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Video: Cook up 4 family- and budget-friendly meals

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    >>> with your weekly "mapped out meals" our family friendly recipes to share with you. donnatella thank you for being here.

    >> great cooking with you.

    >> simple and kid friendly.

    >> kid friendly, working mother now, too, and variety and healthy.

    >> we have the little ear pasta.

    >> with brock leeni, boil it together and keep it in a collander. you don't have to include the bacon, you let this brown and add fennel, garlic and hot pepper which is already done here and pour it in right here.

    >> you like to save aside the pasta water.

    >> secret ingredient.

    >> instead of using cream. all of it?

    >> that's good. honestly that's it, add a little extra olive oil , a little salt and pepper .

    >> monday's meal.

    >> you plate it here, monday's meal.

    >> you're going with chicken on tuesday but ramping it up, almond krups crusted chicken.

    >> eggs, tarragon, and you pan fry it in olive oil .

    >> they're chicken fingers just a little bigger. it's very healthy.

    >> exactly, let it cook for a couple minutes on each side and top it with a little tomato and arugula and scallions with a vinaigrette and they're getting a vegetable. i like to eat low calorie, too, as a mom especially when i'm dieting it's good to keep the options available for the mom and pretty for the summer.

    >> it is you go with the tomatoes wednesday night it's a meatless option.

    >> i meat polenta and it's gluten free, a lot of people with ciliac. grilled eed asparagus, it's very healthy.

    >> we had turkey on the first night, you've got turkey --

    >> turkey italian and then mexican. thursday a little chorizo, ground turkey and tacos, simple, easy, fun, the kids love it, the adults love it, not eating chicken fingers .

    >> you put a little sausage in the turkey so it's half healthy, half sinful.

    >> half healthy, half italian. it's easy, ease, variety, health and you're cooking in season.

    >> donnatella thank you very much.

    >> i didn't make you cook enough.

    >> i'll get my hands dirty next time. we'll have our complete shopping list of the four recipes at today.com. we're back in a moment. this is "today" on nbc.

TODAY recipes
updated 5/10/2013 6:13:28 PM ET 2013-05-10T22:13:28

1 bag orecchiete

1 box quick polenta

box corn taco shells or flour tortillas

2 cups broccolini

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1 small package cherry tomatoes

2 pounds ground turkey

4 6 ounce boneless chicken breasts

small package of bacon

1/2 chopped chorizo

Few eggs

extra virgin olive oil



fresh tarragon

head garlic

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

panko breadcrumbs



chicken broth


ricotta salata

red pepper flakes

packet taco seasoning





sour cream

Shop for four meals with a single grocery list by following these recipes from chef and restaurateur Donatella Arpaia. Here, she makes little ears pasta with ground turkey, almond-encrusted chicken Milanese, turkey chorizo tacos and polenta with grilled vegetables.

Recipe: Little ears pasta with ground turkey and broccolini (on this page) Recipe: Almond-encrusted chicken Milanese (on this page) Recipe: Turkey chorizo tacos (on this page) Recipe: Polenta with grilled vegetables (on this page)

Recipe: Little ears pasta with ground turkey and broccolini

  • 3/4 pound orecchiette
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 slices bacon chopped (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Ricotta salata or Parmesan, for serving

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the broccolini during the last minute. Drain and return the pasta and broccoli to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon when it starts to color add turkey, garlic, fennel seed, and red pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes; season with ½ teaspoon salt.

Toss the turkey mixture with the pasta and broccoli and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Serve with grated ricotta salata or parmesan

Recipe: Almond-encrusted chicken Milanese

  • 4 (6 ounces) Boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup sliced unbleached almonds
  • 2/3 panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh tarragon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20 cherry tomatoes halved red and yellow
  • 2 scallions trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons of evoo
  • 1 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted
  • lemon wedges for serving

Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel-place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap-pound gently with mallet to even thickness season generously with salt and pepper

Pulse almond into coarsely chopped-combine with panko and tarragon.. Lightly whisk eggs in a shallow bowl with pinch of salt-dip each piece of chicken into eggs letting excess drip away press onto panko coating.  meanwhile put tomatoes and scallions in bowl and add lemon juice evoo and tarragon. tops to coat and set aside.

Heat skillet over medium heat and add the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When butter has foamed place chicken in pan and increase heat to medium high --cut pail lards in halves arrange on platter serve immediately with tomato salad spooned on top with lemon wedges.

Recipe: Turkey chorizo tacos

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 pound ground chorizo
  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 medium red tomato, cored and chopped
  • 10 hard taco shells
  • Flour tortillas as well
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Salsa for garnish
  • Avocado, for garnish

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add onion and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add chorizo & turkey and cook, breaking up meat with the side of a spoon, just until meat is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in taco seasoning packet , salt, and tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add broth and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid becomes thick and clings to meat.

Divide meat mixture, lettuce, and tomato among taco shells and serve immediately with optional sour cream, pico de gallo, and avocado.

Serving Size

Makes 10 tacos

Recipe: Polenta with grilled vegetables

  • 41/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 13 ounce package of instant polenta
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 lb asparagus, grilled whole
  • 8 ounces parmigianno reggiano, shaved fresh herbs if desired

Combine chicken broth, milk and salt in a large heavy sauce pan and place over medium high heat bring liquid to a simmer. Gradually sprinkle polenta over it in a slow thin stream whisking constantly in the same direction until grains incorporated and lumps remain. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring with with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes.

Presentation: Spread polenta over large cutting board. On one side put large shards of Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs and some sliced cherry tomatoes and the other side grilled asparagus.

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