Sunday, November 8, 2015

Santa's Candy Bars

3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond
2 cups  flour
3/4 cup caramel sauce
1/4 cups toffee bits
1/4 cups broken pretzels
1/2 cup coconut (toasted)
4 oz chocolate melted

Preheat oven to 375

Spray a 13x9 metal baking pan with a nonstick spray, then line pan with foil, and spray the foil.

Using a mixer on medium speed beat the soft butter, brown sugar and salt until creamy, beat in the large egg and extract.  At low speed beat in flour until nicely mixed together. 

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, spread nicely with spatula or lightly floured hands until even across. 

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Let stand to cool about 1 hour.  Spread caramel sauce over cookie, added toffee bits, pretzels and coconut and chill about 1 1/2 hours. 

Return to counter and cut into 2 inch squares.  Can be made ahead and stored no longer than 1 month.  Layer between wax paper.  Makes about 2 dozen bars.  You can add any topping you want to these.  Crushed peppermint candy  or chopped walnuts to name a few.  Enjoy!

Italian Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons  Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (Mrs Dash)
1 16 oz package broccoli florets (thaw)
1 16 oz package cauliflower florets (thaw)
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups of whole milk
4 oz  cream cheese cubed

Mix together Italian bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of Parm cheese, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, Italian seasoning in a medium bowl.  Put to one side.

If the broccoli and cauliflower need it cut into smaller pieces. 

Melt2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet set to medium heat, add onion, cook stirring for about 8 minutes or until tender.  Add milk, stir until thick, add cream cheese and rest of cheese and stir well until the cream cheese is melted, add the cauliflower and broccoli and coat well. Once coated spoon into a 2 quart casserole dish.  Top evenly with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the topping is a golden color.  Makes 10 servings.  Enjoy!  This is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas or any family gathering.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Basic Cookies dough

In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 sticks of soften unsalted butter, using electric mixer beat for about 30 seconds, add 1 cup of granulated sugar and until until smooth, but not creamy.

Beat in 1 egg and 2 tablespoon of vanilla or almond extract, add 3 cups of unsifted flour.  1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon of salt to butter mixture and beat on medium until smooth.

If the dough is sticky which often happens, do not be afraid to add more flour.  Once the dough feels comfortable between your hands, form into 2 balls, and wrap each and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

This is a great basic cookie dough recipe.  Nice for a night of baking with the kids or for any basic cookie.

Use for candy cane cookies and more!

Easy Peanut Butter chocolate cookie Pie

8 oz of soften cream cheese
1 1/2 cups  powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chilled whipping cream (you can also use cool whip) soften
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ready made chocolate cookie crumb pie crust

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and blend together until nice and smooth.

Fill the crust and place in freezer for  at least 2 hours ahead.

This recipe has been floating around for years, not sure were it originated from.

Candy Cane cookies

I have a couple of variations on the great cookie.  This cookie brings many great memories.  I remember making these for the first time in a home economics class.  Learned to make some great food in that little class room.  This class just reinforced my love of cooking, which began with my Grandmother and Mom.  Many thanks and love to them!

1/2 batch of basic cookie dough:
10 drops of red food coloring
2 small candy canes crushed  (optional, but what a great taste)

Preheat oven 375

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Divide dough in half and add food coloring to one of the half's.  Kneed dough making sure to evenly work in the food coloring.

Roll small pieces of red dough into 5 inch ropes about the thickness of a pencil, and do the same with the white dough.

Twist the strands of dough together like a braid, and pinch each end and bend them to form candy canes.

Place on baking sheet and bake about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.  Bake for 2 minutes or until golden, but not brown. Cool on rack.  Makes about two dozen.  Your home will have a peppermint candy aroma! 

Easy cookie Crust

30 homemade or bagged very crisp gingersnap cookies.  (make about 1 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons melted butter, more if needed

Mix together cookies, sugar in a food processor or blender and mix until the mixture is fine, pour to a medium bowl and add in butter mix together well.

Press to the bottom of and up the sides of a nine-inch glass pie pan.  Bake 5-7 minutes and remove and let cool.

You can also use this crust for a pumpkin pie, Pumpkin cheese cake or even a chocolate cream pie or apple pie.  If you fill it with any of these just bake as you would any filling mixture.

Peppermint Cookies

1 cup of butter (room temp)
1 cup granulated suger
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2- 3 cups of flour
2 cups of chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate)
1 cup of crushed coarse peppermint candies or candy canes crumbs

Preheat over 350

Mix together soften butter, granulated and brown sugar, eggs, and peppermint extract and salt.

Add flour and stir in chips.

With a cookie scoop to scoop dough, dip the top into the crushed peppermint candies, and place dipped side up on cookie sheet.

Bake one sheet at a time into 350 degree oven 11-13 minutes until the appear puffed and lightly tan in color.

Makes about 2 dozen peppermint cookies and enjoy the aroma these cookies send through your home.  The holidays are here!  :) 

Double Chocolate Meringue Kisses

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1/8 salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder
3 tablespoons of semisweet chocolate mini chips

Preheat oven at 300

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with mixer sent on high, until it forms peaks.  Add sugar1 tablespoons at a time, beating until it forms peaks again.  Sift in cocoa and espresso over the egg whites. Mix in well and add chocolate chips.

Fill a disposable pastry bag with batter and pipe about 1 tablespoon out onto parchment paper. Bake 35-40 minutes or until they are crisp.  Cool on rack.  Makes about 40

Mary's Bread Pudding

1 loaf of Italian Bread
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups  raisins
4 cups whole milk
2/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup (dark)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or almond
7 eggs lightly beaten

Preheat oven 325

Grease a 13x9 baking dish with butter

Place bread in\pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and spread raisins evenly

Combine milk, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan, heat over low heat until the mixture bubbles, move from stove and add vanilla.

Carefully pour hot milk mixture over eggs and whisk evenly. Pour over the bread and cover with foil.

Place bread pudding pan on rimmed baking sheet in oven.  Pour water onto baking sheet.

Bake 35-30 minutes until set.  Your can test it with a knife and cake tester.  Place insert in center of pudding if knife comes out clean, its done.  Serve with Ice Cream, whipped cream or other favorite topping.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bacon apple Gravy

4 slices of bacon
1/4 cup flour
3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of Apple cider
2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon of thyme
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Medium Sauce pan cook bacon on medium heat until nice and crisp, add flower until bacon is coated, add in broth, cider and bourbon.   Simmer for 5-8 minutes, add thyme salt and pepper. Simmer 5-6 minutes and stir occasionally.

Pumpkin Cookies

  1 cup shortening
  1 cup sugar
  1/2 cup light brown sugar
  3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  1 large egg 
  2 teaspoon of vanilla
  3 3/4 cups of flour 
  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1 teaspoon of salt
  1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  Cookie topping 

  1/2 cup sugar
  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1/4 teaspoon allspice

  1.  In a large bowl add shortening, 1 cup sugar, brown sugar together in a bowl, beat until light and fluffy, add in pumpkin puree, beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  2. In another  bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, cream of tartar, salt, and nutmeg. Slowly stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until dough is combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.   Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Mix 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and allspice together in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Lightly flatten each ball with  flat-bottomed glass.
  5. Bake in oven until golden and set, 12 to 13 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Crock Pot Stuffing

  1 cup butter or margarine
  2 cups chopped onion
  2 cups chopped celery
  1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  12 ounces sliced mushrooms 
  12 cups dry bread cubes
  1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
  1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  1  teaspoons salt
  1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  4 1/2 cups chicken broth, or as needed
  2 eggs, beaten

 Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over low heat. 

Cook onion, celery, mushroom, and parsley in butter, stirring frequently. Spoon cooked vegetables over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl.

Season with poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, and salt and pepper. 

Pour broth to moisten, and mix in eggs, transfer all mixture to crock Pot, and cover.   Cook on High for 50 minutes, then lower to low and cook for 4 to 8 hours

Italian Breadcrumb Potatoe Bake

 4 tablespoons olive oil\or canola oil
 3 large sweet potatoes or white potatoes of half of both
 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning (your favorite)
 salt and pepper couple of shakes
 1/4 cup  Italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350

Coat the bottom of a glass or non-stick baking dish with olive oil or canola oil

 Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and cut into pieces.

 Place the cut sweet potatoes in the baking dish and turn them so that they are coated with the olive oil. Sprinkle with all seasoning and salt and pepper and 1/2 of sprinkle bread crumbs 

15 minutes before end of cooking sprinkle rest of the breadcrumbs,mixing together lightly, cook remaining time. 

 Bake in oven for 75 minutes until soft and golden in color.
Serves 4 double servings as needed.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Holiday Mixed Roasted Vegetables

  1 small butternut squash, cubed
  1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
  1 red onion, quartered
  1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary 
  1/4 cup olive oil
  2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  Salt (optional) 

Preheat oven to 475

 In a large bowl, mix squash,  peppers, sweet potato, Yukon Gold potatoes, add the red onion pieces,  into the mixture. 

In a medium bowl, mix together,  thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, add vegetables and mix together until they are well coated.

Spread  vegetables evenly on a large roasting pan. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes,  until vegetables are cooked and a nice golden browned.

Serves 12

Cranberry &Turkey Sausage Stuffing

1 1/2 cups if wheat bread
3 3/2 cups of white bread
1 pound of ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons of sage
3 teaspoons of rosemary
1/3 cup of fresh parsley
1 large delicious apple cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Cooked inwards from turkey 
3/4 cup turkey or chicken stock
4 1/2 tablespoons of butter melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree.
  2.  Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. 
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl and let cool.
  4. In a large saucepan, cook the sausage and onions on medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until nicely browned, add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme, cook cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix seasoned  sausage  over bread in bowl, add the chopped apple, cranberries, parsley, and turkey inwards add turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. 
  6.  Let cool completely before loosely stuffing a turkey.
  7.  The stuffing can be made night before

Thawing a Turkey

                     Cold Water Thawing

  • Thaw breast side down, leave wrapper on, place in cold water to cover your turkey.
  • Change cold water every 30 minutes of so, which  keeps the turkey chilled.
  • Thawing time is 30 minutes per pound give of take.

                     Refrigerator Thawing

  • Thaw breast side up, leave wrapper on, in a tray in the fridge.
  •  1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mom's Chicken Cacciatore

8 5-7 ounce boneless chicken pieces
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 Portobello mushrooms caps  (sliced and cubed)
4 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
 1 1/2 cups red wine
1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Cover chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over a medium heat, add the chicken  to the pan and saute until golden, for about 8 minutes on each side. 
If the chicken does not all fit in the pan, saute in batches. Once chicken is saute set aside.

Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (optional).
Add the wine and mushrooms and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 4 minutes, add the tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, and oregano. 
Add the  chicken to the pan and coat in the sauce, bring to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked  about 35-40 minutes.

Alternative to simmering at on stove top would be adding the Cacciatore sauce to a slow cooker and then adding the chicken and simmering in slow cooker. (The chicken should still be sauted until golden).

Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Vodka Sauce and Pasta

28 ounce can of  Tuttorosso whole peeled tomatoes  (drain and save juice)
2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of chop onion (chopped thinly)
2 ounce Pancetta (optional)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 medium minced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup of vodka
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
Pinch Salt
Pinch Sugar
Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 pound of Penne Pasta or Rigatoni

Pulse half of tomato in blender/processor until smooth, cut rest of tomatoes and get rid of cores, combine into pureed and diced tomato, then add drained saved juice (about 2 cups of tomato).  Get rid rest.

Heat oil in a large saucepan of medium heat, simmering, add onion, fresh basil  and tomato paste and Pancetta  stir occasionally until onion is tender and lightly browned about 8 minutes, add garlic and pepper flakes, and cook about 35 minutes.

Combine tomato mixture, pinch of salt and pinch of sugar.  Remove the pan from the stove and add vodka, return back to low heat, and simmer stir often, and cook about 10 minutes which will allow the alcohol to burn off as you cook it.  Stir in cream and cook until hot about another 3 minutes.

Cook pasta as normal to tender you like, once cooked, drain pasta.

Once pasta is all drained from pan, add the vodka sauce.  toss the pasta lightly so to cover pasta with sauce and cook over low heat another 2 minutes.

If you want to change the thickness of the sauce you can reserve some pasta water, and  add a little of it to the sauce, otherwise serve as is. 

Serve with Sicilian bread and red wine and a tossed Salad or antipasto. Sprinkle with Grated Parmesan Cheese as desired.

Chicken Cutlets Parmesan

4 Boneless chicken breasts, sprinkled with pepper
2 cups of seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a deep dish mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, in another dish add the flour, in your third dish add and beat eggs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil together.

Dip each chicken breast in flour, egg and them coat in bread crumbs, and let sit for 8 minutes.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat until warm, place 2 chicken breasts in pan and cook until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes on each side. Once first two are cooked place them in a baking dish in a warm oven, then cook the other two the same way. 

Tomato Hotdogs

6 hot dog buns 
2 quarts water 
6 beef franks 
1 cup medium white onion diced thin
1 cup diced tomato  
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/3 cup of your favorite mustard 

Preheat oven to 350

Wrap hotdog buns in foil bake at 350 15 minutes heated. Remove from oven and keep warm.

Bring 2 quarts water and add franks, let simmer 15 minutes, drain once cooked

Place franks in each heated bun and top with  with about 2 tablespoons onion,  tomato, about 1 tablespoon relish, and about 2 teaspoons mustard.


Salmon Patties

1 cup finely chopped Bermuda onion
1/4 cup thinly chopped fresh basil 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1 pound salmon fillet chopped (skinned)
1 tablespoon hot or mild pepper sauce
1 large egg white 
Cooking spray 
8 slices Focaccia, toasted(slice thin)

Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix hot pepper sauce and egg white in a small bowl add egg white mixture to salmon mixture, combine well.

Make 4 equal patties, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.

Cook salmon patties about 4 minutes on each side or until golden color as cooked as you like.

Serve on toasted focaccia, sour dough bread or whatever bread you like.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bruschetta Cream Cheese Bites

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 plum tomatoes chopped finely and seeded
6 black olives
1/2 cup Bermuda onions chopped finely
2 tablespoons of mince basil
1 8 ounces spreadable chive and onion cream cheese
24 slices (1/4 in cuts) french bread
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 425

In a small bowl mix together olive oil,lemon juice, pepper and garlic.  Blend well. Stir in tomatoes, onions, black olives and 2 tablespoons of basil.

Spread the cream cheese over french bread slices and place on greased baking sheet, now top bread with tomatoes mix.

Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese  Bake 10 minutes or until mozzarella cheese is melted.

You can add anything to this mix.  I have also added prosciutto thinly sliced to these.

Bean mix summer salad

1/4 cup of rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon  granulated sugar
2 medium minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon  dried basil
1 15 ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 15 ounce can pinto beans or black eyed peas (rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper chopped finely
1 2 ounce can diced green chiles with liquid
1 small Bermuda onion finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together vinegar, oil and sugar, garlic and oregano, and basil in a large bowl. Stir in beans, corn, bell pepper, onions, and chiles and cilantro,

Season with salt and pepper.  Chill 1 hour before packing.

Serve with Melba rounds or toasted Italian bread

Chili Dogs

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
8 ounces soy crumbles
1 cup hunts tomato sauce
2 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander

4 meatless hotdogs
4 hot dog buns

Heat oil and add onion and garlic and saute 8 minutes or until tender. Add soy crumbles and cook about 8 minutes or more.  Slowly stir in tomato sauce, chili powder, mustard, sugar, and coriander.  Simmer until thick about 7-10 minutes.

Cook hotdogs as directed, place cooked dogs in buns and top with warm chili hotdog mixture.

Red Beet Salad

4 medium beets
2 medium oranges
3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven to 400

Trim and scrub beets, but do not peel
wrap each in foil, and place beets on baking sheet, and roast for 50 minutes or until tender to piece with fork. Cool until able to handle.

Grate 1/2 teaspoon of zest from one orange, set zest aside.

Trim ends of both oranges, and peel and cut with knife.  Hold fruit over bowl catching the juice, and cut into segments.  Cut each segment in half and and place in another bowl.

Whisk together 2 tablespoons, orange juice reserved from bowl. sherry vinegar, orange zest, lemon juice and salt, slowly add in oil.

Peel beets, rub off the skin under cold water, cut beets into 1 inch pieces and add to bowl with orange segments.  Top with orange lemon vinaigrette, and toss like any salad.

Chill several hours and refrigerate for 2 days.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Ricotta

8 large beefsteak tomatoes
2 large eggs
1cup ricotta  (regular or low fat)
1 medium size finely chopped red Bermuda onion
1/4 chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
1 garlic minced (1 teaspoon)
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup diced zucchini
24 thin sliced zucchini

Preheat oven to 350

slice tops off of tomatoes and scoop pulp out of centers in order to stuff them. Set to one side. Throw away half of pulp.

Whisk together eggs, and ricotta in medium bowl until smooth, add red onion, basil, and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, garlic, corn,diced zucchini and chopped tomato pulp, stir well until combined.  Fill each tomato just to top with 1/2 cup ricotta mixture.  Then sprinkle with 1/2 Parmesan, then 3 zucchini slices and tomato top.  Place in large baking dish.

Bake 45 minutes or until filling is puffed up and tops are browned.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

These can be frozen.  

Sicilian Stuffed Eggplant

3 medium eggplants (about 3 pounds each)
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced (makes about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pt grape tomatoes (halved, 3 cups)
2 teaspoons of oregano
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Wash and halve eggplants lengthwise and scoop out flesh and seeds leaving 1/2  inch thick edges in eggplant shells.  Cut scooped out flesh of eggplant in 1/2 inch pieces, lightly salt and set in a colander.

Sprinkle the inside of eggplant shells with salt, and set to one side for about 20 minutes.  Rinse shells and pieces in cold water

                                  (Salting the eggplant will cut out  eggplant bitterness.

Bring a large pot water to a boil and drop in shells for about 10 minutes, making sure not to make too tender.  Drain in colander and cool and dry.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet on medium heat.  Saute the onions for about 3 minutes, add eggplant pieces, tomato halves and oregano and a 1/4 cup of water, season with salt and pepper.  Cook 10 minutes or until soften and brown, stirring occasionally.

Preheat broiler.

Toss breadcrumbs with 4 tablespoons of oil in bowl.  Brush each eggplant shell with 1/2 teaspoons oil and place cut side up one baking sheet.

Broil for 5 minutes or until tender and starting to brown.  Set oven to 375 f.

Divide filling among eggplant shells, sprinkle each stuffed eggplant with breadcrumb mixture and top with feta cheese.  Bake 35 minutes, or until heated through and browned on top.

Serve stuffed eggplant.


Italian Mango Salsa

2 mango, peeled and pitted and diced  (Make to cups)
1 large yellow bell pepper chopped fine (make 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped Bermuda onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice or lemon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl.  Season with salt and more paprika as desired.

Serve with corn chips, Melba rounds, over grilled deli hamburgers, or Quesadillas.

Summer Italian Potato Salad


3/4 cup baby spinach
3/4 cup fresh basil
1 1/2 cups of baby arugula
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Puree 1 cup of baby arugula, 1/2 of baby spinach, basil, garlic, and toasted walnut pieces in processor until smooth, pour in lemon and oil and blend until well mixed.  Season with Salt and pepper.

Potato Salad

1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes (halved)
3/4 pounds fresh green beans (washed cut and trimmed)
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 fennel bulb sliced thinly (2 cups)
1 large shallot sliced thinly (1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup of cherry tomatoes quartered
1 cup flavored croutons (optional)

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Cook for 10 minutes, add green beans and cook another 5 minutes, drain and transfer to a large deep bowl.  Put to the side covered and kept warm.

Heat oil in skillet on medium heat, saute fennel and shallot in oil until golden brown, add sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and saute for another 5 minutes.  Once cooked combine together pesto and fennel mixture.  Incorporate into  the potatoes and green beans.  Add the quartered tomatoes.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Golden Buttermilk Pancakes

1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose
 1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a medium bowl, beat egg until fluffy, add remaining ingredients in order and beat until smooth, with no lumps.

Heat a griddle of pan that has been lightly greased over low-medium heat.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  Cook pancakes until the surface is covered with bubbles and seems cooked around the edges, then turn and cook other side until they are a nice golden color

    Makes 9

    Mom's Italian Breakfast asparagus Frittata

     3/4 pound fresh asparagus spears or use a package frozen cut asparagus 10 ounces
     6large eggs
     3/4 cup cottage cheese or ricotta
     1 teaspoon yellow mustard
     1 teaspoon of pepper
     1 teaspoon salt optional
     1 cup washed and sliced fresh mushrooms
     1 small tomato chopped about 1/4 cups

    Cook  asparagus spears in a 1/3 cup of  water for 15 minutes, until tender, once cooked drain.  If you use the frozen just cook according to package.

    Also cook your mushrooms on medium heat until tender as well.

    In a medium bowl beat eggs until foamy, add the cottage cheese or ricotta, add mustard and pepper, if you want to add some salt it is optional,

    Using a 10 inch pan, spray nonstick coating, add asparagus and mushrooms, pour egg mix over the mushrooms/asparagus.

    Bake Frattata uncovered in a 400 oven for 15 minutes or until set, then top with the fresh tomato.  Serves 4-6
     Copyright@ Maria A. Piccirillo

    Friday, March 20, 2015

    Scallops Italian

    16 scallops
    1/4 teaspoon  pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
    1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup parley
    2 medium garlic cloves minced

    Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat  (nonstick pan). Saute 8 scallops at a time for 2to 2 1/2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Set to one aside the cook remaining 8 as directed above  setting to one side along with other 8.

    Towel paper pan clean, reduce the heat, add butter to pan cooking until butter melts, add parsley and garlic and cook another 18 seconds, add scallops to pan and mix well coating the scallops.

    Parmesan Cheese Edamame

    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons dried oregano
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3/4 cup white wine 
    1 pound edamame, frozen
    Freshly grated parmesan cheese

    In a large skillet, heat olive oil at low to medium heat, add garlic and dried oregano and saute until soft, make sure not to burn garlic.  Pour in the wine and bring to a boil reduce to low heat and simmer.

    Allow wine to reduce slightly add Edamame and simmer for 5 minutes. Once cooked and pour into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve warm.

    Grandma's Piccirillo's Old fashion Banana Bread

    2 cups of flour
    3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon of salt
    1 cup of sugar
    1/4 cup of unsalted butter soften
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups of ripe mashed banana (usually 3 medium size)
    1/3 cup low fat plain yogurt (makes it moist)
    1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350

    Combine flour, baking soda, salt, stirring with a whisk.

    Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer medium until well blended,  add the eggs, 1 at a time and beat well after each one is added.  Slowly add banana, yogurt, and vanilla, beat until well mixed.

    Add flour mixture, and  beat at low speed until well blended.

    Pour  batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan that you have coated with cooking spray.

     Bake at 350 1 hour or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

     Cool 15 minutes in pan.  Once cooled remove from pan, and continue to cool completely on wire rack.  You can serve it warm or cooled, as is or with a dab of cream or powdered sugar.

    Veal Scaloppini

    8 veal sliced cutlets (2 per person)

    1 teaspoon salt
    1 pepper
    1/3 cup flour
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons extra olive oil
    8  ounces mushrooms sliced thin and washed
    1/2 cup  Marsala

    Pound the slices of veal to about 1/4 inch thick.  On a plate, mix the salt and pepper into the flour and set to one side.

    Heat a large skillet with 1/2 of the butter and  1/2 teaspoon of  oil, add in sliced mushrooms if using and cook about 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden brown,  transfer to plate and put to aside.

    Add in the remaining tablespoon of butter and oil in the pan and return to medium high heat.

    Dip the veal into the flour on both sides and place in skillet.

    Saute 2 minutes on each side until just lightly browned,  remove to plate with mushroom.

    Pour in the Marsala wine allowing it to simmer into a rich sauce, add in  mushrooms and veal simmering low heat.  If  you do not like your sauce too thick add more Marsala. Serve warm.

    Italian Style Macaroni & Cheese

    8 ounces Ziti or Shell Pasta  (cooked & Drain)

    2 tablespoons butter
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 tablespoons flour
    2 cups whipping cream
    3 ounces cream cheese
    1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
    1 can drained (28 ounces)
    Salt and black pepper to taste
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

     Preheat oven at 400

    Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.  Saute garlic for about 1 minute, add flour and cook for about 1 minute, add the cream and cream cheese and whisk mixture. Simmer and whisk until thick and not lumpy, nice and smooth.

    Add Fontina cheese and the diced tomatoes in tomato juice and keep stirring again keeping mixture smooth.  Add the cooked pasta to the cheese mixture  and coat the pasta with the cheese mixture, season with pepper, and transfer coated pasta to a buttered casserole dish.

    In a small bowl mix Italian bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and parsley, and sprinkle over  the top of the macaroni, drizzle olive oil over it. 

    Bake for 25 minutes until the top of the cheese is a golden in color.  Serves 6

    Artichoke Pizza

    1  pizza crust 

    1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 medium garlic cloves, minced
    1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    1 can Italian style plum tomatoes (drained and cut into pieces  (28 ounces)
    1 can artichoke hearts  (drained and quartered  8.5 ounce)
    1/2 red onion, sliced
    1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
    8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

     Preheat oven 425

    grease lightly 9x13 inch baking pan   Press dough into pan, sprinkle olive oil over crust add garlic and basil, cover over tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onion, and mushrooms, sprinkle rosemary and feta.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crest is golden in color. 
    Serves 8

    Tortellini Salad

    1  package cheese tortellini (9 ounces)
    1  bag  mixed greens (16 ounces)
    1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
    1 can of diced tomatoes, drained  (28 ounce)
    1/2 cup garlic onion vinaigrette
    2/3 cup seasoned croutons

    Cook tortellini as directed, drain and rinse with cold water, In a large bowl mix tortellini, greens, mushrooms and diced tomatoes.  Pour dressing over tortellini and mix well, add croutons and serve.  Great healthy summer dish.

    Serves 4

    Pasta Fagioli

    2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 pound lean ground beef
     black pepper to taste
    3 medium garlic cloves, minced
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 sticks celery, chopped
    1/4 cup sweet red wine
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
    1 Crushed tomato with basil (28 ounce)
    1  can beef broth (14.5 ounce)
    1 cup Ditalini, cooked and drained
    1  can Cannellini beans (15 ounce)
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

     Heat oil at medium heat, add the ground beef and saute until browned, season with pepper, add garlic, onion celery. Cook until soft, add wine and mix well.  Add crushed tomatoes with basil and pour in beef broth.

    Simmer for 35 minutes and stir, add pasta and beans add cheese and mix well.  Season as you like, serve with garlic bread or Italian bread and a glass of red wine.  Enjoy!   Serves 4

    You can make this in a slow cooker as well.  Enjoy with a loaf of Italian Bread.

    Friday, March 13, 2015

    Veggie Frittata

    2 cups sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)

    12 eggs
    1/2 heavy cream ( do not use fat free)
    1/2 teaspoon of salt

    2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    Slice 9 ounces of sausage
    1/2 cup of diced red or green pepper
    1 bunch of scallions sliced and separate the greens and the whites
    1/2 teaspoons of thyme
    1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons of minced fresh garlic

    Preheat the oven to 375

    In a pot of hot boiling salted water, cook the sweet potatoes until tender  10 minutes.  Once cooked, drain and run cold water over potatoes and then drain again.

    Puree eggs, and cream in a blender until nice and smooth.

    Heat olive oil in a 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium until it shimmers, add the sausage until brown about 12 minutes, once cooked transfer to a paper towel lined bowl.

    Lower the heat and add the peppers and  scallion whites, thyme, and pepper, cook until veggies are soften about 4 minutes, stir in garlic and cook another minute, add sweet potatoes, sausage, and scallion greens.  Pour egg mixture slowly and evenly over entire veggie mix.  Cook until about 6 minutes.

    Transfer the skillet to the oven, bake the veggie Frittata until the middle appears set.

    15-20 minutes, once cooked golden in color.  Remove Frittata from oven and let stand about 10 minutes.  Loosen the edges with a knife and a spatula and bottom of Frittata.  Place a large flat plate over the entire skillet and flip the plate to invert the frittata.

    Makes enough to serve 6


    Irish Soda Bread

    2 1/2 cups of flour
    3/4 cups of sugar
    2 tablespoons of caraways seeds
    2 teaspoons of baking powder
    1 teaspoons of baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon of salt
    1 1/4 cups of raisins

    1 pint sour cream
    1 stick of unsalted butter  (melted and cooled)
    1 medium egg  (lightly beat)

    Preheat oven 375

    Coat a 9 inch round cake pan with nonstick spray.

    Whisk together flour, sugar, caraway seeds, baking powder,baking soda, salt in a medium size bowl.  stir in raisins.  Slowing mix in sour cream, butter and egg in small bowl, then stir into flour mixture.  Mix well until smooth.

    Transfer the batter into coated pan and put an x in the center of the mixture.

    Bake the Soda Bread bread half way though and then rotate the pan.  Bake until golden 45-50 minutes.  When you insert a toothpick into the center of the bread it should come out clean.

    Cook bread with the pan  for about 15 minutes.

     The history if soda bread is that it comes from Southern Ireland, and the cross on it legend claims is to scare  away the devil. 

    My Mother-in-law would serve this with butter and a cup of tea.  My mother-in-law had 3 different versions of this soda bread.  I remember this one most often being used.


    2 Pounds Cleaned Squid
    1 Cup Flour
    1 Cup Cornmeal
    1/4 Teaspoon Salt
    1 Teaspoon Pepper

    Canola Oil

    Slice the cleaned tube into 1 inch rings.

    Pour about  inches of oil into a deep fry pan and heat oil

    Mix the flour, cornmeal and spices together into a plastic bag drop the calamari and shake, making sure to cover it well forming a nice coating.

    Drop the calamari into the hot oil, and cook for about a minute or until golden brown, then drain into dish lined with paper towels.

    Serve with dipping sauce, serves 4

    Baked Mussels in Garlic Sauce

    2 Pounds Fresh, Cleaned Mussels
    4 medium Garlic cloves (minced)
    1 Cup Fresh Parsley washed and Chopped
    3/4 Stick Butter room temp (Unsalted Butter)  
    Salt & Pepper

    Mix together butter, garlic, parsley mixing together well.

    Preheat oven  450 degrees

    Arrange the mussels in a large baking dish,  spoon the butter  mixture over the top of mussels.

    Cover the dish with foil nice and tight, baking  for about 20 minutes, or until the mussels open.

    Discard mussels that do not open.

    Shrimp In orange Sauce

    20 Large Shrimp

    2 Large Cloves Garlic (Chopped fine)
    4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    3 tablespoons of orange juice
    1/4 Cup Fresh  Parsley chopped
    1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half

    Marinate the shrimp in mixture for one hour before cooking.

    Heat a frying pan with oil on medium heat, add shrimp from marinade mixture.

    Cook for 5 minutes  until the shrimp becomes slightly golden brown.

    Add the cherry tomatoes and serve hot.

    Serve over rice if desired.

    Eggplant Manicotti

    2 Large Eggplants 
    3 Eggs
    1/2 Cup Lightly Seasoned All-purpose Flour
    1/2 Cup Olive Oil  (Frying)

     Stuffing mixture:
    1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
    3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
    1/3 Cup Grated Romano Cheese
    1 Egg

    3 tablespoons Olive Oil
    1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
    2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
    2  cups of tomato sauce
    1 teaspoon of pepper
    Romano grated cheese

    Cut the eggplants lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices.
    Place the flour in a plastic bag.

    Beat the eggs in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of water.
    Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat.  Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, then the egg, and fry in batches until golden brown  both sides, for about  2 minutes on each side.   (add oil as needed)  Place the ones done on paper towel lined plate.

     Make the sauce, in a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until lightly smoking.
    Add the onions, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook another 3 minutes add the minced garlic, the tomatoes, salt, pepper, cook over medium heat for 10 minutes and sauce is thick.

    Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a large casserole dish.

    Preheat oven to 375

    In a medium  bowl, mix together the filling.  Start filling each slice of eggplant with the tablespoon of  filling, roll and place seam side down, and side by side as you fill.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the eggplant,  and sprinkle the grated cheese, cover the casserole and bake 45 minutes.

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

    Ravioli made over easy

    1 package of ravioli
    4 1/2  tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    4 1/2 medium size garlic cloves, sliced thin
    1/4 cup of diced onion
    1/4 teaspoon of oregano
    1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves
    1/4 cup of red sweet wine
    1 can of your favorite crushed tomatoes

    Grated Parmesan cheese

    Cook Ravioli as directed on package

    Heat olive oil on medium heat, add the garlic and onion and cook for 4 minutes, add the oregano and tomatoes.  Bring to a slow bowl, and reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. 

    Drain Ravioli, gently transfer ravioli to dish and pour sauce over ravioli and sprinkle with cheese

    Serves 4.

    Shrimp over RIce

    1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    3 medium garlic cloves diced
    Chop 1 medium tomato
    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
    1/4 cup of lemon juice
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    20 large shrimp deveined

    Blend and puree all ingredients except the shrimp.  Pour dressing into a large bowl and  place shrimp  into it, and marinate in refrigerate for 1 hour.

    After hour pour entire bowl of shrimp and marinate into a large skillet, cover and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes.  Remove from stove and serve over cooked rice.

    Chicken with Sicilian Sauce

    1/2 cups Almonds
    1 tablespoon of garlic
    1/2 teaspoon of Salt
    1/2 teaspoon of pepper
    1/2 cup of basil
    1 cup of fresh cubed tomatoes
    1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    4 boneless chicken breasts

    In a blender chop the almonds, garlic, basil and salt and pepper, add the tomatoes, cheese, and tomato paste and and oil and blend until finely chopped.

    Heat a your grill or pan.  Brush with oil, salt and pepper the chicken and place on the grill.  Cook 5 minutes and until cooked through and not pink.  

    Add chicken to serving plate and top with Sicilian sauce.  Serves 4


    8 Cups of water
    1 teaspoon of salt
    2 cups of Polenta
    4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
    1/2 cups of chicken broth
    1 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

    reheat oven 350

    In a 4 quart oven pan, combine salt, and Polenta and mix well.   Add butter and bake for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and add and mix together chicken broth.  Bake again for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir in cheese and serve hot.  Makes 6 servings.

    Salsa Italian

    2 cups cubed peeled eggplant
    1 cup cubed sweet red pepper
    1 cup cubed green pepper
    1 cub cubed zucchini
    2 1/2 medium minced garlic
    2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    1 large tomato cubed
    2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon of dried basil
    1 teaspoon of thyme
    1/2 teaspoon of salt 
    1/2 teaspoon of pepper
    1/2 teaspoon of sugar 

    In a large skillet in oil,  saute the eggplant, pepper, zucchini and garlic for about 10 minutes. Slowly add your tomato, vinegar, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.  

    Cook about 6 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.  Once cooked, cool and refrigerate for about 6 hours.  Serve on toasted Italian bread.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups.