Couponing for the Rest of Us

Pantry Cooking Saturday: Italian & More Italian!


We frugal foodies have unique challenges that normal shoppers don’t.  This little segment aims to help by offering:

  • Stockpile-cooking ideas
  • Clever Casseroles in which to hide your leftovers from the hubby & kids
  • Kitchen tips & tricks
  • Freezer-cooking recipes & planning
  • And really, everything but the kitchen sink!

Our very own “Deal Detective Kim” has generously offered to take the lead on this one (aspiring food writer that she is) – so now, I’ll turn it over to you Kim!

Italian Meals:

This week is the Viva Italia sale at Publix, and I’m so excited–I love Italian food!   That means this week you get a BOGO on columns, too, because there’s my original Italian column HERE and  I’m also re-running my spaghetti sauce and lasagna recipes:

Spaghetti Sauce:

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 sm or 1 lg can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
2 T. Italian seasoning
salt to taste

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown first 3 ingredients together. Drain off any grease, then add remaining ingredients and simmer 20-30 minutes. **Note: For vegetarians, leave out the beef, instead cook the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. (I also like to mix in a couple of links of Italian sausage, casings removed, with the beef but that’s personal preference.)

I also like to use leftover spaghetti sauce to make:


9 lasagna noodles, cooked (unless you get the no-cook kind)
leftover spaghetti sauce or pasta sauce from a jar
at least 2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
1 sm container Ricotta cheese
1 lg container Cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 additional cup of shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 425 and spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the cheeses and the 2 beaten eggs in a bowl. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of noodles–it should take 3. Spread 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce over that. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over that. Lasagna is a great place to hide veggies from your kids, so feel free to sneak in spinach, mushrooms, even finely shredded carrots or zuchini–they’ll never know! Continue layering pasta, sauce, and cheese until your pan is almost full or you run out, whichever comes first. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot and bubbly, about an hour. If your pan is really full, put a cookie sheet on the rack underneath your pan to catch drips and save clean-up! Once it’s almost ready, pull it out, take off the foil, spread the extra cup of cheese on top and put back into the oven until that melts–usually 5 or 10 minutes. Let it cool a few minutes (if you can! I have no willpower to resist the delicious aroma!) to make it easier to cut into. This is one of my favorite of my Mom’s recipes and I’ve really been craving it lately…so I see a pan of it in my very near future!

Of course, who doesn’t want a little somethin-somethin after dinner? So I went looking and found this, which fits right in with our theme AND uses that Ricotta that’s on sale this week (if you didn’t get the really great deal last week like I did!)

Ricotta Pie:


* 2 pounds (32 ounces) ricotta cheese
* 1/2 cup sugar
* pinch salt
* 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest
* 3 eggs
* 1/4 cup grated unsweetened chocolate
* 1/4 cup grated white chocolate
* 1/4 cup ground hazelnuts
* pastry for 2 pie crusts

Combine the ricotta, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well. Chill the mixture overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator in order for it to become fluffy and moist. This overnight rest also takes the bite out of the ricotta and makes it mild and sweet.

Next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray Pam on a 9 inch tart pan (removable sides). Roll out one piece of dough into 12 inch circle. Fit into tart pan. Roll out remaining dough and cut into strips for lattice and reserve for top of pie.

Stir together the eggs, white and milk chocolate, zest, ground hazelnuts then combine with the ricotta. Hand mix well.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pastry shell. Use pastry strips to form a lattice on top of the pie, trim off the edge of crust with knife to form a tart type edge.

Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes until cake is lightly brown and filling is firm. Let pie cool, then refrigerate to set.

To serve, slice the cake into wedges and lightly dust with confectioner’s sugar.

(I have not tested this recipe YET, but trust me when I say I’m going to make it sooner rather than later!)

…. Until next time,

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