Risotto alla Milanese – A typical Healthy Italian Dish

Oh, how I love the fall. Everything starts to turn into beautiful mustard-orange colors. The sun is still out except that you can finally put on a little more clothes and wear those cute little sweaters and that gorgeous leather jacket. You can actually sleep comfortably with a comforter. And you can start eating warmer foods again and break out the red wine.

With that being said; there are just some things that you can eat in the fall/winter that you might not want to eat in the summer and vice versa. And sometimes it’s hard to not go overboard especially when you’ve waited the whole summer to indulge in some of your favorite dishes. But we must remember that it’s still nice out and you might still fit in a day or two at the beach, so try to indulge lightly. I for instance always choose the healthiest and yummiest. I like to indulge on things such as this dish for instance. It’s perfect because it gives you all the inside warmth you need but it’s so simple that you don’t have to give up on anything. You don’t feel guilty after eating it and you certainly can’t find one thing unhealthy in it….and that’s the most important part of it all.

Yes, break open a bottle of red wine and indulge in this delicious risotto. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Serves 2

200gr. Rice, I used Arborio for risotto

1.5 qt. Vegetable broth

1 Shallot , small and chopped finely

1 tsp. Powdered Saffron

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, Grated

Make sure that your Vegetable broth is simmering.

Chop your shallot finely. Grab a large sauce pan put over medium heat add the E.V.O allow to heat and add the shallot & cook until lightly golden.

Add the rice & mix well with the shallot, then slowly add some of the broth enough to cover the rice, mix; allow to cook 5 minutes then add more broth, continue to repeat this process until you have finished the broth should take about 15 minutes.
Add the saffron cook for another 5 minutes. You want the consistency of the risotto to turn out just perfect, not to dry it still needs to be a bit moist, so if there is too much liquid continue to cook just a bit, and if it’s too dry add some more broth or water.
Turn off heat add your Parmigiano and mix thoroughly. Serve warm.

*Follow rice cooking instructions on the package and regulate yourself with the broth that way.

 

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My Summer Crave: Honey Walnut Granola Clusters

Sorry for my long absence. I do apologize; but other than the fact that I haven’t been on here because I’ve been so busy working (which thankfully is almost over), I also haven’t really had the time to cook.
I literally have been totally and fully reliant on my more than amazing Husband to cook, go grocery shopping, and all the household stuff….well besides cleaning I’ve still managed atleast that; and he has done an amazing job. Thanks babe, I really appreciate it!

Other than that he’s been tired too (I’m not the only one who works) and my guilt occasionally creeps in, so to try to give him a break we’ve been doing cereal Monday night pretty much every week. We have fresh strawberries, raspberries, bananas, really whatever we like; Greek yogurt, milk, nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit…you name it. It’s been fantastic and we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s too hot to cook so we’ve relied on this meal. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! Ciao

Ingredients:

Lightly Adapted from OhsheGlows

1 cup Walnut Halves

1 cup mixed Nuts

3 tbsp. Honey

¾ cup Rolled Oats

½ cup Coconut, Shredded and unsweetened

½ tsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven at 275°F (130°C)

Place Walnuts and nuts in a bowl with the honey and make sure to incorporate completely.

In a smaller bowl mix all dry ingredients and add to the nuts and honey.
Mix well and then place on a baking sheet.

Place in oven and allow baking for 15 minutes, rotating pan and continuing to bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then place in a container.

Honey Walnut Clusters

Figure Friendly Caprese Veggie Stack

I’ve been so busy lately I can’t even begin to explain. I’m so sorry that it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post; but if I’m being totally honest I haven’t had the time to blog or maybe I have just chosen to have a glass of wine after work vs. getting on the computer (shame on me, I know)!

With all that being said it’s also officially summer and man is it hot. So much so that I haven’t really felt like turning on the burners in the kitchen. So, it’s been raw foods or grill. Let me explain why….we do not have AC in the house. Here in Italy it’s not all that common and generally if you want it you get it installed yourself but the house we got doesn’t have one; which of course is something my husband will bring up every summer. I just think that fans are working pretty nicely and seriously AC monthly expenses are just a tad too expensive here in Italy and I much rather spend that money on vacations around Europe, fashion or the amazing food and wine. Seriously it’s a no brainer, I grew up here and I am used to it. When I moved to the States that was one of the things I hated most about it, I had to walk around during the summer season with a light jacket on tow for every time I stepped foot inside any store, restaurant, mall, shop, office or anything that wasn’t outside. I was cold all the time.

Besides being too hot to cook with the stove top, I also have been busy like I previously mentioned getting home at about 8:30 – 9:00 every night so it’s been eat healthy but fast; trying to still be creative. So, this is how this dish came about. It’s really simple, healthy and yes, you can put any veggies or cheese that you prefer. It’s all delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Big Tomatoes

1 Med-Small Eggplant

1/2 lb. Asparagus

1/4 lb. Feta Cheese

Few Basil Leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put your asparagus in foil wrap and put on the grill allowing to steam for about 15 minutes.
Cut your eggplant into 1 inch slices and grill until light grill marks on both sides about 5 minutes each side.

In the meantime slice you tomato a little thicker than an inch. Now slice your feta into thin slices. By now all your ingredients should be ready, so grab your plates and start the stack. Lay the tomato first, sprinkle some salt with a light drizzle of E.V.O.O. and a leaf of basil, place a slice of eggplant sprinkle a bit of salt and E.V.O.O. get a slice of feta and tomato, sprinkle salt and E.V.O.O. place some asparagus on top and continue this process until the final piece is the top of tomato. Now do the other one. Eat and Enjoy!

* I made my husbands with prosciutto crudo so if you like that add that on it was pretty delicious.

Light, Healthy, Skinny Recipes to help you get that Summer Body

Summer is right around the corner and if you are scrambling to get that latest diet or what have you to help you get in shape I suggest you to just start eating healthy.
This means more seasonal fresh foods, like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts. I live and eat these food groups; and I seem to be doing just fine. The thing about this lifestyle is that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about what you can eat  and what you can’t, how you are going to feel the next day, if your shorts are a bit too tight (or if you’re bulging out of your bikini).
The summer is tough enough already trying to keep yourself hydrated, cool, comfortable, tanning, hair, skin, etc… the last thing you need is to be stressed out about some sort of diet! How many calories, carbs, fat, non-fat, this n’ that. Just eat healthy fresh foods. They provide you with the energy, hydration and beautiful radiant skin to show off; not to mention a smaller waist.

I have a lot of different salads and ways I like to eat my vegetables and of course it’s not hot yet so a salad might not be something that you want to eat. If you start eating healthy now and leave out as much junk food as possible (i.e. artificial sweeteners, sodas, chips, fried foods, prepackaged foods & sweets, along with anything you can’t pronounce) you are going to be in fantastic shape by the summer. It’s really simple you just need to train your body to eat healthy. It’s a chain reaction; once you cut out the bad stuff your body will not crave it anymore. Trust me!

There are billions of ways you can make salads or healthy foods. They aren’t complicated and they don’t have to be boring. I know that the winter isn’t quite over yet and I know a salad might not always give you that warmth of comfort food that you are craving so I have a nice warm healthy recipes here that are simple and delicious.

Warm Bibb Salad w/ Roasted Asparagus and Feta

  • 1 medium head of Bibb salad, washed and pulled apart
  • 10 Asparagus
  • 1/2 lb Feta
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • E.V. Olive oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven at 400°F (200°C). Get a baking dish lay out your Asparagus, drizzle with a little e.v.o. and sprinkle salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Place baking tray in oven and bake for 15 min.
In a medium pan, drizzle some olive oil, allow to heat over medium heat and then add your garlic; once golden add your bibb lettuce season with salt and pepper and carefully mix. You don’t want it to burn or break, just allow it to wilt and then turn off.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your asparagus, top with some wilted lettuce and then sprinkle feta evenly on top and enjoy!

Warm bibb salad with roasted asaragus and feta

Pulled Chicken Breast with Pinto Beans and Avocado
Serves 2

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 cups Pinto Beans, boiled *
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, steamed & shredded**
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Chilli, fresh & diced (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Handful Parsley and Cilantro, washed
  • 2 tbsp. E.V.O oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan add the e.v.o. heat over medium flame and then add the garlic; cook to golden add your tomatoes, chili and beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes then add about 1/2 of your parsley and cilantro then salt, pepper and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your chicken and add the beans on the side. Cut your avocado in half and slice lay on top of food and serve with remaining parsley and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt over avocado. Enjoy!

*You can use a canned beans, just make sure to drain and rinse well. ** For the Chicken, Place in steamer and cook until fork inserted and liquid runs clear. Cool and pull apart. You can boil it too. Season with some salt and pepper.

Pulled Chicken w/ Pinto beans and avocado

Sesame Crusted Tuna on a bed of Cucumber & Arugula topped w/ Avocado
Serves 2

  • 2 6-8 oz Tuna Steaks
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • Sesame seeds, (enough to coat tuna)
  • E.V.O. oil
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • Drizzle of Light Soy sauce (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and Pepper your Tuna steaks, now coat in sesame seeds and set aside.
Grab a mandolin and slice you cucumber, peel and all. (You can peel if you want I liked the texture of it on). Place on the plate one by one creating a nice flat base pattern.

Place a medium pan over medium flame, drizzle some e.v.o and when hot add the tuna steaks, cook for about 2 minutes on each side and quickly on the corners as well. Remove allow to sit for 2 min and then slice or leave whole.

Get you Arugula and toss in some e.v.o, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place a bit at the center of each dish. Place the Tuna steak on the bed of arugula.
Slice Avocado in half, slice again into thin pieces and place on top of tuna topping with a drizzle of soy and remaining lemon. Enjoy!

Sesame crusted Tuna over cucmber and arugula topped with avocado

Shaved Asparagus & Radish w/ Shrimp in a Multi-Lettuce Salad
Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, cooked and deveined
  • 8 Asparagus, washed
  • Handful Radishes, washed
  • 4 Mushrooms, cleaned
  • 5 cups Italian lettuce, (radicchio, romaine, arugula, etc…)
  • 4 tbsp. E.V.O. oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place your salad in a large bowl. Grab a mandolin start slicing your asparagus long-wise, now start slicing your radishes and mushrooms, add all these ingredients to salad bowl as well as shrimp.

Whisk together last 4 ingredients, drizzle over salad and toss until completely combined and serve. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Shrimp salad

And there you have it. Options for your healthy eating. It seems so hard to eat healthy, but in all reality it’s easy and a pleasure. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and feel free to substitute with other vegetables or protein. They are simple, fun, delicious but most of all light and nutritious. They will give you energy and help you feel great and ready for the summer. Happy cooking. Let me know what you think and also try to incorporate a little physical activity to give you that extra boost you need to get you feeling sexy. Ciao

P.s. remember I am not a nutritionist, dietician so please consult your doctor before you go on any diet or change any lifestyle.

Simple Handmade Tagliatelle

Oh this is one of my favorites and it’s so simple. Listen, I know that making your own pasta can seem daunting and complicated, but it’s really, really simple. It cost’s less and tastes better. It’s a win win situation.

I love any type of pasta really, and I also don’t eat it so often because I like to vary with different things like rice, quinoa, potatoes, couscous and sometimes even bread. I know that pasta has a bad rep, and honestly I don’t believe any of it. Italians eat pasta atleast 6 days a week and they are all so thin and in shape.  Have you ever heard of eating Spaghetti in a bikini? Well, come here to Italy and you’ll see people including girls at the beach eating pasta in their bikini’s with absolute pleasure. I’m not saying that this is what we should all do, but I can say that when I eat pasta I am less bloated the next day than when I eat a salad. Trust me it just depends on your body’s digestion, how much you eat and what you put on it. I wrote a whole blog about it here: Skinny Italians Eat Pasta

Anyhow, this is a step by step of how to make it with a roller, but if you have a machine (which is so much easier…but less exercise) I would suggest using it, and just skip the last few steps. You can make this authentic Italian homemade Ragù a la Bolognese to put over it. Or keep it light and follow one of my other recipes for pasta. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

Serves 2*

200 gr. Flour

2 eggs

Pour your flour on a flat surface and make a well in the center with your hand or fork.

Step one- Pasta fatta in casaThen carefully crack the eggs in the center of the well.

Step 2- Pasta fatta in casa

Carefully start incorporating the flour with the fork gently scooping it into the eggs. Starting from the center towards the outside. You may start kneading with your hands until you obtain a solid ball of dough. Knead until smooth for about 3-5 minutes. **

Step 3- Pasta fatta in casa

Start rolling it out, you have to obtain a really thin layer. Could take anywhere from 15-20 minutes of rolling it out. Continue until if held up to the light you could see the light through it.

If you are using the Pasta machine then start on the thickest setting an start feeding the dough through, fold and feed again repeat this step about 5 times, folding each time.
Start reducing the settings one pass at a time. It will start getting long so be gentle and careful with it.

Step 4- Pasta fatta in casa

Now fold in half, fold in half again, and fold in half once more. but do not press down on the fold. Grab a really sharp knife and carefully slice about 1/4″ in thickness (if you want papardelle do them thicker, your choice.) just make sure that they are all even. Then try to immediately unravel on a lightly floured surface. You can do this by inserting the dull side of a large knife into each slice and gently shaking it loose. But I just use my hands, it’s easier and no risk of slicing them. And you’re done.

If you are using the pasta machine: Once you are on the last setting you may pass it through to make the tagliatelle, put over a lightly floured surface and let rest until you finish them all.

Step 5- Pasta fatta in casa

Final Step Tagliatelle

Now for the cooking, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Gently throw in your pasta and allow to float to surface, it should take about 2 minutes. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Tagliatelle fate a mano con Ragu

Accompany with a Delicious Red wine

Tagliatelle con ragu e vino rosso

*This should be helpful: 100 grams of Flour + 1 egg = 1 Serving So for each additional serving you add: 100 grams of Flour + 1 egg. Easy!

** Kneading ensures a silky smooth pasta, it’s an important step.