Week 2: A Mini Italian Lesson (Recipe: Saucy Parmesan Chicken)

As promised, another Italian lesson!  I thought I was going to have to miss class tomorrow because I was supposed to have a work trip in DC; however, due to the inclement weather (here and in DC), the trip has been canceled!  But I just got an email that class is also canceled! :::sigh:::

One of the most important lessons from our last class was that when in Italy we should definitely try to speak Italian because Italians truly appreciate your effort to speak their language.  Our professor warned us that Italians may smile or even giggle at you but it is not making fun of you like it would be in the U.S.

We also learned the nephews of Donald Duck:  Qui, Qua, Quo.  We all laughed at that.

We also started learning grammar in this class.  Every word has a gender in Italian unlike the English language. The big clue we are supposed to look out for is that a majority of masculine singular words end in “o” and a majority of feminine singular end in “a”. There is a third type of word that can be masculine or feminine that often ends in “e” for the singular and “i” for the plural. Here, you have to be very careful because feminine plural also ends in “e”. (I would call these words neutral because that is what we called them in Latin even though that isn’t what my Italian professor called it.)

The gender and number is fundamental in the choice of the article. However, you can also use the article and the adjective to give you a clue to the gender when reading Italian. For instance, while a noun ending in “o” often signals masculine singular, “la mano” is actually feminine singular and you can tell from the article in front of the noun.

My vocabulary list of words to learn is becoming extensive!  But our professor tries to teach us words that will be helpful such as “train” (il treno), “ticket” (il biglietto), “trip/journey” (il viaggio), “book” (il libro), “luggage” (la valigia), “bank” (la banca), and “automobile” (la macchina).

And then there are some confusing words that switch from hard sounds to soft sounds when switching from singular to plural.  Most of the time when you are making a word plural, you alter the ending to keep the original hard/soft sound (ex. “banca” (fem, sing) to “banche” (fem, plural)).  However, some words like “amico” (hard sound in singular) switch to “amici” (soft sound in plural), and “medico” (hard sound in singular) switches to “medici” (soft sound in plural). Ah! So many rules to remember!

Oh, and something else good to know!  “Lei” is the polite subject pronoun for either a man or a woman to use in any business relationship.  For instance, you would want to use “Lei” to a waiter/waitress when having dinner.

AND if you ask someone “How are you?”, you must be prepared for their genuine answer.  When you ask this it means that you are sincerely interested in knowing how the person feels, and the person will tell you!!

And there is your mini Italian lesson for the week!

Running Tip: Try racing in lightweight flats. The heavier your footwear, the more oxygen you consume. With each ounce of weight lost in a shoe, a runner can improve his or her time by about one second per mile according to studies. Holy cow!

And look how cute we are!  I wish Envy was looking at the camera, but I love this picture!


2 years ago: Week 8 Wrap-Up:  Half-Way There! (Recipe: Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies, Take 3!)

Quote of the Day:

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” -Rita Schiano

In an effort to eat more protein, I made this Saucy Parmesan Chicken.  It was just okay on its own, but when I put it with pasta it was actually pretty good!  You know I love my carbs!

Saucy Parmesan Chicken

Saucy Parmesan Chicken


– 1/2 cup chopped onion

– 2 tablespoons butter

– 1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted

– 1/3 cup beer

– 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/8 teaspoon pepper

– 6 boneless chicken breast halves

– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


– In a large skillet, saute the chopped onion in butter until tender. Add the soup, beer, curry, oregano, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil.

– Reduce he heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

– Place chicken in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish.  Pour soup mixture over chicken.  Bake, uncovered, at 375* for 24-28 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170*.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Courtesy of Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook

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