weeknight gourmet

Posts Tagged ‘Giada De Laurentiis’

Fall Fare: Hearty Meatball Stew

Here’s a delicious dish for the cooler weather!  The stew wasn’t what I expected — it was much earthier and less tomato-y.  But we loved it!  Giada rarely steers me wrong.

The mushrooms (I used baby bellas) added a really nice flavor.  And, the meatballs were a delicious combo of ground beef and sweet Italian sausage.

I served it with some crusty bread.

Hearty Meatball Stew
Giada De Laurentiis

• 1 slice white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
• 8 ounces 20-percent-fat ground beef (about 8 ounces)
• 2 sweet mild Italian sausages, casings removed
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Hearty Meatball Stew:
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
• 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 pound large white mushrooms, quartered
• One 8 to 10-ounce russet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/3-inch slices
• 4 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
• One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
• 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

For the meatballs: Place the bread and 3 tablespoons water into a medium bowl. Mash to a paste with a spatula. Add the beef, sausage, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture thoroughly with your hands or a flexible spatula. Form the mixture into 10 to 16 meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until ready to use.
For the hearty meatball stew: Sprinkle the meatballs with the flour and turn to coat with any flour still on the foil. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Drop the meatballs into the skillet, spaced apart. Cook until the bottoms are set and brown, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible thin spatula, turn each meatball onto an uncooked side and cook until the bottoms are set and brown, about 2 minutes longer. Turn and cook a third side, until set and brown, about another 2 minutes, so the meatballs are browned and set all over. Transfer the meatballs to a large plate.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook until soft, 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, red pepper flakes and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are tender and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Weeknight Who? Giada’s Chicken Stew

Wow! It has been a long time since I blogged. I started a new job at Irrive (create your own social scrapbook for life’s adventures!) and have been a bit busy.

Plus, I definitely got into a cooking rut — was feeling uninspired. Then, summer came and we did a lot of very simple grilling.  Nothing that exciting to blog about.

But as a crispness returns to the air and fall approaches, I’m excited to make stews and soups and heartier fare! On the eve of Charlotte’s first day of preschool, I made Giada’s delicious chicken stew. The ingredients are super simple, but come together beautifully. Even Charlotte liked it (or at least the beans and tomatoes).

I used Italian seasoning instead of basil, thyme, and a bay leaf, but otherwise followed the recipe as written.

Have some crusty bread on hand and don’t forget it tastes even better the next day!

Chicken Stew
Giada de Laurentiis

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 chicken breast with ribs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained (rinsed if not organic)

Heat the oil in a heavy 5 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.

Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.

Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite- size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the stew into serving bowls and serve with the bread.

Christmas Cookies: Lemon Ricotta Cookies

I made these cookies for Tim’s “snack day” at work along with the Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints.  Mine did not turn out as pretty as Giada’s but they were delicious!  So moist from the *whole* container of ricotta cheese.  And, such great lemon flavor from the zest in the cookie and the very lemony glaze.

Just a couple of notes:

The glaze recipe made just enough to cover all the cookies.  So be generous but not overly so when coating the cookies.

I have started to always line my cookie sheets with parchment paper or my Silpat mat.  The cookies bake more evenly and are easy to remove from the cookie sheet.  And, clean up is a breeze — just throw out the paper or wipe down the mat!

Lastly, if you don’t own a Microplane zester, it really is an amazing tool to zest citrus.  You can use it to grate parmesan cheese, and I’ve even seen people use it on garlic cloves and ginger.


Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Giada de Laurentiis

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookies: In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.

Giada’s Veal Marsala and Peas & Proscuitto

I love Giada!  Much like the Barefoot Contessa, her recipes have never steered me wrong.  Italian food is what I love most and Italy is my favorite country to visit.  Giada, born in Rome, has made delicious Italian home cooking accessible to everyone.  Her recipes are always incredibly flavorful but never overly complicated or fussy.  Plus, she genuinely seems like someone I would want to be friends with.

I am a little jealous of her amazing figure and what I can only imagine as her very well-appointed closet and home (her husband is the Creative Director for Anthropologie).

The other weekend Tim and I had a delicious meal courtesy of Giada.  Even though I don’t make it very often, we both love veal.  When I was at my gourmet market in the Berkshires, they had some beautiful veal cutlets so I decided to make veal marsala.  Her recipe is simple and delicious.  If you like veal and mushrooms, this really cannot be beat!

For a side dish I made her Peas and Proscuitto.  So quick, easy and flavorful!  The sweet peas and the salty proscuitto are a great combination!  I bet even my mom who hates peas would enjoy it!  This side dish is going to become a staple.

Buon Appetito!

Veal Marsala
Giada DeLaurentiis

  •     8 veal cutlets (about 3 ounces each)
  •     Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •     2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •     2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  •     1 large shallot, finely chopped
  •     2 to 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  •     2 ounces assorted mushrooms, sliced
  •     1/2 cup sweet Marsala
  •     3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
  •     Leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig

Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 veal cutlets and cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the veal to a plate. Add another tablespoon of butter and oil, if necessary. Repeat with the remaining 4 cutlets. Set the cutlets aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the shallot and garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add a tablespoon of the olive oil, if necessary. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and the juices evaporate, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Add the Marsala. Simmer until the Marsala reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and the rosemary leaves. Simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Return the veal to the skillet. Pour in all of the pan juices. Cook just until heated through, turning to coat, about 1 minute. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Using tongs, transfer the veal to plates. Spoon the sauce over the veal and serve.

Serves 4.

Peas & Proscuitto
Giada DeLaurentiis

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 shallots chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb frozen pea thawed
  • 8 oz prosciutto diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper, and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the peas and saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the prosciutto and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the parsley and remove from the heat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve.

Easiest Stuffed Zucchini & Peppers

I bought some beautiful red bell peppers and zucchini balls at the farmer’s market.  The zucchini ball seemed perfect for stuffing so I search for a stuffed pepper / zucchini recipe.  My challenge was to find a recipe that did not involve rice or a grain as Tim and I were cutting down on the carbs.  I found this Giada recipe, which uses ground turkey, that fit the bill!

The dish tasted like a delicious meatball inside the baked vegetable.  I loved it — so flavorful!  Plus, without the rice to cook and with the store-bought marinara (I used Rao’s), it was actually a very easy weeknight dinner.  Serve with a simple green salad to round out the meal.

Stuffed Zucchini & Bell Peppers
Giada de Laurentiis

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup dried plain bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
  • 2 zucchini, ends removed, halved lengthwise and crosswise
  • 1 short orange bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 short red bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 short yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly drizzle the olive oil into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Whisk the onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the turkey mixture.

Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scrape out the seeds and inner flesh from the zucchini, leaving 1/8-inch-thick shells. Be careful not to pierce through the skin. Fill the zucchini and pepper halves with the turkey mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed vegetables.

Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and a thermometer inserted into the filling registers 165 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Transfer the stuffed vegetables to a platter and serve.

Turkey Milanese

Tim and my go-to delivery restaurant is a place called Good in the West Village.  We typically order their crisp turkey scallopine with arugula, ricotta salata & lemon-caper vinaigrette.  I think we are single-handedly responsible for it becoming one of Good’s most popular items on SeamlessWeb.

Giada’s Turkey Milanese recipe seemed like it would be a good homemade version of our takeout favorite.  I think I prefer Good’s version but this was delicious!  The turkey cutlets were super crispy and flavorful.

And, for all you moms out there, this is a very kid-friendly dish.  The kids may not love the arugula salad, but I am sure they will love the cutlets!

Turkey Milanese
Giada de Laurentiis

  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 8 cutlets) turkey breast, pounded 1/8-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 5 cups (5 ounces) baby arugula
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (2-ounce) block Parmesan
  • Lemon wedges

Using a meat tenderizer or a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, pound the turkey until 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick.

Combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Place the eggs in a second medium bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a third medium bowl. Season the turkey on both sides with salt and pepper.  Dredge the turkey in the flour and shake off any excess flour. Dip the turkey into the eggs and then into the bread crumbs to coat. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the turkey, in batches, until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side, adding more oil, if needed. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

Arrange the arugula on a large serving platter and top with the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the turkey on top of the tomatoes. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the turkey. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Note: I halved the recipe.

Holiday Menu: Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon, Baby Arugula Salad & Cauliflower Gratin

The day after Christmas is my father-in-law’s birthday.  Tim’s immediately family came up to the Berkshires on the 26th to celebrate.  We had the delicious and festive menu below.  The pork I have made before and it was even better than I remember!  The bacon and the honey mustard coating gives amazing flavor to the meat.  This is the first time I made the Barefoot Contessa’s Cauliflower Gratin and it was a huge hit!  Who wouldn’t love cauliflower with a nice cream sauce and lots of Gruyere. I had some leftover Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash.  The dish reheated nicely.

We finished the birthday meal with a delectable Red Velvet Cake.  So moist!  And the cream cheese frosting was amazing!

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Baby Arugula Salad


Cauliflower Gratin


Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette (leftovers from Xmas)


The Best Red Velvet Cake

Holiday Menu: Rack of Lamb, Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette, and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We had a great first Christmas with Charlotte.  We enjoyed lots of time with family and lots of delicious food!

In case you are looking for menu ideas for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, I highly recommend our Christmas meal!  My go-to ladies — Ina Garten and Giada de Laurentiis — helped make our holiday meal spectacular!

The lamb was so flavorful and tender and the portobello mushrooms were amazing (and could have been a meal themselves).  The sprouts and squash were a great combination that I had never tried before.  And, I have made this cranberry cake before and it is always festive and delicious!

Grilled & Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette
Rack of Lamb Persillade
Cranberry Upside-down Cake

Holiday Menu: Grilled & Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

These stuffed mushrooms were a huge hit!  I am not a huge fan of Gorgonzola and I still thought these were unbelievably good.  I grilled the mushrooms on a grill pan, since it was not a night to be grilling outside, and then finished the mushrooms under the broiler.

The stuffing is so flavorful from the hot Italian turkey sausage, mascarpone, and Gorgonzola.  These mushrooms are hearty enough that you could make even these mushrooms as a main course.

Grilled & Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Giada de Laurentiis

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
12 ounces turkey sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 cup (4 ounces) Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the mascarpone cheese. Add the thyme, oregano, bread crumbs, 1/2 of the Gorgonzola, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Brush the mushrooms on both sides with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, stem side down, for 3 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and grill for 2 minutes until tender. Fill each mushroom with the sausage mixture and top with the remaining Gorgonzola. Return the mushrooms to the grill and cook until the stuffing is warmed through and the cheese starts to melt, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Cook’s Note: The assembled mushrooms can also be placed on a baking sheet and cooked under a preheated broiler until warmed through.

Weeknight Chicken: Roman-Style Chicken

Looking for a tasty weeknight chicken recipe?  Here another delicious recipe from my gal Giada. What I love about this dish is that it tastes like it has been simmering for hours but only requires about 30 minutes of prep and cooking.

The prosciutto, wine, chicken stock, and peppers come together to make a delicious sauce worthy of a piece of crusty bread!  The chicken was super moist and flavorful.  Tim and I are trying to go low carb these days but I could imagine serving the chicken with some polenta for a delicious meal.

Roman-style Chicken
Giada de Laurentiis

  • 4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
  • 2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.