Fresh, fast and frugal!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Dress up Yesterday's Left Over Mostaccioli

Yes, left over pasta, especially Mostaccioli with red sauce, is even better the next day. But, you may not want the dinner table to look the same. So, dress up your left over pasta with chicken, olives and fresh garden zucchini.

For Chicken Calabria, you will need: boneless/skinless chicken breast meat cut into strips, one onion, green olives, diced tomato and fresh garden zucchini. In a large covered skillet, saute chopped onion in olive oil, push aside and add the chicken strips to brown.

Next, add 1/2 cup of green olives and one diced tomato or small can of diced tomatoes. Also, a pinch of sea salt, garlic powder and dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano. Stir and then let simmer while you reheat the Mostaccioli.

You can add the zucchini to the skillet with the chicken or stir fry separately in butter and olive oil to serve as a side.

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Quick and Delicious Italian Sausage with Penne!

I listen to many cooks who love cooking... slow cooking. They actually linger over the stove, slowly sauteing, slowly adding ingredients as in slowly putting in this or that, slowing turning or stirring. They think that all this slow cooking makes the food more tasty or enjoyable or whatever.

But, that is not the case. You can get more flavor from food that is not slow cooked and certainly not over cooked. Make it fast and frugal and you will still have quality in flavor and nutritional benefits.

For this dish you will need: good bulk (1lb) Italian sausage, one purple onion, one large can of crushed tomatoes, penne pasta and dried herbs.  Saute the chopped onion in olive oil, push aside and add the sausage. After the sausage is browned, add the tomato sauce and dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano. Boil the penne on the side while the sauce simmers.

Serve and watch it disappear!

~ Tutti a Tavola

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mark's Creamy Chicken Alfredo!

Just as I remember eating in Italy....

Nothing could be simpler or more yummy than Mark's Chicken Alfredo Roman style. For this dish you will need: chicken breasts (as many per person), angel hair pasta or linguine, one onion, heavy cream, parmesan cheese and fresh dried herbs.

To begin, saute chopped onion in olive oil and a little butter until browned. Season the chicken breast (cut into strips) first with garlic powder, sea salt and dried herbs: rosemary, mint, oregano and basil. Once the onion is browned, push aside and brown the chicken breast strips on all sides.

Bring back the onion over the top and add 3/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Boil the pasta in salted water. When tender, drain, rinse and ladle onto a low lipped serving plate then top with sauce and chicken.


~ Tutti a Tavola!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Blueberry time of year!

Its been said that these delicious blue-berries have the amazing ability to increase blood flow to the brain. According to studies, flavonoids in blueberries improve your reasoning, decision-making, numerical abilities, and verbal comprehension. So get smart, eat a handful of blueberries as often as possible, incorporate them into your daily diet!

And, why not start your day with a stack of blueberry pancakes...

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Homemade Food ~ Meat and Potatoes!

Simple homemade food like meat and potatoes is always welcome. So many people eat out but they don't really get the full monty experience. What does that mean? It means that they miss out on homemade or home-cooked food like meat and potatoes and they miss out on sitting around the family table enjoying conversation and good food.

For this dish you will need: one pork butt (picnic shoulder), potatoes and zucchini or whatever green veggie your prefer. To begin, use a covered stove top roaster to sear the pork in. Sear until brown on all sides in olive oil and some seasonings: garlic powder, sea salt paprika and herbs.

Once seared, top with a few sprigs of fresh cut rosemary, then slowly pour in around the sides 1 cup of beef broth and a dash or Worcestershire sauce. Let simmer for about 90+ minutes on low/med heat covered until super tender. Just prior to the end of that time, prepare boiled potatoes and the veggie.

Serve with gravy and enjoy!

Salt is Good for You... Really???

Yes, salt is good for you!

1. The premise that salt leads to hypertension has never been scientifically supported. On the contrary, studies show that a reduced-sodium diet leads to health issues. In one study, subjects consuming less than 2300 mg. (the recommended daily allowance) of sodium per day had significantly higher mortality rates (meaning a higher risk of death) than the subjects consuming 2300 mg. or more sodium per day.
2. Salt aids blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity. A low-salt diet increases insulin resistance and even moderate dietary salt restriction is shown to cause systemic insulin resistance.
3. Salt is a natural antihistamine. A pinch of salt sprinkled on the tongue may help improve an allergic reaction or an asthma attack.
4. Your body needs salt to maintain the proper stomach pH. Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid and salt is sodium chloride. Proper stomach acid levels are absolutely foundational for good digestion, but 90% of Americans have low stomach acid.
5. Salt lowers adrenaline spikes. Adrenaline is a necessary and important stress hormone, but it is just that… a stress hormone. When adrenaline patterns are out of rhythm, it takes a toll on the body.
6. Salt improves sleep quality. It boasts anti-stress and anti-excitatory qualities due to its suppression of stress hormones and it increasing of the metabolic rate. This may explain why many people report that a low sodium diet interferes with sleep and an adequate amount of dietary salt improves sleep quality.
7. Adequate salt consumption encourages a healthy weight and fast metabolism. First, one study showed that increased salt intake leads to an increase in the elimination of cortisol and lower blood cortisol levels. Imbalanced or excess cortisol means weight gain and a stagnant metabolism.
8. Salt supports thyroid function by reducing circulating stress hormones. For example, cortisol is anti-thyroid, but salt combats excess cortisol.
9. Salt supports hyperosmolarity of the extracellular fluid. Slight hyperosmolarity–more solutes in the extracellular fluid than in the cell–actually increases the cell’s metabolic rate. That means salt can speed up your metabolism! On the other hand, when the extracellular fluid is hypo-osmotic in relation to the cell, it impairs the breakdown of proteins and glucose and thereby lowers the cell’s metabolism.
10. Increased sodium intake also correlates with increased thermogenesis–heat production by the body.
11. Adequate salt supports balanced hormones. Hormone and nutrition researcher Ray Peat explains the correlation between the salt-regulating hormone aldosterone and mineral loss:
12. Salt makes food taste good. Salt adds a satiety factor to food and makes meals enjoyable. Adequate salt content of food makes it easier to enjoy quality instead of quantity, thereby encouraging mindful eating and weight management.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Mark's Idea for Sweet and Sour Thai Chicken....

Asian food always surprises me and I like that. I also like the fact that its easy to cook and its fast. For this dish you will need one package of chicken thighs with the bone in and skin on. You will also need one lemon, about 7-8 hand picked apricots, one fresh green zucchini, some spices and herbs along with a package of Lo Mein noodles. And, don't forget to pick up a bottle of sweet and sour sauce.

Begin by marinating the chicken in fresh squeezed lemon juice. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Next, season with paprika, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Lay the seasoned chicken thighs into a hot skillet of olive oil and brown on all sides. Once browned, reduce the heat and add half a bottle of sweet and sour sauce and 2 tbs of extra lemon juice mixed with a dash of low sodium soy sauce. Let this simmer (tossing in the washed apricots 'skin on') while you prepare sauteed zucchini and the lo mein noodles.

When things come together, put it all on a low lipped serving plate and enjoy!

... see you at the table

*Guest Blogger ~ Mark

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mark's Skillet Teriyaki Chicken...

Doesn't just about everything taste better ~ Teriyaki Style?

Well, maybe not everything but certainly chicken legs with the skin on. For this dish you will need: as many chicken legs per person as you will serve. One large lemon, a bottle of teriyaki sauce, a few dried herbs and spices, fresh green zucchini and potatoes as a side.

Begin by marinating the legs in fresh squeezed lemon juice and leave in fridge for about 20 minutes prior to cooking. When that time has finished, season the legs first with a drizzle of olive oil, topping them with a good shake of chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, coriander and sea salt; or use a blend of seasoning called 'beer can chicken'. As for the dried herbs, use rosemary, mint and basil with dash of oregano.
Fry the legs in 3-4 tbs olive oil and coconut oil on med high until slightly blackened. Remove from the skillet, drain the skillet of the residue oil, wipe clean and place legs back in. Pour in half a bottle of teriyaki sauce and let bubble on low heat until your sides are prepared.

Microwave as many potatoes as you will need per person and saute sliced, cubed or diced zucchini in a bit of olive oil and a pat of butter.

For an additional side, slice fresh crisp cucumber, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and ranch dressing if you like.

*Guest Blogger ~ Mark

Friday, July 6, 2018

People tend to waste money and food! Teach your Child well...

Start teaching your children about money and food value early. It's important to help them understand the value of money and food. Starting around age 10, give them a few dollars every week to spend on a favorite snack or desert food and also an item that is healthy; not processed, not sugary and from one of the more nutritious food groups. * See food pyramid on the side bar on this blog.

Make their allowance dependent on the doing household chores (cooking and cleaning in the kitchen) and let them choose what they want to do instead of assigning work. They’ll soon learn that if they spend all their money on just a couple of things and then eat it all in one day or as soon as they get it, they won’t be able to afford any more until the next payday.

This strategy is to teach them about food value for money which is about frugality in making wise food choices and or using one food item a number of different ways. Start teaching them early about the importance of food groups and managing a balanced diet within a budget. 

This way, they won't waste food nor eat junk food and they will eat what they put on their plate and appreciate the value of it in terms of expense and nutrition for their mind and body.

*Source ~

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Eggplant Parmesan... An Italian Classic!

Delicious is just an Italian roadside eatery away...

Eggplant parmesan doesn't have to be difficult or done in the can do this dish on the stove in the skillet. One large eggplant is all you need along with some bread crumbs, tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese.

Begin by soaking (washed and semi-peeled) sliced eggplant in a milk bath. Pat down both sides on a plate of seasoned bread crumbs (seasoned with dried herbs). Then gently pan fry in olive oil until browned on both sides. You will be surprised how quickly the eggplant soaks up the olive oil, so you may need to drizzle in some extra as you see it begin to disappear in the pan/skillet while the eggplant sizzles.

Once you have finished browning the long slices, remove from the skillet and set aside. Clean the skillet with a moistened paper towel and return to the stove top. Add your tomato sauce, from the jar is fine as long as its your favorite. Lay in your browned eggplant slices. Let them simmer for about 20-25 min on med heat. Then as a finale, generously top with shaved Parmesan cheese and simmer for another 15 min.

Prepare a bucatini pasta or salad as a side to this stove top lusciousness ...

~Tutti a Tavola!