Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another Easy Weeknight Meal

Am I the only one who can't get back into the groove of the school year? Busy weekdays, cranky kiddos, homework.......I am so frustrated I could smash something.

How about some pretzels?

Dominic Condo's pretzel Coated Chicken Tenders is any easy weeknight meal that allows the kids to have something fun, and the parents to get out all their pent up stress and aggravation!

I can see it now --
"Pretzel Coated Chicken Tenders - Healthy for kids, even healthier for ornery adults..."

Honestly - the only thing more fun than smashing pretzels is having something quick, easy, AND yummy for dinner:) So get to it, and let us know what you think of the latest recipe from the Cucina!


Looking to put a new spin on a weekday meal that will keep the kids asking for more? Put aside your traditional chicken cutlets, and serve up pretzel coated chicken tenders. The shape of the tenders are similar to fast food chicken fingers, and the pretzels add a natural salty/snacky taste. Plus, knowing that pretzels are part of the meal is sure to make for a fun dinner for parents and kids.

Using a food processor, break up about two cups worth of pretzels almost to the point of breadcrumb consistency. You want to have some small pieces of pretzel still in the mix. If you don't have a food processor, you can smash the pretzels by placing them in a plastic bag and rolling it with a rolling pin or a large tomato sauce can. The crumbs will not be as fine, but it will work. Then simply bread the tenders as you would normally bread chicken cutlets (rolling in flour, then egg wash, then pretzel crumbs).

For the best taste and texture you want to fry the tenders, not bake them. I prefer using peanut oil for the taste, but vegetable oil will also work fine. For some extra flavor, you can add a few drops of sesame oil to the frying pan. Serve with honey mustard, barbecue sauce or marinara sauce for dipping (gotta get some Italian influence in there!!). Serve with steamed vegetables (carrots and peas are our favorites).
Note: you can bread the tenders ahead of time, either that morning or the night before, and keep them in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will save prep time to help get a quick meal on the table for your family to enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Two Meals in One

Here's an easy weeknight dinner that makes a GREAT fritatta the next morning! Italian sausage and potatoes, roasted with a little kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Served very appropriately with a simple side salad. Easy, right?

Then, the next morning the sausage and potatoes make a cameo appearance, coarsely chopped in my fritatta. Mix in a little grated cheese, fresh parsley and basil, and you've possibly stumbled upon a quick fix for a fancy breakfast in bed! Hubby will be happy:)

(Use this trick wisely, ladies)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

And the winner is....

I am grateful to say that in our "Mamma Meets the Cucina" Gravy War, Una Mamma Italiana's gravy recipe came out on top! This is not to say Cucina Domenico's did not look super tasty as well! In fact, I will very soon be making his recipe and posting a review for all of you.

The whole point of this gravy war was to realize the signifiance of the Sunday Gravy tradition. And no matter which recipe looks closest to yours, any one who keeps the tradition going is the real winner. Let us never lose our cultural heritage that boasts such things as family meals and awesome food!

Try our gravy recipes. Dare to compare them! Why not submit your own recipe to us? We love to hear about other paisani that love Italia as much as we do.

So thanks for all the votes and Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Being Italian In America

Are you Italian? American-Italian?? Italian-American???

So many Italians from all ranges of the cultural spectrum have their defined opinions on this issue. In fact, my my writing has sometimes even been criticized for not being true to Italian culture. An Italian from Italy felt my cultural experiences in my life were stereotypical. Probably because it was from my perspective as an Italian in America, not an Italian in Italy. But then I often find other "Italian Americans" offensive with their stereotypical portrayals of Italians as "guidos" and "gumbas" that speak broken English with a Jersey accent, greasy hair, and tattoos everywhere.

So where is the happy medium? What is the defining image of our culture? I think that first we must admit that an Italian-American culture is different from Italian culture, and different from American culture. It is one in its own. I wrote an article on this precise issue for, which can be read here. I would love your thoughts on the issue. Here's my esteemed colleague's opinion:

"Italian Americans are passionate people. Passionate about their work, their lifestyle, their food (obviously), and most of all their family. When our ancestors came to this country, they had no money and no knowledge of the English language. But they did have pride, skills, determination and passion. These traits are still passed on throughout Italian American families today, which is why many Italian Americans can still enjoy old world culture and passion even in these modern, too-busy-for-anyone-else times."

~Dominic Condo of Cucina Domenico

I agree. We Italian-Americans are not Italian because we were technically not born in Italy (most of us, anyway) but we are not completely American because our culture goes so much deeper than burgers, fries, an the red white and blue. SO where do you fall? What's your opinion? Even if you're not Italian, you can relate because every culture struggles to find its identity in the new world - but let us not forget how lucky we are to have this freedom.

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