Jamie says: Palm Sunday- a holiday I associate with Grandma, family, and lots of good ol’ Italian food. This year, I decided early on that I wanted to host a Palm Sunday Dinner at my apartment and cook just like my Grandma. And so I did. I had 9 guests join me. It was a special and splendid feast. Oh, and I bet you’re wondering, “what did they eat?” Here’s the menu (and you can make it, too):
- Italian Bread and Dipping Oil
- Cranberry Salad
- Sesame Whole Wheat Flatbread with Roasted Zucchini and Squash, Fresh Mozzarella and Garden Herbs
- Pork Meatball and Sausage Baked Ziti
Here’s what the baked ziti looked like before baking… lots of layers- like onions…
Pork Meatball and Sausage Baked Ziti
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 lb Italian style pork meatballs (Publix)
- 2 1/2 lbs mild Italian fresh sausage links (Publix)
- two 13.25-oz boxes 100% whole grain penne (Publix)
- three 26-oz jars basil & tomato pasta sauce (Publix Premium)
- 32 oz part skim ricotta cheese (Sorrento)
- 8 oz (2 cups) low moisture part skim mozzarella fancy shredded cheese (Publix)
- Parmesan cheese (Publix)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Slice onion.
- In two large saute pans on medium heat, brown pork meatballs and sausage links for about 5 minutes. Add sliced onions to saute pan and cook an additional 5 minutes, rotating sausage and meatballs. Set sauteed onions aside. In a large baking dish (Pyrex pan), cook sausage and meatballs until they are cooked throughout, about 7 minutes. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add penne pasta to pot and cook according to directions on box, about 12 minutes. Stir sauce and onions into pasta.
- In a large baking dish, fill the bottom of the dish with a layer of pasta with sauce. Next, add dollops of ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese. Follow with a layer of sliced meatballs and sausage. Repeat layering- pasta, cheeses, and finally meatballs and sausage. Lastly, sprinkle with with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until hot.
Sesame Whole Wheat Flatbread with Roasted Zucchini and Squash, Fresh Mozzarella and Garden Herbs
- 1 lb fresh yellow squash
- 1 1/3 lb fresh zucchini squash
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb 100% whole wheat pizza dough made with organic ingredients (Publix GreenWise), take out of refrigerator 1 hour prior to use
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella
- 1o leaves fresh basil
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- no-stick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Slice yellow squash into circles. Cut zucchini in half, width-wise, and cut into strips. Place on a large baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Spray no-stick cooking spray on a large baking sheet. Use a mini rolling pin to spread pizza dough on pan. Bake for about 10 minutes.
- Slice fresh mozzarella into circles, and cut each in half.
- Sprinkle dough with sesame seeds. Top with cooked squash and zucchini and fresh mozzarella. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and dough is lightly crispy.
- Rinse and dry fresh herbs. Use kitchen shears to chop herbs over flatbread. Use a pizza cutter to serve.
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 organic tomato
- 1 can organic low sodium chickpeas (Publix GreenWise)
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce (Publix)
- 1 package dried organic cranberries (Newman’s Own)
- Cranberry ginger dressing (Stonewall Kitchen)
- Slice onion. Chop tomato. Rinse and drain chick peas.
- Rinse lettuce. Use a salad spinner to dry. Tear lettuce and place in a large bowl. Toss in onion, tomato, chickpeas, and dried cranberries. Serve cranberry ginger dressing on the side.
Italian Bread and Dipping Oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (California Olive Ranch)
- 1 lb loaf Italian five grain bread (Publix)
- Divide salt, freshly ground pepper, and dried oregano among 3 small plates. Pour extra virgin olive oil on top.
- Divide bread among 3 separate, medium-sized plates.
- Serve bread with dipping oil.
- Nutrition note: Lighten up a favorite recipe by making healthier substitutions: 100% whole wheat ziti instead of regular ziti and part skim ricotta instead of ricotta made with whole milk. P.S. My guests couldn’t even tell the ziti was 100% whole wheat.