Friday, December 12, 2014

Meltaway Sugar cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon of salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 34 cups sugar

Preheat oven 300

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.  Beat mixture well, scrap sides of bowl.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.  Beat as much of the flour as able with mixer.  Stir in remaining flour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, placing 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet or lined parchment paper. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are set, but do not let edges brown.  Cool cookies for 1 minute on cookie sheet, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool.

Christmas no bake cookies

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
6 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons peanut butter
1 tablespoons vanilla
3 cups quick oats
1 cup chopped nuts

Mix together, sugar, butter, and chocolate chips and milk.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat add remaining ingredients.  Drop by teaspoons onto foil and chill until firm.

Easy Penuche Fudge

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 can condensed mike
2 tablespoons cocoa
1-2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup Nuts

Mix together sugar, milk and cocoa.  Cook to a soft ball, add butter, vanilla, and nuts.  Spread into greased pans allow to set.

Brandy-Rum balls

2 7 1/2 ounce packages of Nabisco Vanilla Wafers finely crushed
1/2 cut honey
1/3 cup Brandy
1/2 cup Rum
1-1pound package finely ground walnuts

Blend all together and mix well.  Shape into balls and roll in granulated sugar, wrap and store.


6 eggs at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1 cup butter (melted and cooled unsalted)
1 teaspoon each vanilla, and almond flavor  or 1 tablespoon Sambuca or favorite liquor
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking power

In a large mixing bowl beat together eggs and sugar, add butter and flavoring and mix well until smooth.  Sift in flour and baking powder, add a little at a time to the sugar mixture, mix well after each addition of flour. Batter will be very thick.

Heat pizzelle maker, when the iron is ready, drop a heaping teaspoon of batter on each pizzelle press in  the center of each press. This aids the in filling the pattern and not spill over the press. You can use two teaspoons or cookie scoop to place the batter on the press. 

Close the lid for about 30 seconds or press indicates Remove the pizzelles immediately with a spatula.

During the Christmas season I color these with food coloring. 

Peanut Butterballs Dipped in chocolate

½ cup creamy peanut butter (can be substitute other nut butters)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar or more if needed
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)

 Cream peanut butter and butter together in a medium size mixing bowl, slowly add in powdered sugar until well blended together and shape into a dough ball. If needed add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at  until mixture holds together in a large ball. Cover peanut  butter dough for about 15 minutes or until firm in the refrigerate so that they are good to handle to form into balls. 

Shape into 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow be firm.  Peanut butter balls should stay in shape for dipping in chocolate. Melt chocolate according to package instructions or us chocolate chips.

Dip peanut butter balls one at a time into melted chocolate and allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place on waxed paper lined baking sheet cover  and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Great to add to a Christmas fudge tray.

Italian Honey Balls Struffoli

4 cups of flour
5 eggs
5 tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons baking power
3 tablespoons Crisco oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Put flour on a pastry board

Make a hole in the center of the flour, add rest of ingredients except the honey,  mix flour a little at a time from sides.  Knead until smooth.  Cut small pieces of dough and roll into long strips.  Cut strips into small cubs.  Fry in oil until golden.  Place in large bowls and cover with honey.

Transfer to smaller dishes and shape into rings and sprinkle with confetti candy

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Italian Almond Amaretti Biscotti

1 cup sliced almonds
½ cup butter, softened  (unsalted)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
With electric mixer, cream butter with sugar on low-speed, add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add the amaretto and almonds, and mix at low-speed  until blended.  Slowly add flour, baking powder, and salt to  mix until blended.
lightly flour your hands for ease of handle, divide the dough into 2 logs about 10-12 inches long and about 2 inches wide. Place logs on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Remove from oven and put on cooling rack. Let cool for 10 minutes.  With serrated knife slice each log into ½-inch pieces. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 more minutes total until cookies are crisp and toasty on both sides. Allow to cool completely. 

You can fancy these up by melting some chocolate chips and dipping half of slices in chocolate.

Santa's Christmas Cookies

3⅔ cups all purpose-flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted and cooled  (unsalted)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 

Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a  small mixing bowl. Whisk and mix well and put to one side. 
In a large mixing bowl combine together the butter and sugars, using a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add  in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until completely mixed together and smooth. Add the  dry ingredients and mix on low, until just combined all together.

Have cookie press ready  with  holiday disc. Add cookie dough to the press fill line. Press cookie dough out onto ungreased/unlined cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart. If you like sprinkle with holiday sprinkles and bake in a preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges.
Cool before taking off pan.  If you can work with 3-4 cookie sheets it makes the process faster.  Makes about 125 cookies.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Moms Italian Butter Balls

1 cup of unsalted butter  (soften at room temp)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or Almond extract
2 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts (finely chopped)

Preheat 350 degrees.

 Mix all ingredients together in order given

Shape into 1 inch balls. Bake 12-15 minutes

 Bottoms of cookies will be a light brown

1/4 cup confectioners sugar.

While still warm/hot roll cookies in a bowl of confectioner sugar twice, then cool on rack or backing  pan.

 Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Appetizer Meatballs

1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup non seasoned breadcrumbs
4tablespoons of minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 jar of jellied cranberry sauce 8 ounce can
3/4 cup chili sauce 
1 teaspoon of brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 
In a large deep mixing bowl, mix t ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, onion. Roll meat mixture into small bite size meatballs.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes and turn mid way at the 15 minute mark.

In a crock pot  or large saucepan on low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice, slowly add meatballs,  simmer for 1 hour.  Then serve hot.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
In a medium size bowl add Crabmeat, herbs, and pepper, and mix in mayo and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese until well combined. Refrigerate after mixed
Wash the mushrooms and remove stems, spoon out gill and that you can fill the mushrooms.  Fill  mushrooms with rounded teaspoonfuls of filling, and place in an ungreased  baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, serve hot.  Serves 6

English Muffin Pizza

I remember Angelo's Mom making this, they were great!

1 package of English muffins  (I like using Thomas English Muffins)
1 jar of pizza sauce
Mozzarella Cheese 
Slices pepperoni

Preheat the oven to 375
Place the English muffin halves cut side up onto foil covered  baking sheet. Apply  pizza sauce onto each one, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and add pepperoni slices.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is melted and browned on the edges

1 to 2  English muffins per person   I have also added meatballs to these and applied the cheese.  top with whatever you like.

Brussel sprouts

2 -12 ounce bags of frozen Brussels sprouts (in in half if small in fours if large)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Italian herbs
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons  lemon juice

In a fry pan mix  sprouts and 1/2 cup water,  season with salt and pepper and Italian herbs, simmer over medium heat Cover and cook at low heat and stirring occasionally until almost all of the water is evaporated and sprouts are tender, but still crisp for about 5 to 8 minutes (add more water if water runs out so that the sprouts can finish cooking.

Once all cooked Increase heat to medium  add oil to pan and continue to cook, until they are golden brown, and tender cooking for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix with lemon juice, season as needed.  Serves 8

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fancy Gratin Cauliflower

1 cup  heavy cream
1 tablespoon  all-purpose flour
1 cup  Parmesan cheese grated
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into slices
1 large head cauliflower, washed, cored and cut into florets
Salt or sea salt
1 teaspoon of pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

In a deep large bowl combine cauliflower, heavy cream, flour, and 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper and mix well to coat. Pour mixture to a 2-quart baking dish and cover tightly with foil, bake for 30 minutes.

 In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over cauliflower.  with butter and bake, uncovered, until topping becomes an even golden brown and cauliflower is tender.  Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Roasted Holiday Vegetables

1/3  cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 medium carrots cut into 1 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts  halved
1 pound of red bliss potatoes cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
4 medium parsnips cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
1 pound of  sweet potatoes cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
1 onion cut into 1 inch slices

1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt or sea Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Grease a large baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil, place vegetables on the baking sheet, sprinkle the dried herbs, salt and pepper coat evenly.  Make sure  all the vegetables are season and coated with the oil.  Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry, make sure that the vegetables are evenly spread on the baking sheet. Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.  

Spread the vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  They will be be golden in color. Makes 6 servings   Doubling this dish is easy for larger dinner parties.

Thawing a Turkey


8-12 pounds                                  2-3 days

12-14 pounds                                3-3 1/2 days

14-18 pounds                                3 1/2-4 1/2 days

18-20 pounds                                4 1/2-5 days

Turkey will keep up to 4 day once thawed, so thawing a day or so early is not a problem, if you brine the turkey you need the extra time.

Couple of ways to thaw:

1.  Thaw Turkey in its wrappings in a pan in the refrigerator.  (no water)

2. Thaw turkey in its wrappings in a container large enough to allow it to be in water. Fill the container with cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. This method will thaw a turkey at the rate of about 1 pound every 30 minutes. An 18-pound turkey will take 9 hours.

Easy Italian Stuffing side Dish.

           1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
        1 package seasoned stuffing mix 16 oz bag or box
        1/2 cup of butter
        2 large celery stalks  (Dice)
        1 large onion (Dice)

Heat 10-inch  fry pan over medium heat add the  sausage and cook until brown for about 8-10 minutes stirring often so that  sausage breaks apart. With a draining spoon transfer sausage to a large bowl and add stuffing.(Hold fry pan and Dripping from sausage)
Add margarine to fry pan dripping  and heat until butter melts, but not browns, add celery and onion and cook until onion cooked well, until vegetables are tender and golden, about 15 minutes, now mix with celery mixture to bowl with sausage.
Pour 2 1/2 cups hot water over stuffing mixture. Mix well. Spoon stuffing into 13" by 9" baking dish, cover with foil and bake in preheated 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked to your taste and liking texture

Italian Turkey Stuffing made Easy

1 pound of Sweet Italian sausage or turkey sausage
2 boxes seasoned stuffing mix
2 celery stalks diced
1 large onion diced 3 cups chicken broth 1/2 cup unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 375. Heat fry pan  over medium heat, add sausage and cook until browned.
Prepare stuffing according to package instructions use the  chicken broth and melted butter).
Add cooked sausage and drippings to the stuffing and mix together well.
Place in a buttered baking pan or into turkey

Grandma Piccirillo's Bread Turkey Stuffing

 Stuffing bread (about 10-12 cups) 3 loves
1 large onion diced
2 large celery stalks diced
10 Tablespoons of butter
Turkey giblets cooked and diced
Parsley 1/4 fresh
1 box of bells  seasoning
1 teaspoon of pepper
 Dash of salt
1-2 cups of  chicken stock

Do this the night before:

Break your bread up the night before and let in sit covered this will dry the bread out. The bread dry out so that when you add the ingredients below it will not be too soft and mushy.  

Put turkey giblets from the turkey and put them in a saucepan and add water and simmer for about an hour.  Once cooked strain the juice and use it for the stuffing.  (You can use the chicken stock or water, but I always use the stock from the giblets.)

In another pan saute 10 tablespoons of melted butter, celery and onion.  Once done add the giblets and mix together well. Refrigerate.

Next day:

Season your bread with the bells seasoning, covering evenly:

Mix the take the giblet mixture and add 1 cup of chicken stock and mix together;

Slowly pour evenly over your bread until bread is coated and soft but not mushy.  Use all of the giblet mixture, add chicken stock as needed.  Once finished seasoning bread.  Stuff your cleaned turkey.

I am sure my sons remember us breaking the bread together as a family and getting the giblets ready.  We made the breaking of the bread a family event.  Nice memories!  Love you all!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Italian Pumpkin Pie

1 can of canned  Pumpkin
5 large eggs
2 sups of Ricotta cheese (low fat can be used)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons of unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

10 inch pie crust home made of frozen

Sift together in medium bowl:  Then set to one side


Beat eggs slightly in a large bowl mixing at medium speed, slowly add milk,syrup, pumpkin and ricotta.  Add melted butter and lemon, then slowly add sifted ingredients. Keep blending at low speed until nice and smooth. 5-8 minutes  Pour into uncooked 10 inch pie crust.

Bake 450 oven for 15 minutes
Reduce to 350 and bake for another 50 minutes.  Makes 10 servings

Will also take great in a chocolate pie crust.

Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Fluffy Pumpkin Cheese cake

2-8 ounces each of cream cheese        (room temp soft)

3/4 firmly packed light brown sugar  (I have used dark)

3 eggs

1 can puree pumpkin 15 ounces

1 tablespoon of flour

1 tablespoon vanilla 

1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice 

Beat cream cheese and brown sugar in a large bowl with mixer on medium until fluffy, add eggs, one at a time, beat after each egg is added beat until well blended, add pumpkin, flour, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.Beat until light and fluffy.  Pour into Crust

Crust or use frozen pie crust or any refrigerated crust.

2 cups of Graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons of melted butter
2  1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
 Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Press evenly into bottom of 9-inch Springform pan.
Preheat oven to 350

Bake for 50 minutes until the top is golden and center is set.  Turn off oven and keep cheesecake in oven for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and run a small spatula or knife around the rim to loosen it from the rim of the Springform pan.  Cool once cooled refrigerate 4 hours or more.
Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Turkey Gravy

2 packages of Turkey gravy mix
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of parsley
2 cups of water
1 cup turkey pan drippings
1/4 cup white wine

 Mix gravy, mix in flour, garlic in large saucepan, slowly add in and stir in water, turkey drippings and wine with whisk until smooth.   Stir often, cook on medium heat until gravy come to a boil, lower heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes and thickening keep stirring.

Gravy will get thicker as it stands.

Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Herbed Turkey

Thaw Frozen turkey as directed or use fresh (12-14 pound turkey)

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil  or 1 tablespoon of melted butter

2 tablespoons of sage rub

1 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of paprika

2 tablespoons of garlic powder

t teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon of parsley

Place oven rack on the lowest position in oven
Preheat oven at 325
Place roasting rack in shallow roasting pan

Mix seasoning in a small bowl

Place turkey breast side up in pan, Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the seasoning inside the turkey
Brush turkey breast with oil, and then sprinkle rest of seasoning mixture over the whole turkey.  Add 1/2 cup of water to pan, tent turkey loosely with heavy duty foil.

Roast as directed by turkey size and until internal temperature is 165f.  Bast occasionally with the juices from roasting pan.  Remove turkey once done and let sit for 25 minutes.  Have turkey platter ready as you carve your turkey.  You can make gravy from pan juices.

Pumpkin Chocolate Smoothie

1 can of puree pumpkin  (16 oz)
2 cups milk  (Fat-Free milk)
1/4 dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Chocolate syrup  (optional)
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Whipped cream  (optional)

Store the pumpkin in a plastic bag and place in freezer for 1 day

Next day thaw until fairly soft:

In blender add milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin.  Blend until smooth.

Pour into 2 glasses evenly top with cream and drizzle chocolate.

Warmed Pumpkin Milk

1 cup of pumpkin (canned)
1 quart of milk  (low fat is fine)
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla  (coffee syrup or almond flavor okay)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Whipped cream to top

Over medium heat:

Combine pumpkin, milk,sugar,cinnamon, and flavor.  Heat evenly, do not boil just simmer, and whisk together.

Pour in cups and top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Sicilian bread dip

1/4 teaspoon of rosemary

1/4 teaspoon of oregano

Sprinkle of Sicilian sea salt

Sprinkle of peppercorn 

1/4 cup of olive oil

Crushed Rosemary, oregano, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.

This is a one person serving double and triple as needed.  This can be made in individual same dishes per person.

 Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Seasoned Artichoke Hearts Roasted

Preheat oven to 375

Drain artichokes and rinse in a colander and remove brine.

Pour artichoke hearts to a bowl and freely add olive oil,  garlic and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, coating well.

Gently place artichoke into a metal roasting pan for about one hour,  toss them every 20 minutes so that they roast evenly.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and  2 tablespoons of butter

Pumpkin Cheesecake

38 finely crushed ginger Snaps
1/4 cup butter melted
4 packages of Cream Cheese soften  8 ounces each (Do not use lite)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 18 ounce of spice pumpkin pie
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup cool whip (thaw)  or use real cream
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/8 cinnamon

Heat oven 325

Mix ginger snaps and butter, and then press onto bottom and about 1 inch up the side of a nine inch springform  pan.  Beat cream cheese and slowly add sugar with mixer until well blended.  Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla, mix together until well blended.  Pour into springform pan and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, check to make sure center is almost set.  If not bake another 10 minutes.  Loosen cake from rim of pan, and cool before removing it from rim.  Refrigerate about 4 hours.  Serve with cool whip or real cream.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spaghetti with Garlic & Oil Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

10-12 tablespoons of Olive Oil
12 garlic cloves peeled and Chopped
1/2 teaspoon of Black pepper  (you can also use red pepper)
1/2 cup washed and chopped fresh parsley
1 cup of Parmigiano cheese or Pecorino Cheese (The cheese is optional but a great touch)

1 pound of thin Spaghetti, or Spaghettini/Vermicelli 
Salt pinch

Bring to boil about 6 quarts of salted water,add pasta to water and boil semi cover, stir occasionally until cooked and firm.

In a large saute pan, medium heat.   Heat olive oil, add garlic, fresh parsley.  Cook until garlic is a golden color for about 2 minutes, add 1/2 cup cheese.

Scoop pasta out of water, and add to a deep bowl.  Pour the Olive oil sauce over the drained pasta, toss the pasta until the sauce covers it, the sprinkle rest of cheese.  Serve while still hot.

When my Mom made this dish she added anchovy fillets to it.  They can be added to the garlic and parley. (also optional is capers, also added to the garlic saute)

Serve with Red wine.

Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

101 pound spaghettini or vermicelli
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, or Pecorino Romano (optional) - See more at:
1 pound spaghettini or vermicelli
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, or Pecorino Romano (optional) - See more at:
1 pound spaghettini or vermicelli
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, or Pecorino Romano (optional) - See more at:
1 pound spaghettini or vermicelli
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, or Pecorino Romano (optional) - See more at:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Artichoke Chicken

4 chicken skinless/boneless breast halves
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small can of slice olives drained
1 jar  (about 14 ounces) marinated artichokes, drained
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

 In a large skillet, brown chicken lightly in the butter.

Transfer the chicken into a  deep baking dish.

Add mushrooms and olives to skillet and saute for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned remove from stove and and pour over the chicken pieces.

Pour drained artichoke hearts over the chicken pieces.

Add flour to the remaining butter and stir to blend, Add broth and cook until thickened, pour over chicken.

 Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for about 40-50 minutes. 

Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Italian Oven fried Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup fine dry Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian lite or regular salad dressing
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Dip chicken into beaten eggs, combine cheese and bread crumbs and pepper. Coat chicken with crumb mixture. Place coated chicken on greased baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with salad dressing and place slices of butter on each piece of chicken.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

 Serve it with  rice pilaf and garlic bread,and white wine.

 Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Maria's lazy, Chicken Parm Made Easy

4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
seasoned Italian bread crumbs
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 slices mozzarella cheese
1 jar (16 oz) spaghetti sauce or your own homemade
Parmesan cheese

Whisk the egg and milk together then dip the boneless chicken breasts in milk and egg mixture and then in bread crumbs. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Cook the chicken until golden, in the hot oil on both sides for, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Set chicken in a deep baking dish.

Slice 8 pieces of mozzarella cheese and put two on each chicken breast.
Pour 1 jar of  spaghetti sauce or your own home made over chicken/mozzarella.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and left over mozzarella.

Bake at 350°  for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

 Serve with garlic bread, spaghetti and red wine.
 Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Italian expresso with a twist

1/4 cup of orange juice
1/8 cup of sugar
1 ounce of tequila
1 ounce of kahlua
1 ounce of Cointreau
2 ounces of cold Italian expresso

Place orange juice and the sugar in two different bowls. 
dip the shot glasses in the orange and then the sugar
In a pitcher add ice, and then add, tequila, Kahlua, Cointreau, and Italian Expresso.  Mix it really well, and then pour into shot glasses.  Makes 4-5 shots.


 2 bottles of vodka (100 proof)
 2 cups of water
 2 cups of sugar
 12 medium lemons with bright yellow skins (organic lemons are the best)

If your going to make Limoncello, its best to make a larger amount. you will need a vegetable peeler, or microplane grater, a glass jar for infusing about 1 gallon, and a large mixing bowl, cheesecloth, a funnel and bottle for finished product.

Wash and drys lemons, and then remove the yellow zest do not remove the white just the zest, microplane grater is best for this. 

Place the lemon zest in the glass jar and add one bottle of vodka, seal well and let the mixture infuse shaking it daily to mix, you will notice that the peels lose color and the liquid will turn a bright yellow and the aroma will be picked up from the lemon.  This will take 2 weeks.

After two weeks, strain the mixture through a double moistened cheesecloth into a clean glass jar or a bowl and squeeze every drop of the flavored liquid from the peel, which gives you the intense flavor, slowly add the second bottle of vodka.  Mix in the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup comes to a boil, then remove and let cool naturally.  Once cooled add the syrup to the infused vodka mix.

Using your funnel pour the Limoncello into clean bottles, seal tight, and have it sit for 7 days, by letting it rest another 7 days, you will notice a smoother flavor of the limoncello, it will go down as such.

You can serve it chilled or from the freezer, can be stored about 1 1/2-2 years

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Maria's Italian Easter Bread (Reposted for this weeks Holiday!)

  • 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!   Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

    Mom's Easter Pie (Pizzagaine)

     1 Lb Ricotta cheese
     3 eggs and another for the egg wash
     1/4 Lb Provolone - Sharp
     1/4 Lb Mozzarella
     4 Tbs Grated Parmesan cheese 
     1/4 Lb Prosciutto
     1/4 Lb salami
     1/4 Lb Mortadella

    Cut all the meats & cheeses into cube size pieces, and put in a large bowl add grated Parmesan  and mix well, fold in the eggs and mix well again..    Fold in the ricotta and mix together.

    Preheat the oven at 350F

    Making Dough:  If you do not have time, frozen deep piecrusts are fine and Pillsbury pie crusts to make you strips across the top.

    In a large bowl, or mixer, add the flour, salt , butter that has been cut into cubes.    Flour  should be mixed into butter. Add the eggs  mix well add eggs, and milk, 1/4  or more if needed,  until you have a firm dough.

    Butter and flour  9" springform pan or a pan that would be of equal size.
    Cut about a  1/3 of the dough and set it to one side
    Roll dough in a thin pie circle, place it into pan so the it covers over the pan border, add your filling and spread to make an even topping.  Cut the extra dough from around the pan border.  With your leftover dough roll it thin and with a ravioli of pizza cutter, cut strips to make a crisscross pattern over the top of the pie.  Wet wash the strips with egg and bake for about 1hour 20 minutes, until it has a golden color.  Watch it for the last 20 minutes so that it achieves the color.

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Mom's Angel Food Cake


    1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 1/2 cups  egg whites at room temperature (12 large eggs)
    1 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/3  teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    In a large bowl sift together 3/4 cup granulated sugar and the sifted cake flour.

    In mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they are foamy, slowly add  cream of tartar, lemon juice, and salt and  beat until soft peaks form, slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, about tablespoon at a time, until glossy stiff peaks form. Scrape sides of the bowl so the all mixture is being mixed well. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract. Now sift the flour mixture over the egg whites just about one quarter of the flour mixture at a time, quickly fold together do not stir  the flour into the egg whites. I use a medium wire whisk and medium rubber spatula. Do not over mix it.


    Pour the batter into the pan cut spatula through the batter and even off the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 - 45 minutes. The cake is done when springs back when gently pressed and the top of the cake will have cracks and have a golden color.   Pour the batter into the pan and run a metal spatula or knife through the batter to get rid of any air pockets. Smooth the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 - 45 minutes. The cake is done when a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed. The top of the cake will have cracks.  After you remove the pan invert it and cool for 1-2 hours.
    Once totally cooled. run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake and remove the cake from the pan.  I loosen the round the sides first, then around the middle, and then I pull the middle of the pan out, the I run the knife around the bottom of the pan to loosen it and place it on a cake dish.
    You can serve this cake with whipped cream, ice cream, strawberry or a raspberry topping, a chocolate sauce or my favorite, a confectionary sugar icing flavored with almond.




    Easter Ham with Apple & Maple Sauce

    4 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
    4 teaspoons of minced garlic
    6 pound ham
    ½ cup ginger ale  (cuts the salt from the ham)
    ½ cup mustard (Dijon)
    ¼ cup of apple cider
    ¼ cup of maple syrup (not low cal)
    Black pepper
    Sliced apples (optional)
    Preheat oven 325 degree

    Before rubbing the ham, pour the ginger ale over the ham.

    In a small bowl mix together garlic, brown sugar.  With your fingers rub ham evenly with this mixture, place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.  Bake for about 1 ½ to 2 ¼ hours to avoid the ham getting too brown cover loose with foil in last 45 minutes of cooking. 

    In a small bowl stir together mustard, cider and maple syrup.  If you like you can season with pepper, and serve with apple slices, sauce can be put in a gravy boat for serving.

    Italian Eggplant Pizza Rounds

    One eggplant sliced rounds
    2 cups of Italian breadcrumbs
    1 teaspoon Mrs Dash Italian seasoning
    2 eggs beaten

    Double dip eggplant into egg then Mrs Dash Italian seasoning, seasoned bread crumbs.

    Bake at 375 for 20 minutes on cookie sheet sprayed with Pam until lightly browned.

    Slice mozzarella cheese thin, slice garden tomato thin. Layer onto baked eggplant add some Mrs Dash Italian seasoning,  and re-bake just until the cheese begins to melt.

    Serve hot.

    Rigatoni al Forno (oven baked Rigatoni)

    1 pound of Rigatoni pasta
    4 cups of tomato sauce
    ½ pound of hamburger
    ½ pound of Grated Parmigiano cheese
    1 pound of mozzarella
    ¼ pound of ham
    ½ cup of white wine
    Olive oil
    1 medium onion
    Salt optional

    In a sauce pan add some olive oil and chopped onion. Once the onion turns clear add the chopped meat and saute` in the oil and the onion.
    After 4 minutes add the wine and let it evaporate (Reduce) for 3-5 minutes.
    Add the tomato sauce and let everything cook at low heat for 20 minutes.
    Stir occasionally.
    In a separate pot boil water and cook the rigatoni. The rigatoni should be cooked "Al Dente". In an oven pan spread a thin layer of meat sauce and add a layer of rigatoni. Cover the rigatoni with a layer of sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano.
    Add a layer of mozzarella cut in small cubes and a layer of slices of ham.
    Repeat the layering process until you have no more rigatoni. The last layer of rigatoni should be covered with a generous layer of sauce, a good sprinkle of Parmigiano and mozzarella cubes. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 375

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    Deviled Eggs with Bacon Cheddar cheese

    Mary's Pistachio Cake Made Easy

    1 Package of yellow cake mix
    1 Package of Pistachio pudding
    8 Oz sour cream (not low fat)
    1 Package of Chocolate chips (6oz)
    1 Package of chopped walnut (optional) (6oz)
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup oil

    Beat eggs and oil about 2 minutes
    add sour cream and beat well

    Add cake mix and pudding mix well.  Scrape sides of bowl, stir in chocolate bits

    Place in well greased  bundt cake pan.  Bake 350 degree oven about 40 minutes.

    Mary's Pistachio Cake

    6 large  egg yolks, lightly beaten
    2/3 cup sour cream
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 2/3 cups sifted cake flour
    1 cup granulated sugar  1 Package of Pistachio pudding
    8 Oz sour cream (not low fat)
    1 Package of Chocolate chips (6oz)
    1 Package of chopped walnut (optional) (6oz   
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda                                                                      
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened & cool                                                                   
    1 tablespoon almond extract

    Combine eggs, extract and 1/4 of the sour cream in a small bowl.
    Cut butter into slices,
    Put remaining sour cream in another small bowl with tablespoon of oil.
    Sift all dry ingredients into the work bowl of your mixer and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine.  
    Add softened butter and sour cream, mix on low to combine, scrape bowl, beat on medium (med-high for a hand mixer) for 90 seconds. 
    Scrape the bowl down and in two additions add the egg mixture, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. 
    Scrape the bowl and mix well and place into a well greased  bundt cake pan.  Bake 350 degree oven about 40 minutes
    Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes, remove sides of pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
    After cool dust with powdered sugar, or cream of ice cream

    Easter Chocolate Chip Grasshopper Pie

     1 (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding
     1-1/2 cups  cold milk
     2 cups  thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided                
     6 OREO Cool Mint Creme Cookies, chopped          
     1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)         
     1 oz.  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
    Beat pudding mix and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1-1/2 cups coo lwhip and chopped cookies. Spoon into crust.
    cover with remaining cool whip you can also  drizzle with melted chocolate if you want.          
    refrigerate  2 hours or until firm.