meat

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken ParmesanEvery once in awhile I get a hankering for a classic and simple dish like Chicken Parmesan. I mean, you can’t go wrong with a classic. It just so happens that this is a fairly classic recipe made oh-so-delicious with a panko breadcrumb and Parmesan coating. If you aren’t familiar with panko breadcrumbs, think breadcrumbs but lighter and crispier. You can find them in basically every grocery store, if not every one, so don’t worry that they’ll be hard to find. It’s worth it. For real.

Chicken ParmesanI’ve only ever actually made Chicken Parmesan maybe a couple times in my life. This is a dish that’s so easy to order at a Italian restaurant and it’s pretty much always delicious. Where can you really go wrong with breaded chicken, cheese, and pasta? It’s like you’d have to *try* to make those ingredients taste bad. Even though I’ve made it before, I for some reason was convinced that it would be hard to make and would be a disaster. False. Totally false. This recipe is not hard to make at all. And it totally was not a disaster. Note to future Steph thinking Chicken Parmesan is hard to make…IT IS SO EASY!

Chicken ParmesanThe main advice I have for anything breaded is just to prep well. As you may or may not know, I am a very experienced cook so you should all listen to any and all advice that I have. That’s a joke…my experience is limited. However, you can be assured that any advice I post is from personal experience. So that’s a win for you! Once you have the 3 pans (flour mixture, egg mixture, and breading) ready to go, you’re basically golden. The rest is just a little cooking on the stove top and in the oven. Easy peasy.

Chicken ParmesanThe moral of the story is that no matter how delicious Chicken Parmesan can be at a restaurant, you can easily make it just as (if not more) delicious in your own home. Your own home, folks.

Chicken Parmesan
Serves 4
Simple and delicious Chicken Parmesan with a light and crispy breading
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1/2 cup flour
  3. salt and pepper, to taste
  4. 2 eggs, whisked
  5. 1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
  6. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  7. 1/2 cup olive oil
  8. 2 tablespoons butter
  9. 1 cup pasta sauce
  10. 4 slices mozzarella cheese
  11. basil, optional, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place chicken (1-2 breasts at a time) in a plastic zip top bag. Use a rolling pin to pound each chicken breast to about 1/2" thick. Set aside.
  3. Mix together the flour and salt and pepper, to taste. Pour mixture onto on a plate or large flat pan and set aside. Have another pan (with edges) ready with the whisked egg and salt and pepper, to taste. In a 3rd pan, mix the panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dredge the pounded chicken in the flour mixture, coat with the egg mixture (let extra slightly drain off), and finally coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium to medium high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the dredged chicken into the pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until just golden brown.
  5. Place the chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover each piece of chicken with about 1/4 cup of pasta sauce, mozzarella slices, and basil.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through and the cheese is melted.
  7. Serve over pasta.
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Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Lasagna is something that everyone seems to love. It’s ooey and gooey and saucy and full of flavor. Plus it feeds a lot of people! Don’t worry, I won’t be mad if you don’t like lasagna. Everyone has their own preferences. With that said, let’s be real…it would be rare that you have someone over for dinner and they are disappointed when lasagna shows up on the table. Seriously.

This recipe came from Travis’ family. It’s slightly adapted but it’s more or less the same as when I got it. Delicious as always! The main difference is that I typically use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Both add a good flavor. Plus with the sausage in there I honestly can’t tell the difference between ground beef and turkey. So use what you like or what you have!

Lasagna is a little bit of a process but in the end it is definitely worth it! One wonderful thing about lasagna is that you can easily freeze and thaw it before baking it so if you make it, you might as well make a lot of it so that you can have it more than once! Or, if you have company coming this is a great make-ahead dish so that all you have to do is pop it in the oven. Easy peasy.

Travis and I have been making homemade pasta for awhile now so we made homemade lasagna noodles for this. So. gosh. darn. good. Don’t get me wrong, this lasagna is scrumptious with or without the fresh noodles. BUT, lasagna with fresh pasta is like eating pillows of noodles covered in gooey cheese and meaty tomato sauce. Yeah. Just stop and think about that for a minute…pillows of pasta. gooey cheese. meaty sauce. Enough said.

Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Serves 8
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef)
  2. 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 can whole tomatoes (28 ounces)
  5. 1 can tomato paste (12 ounces)
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  10. 2 cups cottage cheese
  11. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + 1/2 cup for topping
  12. 16 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
  13. 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
Instructions
  1. Brown ground turkey and sausage in a large pan over medium heat. Drain any excess fat and add the garlic to the pan. Sauté 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Slightly break apart the tomatoes as you stir. Stir in the basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and grated mozzarella cheese.
  4. In an ungreased 9 x 13" pan, alternate layers of sauce, noodles, and cheese, starting with a little sauce on the bottom. End with a layer of sauce and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
Notes
  1. This recipe can easily be frozen after assembly then thawed and baked as directed!
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Simple Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed CabbageGood old stuffed cabbage. Also known as holubky, if you want to sound Slovak. I mean that’s what my grandparents, who spoke Slovak, used to call this dish so it’s for sure authentic. However, I’m not so sure how authentic this actual recipe is. It does have condensed tomato soup as the main ingredient and I’m *pretty* sure that the canned stuff didn’t exist until fairly recently. However, it’s how it was made at home since I was little and there’s nothing better than comfort food. Especially when it’s fairly simple to make!

Stuffed CabbageFunny story about stuffed cabbage. I loved stuffed cabbage growing up. It was something that was made when we were all gathered as family for special occasions or for a Sunday dinner. My grandmothers would probably spend extra time putting together and rolling the stuffed cabbage to make them perfect. We’d always end up with enough to feed a hungry army so I figure they probably spent quite a bit of time making them. Well, there I came along as a young child and I would absolutely refuse to eat the actual cabbage. I would actually make my parents or grandparents UNWRAP those beautiful little rolls so that I could eat the meat and rice and sauce without touching that “gross” stuff known as cabbage.

Stuffed CabbageAs I grew older I’m sure my parents told me a million times to eat the cabbage. Eat the cabbage. Eat the cabbage. No, I would not eat the cabbage. No, I’m good. I’m not eating the cabbage. You get the gist. All those years my parents would eat my cabbage for me (you certainly cannot waste this stuff!).

Stuffed CabbageWell, turns out as you get older and move out and decide to cook for yourself, you no longer have parents to pick apart your stuffed cabbage and eat the cabbage for you. So, to my dismay…I ate the cabbage. FINALLY, after 20-some years I ate the cabbage and…/drum roll/…it turns out it tastes like everything else in the pot with it. What an anticlimactic ending to a 20 year battle. After simmering for hours in a pot, the cabbage is basically the same soft, lovely consistency as the meat and rice. Then you add the sauce (you have to add sauce, for sure) and I probably would not even be able to tell the difference between filling and cabbage without looking.

I suppose I had the best parents and grandparents in the world to put up with my stuffed cabbage issues. I’m sorry for all the stuffed cabbage that I unrolled throughout my life. They were most likely perfectly made with love.

Stuffed Cabbage

Simple Stuffed Cabbage
Yields 15
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of cabbage
  2. 3/4 cup parboiled rice (*see notes*)
  3. 1 pound meatloaf mixture ground meat (mixture of beef, pork, and veal)
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 cans condensed tomato soup
  6. 1 cup water, plus water to cover the cabbage rolls
  7. 2 tablespoons vinegar
  8. salt & pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the core out of the head of cabbage and place the cabbage in the water. Return to a light simmer. Using tongs, remove the outer layers of cabbage as they start to soften (approximately 1-2 minutes per layer). Place the softened leaves on a towel or in a colander to drain. Keep removing the outer leaves until only the middle of the cabbage remains. Remove and drain the middle. Let cool.
  2. Once the leaves are slightly cooled, cut out the thick rib at the bottom of the leaf. I use kitchen scissors to do this. Start with the largest leaves to make into rolls. Lay the smaller leaves or leaves from the center over the bottom of a large pot to protect the rolls from burning during cooking.
  3. Mix the parboiled rice, ground meat, eggs, salt, and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Place approximately 1/4 cup of the meat mixture in each cabbage leaf (depending on the leaf's size) and roll by pulling the sides of the leaf towards the middle then rolling away from you (like a burrito!).
  4. Stack the cabbage rolls with the open side down over the leaves on the bottom of the large pot.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the cans of soup, 1 cup of water, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Pour over the cabbage rolls. Fill the pot up with enough water to just cover the rolls.
  6. Bring the water to a simmer on the stove top, cover, and simmer on low for 2 hours. Do not stir, though you can make sure the water is still covering the rolls by pressing them down periodically.
  7. Serve with bread to scoop up the extra sauce!
Notes
  1. *To parboil rice place 3/4 cup of water and 3/4 cup of rice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until no more water remains in the pan.
  2. You can use just ground beef for stuffed cabbage, but I really like the mix of meat. I just get the pre-mixed meatloaf mix at the store. Usually I don't even have to go to the meat counter for it.
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Turkey Meatballs

Turkey MeatballsThese meatballs are unofficially titled, “mama’s meatballs” in my house because my mama makes these meatballs…That probably didn’t need an explanation but you got one anyways. Not only are these easy and delicious, but they also remind me of home! How perfect is that??

Turkey MeatballsConsidering pasta was a staple in my house growing up, we had meatballs often. I’m pretty sure my dad could eat about a pound of pasta by himself given the chance. That tidbit is not a proven fact. Just a hypothesis. Dad, if you have eaten a pound of pasta solo let me know….

Anyways, these meatballs are definitely the finishing touch to an awesome spaghetti dinner. Great thing is, I make a LOT at once and freeze them. Then they’re ready to eat should a spaghetti night come around!

Turkey MeatballsWhen I started making these at home they were made with ground beef (which is actually very delicious in this recipe as well). At some point, I “accidentally” used ground turkey instead and “accidentally” didn’t tell my husband and he didn’t notice. So then I “accidentally” used ground turkey more often. When he found out he grumbled a bit about it but not to much effect because I already knew that he couldn’t really taste the difference.

Whether you use ground turkey or ground beef, just know that these will be simple, delicious, and worth the little time and effort they take!
Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs
Yields 35
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground turkey
  2. 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  3. 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. pinch of salt and pepper
  7. 2 tablespoons water, as needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all ingredients together except the water until everything is just incorporated. You do not want to over mix. If the mixture is not easily able to be formed into balls, add a splash of water to loosen it.
  3. Form into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt and they are cooked through.
Notes
  1. These meatballs can be served immediately or frozen once cooked. To defrost, I place them in my pasta sauce to reheat for about 10 minutes. Works great! You can use ground beef with these as well and they turn out delicious (I originally made them with ground beef)!
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