Stuffed Artichokes "Carciofi ripieni alla Romana" | Healthy Dinner Recipe

stuffed artichokes

This is one of my favorite comfort foods on a cold day. There’s something about stuffed artichokes that warms your soul. An italian staple. Healthy and delicious. Simply divine.


1. 6-8 large globe artichokes

2. 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs

3. 1 1/2  cups of Pecorino Romano Cheese

4. 1 large bunch of Parsley

5. 1 large egg

6. 2 garlic cloves, minced

7.  Juice of 1  large lemon

8. 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

9. 1 tbsp tomato paste

10. 1 can of crushed tomatoes ( I like Miur Glen or San Marzano canned tomatoes)


1. Prepare and clean the artichokes.  Cut top off (1/2 inch) and clip all tips of leaves so leaves are flat, making room for the stuffing. Stretch artichoke so that there is adequate space between each leaf.

2. Now make the stuffing. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, garlic, olive oil, ½ cup of chopped parsley, and tomato paste in large mixing bowl. Mix thouroughly

3. Stuff each artichoke, making sure the stuffing gets between the leaves and deep in the crevices.

4. Lay each artichoke flat in deep dish non stick pan. I can usually fit 6-8 to a pan depending on size.

6. Pour layer of chicken broth on bottom of pan to ensure they don’t burn (about 1 inch of liquid. Don’t worry, it will evaporate!).

5. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 1 hour until leaves become tender

6. For the last 10 minutes, take out the artichokes and  spoon 1 tablespoon of crushed tomatoes over each artichoke. Bake for another 10 mins.

7. Garnish with fresh thyme from the garden.

8. Let cool for 10 mins, and serve.



LIV Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad


“Tomato Caprese salad can be just okay or absolutely delicous depending on how you use in the ingredients.” - Barefoot Contessa

And she’s entirely right. Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs. Starting with the best ingredients and cooking simply without a ton of ingredients brings out the best flavors in foods. That’s how my mother always cooked, and it’s how some of the best cooks cook today. Every summer, I used to go home and my dad would bring out the best tomatoes from local farms in New England. We would slice them and layer them with creamy buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil from the garden, Italian EVOO and a special aged balsamic from Italy. We would eat outside with a good bottle of red, crusty Italian bread, and watch the sunset. Heaven on earth.

Here’s my dad’s recipe for tomato salad:


●     4-5 large summer beefsteak heirloom tomatoes sliced thin. Salt adequately to “bleed” them as my mother would say, or draw out the juices.

●     Buffalo mozzarella or Burrata. Make sure you buy the kind that is still in the brine as it’s the freshest and juiceiest with best consistency.

●     10-15 basil leaves from the garden, chopped.

●     Drizzle of good Italian olive oil. (Dad's Choice: Italian Ranieri Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

●     Drizzle of thick balsamic. (Dad's choice: Gemma Nera from Italy).

●     Sprinkle of coarse sea salt

●     Fresh pepper

●     Sprinkle of dried oregano

●     Loaf of crusty Italian bread (In Massachusetts, we like this company called Iggy’s which is located in Cambridge, or any of the Italian breads from the North End, especially in Boschetto’s or Parziale’s Bakery).


●     Layer all ingredients evenly on a large white platter or dish. Start with tomatoes, then mozzarella, then basil, drizzle with lots of EVOO, and a touch of balsamic. Finish with a sprinkle of dried oregano or fresh if you have in your garden. Serve immediately with crusty italian bread.


LIV Italian Chicken Sausage and Peppers | Healthy Dinner Recipe

This is one of my favorite warming meals, packed with bright red bell peppers, cancer fighting onions, garlic, fennel, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick.  Did you know one red bell pepper has more vitamin C than an orange?! I used organic and all natural bell and evans turkey sausage instead of pork. Healthier and less fat. Pair with a piece of crusty Italian bread and you’ve got a delicious meal for days. My Maternal grandmother“Nonna” used to make this for my mom to bring to school back in the 60’s.. tried and true Italian classic.   Mangia!


  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1.25 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage ( about 4 or 5 sausages)
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes (Muir glen or san marzano)
  • ½ tsp of crushed fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2.3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, leave some whole leaves for presentation at the end
  • 1 loaf of Italian crusty bread


Heat Oil in large skillet over low to medium heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on each side about 9-11 minutes.  Add peppers, onions, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and cook for 7 more minutes. Then add fennel, oregano, and garlic and cook for2 more minutes on low heat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and cook for 25 minutes on low heat, until sauce becomes thickened and aromatic. Serve in large soup bowls with warm crusty bread. Top with fresh basil and serve immediately.