Quick Idea for Lunch: Savoury Pie

savoury_pieNew series, I hope won’t end as my food diary. Everyday I cook lunch for both me and my husband. They have a canteen at work, but the quality and the price are not always affordable. 8€ is, in my opinion, not a good price for what you can eat there. Generally, I find it a good habit both for finance and healthy reasons.

So, what I want to share now are some of my ideas to make affordable, tasty and easy lunch, with this series ‘Quick ideas for Lunch‘.

All kind of Savoury Pies strike the point: you have carbs and you can full it just with vegetables. Another virtue: they are easy to bring in lunch box without making a mess: zero risk for leaks.

Time:  30 minutes ( follow the direction from your French-pastry package)

Ingredients: 2 portions

  • 1 layer French-pastry ( you can find it in the refrigerated section of supermarket)
  • 200 gr ricotta
  • 2 zucchine
  • 1 carrot
  • 50 gr Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper

1.Peel and wash carrots and zucchini. Put them in a mixer till you obtain a cream.

2. In a bowl mix all the ingredients: zucchini&carrots, Parmesan cheese, ricotta, pepper and good amount of salt.

3. If you, like me, cook for just 2 person, 1 layer French pastry is enough. If you cook for more portions, use two, one above and one below. Don’t forget to make small holes with a fork, otherwise the French-pastry will become super puffy. Fill the pastry with your cream.

Cook for 30 min for 180° , last ten minutes you can switch to convention-oven to obtain a nice crispy gold effect.

Buon Pranzo!

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Potatoes Purèe ~ Family Recipe

purèeWho doesn’t love smashed potatoes?They are not the lightest side dish, but they taste amazing. This recipe is my father’s, it’s light and delicate. It is perfect to be served not only with meat, but also with fish. Be prepared to the fact, that once you get used to fresh purèe, you won’t be able to eat the pre-cooked one sold in the supermarket.

One trick: you can always boil potatoes with the skin: when you smash them, the skin get trapped in potatoes masher and doesn’t pass through.

Time:  1 hour preparation + 15 min cooking

Ingredients:  [ 4 portions]

  • 700 gr boiled potatoes
  • 50 gr grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 glasses milk
  • 2 spoons butter
  • pepper, salt, fresh parsley,nutmeg

1. Boil the potatoes until they are soft. You can use normal pots or, if you own it, a pressure cooker.

2. Smash the potatoes directly inside a pot. Add 2 spoons of butter, with a medium heat, starts add one by one the milk glasses. Use a whisk to stir.

3. Add slowly Parmesan cheese, pepper, small amount of salt. When you see the first bubble, it’s ready. Add some fresh parsley.

Once it cools down a little, it will be denser, don’t worry!

Buon appetito!

Stuffed Peppers with Rice

stuffed_pepperI cook often stuffed pepper because it is a good solution to have a main dish and side dish all together. For this reason, I tried out many different ways to make them special every time. This is the easiest and quickest version recipe. Serve them room temperature or a littler warmer. This is one of those dish which is tastier the next day, if you know what I mean.

Time: 20 min + 45 min cooking in the oven

Ingredients:  for 6 portions

  • 5 red and yellow peppers
  • 100 gr Parmesan
  • 50 gr breadcrumbs
  • 150 gr white rice ( short grain)
  • 250 gr peas (frozen or in a can)
  • dry parsley
  • pepper,olive oil, salt

Option 2:

When I want to make this dish super complete, 3 in 1 effects (as my dishwasher tabs are supposed to be…) I prepare what in Italy is called ” ragù in bianco“, or white ragù. Basically just follow my ragù recipe (click here) skipping step 3 and 4 . Simply mix it with the rice and follow the rest of the recipe I am posting below.

1.Bring water to boil in a pot and cook your rice, but not completely. Drain it 3-4 minutes before the total amount of minutes suggested in the package. It will continue to cook in the oven.

2.While your rice is cooking, cut the top of peppers, get rid of seeds, cut them in half when they are small, or more for bigger peppers.Wash them, salt them inside and let them drain a little water out.

3. Mix in a bowl rice, Parmesan, pepper, parsley,peas or ragù in bianco. Put peppers with the concave part facing up in a baking tray. Fill all shells with a spoon. Spread breadcrumbs on them and olive oil to make the top part crispy and gold.

Cook for 45 minutes at 180°c

Let them cool down and.. Buon appetito!

Potatoes casserole stuffed with Ragù

potatoes_casseroleThis is a perfect solution for Holiday: you have a main dish, with potatoes and meat all together. Definitely, prepare it in advance: even a day before. After it rested for a while, all the flavor comes out and it’s easier to cut and serve it. A little warmer than room temperature is perfection, in my opinion.

Time: prep 1 hour + 30 cooking

Ingredients:  for  12 portions

  • 2,5 kg potatoes
  • 250 gr Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Gouda, Edam  or other cheese in slices ( ~200 gr)
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 350 gr Ragù with peas (Very important: grab it with a strainer, only the no-liquid part!)
  • breadcrumbs
  • olive oil and butter (~20 gr)

You’ll also need a casserole, the one used for lasagna is perfect.

1. Peel, wash and boil the potatoes until they are soft.

2. Smash the potatoes in a big bowl, add two eggs first ( a third later if the mixture is not sticky enough), 150 gr Parmesan cheese, pepper, salt ( quite a lot ), parsley and mix all together with a fork.

3. Grease with olive oil your casserole. Cover the oil-layer with a thin layer of tiny breadcrumbs and start building up your casserole deliciousness.

4.First layer: with the back of your hand press the potatoes mix; Second layer: add your ragu’ equally and spread it all over with the back of the spoon. Third layer: cover with slice of cheese and sprinkle some Parmesancheese all over.

5. Repeat the three layers above and finish with a good amount of breadcrumbs. Final touch to make the top crunchy: tiny-teeny pieces of butter and spray with olive oil.

Cook 20 min at 200°c both up and down heating, then other 10 minutes only the top, grill function.

Let it cool down for a while before serving in order to cut it easily, since it will become more compact.

Buon appetito!!!

Tuna Sauce Recipe

tuna_sauce_pasta

Time: 7 min

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can tuna in brine ( around 100-120 gr product)
  • 8 pitted green olives
  • 1 tbs Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs e.v.olive oil
  • 40 gr feta cheese ( but any kind of soft cheese works, I used Gouda, Edam, Provolone etc)
  • 1 tbs water
  • fresh basil ( around 10 big leaves) (or frozen is still good!)
  • fresh parsley (or frozen is still good!)
  • black pepper
  • some thyme on the top

How to use it:

I use this sauce in different ways: if, like last Sunday, I put it on pasta, I always add some more boiling water  to make it more fluid and saucy. Otherwise, I keep it more dense and I use it as dressing for my Tuna Bruschetta. Another way I use this sauce for is over boiled potatoes, with their heat the sauce melt a little bit and it’s super tasty.

tuna_sauce1. As you can see from the picture above, just toss all the ingredients in a mixer and let the yummyness begins. One tip only: if you are not using a salty cheese like Feta, taste it: maybe it would need a little boost of salt. Add some thyme and pepper on your pasta and…

Buon appetito!!!

 

Meatballs Recipe

meatballs

Time: 10 min prep + 15 cooking

Ingredients:

  • 500 gr beef and pork  minced meat mix
  • 100 gr grated parmesan cheese
  • 50 gr bread flour
  • 2 eggs
  • parsley, salt, pepper, oregano
  • 500 ml tomatoes sauce

meatballs02

1. In a big bowl mix first with a fork and then with hands: meat, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and bread flour. If you don’t have the bread flour just use some old bread you were supposed to throw away. To be honest, meatballs recipe was born to recycle meat leftovers and bread leftovers. If your bread it’s too hard, just put a little bit of milk on it and let it soak in. Before using sqeezes it well.

2. Make the balls with your hands and eat a pan in the mean while. You can put just tiny amount of olive oil on it or skip it; with a good non-stick pan it’s not necessery (I didn’t use it here).

3. Brown both sided of meatballs a little bit and put tomatoes sauce. Season with pepper and oregano. Cook for 15 minutes with your lids always on. Shouldn’t need to turn them anymore.

And they are super-yummy, buon appetito!!

Other options:

You can cook them without tomatoes sauce – just make them brown all sides and serve with some potatoes. This is how my daddy used to cook them when I was a kid.

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Cream Sauce/Bechamel Recipe

bechamelTime: 20-30 min

Ingredients:

  • 1l milk
  • 100 gr butter
  • 100 gr grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 gr white flour

1. Heat the butter and let it melt: before it starts to fry add the white flour ( better if it is been previously sifted) and mix them quickly with a whisk to avoid any lump.

2. Add the milk and little by little grated Parmesan cheese; keep stirring  with a very low heat until it becomes a dense cream. Better if you have some music on while doing this :)

Buon appetito!