Two Sisters, One Kitchen

Quick, healthy meals by a loving team. See what’s cooking in J & K's kitchen!

Grandma’s Ziti with Pork Meatballs, Sausage, and Sunday Sauce & Salad January 31, 2011

Jamie says:  My sister and I had a mass said at church last Sunday for my Aunt Chick who recently passed away.  We invited our two cousins who are going to school with us to come over for dinner before the mass.  I wanted to make something special, so I called my Grandma to get her famous ziti, pork meatball, sausage, and sauce recipe.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy the salt pork her recipe called for (hello, saturated fat!), but otherwise, I pretty much followed Granny’s directions. 

Grandma's Ziti with Pork Meatballs, Sausage, and Sunday Sauce

Grandma’s Ziti with Pork Meatballs, Sausage, and Sunday Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • at least a few strands fresh parsley
  • 1 2/3 lb twice-ground lean pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup Progresso Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1.5 lbs mild Italian sausage
  • 2, 28-oz cans Cento tomato puree
  • 1 stem of fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 lb Ronzoni ziti
  • Parmesan cheese (or ricotta cheese) to taste

Directions:

  1. Quarter an onion, and peel 1 clove of garlic.  Place a large sauce pot on medium heat.  Thinly coat the bottom of pot with extra virgin olive oil, and brown the onion.  Stir occasionally.  Add garlic when onion is almost brown. 
  2. Meanwhile, make meatballs by mincing 3 cloves of garlic.  Cut parsley.  Combine ground pork, eggs, grated cheese, fresh parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs.  Mix well.  Form balls, and add additional breadcrumbs to hold meatballs together as needed.
  3. Remove onions and garlic from pot and reserve in a medium bowl.  Coat bottom of pot with additional olive oil, and add meatballs.  Flip meatballs until all sides are browned and then add them to the bowl with the onions and garlic.  Again, coat bottom of pot with olive oil.  Brown sausage in oil.
  4. Add 2 cans of puree to the pot with sausage and reserved onions, garlic clove, and meatballs.  Wash one stem of basil and add the whole stem to the pot.  Reduce heat to low, add red wine, and allow to heat for an hour and a half.  A lid can be placed loosely on the pot if desired.  Stir occasionally, and taste sauce.  Add salt as needed.  
  5. Meanwhile, cook ziti according to directions on box:  In a medium pot, bring water to a boil.  Add ziti and cook for 12 minutes.  Drain, mix ziti into pot with red sauce.  Serve into bowls.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (or scoop ricotta on top).  Enjoy!  Serves: 6.

Italian Salad

Italian Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 Romaine heart
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 heirloom (ugly) tomato
  • 1/2 6-oz can small, ripe pitted olives
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Chop lettuce, slice onion, and cut tomato.  Add to a large bowl.  Slice olives (or leave whole).  Add oil and vinegar.  Toss well.  Serves 6.  Enjoy!

I was told you could smell the sauce cooking from outside my apartment.  Oh how I love my Italian heritage.  We had a delicious dinner together.  It tasted pretty close to my Grandma’s traditional recipe, too!  My Mom makes my Grandma’s recipe, so now there are three generations are making this recipe.

  • Nutrition note:  Try using ground lean pork for meatballs.  It’s less fatty than ground beef.
 

Cinnamon Raisin Steel Cut Oats January 17, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Steel Cut Oats

Jamie says:  Steel cut oats are a great breakfast to make on the weekend, especially a 3-day holiday weekend.  They take longer to make than rolled oats, but if you have the time, they’re worth the wait.

Cinnamon Raisin Steel Cut Oats

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (Quaker)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • dash cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Stir in oats.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in raisins and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Serve oats into bowls.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and add milk to taste.  Serves: 3.  Enjoy!

Steel cut oats have a very different texture than regular oats.  They taste great and make me feel healthy just eating them.  I enjoy making extras and eating the leftovers cold or reheating them.  (They take on a whole new consistency when eaten cold.  I would definitely recommend it.)

  • Nutrition note: Old fashioned oats and steel cut oats provide the same great nutrition, but are processed differently.
 

Honey-Orange Filets with Peppers and Plantains January 12, 2011

Honey-Orange Filets with Peppers and Plantains

Kathryn says: J and I brought some impressive meals to the dinner table for the start of spring semester. I didn’t cook much over winter break, so I was excited to look for some good, new recipes. For our first week back, I modified a newspaper recipe. It was a bit complicated to make, but one of the tastiest dinners I’ve cooked.

Honey-Orange Filets with Peppers and Plantains

Ingredients:

  • 2 white fish filets (I used tilapia)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 ripe plantains
  • 2 servings of long grain rice

For the glaze:

  • 4 tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh orange juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Measure honey into a small bowl. Microwave for about 20 seconds.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients for the glaze into the bowl and mix.
  3. Cook the rice as directed on the package.
  4. Heat about an eight-inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Peel plantains, cut into slices about an inch thick.
  6. Carefully place the plantains in the pan and fry for a few minutes on each side. Move to a plate covered with paper towels and mash them into discs using a hard spatula and your hands.
  7. Fry the mashed discs again for about a minute on each side, until they are golden brown.
  8. Remove them from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  9. Dump excess oil from pan and set it back on the stove.
  10. Cut fish fillets in half on an angle for presentation.
  11. Slather one side of fish with glaze and let sit.
  12. Slice peppers into thin strips. Put peppers in pan and saute for about 2 minutes. Then, empty them into a bowl.
  13. Place fish fillets on pan glaze-side down for about a minute and a half. Spread glaze over other side and flip.
  14. Sear another 90 seconds.
  15. Remove fish from pan with a spatula to prevent it from falling apart.
  16. Add 1/8 cup water to remaining glaze and pour into pan. Heat through and reserve for sauce.
  17. Spread rice on plate as the base. Add peppers. Place fish fillets on top/ Put the plantains on the side.
  18. Drizzle everything with the remaining glaze.
 

Lentil Soup with Ham & Bread with Dipping Oil January 11, 2011

Lentil Soup with Ham & Bread with Dipping Oil

Jamie says:  Carrabba’s Italian Grill makes a mean lentil soup, but so does my Grandma, my Mom, and now me.  If you’ve never had lentil soup, give it a try.  You’re in for a wholesome treat.

Lentil Soup with Ham

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lentils (dry)
  • 32 oz Swanson chicken broth 100% fat free, 33% less sodium 
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb whole carrots
  • 1 sweet onion, medium
  • 1 stalk celery (including leaves)
  • one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp basil
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz fully cooked ham cubes (water added)
  • 9 oz fresh spinach

Directions:

  1. In a colander, rinse lentil beans and remove any foreign pieces.  Add lentils to a large pot, along with chicken broth, water, and bay leaves.  Set burner to high heat and place pot on burner.  Meanwhile, peel garlic and press with a garlic press into the pot.  Wash carrots, onions, and celery (including celery leaves), and slice on a large cutting board.  Add to the pot along with canned tomatoes, basil, oregano, parsley, and pepper.
  2. Allow liquid to come to a boil for about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low and place a lid on the pot.  Cook an additional 20 minutes or until carrots are soft.
  3. Add cooked ham cubes and spinach about one minute before serving.  Serves: 8.  Enjoy!

Bread with Dipping Oil

Ingredients:

  • 4 small slices bread (i.e. leftover bread from Carrabba’s Italian Grill)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt, coarse
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to about 400°F.  Heat bread for about 4 minutes or until warm and toasted.
  2. To a small plate, add sea salt, freshly ground pepper, parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.  Mix with a fork.  Serve bread on sides of dipping oil plate.  Serves 2.  Enjoy!
  • Nutrition note:  Enjoy vegetable soup, such as lentil soup, for dinner to help increase your vegetable intake.  Most vegetables are fat-free and have fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are good for your body.
 

Cumin Curried Hummus, Pita, and Fresh Vegetables January 10, 2011

Cumin Curried Hummus, Pita, and Fresh Vegetables

Kathryn says: I was looking through my file folder of eclectic recipes, and a hummus recipe from Cooking Light caught my eye. J and I modified it by adding cottage cheese and more spices. We stuffed the pita pockets with hummus and fresh vegetables.  We loved the hummus because it was spicy and nutty.

Cumin Curried Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 snack-size container of cottage cheese
  • Dried parsley
  • Pita bread
  • Fresh vegetables (like alph-alpha sprouts, cucumber, carrots, olives, green beans, tomatoes, and celery)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic to pan and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Add curry and cumin; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring to constantly.
  4. Place garlic mixture, water, juice, salt, and chickpeas in a food processor; process until smooth.
  5. Sprinkle with dried parsley for presentation.
  6. Serve with pita wedges and fresh vegetables.
  7. Serves: 2 with leftovers
 

Create-Your-Own Macaroni & Cheese January 9, 2011

Create-Your-Own Macaroni & Cheese

Jamie says:  My Mom used to make us Campbell’s Crispy Macaroni & Cheese.  It’s was a favorite in our house.  K and I have also made this recipe in college many times.  Over the years, we’ve made a few variations to the original recipe (such as the addition of vegetables and the substitution of sautéed onions for trans-fat-laden fried onions).  

Create-Your-Own Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cans Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Healthy Request Soup
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp mustard (i.e. spicy brown mustard)
  • 1/8 tsp pepper (freshly ground)
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (i.e. Cheddar or Four Cheese Mexican Blend)
  • 4 heads (1 package) of broccoli
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion (i.e. Vidalia onion), medium
  • 9 oz fresh spinach

Directions:

  • In a large pot, bring water to a rapid boil.  Add macaroni.  Cook for 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F.  In a large baking dish, mix canned soup, milk, mustard, pepper, and 3 cups of cheese (reserving 1 cup of cheese).  Add macaroni, mix well, and bake for about 25 minutes or until hot.
  • Meanwhile, wash broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces, and place pieces in a vegetable steamer with a lid.  Cook for about 25 minutes or until soft.
  • Slice onion.  Cut slices in half.  Add onion to a large saute pan, with about 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.  Cook for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Steam spinach in a pot with a vegetable steamer and a lid for about 3 minutes or until wilted.
  • Serve yourself a portion of macaroni and cheese.  Create your own macaroni and cheese by choosing broccoli, onions, and/or spinach to mix into your bowl.  Enjoy!  Serves: 6.

Hot and cheesy.  A favorite!

  • Nutrition note:  Make some of your favorite meals healthier by adding vegetables.  For example, add veggies to pasta, pizza, and chili.
 

Chicken Nuggets with Mushroom Spread & Zucchini Strips January 6, 2011

Chicken Nuggets with Mushroom Spread & Zucchini Strips

 Jamie says:  I began my dietetic internship this week!  This two-semester internship is the last component of my program (along with two additional evening courses) before I can graduate, take the RD exam, and become a registered dietitian (RD).  I start off at WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) for a month and then move to other rotations (more info to come in future blog posts).  I have already learned a lot.  It’s a whole new experience entering the “working world” and not being on campus.  To help fit my new lifestyle, Kathryn and I came up with a new dinner cooking schedule for this semester.  Tonight was my night to cook.  My inspiration for chicken nuggets came from a baked popcorn chicken recipe from the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.  Here’s my spin on it:

Chicken Nuggets with Mushroom Spread & Zucchini Strips

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 lb zucchini
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, coarse
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 omega-3 egg, large
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs (Ian’s)
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 8 oz baby bella sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Smart Balance Extra Virgin Olive Oil Buttery Spread
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 5 black olives, small
  • non-stick cooking spray (PAM)
  • 1/2 cup Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce (Bull’s Eye)

Directions:

  1. Zucchini Strips:  Preheat oven to 450° F.  Wash zucchini.  On a cutting board, cut each in half lengthwise.  Lay halves flat, and cut each half into strips.  Place zucchini strips on a baking sheet and coat with extra virgin olive oil.  Toss with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bake for about 18 minutes or until done.
  2. Chicken Nuggets:  Meanwhile, crack an egg into a small bowl.  Add Dijon mustard and salt.  Mix well.  On a medium-sized plate (to the right of the bowl), pour breadcrumbs.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (place it next to the breadcrumbs).  Rinse chicken, place on a cutting board (to the left of the egg bowl), and cut into 1-inch pieces.  Dip chicken pieces into the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.  Place breaded chicken on the baking sheet and repeat with the other pieces of chicken.  Cook at 450° F for about 13 minutes or until done. 
  3. Mushroom Paste:  Meanwhile, rinse mushrooms.  Heat a large saute pan on medium heat.  Mince garlic.  Melt buttery spread in pan.  Add garlic to pan.  When garlic is lightly brown, add mushrooms and thyme.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked and soft.  In a small food processor, add mushrooms,  parmesan cheese, and black olives.  Blend for about 5 seconds or until mushrooms are in small pieces.
  4. Serve zucchini strips, mushroom spread, and chicken strips on a plate with BBQ sauce.  Serves: 2.  Prep time: ~20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Delicious and quite quick!  We mixed the mushroom spread in with the zucchini.  The crunch of the chicken nuggets was a nice contrast to the smooth vegetables.

Nutrition note:  Chicken nuggets from restaurants are often deep-fried, made with different parts of the chicken (including fatty pieces), and use breadcrumbs with trans fats and no whole grains.  These chicken nuggets are made with chicken breasts, whole wheat breadcrumbs, and omega-3 eggs, and they’re trans fat free!