Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Cranberry Cocktail

 8 cups of Cranberry Juice chilled
 8 cups of pineapple-orange juice chilled

 In a large pitcher mix cranberry juice and pineapple-orange juice mix really well.

Serve on ice or crushed ice.


Italian Croutons

5 cups (1 inch) Italian bread cubed
1/4 cup butter melted
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper

Preheat oven 350

On a rimmed large baking sheet, place bread, drizzle with melted butter, sprinkle with garlic powder and red pepper. Toss well, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.  Mix occasionally so it is evenly golden and crisp.  Cool and serve with salad.

Creamed Cauliflower

2 large heads of Cauliflower
3 cups od Rachel Ray chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons of soft butter
Parsley and olive oil

Preheat oven 350 degree
Spray 2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray

Cut cauliflower into 2 inch pieces.

In a large pan combine cauliflower and chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook for 12 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.  Drain once tender.  In blender or food processor, pulse cauliflower in small batches until all done.  Add cream and butter until smooth. Add salt and pulse to combine.  Spoon into prepared dish.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden on top.  Drizzle with olive oil.




Cornstarch for dusting
3 cups whole blanched almonds
... 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups sugar
1 cup clover honey
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange

Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer

Heat oven to 350º. Lightly dust a clean work surface with cornstarch. Line a 9- x 13- inch baking dish with parchment paper, letting excess paper hang over edges.

Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once halfway through, until fragrant and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack; let nuts cool completely.

Put egg whites and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk; set aside.

In a heavy 4-quart saucepan with candy thermometer attached, heat sugar and honey over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture begins to simmer and sugar is mostly dissolved, 12 to 14 minutes (mixture will be very thick, then begin to loosen and turn cloudy). Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reaches 280º degrees. Continue to cook mixture, stirring once or twice, until temperature reaches 315º. It will take the mixture about 15 minutes more to reach that temperature (the mixture will begin to foam and darken in color as temperature increases).

Meanwhile, beat egg whites on medium speed until firm peaks form. Add confectioners sugar and continue to beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute more. Turn off mixer, leaving bowl in place.

When sugar mixture reaches 315º, remove from heat; stir until temperature reduces to 300º, 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully remove candy thermometer. With mixer on medium speed, slowly pour sugar mixture down the side of the bowl (egg mixture will double in volume, then decrease); continue to beat until mixture is cooled to warm and begins to lighten in color, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and zest; beat for 1 minute more, then, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, fold in nuts (mixture will be very sticky).

Turn out candy onto prepared work surface; dust hands with cornstarch. Knead for 5 to 6 turns, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Dust hands with more cornstarch, then press candy to flatten and fill pan. Put pan on wire rack and let candy cool completely, about 1 hour.

Using parchment paper overhang, lift out candy from pan; cut candy into pieces. Layer in a sealed container, between sheets of parchment paper and let stand overnight, with container sealed and at room temperature, to dry, at least 8 hours or overnight. Candy can be kept, layered between sheets of parchment paper, in a sealed container at room temperature, for up to 3 weeks.

December Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust for pie
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted unsalted butter

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin pureed
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon  ground cloves
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon, add melted butter. Press down  into a 9-inch springform pan, and set aside

Beat cream cheese until  nice and smooth, add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and all spices, add flour and vanilla. Beat together until mixture is well combined.
Pour into crust, and spread evenly in the springform pan.

Place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes.

Cover  and refrigerate for 4-5 hours.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sweet & Creamy Yams

 5-7 yams or sweet potatoes
 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup brown sugar
 Pecans or walnuts (optional)
 2 eggs
 1/3 cup milk
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 1 teaspoon cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
 1/4 teaspoon allspice
 1/4 teaspoon  ginger

 Topping: 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup flour 1/2 cup chopped pecans 2 Tablespoon melted butter.

 Peel and slice the yams  about 1/2" thick

 Boil them in boiling salted water

 Once soft drain and mash sweet potatoes well and then add them into a baking dish.

Mash the sweet potatoes with the sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and spices until light and fluffy.

Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes at 350

 Meanwhile, mix up the topping by combining the brown sugar, flour, and pecans.

After 20 minutes, take out the sweet potatoes, sprinkle the topping over them, drizzle the melted butter over the topping and pop back into the oven for 25 minutes.

Italian Style Sirloin Tips over Noodles

 3 Tablespoon extra olive oil
 3 cloves garlic, minced
 1 1/2 pounds sirloin cut into chunks or beef sirloin tips
 8 oz fresh mushrooms cut in 4
 1 1/2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  Pepper (Dash)
  Italian seasoning grinder, 6 twists (By McCormick) it is a blend of seasoning
 1 cup red wine
 1 1/2 cups  beef stock broth
 3/4 cup flour
 3 carrots sliced thinly
 3 tablespoons parsley

   Buttered egg noodles I whole package

 Cut beef into cubes put in bowl and add in the flour then season with salt and pepper, making sure   that beef is covered with the mixture

 In a Dutch Oven over medium, heat the olive oil and brown beef cubes with the garlic, add  mushrooms, carrots, tomato paste, salt, pepper, parsley and beef stock, Italian seasoning and red wine.

Cook for about 30 minutes. or until the beef is tender.  Serve over the lightly cooked and buttered   noodles.


Rigatoni & Sausage

1 package of Mild Italian sausage
1 pound package of rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 sweet pepper chopped
3 tablespoons of parsley chopped
3 tablespoons of cheese

Pasta red sauce

Boil sausage till no longer pink, drain and cut into slices  and set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté garlic until golden, but not burnet, add pepper, sauté for 2 for about 3-4 minutes until tender, add sausage, stir in pasta sauce, and heat well, stir in the pasta, and toss together well, add parsley and 3 tablespoons of cheese.

Italian Roasted Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs. of yellow potatoes, washed and quartered
1 whole garlic
Olive oil
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
 Salt and white ground pepper
Chicken stock, up to 1/2 cup (optional)

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 Cut tip of garlic. Place on aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
 Wrap in aluminum foil tightly. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour. Allow to cool. 

Place potatoes in water with out skin on and bring to a boil. Cook until you can insert a fork easily. Strain water.

Place potatoes in electric mixer and mix you to consistency you prefer, take the garlic and us the pulp from the garlic to flavor,  Add heavy cream, add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix until potatoes and mixture are well blended to a smooth consistency or chunky as you prefer. 


 4 turnips
 2 tablespoons butter
 2 tablespoons flour
 1 tablespoon sugar
 1 cup milk
 salt & pepper    

 Peel the turnips, then dice into small size chunks.
 Place the turnips into a pan and fill with water until almost reaches the top of the turnips.
 Bring to a boil then cover, medium heat for 10 minutes, and drain the turnips.

 Place the turnips into the saucepan and add water until almost covering the turnips add the sugar and mix, cover and simmer until the turnips are fork tender then drain all of the water except for a small amount on the bottom of the pan. (Reserve the turnips). Boiling the turnips a second time gets rid of the bitterness of the turnip.

In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat then add the flour. Stir well and constantly to form a paste, add the milk and continue to stir with a whisk until the mixture thickens, add the reserved turnips and combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste as you like. It you want it less thick add more milk.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Relish

 4 medium tart apples
 8oz fresh cranberries
 2 small navel oranges
1 cup of sugar   

Using a blender chop ingredients.

For more tart flavor, grate some orange peel 

Maria's Pizzelle

 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 3 large eggs
 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
 1 tablespoon almond, orange, vanilla extract or anise extract  

 Preheat Pizzelle maker while preparing the batter.
 Place flour and baking powder in a small bowl and stir to combine reserve.
 Place eggs and sugar in a medium bowl. With a hand mixer, mix on medium speed for 1 minute, until thickened.
On low speed, add the melted butter and vanilla in a steady stream and mix until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds, do not over mix.  Lightly brush both the top and bottom grids with melted butter before baking.
Use the spoon a to scoop the dough, about 1-1/2 – 2 teaspoons, and drop in the middle of one of the patterned cookie grids, repeat on second grid.

Close the lid and lock. The red indicator light will come on. When the red indicator light goes out and the green indicator light comes on, the pizzelle are ready. For a lighter colored pizzelle, bake for a shorter time, for darker and crisper pizzelle, add a few more seconds.

 Remove pizzelle from the press using a heatproof plastic spatula and place on a rack to cool completely.

Warm pizzelle may be wrapped around the dowel to form cannoli shells.

Completely cooled pizzelle may be dusted with powdered sugar before serving.

Variations: Marble Pizzelle: Add different food coloring, or Add 2 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate to the batter.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) butter, melted
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin

2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper,  overhang on both sides.

 In a medium bowl beat together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt; set aside.

 In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Add the pumpkin and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, gently stir or fold the flour into the pumpkin mixture until just combined.

 Scraped the batter into the pan and smooth the top. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon, and then sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center has just a few moist crumbs on it. Once all cooled lift out with the parchment, cut into squares.

Hot Italian Pastrami Sandwiches

6  sliced pastrami
2 tablespoons of brown mustard
4 ounces of beer
3 thin slices onion (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper (optional)
2 slices rye bread or Marble bread
Sharpe Provolone 2 slices
In sauce pan combine beer and mustard and boil. add pastrami and simmer for 4 minutes.  Toast bread or leave as is. Brush onions on both sides with oil, season with salt and pepper,  and then broil in oven boiler on both sides.
After beer mixture is ready and bread and onions are ready, make your sandwiches.
Makes on sandwich

Italian Chicken Piccata

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound thinly sliced or pounded boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth (Progresso or Rachel Ray)
One small 3 1/2-ounce jar capers, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil  in a large skillet over medium heat, make sure not to burn the oil.
Beat the eggs in a deep bowl,  in another deep bowl, mix the flour and Parmesan, Dip the chicken pieces in the eggs and then in the flour-cheese mixture coating well.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the heated olive oil, and when the butter melts, add the chicken breasts that you dipped in flour, cook until browned 3 minutes on each side then add chicken to a platter and set aside.

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the garlic to the skillet drippings. Saute the garlic for 20-30 seconds, do not to burn. Add the chicken broth and capers to the skillet, and mix together.

Cook the liquid on low heat until reduced by half, 8 minutes, add the vinegar, lemon juice and heat it.

Return the chicken to the skillet, and coat the sauce over the chicken. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and the chicken is cooked through, an additional  10-12 minutes.

Delicious Chicken Marsala

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in halves (this makes enough for 4 people)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock (Progresso or Rachel Ray Brand)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl mix together, flour, garlic powder, onion, and cayenne pepper and stir together well.
Cover your chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, one at a time and  shake well to remove any extra flour.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until oil is not, but to not burn.
Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Add to a plate and set aside.

 Add 1 tablespoon of the butter that is left  to the pan and add the washed and sliced mushrooms and. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edge. their edge. Add the Marsala  wine  boil, making sure to scrape and to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add chicken stock,  and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, then  add salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve hot.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


4  medium cooking apples, peeled, cut into fourths and cored                  
1/2 cup water                                                                                              
1/4  cup packed brown sugar or 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar                                                                                                                      
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                                                                              
1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg 

In 2-quart saucepan, heat apples and water to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally,
lower heat and let simmer uncovered 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up apples, until tender.

Once cooled you can puree with blender if you like it smoother.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat and let boil.
Boil and stir 1 minute. Cover and refrigerate until serving

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pancetta & Peas

1/4 or 1 cup pound of pancetta (dice) 
1 shallot sliced
1 garlic clove minced
Grated orange zest
Juice from that orange
3 cups of pea's  (You can use fresh)
1/4 cup of fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon of butter

Cook the pancetta in a large skillet on low heat, until crispy but not burnt for about 7 minutes.
Add the shallot, and garlic cook about 2 minutes and then add the orange juice.  Add pea's and increase the temperature to medium.  Cook until the peas are tender for about 4 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the orange zest to the mixture, then parsley and butter.  Season with salt if you would like, but take a bit first because pancetta has its own salty taste.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Post holiday Slaw


1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons of cider or white vinegar
6 tablespoons mayonnaise


4 cups shredded cabbage and carrots
1 cup of silvered ham
1 cup chopped apple leave the peel on
1/2 cup mixed raisins (use mixed golden, dark and red if you can
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup walnuts (Optional)

Mix dressing ingredients together in a big bowl, and the salad ingredients and mix together well.


Fast and easy Date-nut mini Tarts

One 14 ounce box frozen pie dough  (Two sheets to a box)
2 eggs at room temp
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons of salted butter(melted)
1/2 cup finely chopped dates
1.2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Heat oven 375

Using a 2 1/2 round cookie cutter, take one of the thawed pie sheets, and cut out about 12 out of the dough.  Fit these cut outs into 2 nonstick 12 cup mini muffin tins.  Refrigerate.

With electric mixer, beat eggs, brown sugar on high speed until thick and foamy for about 2 minutes.  Slowly beat in the corn syrup and butter.

In a medium bowl, combine the dates and nuts, and divide the mixture into the muffin tin cups, fill below the dough's edge.

Bake until puffed and set, about 2 minutes.  Let cool in the muffin tin. 


Sicilian Spaghetti with Anchovies

1 pound of spaghetti
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 teaspoon of Chile pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
6 anchovy fillets  (2 cans)
! 28 ounce can of whole peeled Italian tomatoes

Boil a medium pot of water, add a sprinkle of salt, cook the pasta al dente.  Once cooked drain.

In blender or food processor. puree the onion, garlic, parsley, thyme and lemon zest.  Add about 1/2 cup of  chicken broth.

In a large saucepan on medium heat, heat olive oil, add the anchovies cooking until they melt.  Add the onion and Chile pepper, and stir for about 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and remaining chicken stock.  Crush the tomatoes with a spoon.

Cook the sauce until thickened, about 25 minutes, add spaghetti to the sauce.

Serve with Italian bread and a glass of red wine.


Monday, August 12, 2013

St. Josephs Day Zeppole


Ricotta Cream Filling
One 15 Ounce Container Ricotta
¾ Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¼ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Candied Citron Or Orange peel


1 Cup Water
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Unbleached Flour
4 Large Eggs
Vegetable Oil For Frying

Candied Cherries – Cut In Half For Garnish

2 Tablespoons Chopped Unsalted Pistachios For Garnish (Optional)

Confectioners’ Sugar

In a medium Bowl, whisk the ricotta, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and candied fruit. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

To make the puffs, bring the water, the butter and the salt to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once and stir well with a wooden spoon until the flour is completely incorporated.

Return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly and turning the dough often, until the dough begins to leave a thin film on the bottom of the saucepan (about 3 minutes). This dries the dough so the puffs will be crisp. With a rubber spatula, scrape the dough into a large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Continue to beat until smooth – about 2 minutes more.

In a deep heavy saucepan or deep fryer, heat about 3 inches of oil until the temperature reaches 375° F on a deep frying thermometer or until a small bit of the dough dropped into the oil sizzles and turns brown in 1 minute. With a tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of batter and with another spoon, carefully push the dough into the oil so that it doesn't splash. Continue to add the dough by the spoonfuls without crowding the pan. The dough will puff up and double in size to do not add too many at one time or they will stick together. Cook, turning them often, until the dough breaks open – about 4 minutes. Continue to cook 1 to 2 minute more or until crisp and golden brown. Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon or skimmer and place them on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let cool slightly.

With a small knife, split fritter partway open. Spoon the cream inside, allowing it to show through the split. Press a cherry half into the cream and sprinkle with pistachios (optional). (If it is not St. Joseph’s Day, you can just shake these, without the filling in a bag with confectioners’ sugar and serve like donuts).

Dust the sfingi with confectioners’ sugar. These are best right after they are made. Makes 12

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pork Tenderloin

 1/2 cup Balsamic Salad Dressing
 1/2 cup seedless blackberry jam Salt(Salt is optional) and pepper, to taste
 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 Pinch of cayenne pepper
 2 pork tenderloins about 2 lbs.

Preheat oven to 425 and lightly coat  roasting pan with non-stick cooking oil spray.

Glaze, in a medium size microwave safe bowl warm  jam for 30 to 40 seconds, and whisk until nice and smooth in the same bowl, add Balsamic Salad Dressing, pinch of salt and pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and mix together until well

Divide the glaze evenly into two bowls. Sprinkle pork loins with a generous amount of salt and pepper and transfer to roasting pan. Cook  the pork loins for 12-15 minutes. Take one bowl of glaze, brush each loin with the glaze and put in the  oven for another 4 minutes and Repeat the process.

When the pork loins are cooked through, remove from the oven and cover the tenderloins with   aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes. Get rid of any left over glaze that used for brushing pork. Slice meat and drizzle with the unused glaze.

Bean Soup with Garlic Italian Bread

6 slices Italian Garlic bread (toasted) Freezer brand is fine to use
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
5 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onions
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
 Salt (optional) and black pepper
 2 cans white beans  (15.8 oz.)
 6 cups chicken stock  (My Favorite is Rachel Ray)  But you use whatever you like
 Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake Garlic bread according to directions. Cool and cut into 1 ½ “ pieces.

 Heat olive oil in a large soup pot, add bacon cooking until nice and crispy, once cooked remove bacon and  add onions, celery and carrots and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5-8 minutes.

Add tomato paste, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 3 minutes, add beans and stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer and cook for 35 minutes.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Garlic Toast pieces to a Dutch oven or a large deep ovenproof baking dish. Pour soup over bread and bake 30 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese.  (You can also add toast to a slow cooker, and pour soup over it and let cook low for 30 minutes.)

Old fashion Cucumber Summer Sandwiches

 1 cup Dill Veggie dip any brand
 Dip 6 slices of thin brown or white bread or sourdough bread
 English cucumber, sliced very thin
 Chopped radishes very fine cut

Spread all slices of bread generously with Dill Veggie Dip, then layer slices of bread with cucumber slices, sprinkle with chopped radishes the top with a teaspoon of dip.

Cut sandwiches in half on an angle and place on a tray or plate depending on how many you make, parchment paper and cover and place in refrigerator until ready to eat.   

Italian Pecan Cream Cake

2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
5 large eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:
1(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Grease and flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans.

Beat the sugar, shortening, and butter until light and fluffy, add  egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each one is added.

In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat flour mixture into egg mixture in 2 batches alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until combined. Beat in vanilla, cinnamon, and chopped pecans.

 Beat egg whites in another bowl until they form stiff peaks and fold into batter gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Cool cake layers in pans on racks 10 minutes and invert cakes onto racks to cool completely.

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, until creamy. Stack cake layers on a cake plate, spreading about 1/2 cup frosting between each layer. Spread remaining frosting on top and side of cake.

Italian Lemon Pound Cake

1  1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons softened sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup oil

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Use a mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

Pour wet ingredient into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.
Add oil and mix well.

Pour batter into a well greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into center of the cake comes out clean.


1 cup powdered  plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Lemon icing by combining all the icing ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer on low speed.

When the loaf is cool, remove it from pan and frost the top with the icing.
Let the icing dry before slicing.

Italian Walnut Rum Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 package 4 serving size of vanilla instant pudding
 4 eggs
 1/2 Crisco oil
 1 cup of walnuts
 1/2 cup dark rum

 Glaze topping

 1 stick of butter salt free
 1 cup of granulated  sugar
 1/4 cup water
 1/2 cup of dark rum

 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, using a bundt cake pan grease well, and about (1 Tablespoon)  of flour to coat pan, tap against  sink to  remove extra flour
 Pour the 1 cup of chopped nuts over the bottom of the pan, Mix all the cake ingredients together and  blend well and pour over nuts and bake for 1 hour.  While cake is cooling, prepare your glaze.

Melt butter into a saucepan , pour in and stir water and sugar, stir while you bring to boil the glaze mixture for about 5 minutes,  remove from the stovetop and add the rum slowly and mix together well.  After cake cools for about 20 minutes invert to remove from bundt pan and place on cake pan, prick the top of cake, and then drizzle and glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cooled cake. making sure that the cake absorbs the glaze. Let the cake stand and absorb the rum for about 10-12 hours, covered with aluminum foil

Italian Anisette Cookies

  1 cup butter, softened
  3/4 cups sugar
  1 teaspoon anise extract
  1 teaspoon lemon extract
  3 cups flour
  3 teaspoons baking powder
  1/8 teaspoon salt
  1 egg

  White Glaze

  1 cup powdered sugar
  colored sprinkles

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.  Beat together butter and sugar until creamy, stir in anise and lemon, add dry   ingredients, and blend     together, add egg and blend together well.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet that is ungreased.  Bake for  12-15 minutes, cool the cookies well before glazing and adding colored sprinkles.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Lasagna with Meat sauce

2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 pounds lasagna noodles
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs
Pinch salt and pepper
2½ cups Parmigiano-Reggiano grated cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, fresh sliced thin

2 35-ounce cans Tomatoes sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef  (you can do 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 Italian sausage
salt (Optional)
¾ cup red wine
⅓ cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
4 cups hot water
1 tablespoon of sugar

Heat the olive oil in a  4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat, add the onions, cook, stirring occasionally, until golden in color, add  in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly golden as well, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, and season lightly with salt. As you cool stir it to break up the meat, until the meat changes color for about 12 minutes, Continue cooking until the meat is browned about 8 minutes. Now add oregano then pour in the wine.

Bring to a boil and cook, scraping the sides of the pot, pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the tomato paste until is dissolved into the sauce. Season with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, the lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce takes on a deep, brick type color.  Cook for 2 to 3 hours. Add the hot water, about ½ cup at a time, as need to maintain the level of liquid for the time the sauce cooks.
I always skim off any fat floating on top and adjust and season as needed. The sauce can be prepared  in advance and refrigerated for up to 6 days, if your freeze up to three months.

Bring 6 quarts of salted water and the olive oil to a boil in an 8-quart pot over medium heat. Stir about one third of the lasagna noodles into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 10-12 minutes.

While the noodles are cooking, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper, in a mixing bowl until foamy. Add the ricotta and stir until thoroughly blended. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble the lasagna, ladle about 3/4 cup of the meat sauce over the bottom of a 15 x 10-inch baking dish.

Arrange noodles lengthwise and side by side so as to cover the bottom of the baking dish and overhang the short ends of the dish by about 2 inches.

 Also, the noodles will most likely overlap in the center of the dish. That is fine.) Spoon enough meat sauce, about 2 cups, to cover the noodles in an even layer. Sprinkle the sauce with 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Arrange a single layer of noodles crosswise over the cheese so they overhang the long sides of the baking dish by about 2 inches, again trimming the noodles and overlapping them as needed.

 Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Arrange a single layer of noodles lengthwise over the ricotta, trimming the noodles if needed. Arrange the sliced mozzarella in an even layer over the noodles.

 Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the cheese and sprinkle with 1 cup of grated cheese, over the sauce. Cover with a layer of noodles, arranged lengthwise. Spoon sauce, about 2 cups, to cover the noodles in an even layer and sprinkle the sauce with 1 cup grated cheese. Turn the noodles overhanging the sides and ends of the dish over the lasagna, leaving a rectangular uncovered space in the middle. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce over the top layer of noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Cover very loosely with aluminum foil and bake 45-50 minutes.  

Uncover the lasagna and continue baking until the top is crusty around the edges, about 25 minutes. Let rest at least 25 minutes before serving.   Serve with crusty Italian Bread and a Glass of red wine.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chocolate Lasagna


1 package regular Oreo cookies (Not Double Stuff) – about 36 cookies
6 Tablespoon butter, melted
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
... 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cold milk
1- 12 ounce tub Cool Whip, divided
2 – 3.9 ounce packages Chocolate Instant Pudding.
3 1/4 cups cold milk
1 and 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips


1. Begin by crushing 36 Oreo cookies. I used my food processor for this, but you could also place them in a large ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. When the Oreos have turned into fine crumbs, you are done.
2. Transfer the Oreo crumbs to a large bowl. Stir in 6 tablespoons melted butter and use a fork to incorporate the butter into the cookie crumbs. When the butter is distributed, transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you work on the additional layers.
3. Mix the cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in 2 Tablespoons of milk, and sugar, and mix well. Stir in 1 and 1/4 cups Cool Whip. Spread this mixture over the crust.
4. In a bowl, combine chocolate instant pudding with 3 and 1/4 cups cold milk. Whisk for several minutes until the pudding starts to thicken. Use a spatula to spread the mixture over the previous cream cheese layer. Allow the dessert to rest for about 5 minutes so that the pudding can firm up further.
5. Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the top. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips evenly over the top. Place in the freezer for 1 hour, or the refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.

Baked Italian French Toast

1 Loaf of Italian bread Soft crust

1/2 stick of soften unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1  2/3 cup of whole milk


6 tablespoons of sugar

Your favorite Maple Syrup

Cut 12 thick on inch slices of Italian bread, butter one side of each slice well and arrange slices up in a buttered 13x9x2 inch baking dish, just one layer, and the can fit tight in the baking dish. 

Mix well eggs, milk and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon until well mixed, then pour slowly  and evenly over Italian bread.  Let sit for about 5 minutes until the bread is has absorbed the egg mixture.

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.  Now sprinkle the bread with the sugar and more cinnamon if you would like.  Bake the French toast uncovered on the middle rack of your oven until you notice the bread is puffed and golden on top.

Cook for about 25-30 minutes. Many like the ends of the bread so you them if you like as well.

Serve hot with your favorite Maple Syrup.  This can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.  Just let the baking dish stand for about 1/2 in order for it to get to room temp. before putting in oven.  You can also top the with strawberry's or blueberry's.


Pulled Pork

3 pounds of Pulled Pork
1 package of slow cooker BBQ Pulled Pork seasoning
1/3 cup of Ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar

Place 3 pounds of pork in slow cooker

Mix seasoning packet, ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar until well blended. Pour over pork and cover. 

Cook for 9 hours on low for 5 hours. once cooked remove from slow cooker and shred pork with fork/  Once shredded place back in cooker.  Mix well and heat with sauce from cooker before you serve it.  Serve on your favorite rolls


Sloppy Joe

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 1/4 pounds of lean ground beef
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Montreal seasoning
1 medium chopped onion
1 small bell pepper (Red)
1 tablespoon of red wine
2 cups of tomato sauce (puree)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste (none seasoned)
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
In a deep pan, cook over medium heat, add the olive oil and ground beef to the pan.  Use a large fork to mix and break the meat up. Add in the brown sugar and Montreal seasoning and combine well. Once your meat is browned, add the onions, and red pepper to the pan.  Lower your heat and cook the onions, peppers, add the red wine and Worcestershire sauce to the meat and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and paste to the pan, and stir well to combine and season the entire mixture, and reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
This mixture can be spooned onto hamburger buns or a crusty roll, or over cooked rice of even a pasta of you choice.

Italian potato Cakes

Thanks to my Mom who never wasted anything! Mom would use leftover mashed potatoes and season them to her liking and made Italian potato cakes.

2 cups of Mashed leftover potatoes (or potatoes you made the night before for this purpose)
3 tablespoons of canola oil
1/2 cup of flour
1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2  teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Italian melody seasoning

Divide your mashed potatoes into 1/2 inch patties.  Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.

Mix the flour, pepper, and Mrs. Dash in a pie dish.  Coat the potato patties in the flour mixture,  Add the potato cakes to the pan and lower the heat to medium-low.  Cook until the potato cakes are golden about 15 minutes on each side.   Once golden add to serving dish. 

Season once cooked with more pepper, salt optional.



Cucumber Salad

1/2 cups of cucumbers sliced thinly
2 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons of ranch dressing
1 small green onion chopped
1 teaspoon of fresh parsley, divided
1 teaspoon of snipped fresh dill divided
1 hard cooked egg sliced
Arrange cucumber on a serving dish
In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, ranch dressing, and onion, 1/2 teaspoon of parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of dill.  Sprinkle over cucumbers.  Add the egg slices arranged over the top and garnish with rest of parsley and dill.
This salad is for 2 servings

Summer Broccoli Salad

1 head of broccoli
8 slices cooked crumbled bacon
1/2 red onion chopped
8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (cut in small chunks)
1 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
Salt and pepper
Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem and remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head thoroughly, cut the head into flowerets and the stems of the broccoli into bite-size pieces.

 Place the broccoli into a large bowl. Add the bacon, red onion,  and cheese.

 In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Grilled Fish

Fish steaks, cut 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick

You can use your favorite cuts, such as swordfish, halibut which grill really nice.
When purchasing fish, buy 1/4 pound fish per person

1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of orange juice of white wine
1/2 teaspoon of balsamic  vinegar
1 teaspoon of rosemary, dill, parsley, and basil and a pinch of oregano chopped
!/2 teaspoon of black pepper
Lemon wedges
Based on 2 pounds of fish

Combine all the ingredients except fish and lemon wedges and mix well. Using a pastry brush, paint the fish steaks liberally on both sides and set them aside, lightly covered with a piece of aluminum foil, to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Build up a fire, using good hardwoods if you're cooking in a fireplace or the best hardwood charcoal (not fake-wood briquettes) if you're using a grill. Let the fire burn brightly and die down until you have a nice bed of hot coals or embers. Large pieces of fish can be set directly on the grill, but to prevent smaller ones from falling through and burning up, you may want to use a special grid made for fish.
When you're ready to cook, brush a little plain olive oil on the cooking surface and set it 4 to 6 inches from the source of heat. Arrange the fish steaks so that they have equal access to the heat source. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, turning once. Test for doneness—fish should be opaque all the way through—by inserting the tip of a sharp knife near the bone or in the center of a boneless piece of fish. Remove immediately to a hot platter.
The remaining marinade should be heated just to the boiling point and either poured over the cooked fish or passed at the table along with lemon wedges.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Italian Ricotta Rice Pie

2 pounds ricotta cheese
4 cups cooked rice
12 eggs, beaten well
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of orange extract

Preheat oven at 350 degrees

Beat all ingredients together, and then pour into a buttered 9 by 12 size baking dish.  Top with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake about 1 hour or until a nice golden brown.

  Variation #1:       Add a crust

  Variation # 2:      Add 1 12 ounce bag of chocolate morsels

  Variation #3:       1 small can of crushed pineapple

  Variation #4:        1/2 cup raisins

Italian Angeinetti Lemon Drop Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons of lemon extract
2 cups of flour
2  teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven 350

Cream the sugar and shortening, add eggs and lemon extract and beat well.  Add the flour, baking powder and mix well.  The dough should feel sticky and soft.

With a small cookie scoop, drop dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, space them apart about 2 inches.

Bake the cookies about 11-15 minutes, or until firm and very lightly brown.  Once cooked remove from cookie sheet and cool on wired racks.
Cookie Frosting
3 cups of confectioners sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon of lemon extract
Add more confectioners sugar if you feel the cookie frosting is too thin
Mix confectioners sugar with water and lemon extract and mix well with spatula until smooth and lump free, then frost the cookies freely using the spatula.


Baked ham my way!

8-10 pound Spiral cut ham that is fully cooked  (I use  smoked ham)
1/2 cup of ginger ale
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of pancake syrup (do not use lite syrup)
Preheat oven to 375
Place your ham once unwrapped in a large deep baking pan
Mix ginger ale and orange juice in medium size bowl, bake ham as directed for weight, basting often with this ginger ale and orange juice mix. 
Mix the brown sugar and pancake syrup together in a small mixing bowl, basting with this mixture the last 1/2 of baking.  Make sure the ham reaches 140 degrees.

I use ginger ale which is an old trick, it cuts the salty flavor from ham.

Cover ham with foil until last 1/2 of cooking time.



Italian Amaretto Cheesecake


  2/ 1/2 cups of crushed graham cracker
  2/3 cups melted butter
  1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Combine crust ingredients and mix well, press onto the bottom and about 1 inch up sides of a 10 inch springform pan.  Place crust in refrigerator and it will set while making the cheesecake filling.

32 ounces of cream cheese
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoons almond extract
16 ounces of sour cream
1 tablespoon of orange extract
1/4 cup of Amaretto liqueur

Hot water


With electric mixer, cream the cream cheese until smooth, add eggs and beat until they are well mixed, add all the remaining ingredients and blend all together until nice and smooth.

Pour the filling into crust and place the springform pan into a roasting pan which is filled  half way with water.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until center is set and a very light golden. 

Once cooked remove from heat, and then remove from roasting pan and cool on rack. 

Chill before serving, but can be served right out of oven.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Sicilian Pasqua

Easter is a time of rebirth, both in our faith as well as the Spring and all its beauty.  Easter is also a time celebration and tradition and food and lots of it.  The Easter cake of Sicily is Cassata, which is made of sweetened ricotta cheese, marzipan and candied fruit.

One of the most well known devotions is Sicily is the "Mysteries" of Trapani on Good Friday, in which people of the town carry statues through the streets, and each statue represents one of the stations of the cross.  The towns people line the streets awaiting the arrival of the Virgin Mary who is searching for her son.  The towns throughout Sicily have similar celebrations, such as the in many of Palermo's suburbs, towns and villages,

 Easter week is celebrated with costumed recreations of Christ's arrival at Jerusalem, thousands of the locals attend these devotions. On Easter Monday another small village named San Martino delle, were a Benedictine Monastery is located celebrate Easter and Spring by freeing the birds that have been saved from the mountain winters days.  They say the birds are released as part of a tradition that dates back over 300 years, and there are many concerts and Gregorian chants which are heard throughout the village.

In Catania and some surrounding areas, Easter Sunday is celebrated in the triumph of good over evil.  The costumes are colorful, and the main event is to make the Devil and his demons say the words "Viva Maria". 

In Bronte Good Friday is marked by the Passion of Christ, which includes a costumed procession, re-enacting the Stations of the Cross as well. Were silence is observed by its towns people and the only sounds heard are beating drums.  Similar processions and events also take place in Ragusa and its surrounding towns and villages.




Italian Easter Bread

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon  almond extract 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,  more if needed

    In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of granulated sugar. Let stand for 15 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, except the flour.
                        Stir in flour, one cup at a time to form a wet and  noticeable sticky dough.

    Turn dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 7 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from remaining sticking on the surface of the area.  You will  form a smooth and elastic dough feeling dough.
     Place dough in a lightly oiled large bowl. Lightly oil  surface of the dough, and cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Place in the oven and turn the light in the oven on. Let the dough rise until doubled in size,  8-12 hours.
                      This is a  slow rising dough so I would make it and let it rise overnight. 
    In the morning the dough will be doubled,  punch dough down, and then turn onto a lightly floured surface again.  
    Divide in four pieces, and shape into four small oval loaves or each piece can be cut into three strips and braided in order to make  traditional Easter bread. You can also add boiled colored Easter eggs to these. Add them to the braid before baking.

    Place loaves on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover very loosely with  saran wrap, and let rise for 2 hours more.
            Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes  until golden brown, once baked cool on wire racks.

     There is a saying in Italian: Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con qui voi. Which means: Christmas with your family, but Easter with whoever you want!

    Easter Sausage Frittata

    1 pound sweet ground Italian sausage
    4 onions, chopped
    6 jumbo eggs
    1/2 teaspoon of pepper
     1/4 cup milk
    4 Tablespoons of  fresh Italian parsley, washed and chopped
    1/2 cup 6 cheese Italian blend of finely grated cheese

    Cook sausage in medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high until nicely browned,
    break up the sausage into small pieces, add chopped onions into the sausage and cook about 10 longer, then drain off the fat

    In a medium size bowl beat the 6  eggs with the milk and add the chopped Italian parsley.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over cooked sausage and onions

    Sprinkle the grated cheese on top, gently blending into the egg and sausage mixture

    Cover and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, keep an eye on the bottom lift up with a spatula to make sure that it does not burn.

    Then remove from stove and broil the frittata in same pan, on the lower shelf of your oven until gold brown, keep an eye on it so it does not burn.

     Let  for 5 minutes before serving.

    Saturday, March 16, 2013

    Corn Beef Sandwiches by Mary Piccirillo

    1/3 cup of Mayonnaise
    1 teaspoon of white vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon of mustard
    1/4 teaspoon of celery seed
    1/2 teaspoon of pepper
    1 1/2 cups of raw cabbage shredded thinly
    4 rolls split
    1 pound of corned beef sliced
    In a medium size bowl, combine the mayo, vinegar, mustard, celery seed and pepper until well blended.  Stir in cabbage, spoon into the bottom of your favorite rolls, top with corn beef and top with other half of roll.  Makes 4 sandwiches!  Enjoy!

    St. Patrick's Irish Beef Stew


    • 8 bacon strips, diced
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 3 pounds beef stew meat, (cut into 1 inch cubes)
    • 1 pound whole fresh mushrooms, cut in half
    • 3 medium leeks, chopped using only white portion
    • 3 medium carrots, chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped celery
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon  seasoned tomato paste
    • 4 cups  beef broth salt free
    • 1 cup dark stout beer
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
    • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary flakes
    • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into cubes
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons cold water
    • 1 cup frozen peas


    • In a large  pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon once done with fork, add to paper towels. In a large zip lock plastic bag, combine the flour, and pepper, add the beef cubed, a few pieces at a time, shake to coat well. Brown the beef in the bacon drippings. Remove and set aside.
    • In the same pan, sauté  mushrooms, leeks, carrots and celery in oil until tender, add garlic and cook 3 minutes longer, add  tomato paste and blended well. Slowly add the broth, beer, thyme, parsley and rosemary.  Now add the beef and bacon to pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover to simmer for 2 1/2 hours till beef is tender.
    • Add potatoes your cubed potatoes and return to a boil. lower the heat cover and simmer another 1 1/2hour longer until potatoes are cooked. Add the  cornstarch and water until blended in and  smooth stir into stew. Bring to a boil cook and stir  well for 4 minutes more until thickened, add the  peas heat through. Makes about  12-15 servings  This can be frozen for later use. 


    Reese's Peanut Butter Banana Bread by the Wimers

    Reese's Peanut Butter Banana Bread: Given to me by my Friends Rob and Rhonda Wimer! 


    3 very ripe bananas, mashed

    1/2 cup peanut butter
    1/4 cup Canola or Vegetable oil
    1 egg
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1.5 cups of all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    8 oz bag of Reese's Mini cups

    How to Make:

    1. Preheat oven to 350
    2. Grease your loaf pan (I used an 8 x 4 pan) with butter or shortening.
    3. In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.
    4. In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg and sugars.
    5. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter will be lumpy. DO NOT OVER-STIR.
    6. Fold in your Reese's Mini cups and spread batter into prepared pan.
    7. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
    8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a knife and remove from loaf pain, transferring bread into a cooling rack.


    "I bake my breads in a stone loaf pan, but certainly you don't have to. BUT if you notice the bread browning too fst, lower the temperature down to 325 and loosely tent it with foil."

    "Also, some readers have noticed that if you over-stir the batter the texture will be crumbly, so make sure not to over-stir!"

    Mary Picciriillo's Irish Soda Bread


    3-1/4 cups flour 1/3  sugar plus two table spoons, divided
    1 teaspoon of  Baking Powder
    1 teaspoon of baking soda 

    1/2 teaspoon of salt
    1/2 cup butter make sure its cold
    1-1/3 cups buttermilk
    1/2 cup  raisins you can use currants (I like the taste that the raisins give better)

    3 teaspoons of caraway seeds

    Heat your oven to 350 degrees 

    First mix flour, then add 1/3 cup of sugar and baking powder and lastly salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add your butter by cutting in using a pastry blender or a folk of knife, until you notice that mix looks like coarse crumbs, now slowly add butter milk, and then your raisin or currants.  Mix until this becomes moistened.

    Now place your dough onto a floured surface, need 10-15 times.  Shape into round loaf, which will be 1 1/2 inches thick. Place your dough on a greased baking sheet.  Cut a 1/2 (X)  on the top of the dough.  Now sprinkle the rest of your sugar of the dough.

    Bake your Soda bread 1 hour and until it is a nice golden brown.  Once baked cool completely on a wire rack. This is a repost for St. Patrick's Day!

    Emerald Mint Milkshake

     Serves: 3

    1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream 

    1 cup milk

     McCormick® Pure Peppermint Extract

    1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Green Food Color


    Place ice cream, milk, peppermint extract and green food color in blender container; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth.
    Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired. Serve immediately

    Thank you to McCormick for this great recipe a nice St Patrick's addition!


    Monday, January 28, 2013

    Sweet Potatoes, Onions & Apples (Crock Pot)

    1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Italian
    1 large apple skin. cored and cut into slices
    1 small onion peeled and sliced
    1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock

    In a large bowl toss potatoes  with melted butter, season with Mrs. Dash Italian, salt and pepper. Mix apples and onions in another bowl.

    Coat crock pot with cooking spray. Line 1/3 of potatoes in a single layer around the bottom of the cooker, now top with 1/2 of the apple and onion mix.  Then another layer of potatoes and top with rest of apple mixture, keep doing until you end with final layer of potatoes.  Pour the vegetable or chicken stock  Cook for 5 hours at low temp.