Italian Scrambled Eggs

One should eat to live, not live to eat. – Moliere

I’ve been rather absent from this blog for longer than I like to admit, but I think the above quote really provides an accurate explanation as to why. When you are trying to maintain/lose weight, cooking large Italian meals that are delicious, well…you get the point. And I like to eat, so it takes a good amount of self-control.

So, maybe I don’t post here every month or even every few months, but hopefully you are still able to visit when you need a recipe or some Kitchen Inspiration. I know I do!

Every now and then, when work isn’t too crazy and I have an hour or so to spare for lunch, I drive down the street to visit my Grandma and have lunch with her (I’m so lucky she is only a 3 minute car ride away). It’s not that I don’t get enough quality time with her on Sundays, I do, but I really enjoy our one-on-one time. And I like making her laugh – and she laughs at me a lot during our lunch dates.

One day she made me scrambled eggs for lunch, and as I watched her, I realized  I had never seen anyone make eggs that way. She was  making what I call “Italian Scrambled Eggs.” They were the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had – so I started making them that way too! It’s a nice spin on something so simple that you can throw together quickly for any meal – maybe adding in some tomatoes or peppers for a quick dinner!

Enjoy!

Italian Scrambled Eggs

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

3 Large Eggs

2 tbsp Water (milk is optional)

1/4 cup Parmesan or Roman Shredded Cheese

Parsley (optional)

In a medium-sized skillet, add about a 1/2 tbsp of olive and let it heat up on low heat.

Olive Oil

While the olive oil is heating, break the eggs into a mixing bowl and scramble with a fork or a whisk. Add a little bit of salt & pepper, water (milk is optional) and the cheese. Mix well.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

Add to the skillet and continuously mix and fold the eggs until they begin to cook. I like my eggs to be a little bit runny, but remove the eggs once they reach your desired consistency.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

Sprinkle with a little bit of Cheese and the Parsley and serve!

Scrambled Eggs

Holy Rosary Italian Street Festival

With much regret, I have to say that with all of the excitement, work, and fun going on during the Italian festival, I got really distracted and forgot to take pictures of the most important part…the food!  Friday was a pretty hectic day, considering it took me forever to try to get out of Chicago.  The Hawks had just won the Stanley Cup and the city was going crazy.  There were millions of people outside my office building all day and all the streets around me were closed off.  I made it to the bus stop with about 3 minutes to spare – only to encounter problems with a bus driver who did not want to let me on the bus!  Good thing I know how to get my way…he finally let me on so I could make it home in time for the festival!

A few of my cousins and my sister during the festival!

I know I can’t share with you what the food at the festival looked like, but I can tell you all about what I ate and everything the festival had to offer.  Friday night, I must admit, I was too busy enjoying many Peronis to eat anything, but I did try a bite of a breadstick (amazing as always) and some fettuccine.  I try the fettuccine every year (I’ve never not tried it for as long as I can remember), and it is always, without fail, satisfying.  I was very proud of myself though for not tasting any of the desserts (when you are looking at them all night, it’s hard to resist the urge to take a few bites of heavenly chocolate or my all time favorite, cheesecake).

A few desserts served at the festival – Lemon Cake and Chocolate Mousse

Saturday night was a different story. I gave in to all of my urges and just went for it.  I had tortellini in a red sauce, tried some vegetable lasagna, fried ravioli, pizza, breadsticks, and a new addition to the food line up, not sure what they are called, but they were fried balls stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and artichokes.  They were ok – but my favorite of the entire night was the vegetable lasagna and for dessert a Cannoli (if you have never had one of these before, I suggest you find one at an Italian bakery and indulge!!).  Before you start judging me and the amount of food I consumed, realize that I only took a few bites of all of these things.  With my large family holed up in a tent all night, there is a plethora of food around!  I only ate a small bowl of the tortellini on my own – that I was not willing to share!

My Dad, Grandpa, Brother and Cousins – All enjoying the storm under the tent!

Overall, the festival was a great time.  The rain did try to put a damper on the weekend, but Italians never let anyone or anything rain on their parade!  Saturday night, when the rain started to come down around 9:00PM, most of the people left or headed for shelter inside the church.  The parking lot was almost empty, except for one tent. The Pastry stand. As I headed down the street to help cleanup, I saw my Grandfather, standing inside the tent, surrounded by a mass of people, selling as many pastries as he could.  Now that is dedication.  It was thundering and lightening outside, but my Grandpa wasn’t going to stop until he did everything he could to make money for the Church. There are very few people in this world who have as much heart, dedication, and a sense of hard work as my Grandpa.  He is a true role model, a wonderful man, Grandfather, Dad, and an even better Italian.  Although we didn’t make as much money as last year, due to the weather, the Festival was, as usual, a great time and made a lot of money for the Church.

Me and my Grandpa – serving Cannoli’s at 11PM in the rain!

Rain or shine, the Italian Street Festival will always be one of my favorite weekends of the year.  It is so much more than a festival, to me and to many other people who volunteer away their weekend, who get to spend quality time with loved ones, and who are able to make great friends.  Sometimes we can view it as a burden, but when it is all said and done, and you look back on the weekend, it has to put a little smile on your face.

I apologize for the lack of food, but this is a major part of my Big Fat Italian Life, so I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of life as an Italian!

Chicken Salad Obsession

So I was pretty bummed about not being able to have a kitchen adventure on Sunday, so I thought I would throw one in during the week!  The other night I realized I had put chicken in the refrigerator to thaw, and since I am leaving for the weekend, it needed to be cooked.  I am obsessed, and I mean this whole heartedly, with the Chicken Salad at Whole Foods.  You can ask my roommates and they will attest to this and explain to you my sick obsession with it.  Since Whole Foods is not in my budget on the regular…I thought I would try to make my own version!

Ingredients:

3 Boneless Chicken Breasts

Light Mayonnaise

Pepper

Craisins

Sliced Almonds

Red Grapes

Clean the chicken breasts and boil for 10 minutes.  Simmer for another 10 or until cooked through.  Do not over boil the chicken or it will dry out.  Once the chicken is cooked, shred in a bowl.  Add about 5 tablespoons of the mayonnaise or until there is enough covering the chicken (do not add too much or it will be soggy).  Add pepper to taste (if you can’t see the pepper, there isn’t enough).  Add the craisins, almonds, and grapes (sliced), mix together and let sit in the refrigerator until cooled.

This is kind of  a big deal for me, considering I tried chicken salad for the first time last August!  I really am starting to branch out when it comes to food…finally (thanks to my family and Ryan’s constant nagging).  I looked up a few recipes, but decided to jump ship and just come up with my own based on ingredients around the kitchen.  I boiled three chicken breasts and then shredded the chicken. Shredded is always the way to go in my opinion. I added light mayonnaise, pepper, craisins, red grapes, and sliced almonds (they are supposed to go in salads and were pre-packaged) and mixed together.  I let sit in the fridge over night, ready for me to take to work the next day!

It was so delicious!!   Alyssa and Jess were my tasters and they approved.  I will definitely be making this again and probably often!

Food Extravaganza

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.”― Anthony Brandt

I came across this quote and I wanted to share it.  Of everything I know, this quote is something I know to be 100% true.   No matter what, no matter where, no matter when, family should be at the core of you.  This is definitely a quote I try to live my life by, and I hope you all take a minute to appreciate your family today!

Last weekend I spent some time with my parents and on Saturday we went to the NRA Food Convention here in Chicago.  My Dad was helping out a friend, so my mom and I met him there for the end of the day.  We got to try some really good food…not healthy food, but good and saw some really cool companies!  I tried to hold off on the free samples considering we had a big dinner planned at Cibo Matto, but it was certainly hard to resist.  On the plus side, I was finally inspired for my sisters shower I am helping to plan with my aunts and came up with some great ideas for favors and table decorations. Below are a couple of photos I took at the convention.  The pickles picture was taken specially for Alyssa…

I loooove Gelato, so I couldn’t resist 🙂

Cibo Matto was a really good restaurant, but it was unanimous that we liked the wine more than the food.  I ordered the carbonara, and while it was really good, I must brag that mine tasted just as good, if not better.  I know I am biased, but I’m just throwing that out there.  Everything else we ate was good…but not amazing.  It could be because my parents are food snobs (in a good way) and I walked away happy, yet not ecstatic.  We went  to the Cheesecake factory for dessert because it was close to their hotel and my Dad wanted cheesecake.  Good thing we shared a piece between the three of us because the Red Velvet Cheesecake contains 1800 calories.  No, I did not go and look this up.  We asked the waiter and he told us…with much hesitation.  My Mom and I definitely let my Dad have the majority of the bites…

I was planning on spending Sunday in the kitchen making pizza dough and preparing the ingredients for my pizza party, but Chicago made other plans for me!  It was such a gorgeous day and I was forced to spend the day on the beach…tough life, I know!  I am heading home for the Indy 500 this weekend and am going to try my hardest to include a Kitchen Adventure into my weekend.  Hopefully Monday I can help prepare the food for my brothers graduation party.

CONGRATULATIONS Jack!!  I can’t belive you graduated high school and are so old….I remember the day you were born and I tried to send you back 🙂  You can thank Mom for not allowing that to happen….Love you!!

 

 

A True Kitchen Adventure II

A typical cousin dinner would not be the same without some elaborate element, so Gina and Concetta decided to get gorgeous table settings for our dinner from A Classic Party Rental.  Working at a rental company definitely has its perks for our small gatherings!  They were both so much help Saturday night and I am pretty sure my sister’s house would have been burnt down had they not been helping in the kitchen!

Dinner was all in all a success, if you take away the potential grease fire, the chocolate burning, and Gina’s oven somehow catching on fire.  For dinner I made Smashed Red Potatoes, Stuffed Chicken and Grilled Asparagus.  You can find all of these recipes on the my Recipe page.  The potatoes are so easy and are great for dinner parties!

Grilled Asparagus

Ingredients:

Asparagus

Salt and Pepper

Parmesan Cheese

Lightly salt and pepper asparagus.  Add parmesan cheese as desired.  Cook for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees.

 

Smashed Red Potatoes

Ingredients:

1 bag red potatoes

Chicken Bullion

Whipped butter

Salt and Pepper

Parsley

Optional :

Sour Cream

Cream Cheese

Clean and cut potatoes into fourths or even smaller if needed.  Add to a large pot, cover in water,and add chicken bouillon cubes (about 5 or 6 small cubes or until water is yellow).  Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until red skin starts to fall off.  Drain potatoes, but leave about a measuring cup full of water.  Put back into pot and add butter, salt and pepper.  If potatoes are dry, add more of the bouillon water.  Add salt and pepper to taste and smash with a fork.  For more “mashed” potatoes use a whip.  These potatoes can be made more mashed or left whole but slightly “smashed.”

 

After dinner, we played Things (my favorite game ever) and then an intense game of Cranium.  It was so great being home for the weekend and getting to see my family.  After a very stressful week last week trying to plan this dinner, I am excited to be cooking for non-Italians again, and especially my boyfriend who will be visiting from Vail!!  He is usually always a fan of my cooking, even if it doesn’t turn out, or at least he let’s me believe he is…

From L to R – my soon-to-be brother-in-law Grant, my sister Gina, cousin Tommy, brother Jack, cousin Concetta, Steve (Antonia’s boyfriend), and my cousin Antonia.

Saturday was by far my favorite Kitchen Adventure!  Something I have discovered while learning to become a better cook, it takes a couple of disasters to help you grow in the kitchen!

Good Mood Food

Yesterday was such a great day!  I started off the morning having breakfast with my roommates.  I got my inspiration for the day while we were eating. My roommate ordered Eggs Benedict and thought the sauce was not edible.  She pretty much took it all off.  I remembered  my new recipe book included a recipe for eggs Benedict, so I have now added that to my list of kitchen adventures!

We came home and decided to enjoy some Mimosa’s and listen to music while I started making my homemade egg noodles!  They helped me cut the dough into noodles and I put them in the freezer for dinner later that evening. I love sunday funday’s!

When I started getting dinner ready around 4, I realized one of my onions was rotten.  It was so brown and mushy on the inside – it made feel mushy on the inside as well.  I was so mad because I had just bought the onions the day before and that has never happened to me, although while I was buying them I was thinking to myself they did not seem fresh AT ALL.  I sincerely hate shopping at Dominick’s.  If only I could get everything I needed from Whole Foods (in my dreams)!!  Good thing I don’t really like onions and wasn’t upset about the lack of them in my soup.  For years I have been cooking with onions and have been around them my whole life, but for some reason, I had such a reaction to them yesterday.  I love the smell and they have never bothered my eyes, but my eyes were on fire !  I had to walk out of the kitchen at least three times to wipe my eyes!  So strange…

I let the soup sit for around 3 hours once everything was added and the chicken had boiled.  The longer the soup sits, the more flavor it is going to have.  Right before I took the chicken out to debone and separate, I added my “secret” ingredient.  I truly believe this made ALL the difference.  I have made this soup for my roommates before and they could tell such a difference in the flavor.  This soup was BY FAR the best I have ever made.  I am not sure if that was due to the “secret” ingredient or from the homemade noodle, but I am happy to tell you the soup was a success!!

Italian Style Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

1 bag whole carrots

1 bag celery

2 large onions

2 medium cans whole tomatoes, peeled (Hunt’s preferably)

1 lb vermicelli or Orzo (any noodle of your preference really)

Clean chicken and put into pot.  Fill pot completely with water.  Slowly bring chicken to a boil (cooking on medium heat) until all fat has come off, skimming continuously.  Do not over boil or chicken will be dry.

While chicken is cooking, peel and clean carrots and cut into small pieces to your liking.  Cut celery.  Peel and cut each onion into 4 pieces (I prefer to keep them larger in order to remove them easier).

When chicken fat has all come off, after about an hour or so, add carrots, celery, and onions.  Squeeze the juice of each tomato into the pot and then add each tomato.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Do not add too much salt because broth will become saltier over time.

While soup is cooking, break up vermicelli into very small pieces (if the pasta is too long it will become stringy in the soup).  If using Orzo or small pasta noodles, skip this step.

Once chicken is fully cooked and comes off the bone easily, remove and remove bones.  I prefer to separate the vegetables from the broth before cooking the noodles.

Cook noodles in broth and serve!  Add parmesan to taste and enjoy!

 

There was enough left over for a few dinners this week and I am glad everyone really enjoyed eating it!  I am not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about the noodles.  I even bought Orzo just in case they didn’t turn out, but they were great and I can’t wait to make them again for more dishes.  I think everything is better homemade!

Thank you Alyssa, Sarah and Jess for being my taste testers!  It is much appreciated, but thank you even more for enjoying my food!!