excited too, but I am way more excited now that I found this awesome Italian Cheese recipe on the Food Network. Check it out!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces grated Fontina
  • 8 ounces grated Gruyere
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 2 cups dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Bite-size pieces of focaccia, sliced salami, fresh fennel, Belgian endive, steamed broccoli florets and asparagus spears, for dipping

Directions

Toss the Fontina and Gruyere cheese with the cornstarch in a medium bowl to coat. Saute the pancetta in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Pour the wine into the same saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium. Whisk 1 handful of the cheese mixture into the wine until it is almost melted. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture in about 4 more batches. Continue whisking until the cheese is completely melted and the fondue bubbles, about 1 minute. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the pancetta. Season the fondue with pepper, to taste.

Transfer the cheese mixture to a fondue pot. Sprinkle with the remaining pancetta and chives. Set the pot over a candle or a canned heat burner. Serve with focaccia and vegetables.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 35 min
  • Recipe Yields: 6 servings

Balsamic Chicken Drumettes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved
  • 10 to 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves, in a large, resealable plastic bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the honey and the brown sugar. Add the chicken drumsticks to the bag and seal with as little air as possible in the bag. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the chicken drumsticks on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Reserve.

Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley.

Notes: I like the rosemary and garlic flavors in the background. Brushing the cooked drumettes with the reduced marinade helps the flavors along. Also, re-moistening helps the parsley and the seeds to adhere.

  • Source: Giada De Laurentiis
  • Prep Time: 10min
  • Inactive Time: 2hr
  • Cook Time: 35min
  • Total Time: 2hr 45min
  • Recipe Yields: 4 to 6 servings