marinara

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Bites

I love zucchini. It’s a green vegetable with a creamy, almost buttery, texture when baked. Top it with a little pepper and salty Parmesan, and well you’ve got yourself a tasty treat. But let’s take this one step further and serve it with a side of marinara dipping sauce. Oh my goodness! Guiltless indulgence is like an oxymoron when it comes to healthy eating… but it does exist!

As organic as possible:

Snack serves 2 (or a hungry 1) 

Olive oil cooking spray

2 Medium Zucchini, washed, dried and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

3 oz. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Coarse Kosher salt

Freshly ground Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with olive oil. Place zucchini rounds on the oil-misted parchment paper, not touching eachother. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pinch a tiny mound of Parmesan cheese to top each slice of zucchini. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until Parmesan turns golden brown. Serve warm with a side of marinara. (And maybe an iced glass of S.Pellegrino?) Indulge.

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Fried Ravioli

Little soft pillows of creamy cheese… coated in a blend of bread crumbs, Parmesan, and Italian herbs… fried into crispy golden perfection… A little warm marinara for dipping on the side… It’s a good day… dolce vita.

As organic as possible:

2o oz. frozen Cheese Ravioli

3/4 cup Flour

5 eggs

8 oz Parmesan & Italian Herb Bread Crumbs

2 tsp salt

3-4 cups of frying oil (give or take depending on the size of your skillet) such as Canola or Peanut

Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

 

This is a perfect example of how prepping your work area first makes the job a lot easier. In 3 separate shallow baking dishes (brownie pans, small casserole dishes, etc.) place the flour, whisk the eggs, and toss the Parmesan & Herbed bread crumbs with the salt. Heat your oil on the high end of medium. The oil is ready when you sprinkle a small amount of flour in it and it starts to sizzle. You only need a couple inches of depth.

While you’re waiting for your oil to get hot, take the frozen ravioli and dip it in the egg, coating it completely. Dip the egg covered ravioli in the flour, covering it, and lightly shaking off the extra. Then put the ravioli back into the whisked eggs, covering it again, and lastly into the bread crumb mixture. Make sure to get every area of the cheesy pouch coated with the delicious salty herbed bread crumbs. Repeat. Make sure you have a a few ready to go before you start to fry.

When the oil is ready, fry the raviolis in batches of about 4 or 5 at a time (to not lower the temperature oil too much). After about a minute, flip the ravioli and let it cook another half to whole minute. Using a slotted spoon or something similar remove the raviolis to a paper towel-lined plate. When raviolis are fried, transfer to serving dish of your choice and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, (maybe even freshly chopped parsley if you’re into that sort of thing) accompanied by some warmed marinara sauce for dipping. Buon Appetito!

 

 

 

Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Parm

Sometimes you get a craving and nothing else but a cheesy, salty, crusted piece of moist chicken will do. (Clearly I’m not a vegetarian.) This chicken is coated with a mix of Parmesan and Asiago, for maximum tantalizing flavor. It’s got a crispy outside and is moist on the inside, and it’s baked not fried. So basically it’s guilt-free. It’s great on it’s own, but I love it with my favorite marinara and pasta to make an easy Italian classic, Chicken Parmesan. Yum!

As organic as possible:

4 Chicken breast cut into strips (2-3 per breast lengthwise)

3/4 cup Mayonnaise (you can substitute with light mayo)

1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

2-3 Tbsp (rounded) freshly grated Asiago

Preheat oven to 425°. Place mayo in a small bowl, set aside. In a shallow baking dish mix bread crumbs, salt, pepper and cheeses. Dredge each piece of chicken in the mayo, so that it has a nice even coating, removing excess. (You’re going to get your hands messy, but it’s worth it.) Then roll coated chicken around in bread crumb mixture until completely covered. Place covered chicken strips on a baking sheet (or two). Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, and crust is browned and crispy.

While chicken is cooking, prepare noodles and warm your favorite marinara sauce for serving. (It hardly gets easier for a weeknight meal than that!) Top with more freshly grated Parmesan… Enjoy!