Here’s an Italian Twist On A Traditional American Classic.
This week the weather changed into feeling like fall. It made me think of cooking a classic American dish, meatloaf with a side of creamy mac and cheese with a green salad for balance. But the idea of the heavy ground beef standard with traditional Cheddar mac and cheese just wasn’t cutting it. I wanted something a little lighter and I was in the mood for Italian. My son said he wanted Chicken Parm, but that was more work than I wanted to do and I only had ground chicken in the freezer. Hmm. How about Chicken Parm Meatloaf and an Italian twist on the Mac and Cheese! Now we’re talking. And our landscaper and friend Frank just brought over some of his Homemade Sweet Vinegar Peppers. He makes them with Cubanelle’s he grows himself. They would make a perfect addition to the Italian Style Salad I was in the mood to eat. I had never thought to make Chicken Parm Meatloaf or Italian Mac and Cheese before, but I knew it would not be hard. I am Italian after all! I found it to be a really nice change from the regular ingredients and my family loved it too! I think your family and friends will too!
Chicken Parm Meatloaf
2 Lbs. ground chicken
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 to 1/2 cup of Locatelli cheese
1 onion, 1 large carrot, 2 ribs celery, all chopped small
1 large tomatoe, sliced
2 tbsps. olive oil
2 tbsps. parsley
1/2 tsp. basil, oregano, garlic powder,salt and pepper
1 jar of prepared good quality marinara or use your own. (shh, don’t tell!) (we like Roselli from Medford, New Jersey)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Saute onion, celery, and carrot on olive oil till translucent. In large mixing bowl add ground chicken, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, parsley and seasonings and mix together along with the cooked vegetables. Add the mixture to a loaf pan add the sliced tomato first, then 1 cup of marinara to top and bake till done. Use a thermometer to make sure chicken is cooked to proper temp. Approximately 1hr. let cool for 10 minutes then cut. Add more marinara if desired.
Italian Mac and Cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1 lb. whole wheat elbow macaroni
3 cups whole milk
1 cup Locatelli, Parmesan, and Mozzarella cheese.
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic powder.
2 tbsps. butter for sides of baking dish
1 tbsp. parsley
Cook the pasta according to directions. In large mixing bowl whisk the milk, cheese, flour and seasonings. Add cooked pasta and mix to coat completely. Butter the sides of medium baking dish. Add mixture and bake at 45o degrees for 20 min. or until bubbling and top is browned. You can add buttered bread crumbs to the top while baking, I thought of that after!
Italian Green Salad with Vinegar Peppers
1 Box of spring mix
4 vinegar peppers, rough chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup Vinegar juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Dried oregano and basil to taste
(1 tbsp. Hemp seeds optional)
Whisk vinegar, oil, herbs, salt and pepper and hemp seeds if using and pour over lettuces, onion and tomatoes, and peppers then toss lightly.
Michele Errichetti is from South Jersey born and fed. She comes from an Italian family where they eat, live, and breathe FOOD. Michele was cooking and eating under her grandmom’s feet every Sunday for “gravy” and at home with her mother (a Medigan or American) during the week. Nowadays, she cooks for her two sons, husband, and father most days of the week. She takes “Girl Road Trips” with her friends at least once a month that always culminate with you guessed it, FOOD. She hopes fresh, local, organic, and free range will become the norm. Michele is searching Atlantic County for everything that has anything to do with good food and she’s taking you along for the ride.