Easy Italian Recipes for the Whole Family


Easy Italian Recipes for the Whole Family


Our family loves enjoying some good Italian food – whether at home, in a restaurant, or in Italy!

Sometimes it’s easy to think that Italian food has to include pasta (and if a family member is working around a diet restriction that discourages pasta, this can be a challenge). However, many Italian inspired recipes do not include (or require) pasta, and gluten-free pasta is becoming more widely available, if that helps.

Italian Soups

We love to eat Italian soups like wedding soup, minestrone (with or without pasta), or zuppa toscana. These soups can be made with meatballs (freshly made or pre-packaged), sausage, or ground chicken and include loads of vegetables (sometimes I even make minestrone by using up leftover protein and vegetables from the week rather than sticking with exact recipe ingredients).


bowl of delicious minestrone soup on plate with spoon and crackers, soup recipes, healthy recipes

Italian Salads

For salads, there is no beating a top-notch Italian chopped salad, in my humble opinion.  Either enjoy the chopped salad as-is for a meatless dinner or add your favorite grilled protein on top for a little more hearty meal.

In both cases, your tummy will thank you for preparing such a delicious dish. It only requires chopping up a few vegetables and ingredients, and then topping with either a homemade vinaigrette or your favorite brand Italian dressing. Yum!

Maggiano's Chopped Salad


Italian Pasta or Pizza

Of course, we do love our pasta! So, we would be remiss not to include a couple of easy recipes for pasta dishes as well.

Use oven-ready lasagna noodles to make this classic Italian dish with ease. Shortcuts like store bought meat sauce also make the preparation go more quickly. While fresh and homemade are always better, enjoying a family meal together at the dinner table with less stress and clean-up is also pretty darn valuable.  And here’s a Skillet Lasagna recipe for all the flavor of lasagna with a little less time and effort.

For a little different pasta twist, try this Italian dish with a creamy vodka sauce and veggies.  It is so, so good!

Pizza night! Make it a family fun night and everyone can help prepare toppings and make pizzas for the whole crew. If you are really in a hurry, use pre-packaged pizza crusts, but if you have just a little bit of time, try this quick pizza crust dough that doesn’t have to rise and tastes so fresh, you will think it took all day. Then all you need is some sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings to throw on top before baking. Delish! (Below photo by Carissa Gan on Unsplash)


Pepperoni pizza - Unsplash


Italian Vegetables

Recently I have really come to enjoy roasted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, squash, green beans, carrots, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.) seasoned with some olive oil and Italian herbs  — such as rosemary, basil, oregano, and parsley.  Add a little more jazz by sprinkling some grated Parmesan or Italian seasoned bread crumbs over the top and tossing together after roasting.  Easy as you please, there’s a delicious side dish (or a great base for serving your favorite protein over).


Italian Roasted Vegetables Recipe

Italian or Tuscan Chicken

For me, unless roasting an entire chicken, I think the key to great Italian chicken is giving it some time to marinate for a while before cooking (and/or pounding the chicken pieces a little bit so they cook a little more quickly and are tender).  Dishes like Chicken Parmesan or Marsala, or a simple roasted chicken with veggies, are all great comfort food and not as difficult to dish up as you might think.

By the way, a tip for cooking the coated chicken well for either chicken parmesan or marsala is to make sure the oil in your skillet is quite hot before placing the coated chicken pieces into the skillet. This will keep the coating from sticking to the pan, and the pieces will brown nicely.

Italian Bread

Last, but definitely not least, maybe you’re looking for some easy bread recipes to go with your Italian meal.  Hands down, my favorite one, is Rosemary Bread, similar to the bread dished up by Macaroni Grill restaurants. While it is a yeast bread, it doesn’t require much kneading or  time to rise, so it really is a fairly simple (and out-of-this-world delicious) bread to serve up with your meal.

Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread


Most importantly, Italian food always makes me think of large families around big tables. In my mind’s eye, the crowd is spilling out the door, laughing, sharing memories, helping in the kitchen, enjoying each other’s company; and this, this is what dinner around the table should be like.  So whether you’re dishing up simple plates of spaghetti or a more robust lasagna or chicken dish, remember that the important thing is to keep our eye on the prize of enjoying each other’s company as we gather.

Do you have favorite Italian dishes your family enjoys or family traditions around such recipes?  We love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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7 Surprising Health Benefits of Cottage Cheese



Cottage cheese in bowl with berries - Pixabay

guest sponsored postYou might have heard of delicious, mild cottage cheese from your nutritionist or fitness trainer. This dairy product has a fresh and slightly sweet taste. It is also packed with proteins and vitamins, but low in carbohydrates. Some prefer it for dinner, while others mix cottage cheese with any meal throughout the day. Many agree that it cools down the appetite.

Cottage cheese usually contains plenty of milk and an acidic substance, like vinegar or lime. When the two meet and react, cheese forms. The cheese has plenty of nutrients, together with vitamins A, B complex, D, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and many others as you’ll see below. (Below image by Enotovyj from Pixabay)

Cottage Cheese with Berries and Kiwi - Pixabay


How to Use the Right Cottage Cheese

There isn’t a common and successful recipe to the right cottage cheese for you. The above nutrients are found in all cottage cheese products. There are some slight differences between types of cheese. However, these are insignificant. All you need to do is find the healthiest cottage cheese and use it for your purpose:

•  Eating raw cheese: Regular, organic, low fat or fat free cheese.

•  Eating allergy-free cheese: Gluten or lactose free cheese.

•  Cooking with cheese: Tasty and creamy cheese for pancakes and lasagna.

7 Quick and Surprising Health Benefits of Cottage Cheese

1. Supports Weight Loss

Cottage cheese is popular among fitness enthusiasts, body builders and nutritionists. Since it’s rich in proteins, this cheese can make for an entire meal. If eaten before bed, it controls your appetite and prevents you from eating a lot in the morning.

The cheese contains casein, which your body digests at a slow rate, compared with other dairy products. Moreover, the high satiety that you will feel comes with a low content of fats.

2. Improves Metabolism

Cottage cheese is rich in B-complex vitamins, including B-12. The B-complex works on your digestion, heart health, brain functions and metabolism. These are all backed-up by other components of cottage cheese, such as riboflavin, thiamin and folic acid.

Moreover, a cup of cottage cheese provides you with 38% of the recommended B-12 vitamin daily intake. This vitamin helps your body produce energy and red blood cells.

3. Has Antioxidant Effects

Studies claim that selenium boosts your immune system and helps your body fight viruses and microbes. Selenium also increases the antioxidant protection of your blood. You can find 30% of the recommended daily dose of selenium in just one cup of cottage cheese.

Furthermore, selenium protects your DNA from damage and allegedly reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

4. May Minimize Insulin Resistance

Cottage cheese is rich in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium may lower the risk of developing insulin resistance with 21% among diabetes sufferers, according to recent studies. Consequently, calcium also helps prevent heart disease.

Also, the mix between calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus strengthens your bones and improves their resistance on long-term.

5. Enhances Vision

Around 4% of the recommended daily value of zinc is found in cottage cheese. Zinc works as an antioxidant and an active factor in improving ocular health and fighting infection. This mineral is also naturally active in the human eye.

Zinc also helps with the functions of the digestive and immune systems. Therefore, it often provides relief from anxiety and stress. Also, it can be beneficial in counteracting night blindness if consumed daily.

6. Develops Your Muscles

Cottage cheese consumption maximizes growth hormone output, due to its low carbohydrates and rich protein content. A high growth hormone level can possibly lead to weight loss and muscle gain, according to some researchers. Many bodybuilders have included cottage cheese in their diet.

Your body prevents an accumulation of excess hormones, due to the combination of carbohydrates and protein.

7. Helps Pregnant Women

Specialists recommend cottage cheese for pregnant women, thanks to its many nutrients. Pregnant women usually have calcium loss, and cottage cheese is a reliable source for that. The phosphorus from cottage cheese is a good nutrient for both pregnant women and unborn babies.

The recommended daily amount of this creamy cheese for pregnant women is around 71 grams.

Cottage Cheese Wrap Up

You can enjoy the impressive health benefits of cottage cheese with daily consumption. However, please note that it can have a negative effect if you have dairy allergies or are lactose intolerant. Also, please verify the products you purchase, to avoid additional side effects. Milk that is not well pasteurized may lead to an uncomfortable bacterial contamination.

Feel free to integrate this creamy cheese in salads, omelets, or as a fixing next to vegetables. You can control the level of cholesterol that your body ingests by choosing a cheese that contains low-fat milk. Enjoy your next meal and the surprising health benefits of cottage cheese!

(Guest post provided by Kenneth Haynes)

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Refer a Friend Program

Refer a Friend Program - Dish Dish Deluxe Pro Club


We are proud to announce the launch of our “Refer a Friend” program for Dish Dish.  When you invite a friend or family member to join Dish Dish Deluxe with you, so they can enjoy less stress around planning meals for their family with all their recipes in one place, the ability to save and edit and share favorite recipes easily, as well as keep track of their menu and shopping list synced across all their mobile devices, we will send you a reward!

Once your friend or family member joins the Dish Dish Deluxe club, send us an email to contest at DishDish.us with your friend’s name, and we will send you (within 3 days) your choice of a $5 Amazon gift card or $5 via PayPal.

We look forward to inspiring your friends and family members to enjoy family meals around the dinner table and reduce the stress and time required for planning meals, getting the grocery shopping list together, and prepping meals the whole family can enjoy sharing.

Be a super friend, and invite your friends today!  They can sign up for their own Dish Dish Deluxe online recipe box account any time.  (Of course, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee, and members are free to cancel at any time).

If you have any questions about the program, please reach out to us at support@dishdish.us.

Here’s to dishin’ with your friends and family!

10 Fabulous Recipes for Fighting the Flu


10 Fabulous Recipes for Fighting the Flu

When we are feeling under the weather, fighting the flu or similar cold symptoms, sometimes it’s difficult to think about what we should be eating or drinking in order to help our bodies recover and recuperate as quickly as possible. (Above photo background by Yoori Koo on Unsplash)

Making sure we are intentional to consume foods and beverages that will help us in that process, getting us back on our feet more quickly, is a must.

These 10 recipes are sure to help you (or your loved ones) feel better and be back at full speed before you know it.

Fresh Ginger Tea

Ginger is especially helpful when we’re struggling with nausea or stomach ill-at-ease when battling the flu.  Simmer some fresh sliced ginger in boiling water and then add a little honey and lime juice, to taste, for a calming, refreshing beverage to sip. (See full recipe at theSpruce).

Chicken Noodle Soup

Sometimes thinking about Grandma’s old-fashioned chicken noodle soup makes it seem like a daunting task to whip up a big pot of that for dinner, but it can be as simple as throwing some chicken pieces into chicken broth and simmering, then adding noodles and frozen vegetables with some seasoning and allowing to simmer until all is cooked through.  (See a detailed recipe at Dish Dish).

Chicken Noodle Soup - Recipes for Fighting the Flu


Berry Smoothie

Bananas and berries are really good for us when we have the flu.  They are both full of minerals and antioxidants that our bodies desperately need when we are ill.  Add a scoop of protein powder, if desired, to this Berry Breakfast Smoothie (which is really perfect any time of day) to provide some much needed energy as well.

Egg in Toast (Egg in a Hole, Bird in a Basket, Etc.)

This fantastic, easy and quick dish has been known by many names over the last hundred years or so.  It is a perfect dish for when you have the flu (easy enough to make for yourself even when you’re feeling bad) and both comforting as well as good for you.

The protein and vitamins in the eggs help strengthen your body and immune system and the lightly toasted bread is soothing.  Use a little olive oil or butter in a skillet, pull a bit of bread out of the middle of one slice, lay the bread in the skillet and break an egg into the center hole; cook until firm enough to flip over and cook for another couple of minutes ’til heated through.  Then it’s ready to eat! (Detailed recipe at NY Times)

mothers day breakfast recipe, heart shaped egg in toast, breakfast in bed, egg, toast, grapes, candle


Especially for times when our flu symptoms include upset stomach or nausea, applesauce is one of those comforting foods that is not only good for us but also soothing when we don’t feel very well.

While you could definitely just have a friend drop by and bring some applesauce from the grocery store, this easy recipe for applesauce is a simple way to make your own without any extra additives, so it’s even healthier for you! You plop the 4 or 5 ingredients (cinnamon optional) into a large pan and simmer for half an hour, then mash together before serving or storing. Enjoy!

Beef Stroganoff

Okay, this might not sound as obvious — right off the bat — as being a dish that is good when we have the flu.  However, the protein, minerals, and zinc especially in the beef are good for helping our bodies fight back.  Serve this Beef Stroganoff recipe with its creamy mushroom sauce and beef over some cooked white rice for a calming, soothing delicious meal that will hit the spot.


Beef Stroganoff Casserole - Flickr

Green Tea and Ginger Dew Pops

Popsicles made with green tea, fresh ginger, and some pureed honeydew melon make a refreshing cool treat that’s also very good for our bodies, helping us fight off illness, and they taste amazing, too! Just a few simple ingredients (feel free to substitute another favorite fruit for the melon, if desired) and a few hours in the freezer required to enjoy these delicious popsicles (see popsicles recipe).

Easy 3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes

Bananas are not only soothing, but boosting for our immune systems, and so simple to add to the menu with these easy 3-ingredient Banana Pancakes recipe (which you don’t have to serve just for breakfast!) from The Seasoned Mom.

Banana Pancakes - Unsplash

Orange Garlic Chicken with Tomatoes

Chicken thighs in a sauce seasoned with fresh garlic, ginger, orange juice and tomatoes, and served over rice, this Orange Garlic Chicken recipe is so good as well as fairly quick and easy.  Pretty much all of the ingredients have good health benefits and we love the mix of flavors!

Infused Water

Okay, so technically this one isn’t a real “recipe” as much as a suggestion to add some healthy boosts to the water we already need to be drinking to stay hydrated when we are fighting off the flu or other illness.  Consider adding some orange juice (1/3 juice to 2/3 water).  Prepare a large pitcher of water in the fridge and toss in sliced oranges and lightly crushed berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries) for a deliciously flavored and healthy beverage option.


Watermelon in juice in jar by Unsplash


Which recipes will you use to help yourself and your family recover from the flu or a cold more quickly? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below; we love when our readers share their input!


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