Thursday, August 11, 2016

Buon Appetito #TopTenThursday

Welcome to this week's #TopTenThursday. This is a fun writing challenge, that is hosted by Tamara of Confessions of a part-time working mom. Her, myself, and other bloggers, come together and post weekly Top Ten lists, which we create based on a chosen topic. I hope you enjoy reading my list, as much as I loved creating it.

Last week, we made a list of our Top Ten Life Hacks. This week, we are revealing our Top Ten Italian Foods. I don't know how you guys feel, but I LOVE Italian food. I do have a ton of Italian recipes pinned on my Pinterest page, and I enjoy making new recipes, or tried and true recipes. Sometimes, I like changing small aspects of tried and true recipes, just to see how small changes can make huge differences. This was not an easy list for me to make, because just like with my Top Ten 80's Songs, I have way more than ten to list.

Without further ado, in random order, I present my top ten Italian foods. I have included some links to some recipes, just in case you want to try any of these using a new recipe! With a few of the dishes, I use the term pasta, rather than a specific pasta type. This is because in our house, we use different pastas regularly. Ziti and spaghetti and rotini and bow tie, are among our most used pastas. Be sure to check out the other Blogger's favorite Italian deliciousness, using the links at the bottom.

1. Pasta with meat sauce (either meaty or meatballs). So, Gigi is not a picky eater, but she is also not a great eater. We often have to be very persuasive to get her to eat, and by that I mean we use bribery and begging. She LOVES spaghetti/pasta with meat sauce/meatballs, and so it is one of our most frequently eaten dinners. Plus, it is great as leftovers. For the longest, we never made actual spaghetti, because Chad isn't a fan, but since Gigi loves actual spaghetti, it is becoming our go to pasta. I am happy about this. Yes, I love basically all pastas, but when it comes to pairing it with meat sauce, I kinda prefer spaghetti. We actually had this tonight (Wednesday) for dinner. I thought it was appropriate, since I was working on this post for tomorrow (Thursday).

Hearty Meat Sauce (Stovetop or Crockpot) from Baking in a Tornado.
Meatballs a la Jules (basic meatballs) from The Bergham Chronicles (Yes, me!)

2. Lasagna. I love Lasagna. I can still remember the first time I ever had lasagna. My Aunt Jackie (who is really my cousin- I was born in the South, and respect of your elders/adults is a BIG deal. Well, my dad had me late in life, so most of my first cousins were already grown and had kids, by the time I came around. I always knew my Aunt Jackie was my cousin, but I never felt right just calling her Jackie, so she was Aunt Jackie. Side note, she is battling breast cancer currently. She was like a mom to me growing up, and one of my biggest role models. If you could please pray or send positive thoughts her way, I would appreciate it!) made me my first lasagna, and it was love at first bite. I would say her lasagna is my favorite. I am not sure if her lasagna is just that darn good, or if it is just that you never forget your first lasagna. All I know is, she made me fall in love with lasagna. When she first put it in front of me, I had no desire to eat it. I thought it was weird, but she was a wise chef, and boy am I grateful she introduced me to one of the best foods EVER. 

White Pizza Lasagna from How Sweet It Is
Turkey Sausage Lasagna from Chow Hound
The Best Lasagna Ever from The Pioneer Woman Ree

3. Pasta with pesto sauce. This is probably the newest addition to my list of favorites. It was years and years before I would actually try pesto. Once I did, I loved it. My first time trying it, I actually had it on an Italian Turkey Sandwich. I LOVED it. I was actually upset with myself for waiting so long to try it. It did not take me long to try it on pasta, and of course I was in love. 

Spinach Pesto Penne with Shrimp and Peas from Delish
Pesto Penne from Salu Salo
Healthy Pesto, Tomato, and Broccoli Pasta from ifoodreal

4. Cannoli. Okay, okay. I have to be honest... This one should probably be number one, but I did it in random order. Now, I am not sure if it would be my number one, if I got to eat it regularly, or if it is my number one because I have not gotten to eat then in years. I am not even big on desserts. If I am honest, I could genuinely go the rest of my life, never eating another sweet or dessert, and I would be okay. Now, certain days of the month might be harder than others, but I could definitely survive. Cannolis though... My my my. My mouth is practically watering just thinking about it! For the longest time, I had very traditional cannolis, and I LOVED them!! Then I discovered that there are varieties. I was able to try just enough to fall madly in love, and then I moved to California, and there has not been a cannoli in sight since. I am too scared to try to make them on my own, because the pastry shell scares me. I have found alternatives, that seem easy to make, but I am worried they may not fully satisfy my craving, but only work at making the craving worse. Luckily, my bestie Jade is a culinary genius, and has agreed to help me make REAL cannolis. SO, YESSSSSSSS! I will be eating real cannolis soon! I may even have to make a post about my adventure in cannoli making!! 

Pumpkin Pistachio Cannoli (homemade) from The Great Cake Company
Cannoli with Peppermint Mascarpone Filling from Life's Ambrosia
Black Forest Cannoli from Diethood
Birthday Cake Cannolis from The Domestic Rebel
Easy Cannoli Cups from Will Cook For Smiles
Cannoli Cones from Martha Stewart
Amaretto Lace Cannoli from The Brooklyn Ragazza  
Cannoli from Brown Eyed Baker

5. Veggie lasagna. To be fair, there are many variations of most Italian dishes. Some are traditional variations, and some are non-traditional (probably not even really Italian) variations. Several of these dishes with many variations made my list, but I only made one post. Well, veggie lasagna had to have it's own entry. I love just as much, maybe more than traditional meat lasagna. It is a LOVE/FAVORITE of its own. I love it with all sorts of veggies or just a few. I even like it if you just make it with various tomatoes, herbs, and various cheeses.

Garden Vegetable Lasagna from Tastes Lovely
Vegetarian Lasagna from My California Roots
Butternut Squash, Zucchini, and Spinach Lasagna from Coffee and Crayons
Veggie Alfredo Lasagna from Pinch of Yum
Hearty Vegetarian Lasagna from Eating on a Dime

6. Eggplant Parmesan. I love love love eggplant. Eggplant Parmesan is probably my most favorite way to eat it. I love it baked. I love it fried. I love it friend and then baked. I just simply love it! I do not eat it nearly enough. I really need to make it for Gigi, and get her to LOVE it, so we can eat it much more often.

Eggplant Parmesan from Table for Two
Baked Eggplant Parmesan from Gimme Some Oven
Eggplant Parmesan (fried) from Make It Do

7. Chicken Cacciatore. This is another dish, that I remember the first time I had it. My adoptive mums Pam and Rosemary, had taken me out to dinner, to our favorite place (which just happened to be an Italian restaurant), and I decided to try something new. Prior to that I had always ordered spaghetti or eggplant Parmesan. I LOVED it. I mean I really, really loved it. That actually started me on a road to trying as many dishes on their menu, as I could. I found a lot of new favorites that way, some that probably should have made it onto this list, but I could only pick ten, so I stuck with the ones that eat most often. Actually, you might could say that Chicken Cacciatore started my love affair with Italian food, or it at least opened my mind to trying new things. One of the things that I particularly love about it, is the different variations. You can eat it traditionally, where it is like a stew, or you can eat it with pasta, or even pair it with rice or polenta. 

Favorite Cacciatore from Baking in a Tornado
Chicken Cacciatore from The Domestic Man
One Pot Chicken Cacciatore Pasta from Jessica Gavin
Classic Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta from The Daring Gourmet

8. Chicken Parmesan. Listen, all you really need to know is that I LOVE this dish. It is one of those dishes I will never turn down. I could be craving sushi, and you could offer me Chicken Parm, and I will happily accept. I just love it. I will say, I prefer when the chicken is really pounded thin. I am not sure why, but I just like it better, but won't turn down thick chicken either. This is another one, where I can remember the first time I tried it. It wasn't long after I tried Cacciatore for the first time. It was definitely a love at first bite situation. 

Baked Chicken Parmesan from SkinnyTaste
Chicken Parmesan Meatball Skillet from Delish (serve with ziti = YUM)

9. Fettuccine Alfredo. Now, I honestly should have listed this one sooner, but like I said, I listed them in random order. It should be higher, not because I love it the most, but because for a long time, it was my favorite Italian food. Now, don't stone me to death... My roots are very Italian, and yet for a big part of my life... Well, I hated Italian food. Not necessarily hated it, just did not appreciate it, and really never ate it. The problem was tomato sauce/marinara. I hated the stuff. My family has secret family recipes for the stuff, and I could not have cared less. I may have even insulted a few family members, by refusing to learn how to make the sauce. The truth was, if it was a sauce LOADED with meats, or a lasagna LOADED with cheese, I really did not want to eat it. Now, Alfredo was a different story. I LOVED it. For a long time, I would eat spaghetti with it. I would have to have some Alfredo made just for me on spaghetti night. While living at boarding school, and having no option but to eat the dinner prepared or go hungry, I did learn to tolerate spaghetti sauce. Slowly, the tolerance built, and my taste buds changed, and now I probably prefer meat sauce to Alfredo, but for a long while, Alfredo was definitely my go to.

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo from Martha Stewart
Broccoli Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo from Tastes Lovely
Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo From Closet Cooking
Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Fettuccine Alfredo from Yellow Bliss Road

10. Manicotti. Yet another one, where I remember the first time I tried it. My oldest sister Luci made it for me. Love at first bite. It is hard to go wrong with a dish where cheese is the star. I was actually upset I had not learned of it much sooner. I loved it. I do not eat it often, but I enjoy it when I do have it. It is one of my go to Italian dishes for special occasions. It is a comfort food for me. It reminds me of good times with my sister, plus it is just plain delicious. 

Meatless Manicotti from Baking in a Tornado
Easy Three-Cheese Manicotti from Pip and Ebby
Chicken and Spinach Manicotti from Go Go Go Gourmet

Well, there you go, my favorite Italian foods. What are yours? Do we have some in common? Are you not a fan of Italian? I would love to see any recipes you may think I would enjoy! Thank you for taking the time to check out my top ten list!!

Here are the links to all the other bloggers sharing their Top Ten Italian Foods:

Pamela at The Wrights' Days of Fun

Mandy and Justin at With Love

Karen at Dinosaur Superhero Mommy


  1. Oh my goodness, it's lunchtime around here, and I wish somebody would make me some Italian food off your list!
    So many yummy ones!
    I love that you connect your food memories with loved ones! Sending positive vibes your aunt Jackie's way! ❤🍀

    1. I'm definitely an emotional person. I don't really show them or cry, but they guide my choices and permeate my memories. I definitely associate people and emotions, with memories and food.

  2. I love that you included recipe links after listing off Italian dishes; it makes it super easy to take an idea and make it! :) If you had to say, which would be your favorite entree off of your list? (I know cannolis would probably take the lead which is why I asked about entrees. 😀)

    1. Only One?!?! Oy. Even ten was hard... Okay... One... I'd have to say... Ummmm.... Veggie Lasagna. I think. It's hard to pick one, but I think that's it. Cacciatore was so close. Maybe that. Oy.

  3. so many delicious foods there...I so want it all now...can I have them all and slowly pick from each plate?

    1. Yessss!! That's how my family does it on holidays. :)

  4. Love your list and I'm so craving cannoli now as I haven't had one for a very long time and I don't think anywhere near here sells them. I also forgot about eggplant parmesan when I did my list - love it. Thanks for reminding me of some very yummy foods.

  5. a Cup of coffee is always the perfect end to Breakfast or lunch or dinner matter what part of the meal but it is always very tasty, and most importantly efficiently and at home



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