Sharing is Caring !

Sweet Potato Pudding Recipe

2 1/2 cups baked sweet potatoes peeled, boiled and mashed ( you can use canned if preferred)
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup half and half or evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon corn syrup, preferably dark
4 tablespoon light or dark rum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Praline topping, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
With an electric mixer, beat together all the pudding ingredients until smooth and light. Pour the pudding into the baking dish. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle the praline mixture over the pudding and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the pudding is set and slightly puffed.  Last 10 minutes add the cherries and marshmallows if desired. Splash with more rum if desired. The top will sink as the pudding cools. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Praline Topping:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
 Optional(more dark rum to drizzle over the top when cooked)
Optional Maraschino Cherries and Minature marshmallows ( place marshmallows around edge last 10 minutes) for holiday decorating.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients and reserve to use as topping for the sweet potato pudding.

White Bean and Chicken Marsala Soup

3 1/2 cups Cannellini Beans, Rinsed
2  Whole Bay Leaves
8 piece Boneless Chicken, Thigh - Skinless
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper, Black
1/2 tbsp Rosemary, Fresh
3 cloves Fresh Garlic
3 1/2 cups  Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup Marsala wine
4 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon, oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, garlic powder
pinch of cayenne
1/4 grated romano  cheese
 In a large oven proof saucepot, add chicken seasoned with spices, cook 2 min each side or until browned.

stir in drained beans, tomatoes,wine & broth. Bake 350 degrees for 40 min, still in cheese. Suggestions: add boiled pasta of choice, 2 cups cooked spinach or escarole. Top with croutons, more cheese, serve with garlic bread.

Upstate NY Italian Sauce or Gravy? Debate

Traditional Sunday Sauce

 The question (and sometimes, the passionate debate) has been brought up to me many times.
Why some call whats on top of their macaroni, pasta "Sauce or Gravy" ?
 It goes without saying that they are both basic words in the American vocabulary, but accurately understanding what each word really means can be the very different sometimes. Depending on what region of Italy your relatives came from (most immigrants from the North never began using the word gravy in any sense once in America). Though the term is used in all major cities, the original practice of calling "sauce" gravy started in the Long Island, New York region "Port Washington." A section of Long Island mostly made up of Italian immigrants at the turn of the century. Though some Italians did not refer to it as "sauce", only gravy depending again where their relatives came from, it became a mix of both in many area's.  This term of gravy was then carried into New York City and the northern parts of New Jersey. From there, it migrated into cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston And Chicago. Today many of the older Italians had stopped this usage opting to use the more common United States term as "sauce."

Here is somewhat an answer for fellow foodies, Italian-Americans and all Americans: I call  for one and our family call it sauce. I have gotten in several discussions with many reasons why every family may have a different version of whats right and wrong, but our family calls it sauce and in Upstate NY, (Utica/Rome area to be exact where I am from,)  they called any topping for macaroni, sauce period. As a matter of fact some were totally disgusted by the word gravy and would take offense by referring to it as gravy and argue about this for hours. They would get so passionate about it, many would argue they were more Italian than you are were. Gravy was something you would have on Thanksgiving with turkey but not on pasta, never, ever,  perhaps the following will provide a bit more information on why it was referred to as gravy to begin with by some, but never to others. There are actual reasonings behind why indeed it is okay to also call a tomato sauce, gravy it's  Whatever ...
Marinara Sauce

Tomato Sauce( wikipedia version) (a marinara sauce my recipe), is any quick sauce created with only tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and other spices and no meat. It can be used for topping macaroni or pasta, chicken, beef or veal. As it is a condiment for those meats (and not cooked using the meat itself inside the sauce), it is not considered a gravy in any social or food-related sense.
So here is some accuracy on what is correct here although I believe whatever your family calls it is ok with me!
The term “meat gravy,” is used to describe any sauce that is made from  any kind meat. Any sauce that had meat in it, in definition was considered a “meat gravy” is a long, slow cooking time with enhanced flavors extracted from the meat. The classic Italian-American recipes call for meatballs, sausage, pork ribs, braciole or beef, to be combined with the spices and  tomato making a thicker, richer sauce which was why some referred this to a gravy, it all came down to meat in the sauce.

Italian Meat Braciole

Traditional Meat Sauce the Next Generation

So in conclusion, what is the simple right answer, gravy or sauce? Well, there isn't any . Or, really, the answer is, it’s okay to use both phrases. Again, our family within two regions (Rome Italy and Bari) call our sauce, "Sauce".  If you are still not convinced and still want to call your tomato sauce, gravy, that’s perfectly fine with me, it's who you are right?  As long as your  preparing it with love and care just like your mama, grandmom, and great-grandmother, aunt whomever your backround originated did, you can’t go wrong. And whatever you call it, let's eat!!.... Mangia! Cheers!

Sheridans or Caramel Bailey's Irish Creme Pie

Another one of those desserts to save for that special moment that your family and dinner guests will be in awe of how delicious this pie is and you will love how easy it is to make.

Since this is my husband favorite liqueur, I had to try and make him a dessert I knew he would love with it, and this is it! He was very pleased on the outcome. Sheridan's was introduced to us on our cruise we had taken a few years back. One section is filled with a black liqueur, consisting of coffee and whiskey flavors, the other is filled with a white liqueur of milk white chocolate. Its a liqueur that has half dark liqueur and half creme and it pours out together. I found that mixing some Kahlua and Caramel Baileys worked as a close substitute but if you can ever try Sheridan's that is pure heaven, we just love it.

Not many ingredients but that chocolate crust caramel and fluffy filling is pure bliss.
1/4 cup of Caramel Baileys Irish Creme plus 1 tablespoon of Kahlua or Sheridan's Liqueur (only found on cruise ships)
1 8 oz container of Cool whip
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 small package of chocolate instant pudding
1 bottle of Hot Fudge sauce
1 pre made chocolate cookie crust

In a bowl beat with electric beater, mix instant pudding and milk till thick and smooth. Add Baileys and cream cheese, whip till light and fluffy. Fold in one tub of cool whip. Put 1/2 cup of hot fudge sauce on the bottom of the crust. Pour cream cheese mixture into the chocolate crust. Top with more cool whip, and drizzle more Hot fudge sauce over the cool whip topping. If you prefer more Sheridan's or Baileys, drizzle 2 tablespoons over the cool whip.

Creamy Orzo Herb and Parmesan

I double this recipe......

Creamy Orzo Herb and Parmesan

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic or powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,( cayenne optional)
4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted (I melt a teaspoon of butter in a small glass bowl and add the pine nuts for around two minutes till browned)

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo, and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and orzo is done (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve immediately

How To Roast a Perfect Italian Style Chicken with TIPS

Well we lost a little skin on this one! 
It's still tender juicy moist and delicious!

Some where along the way, someone forgets to tell you that there is a bag of giblets, gizzards and other items inside a whole chicken when you buy it and bring it home to cook. You may think throwing it into the oven your safe but then wow, what a  big surprise when carving it up, only to serve a beautiful chicken with something all tucked away? A bag still inside!!!  I am here to tell all new cooks, clean your chicken inside and out, if you don't want to use the inside to make a stuffing, discard the remains inside your chicken, do not bake that chicken with the paper bag!  I did my good deed for cooking today! No one ever told me anything when I started out, and yes, I did leave it in, embarrassing, will never forget it, and it didn't smell very nice! So remove the bag guys and girls, rinse carefully inside and out and cut the butt off!
Here a great roasted chicken recipe!
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken remove inside package cut the bottom of the overlapping skin off, rinse and pat dry, remove all the inside and rinse in cold water till everything inside is cleaned out... I do not use the bag of insides it comes with, I discard everything... clean out your chicken the best you can.
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper 1 teaspoon white 1 teaspoon black
1 lemon, halved
2 fresh bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped, plus 1 tablespoon for the end
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, oregano, basil, parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
1 cup white wine I use Chablis
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees

Optional: You can add an onions, carrots and celery to the cavity at the beginning after its cleaned.( I usually do both stuff the cavity with carrots and celery and cook some separate different vegetables in a dish with tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, add whatever you like with some olive oil, Italian spices and olive oil coated bake the last 45 minutes of cooking your chicken, sprinkle with Italian flavored bread crumbs at the end)

In a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan . Season the chicken both inside and out with the kosher salt and white and black pepper. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken and place the rinds inside the cavity. Place the bay leaves inside the cavity. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, olive oil and butter, spirnkle with all dried herbs. Rub the chicken both inside and out with the garlic rosemary blend and place in the roasting pan.

Place the pan in the oven and roast the chicken on 400 degree oven, or until the juices run clear around 1 hour depending on the size of the roaster. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

 Whisk in chicken stock, roasted garlic, white wine and chopped rosemary, pinch of oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, bring to a boil. Place in a 2 inch deep glass dish, place juice inside dish with sliced chicken.. will keep the bird moist and juicy till serving.

Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting tray and put it into the preheated oven

• Always preheat oven very high heat and lower to cook the chicken for  around 1 hour and 20 minutes 

• If you’re doing roast potatoes and veggies, I place them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking

• Baste the chicken halfway through cooking and add more lemon juice
• When cooked, let chicken rest for at least 15 minutes placed on to a board

To carve your chicken

• Take off the wings

• Carefully cut down between the leg and the breast

• Cut through the joint and pull the leg off

• Repeat on the other side, then cut each leg between the thigh and the drumstick so you end up with four portions of dark meat

• Place these on a serving platter

• You should now have a clear space to carve the rest of your chicken

• Angle the knife along the breastbone and carve one side off, then the other

Two methods of cooking:
 Regular Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Roast whole (thawed) chickens for 20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

High Heat Method Results will be  a crispy, darker skin

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) and cook whole (thawed) chicken for 10-15 minute
Then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and roast for 20 minutes per pound. (Do not add the extra 15 minutes to the cooking time as with the regular method.)

All you need is an instant-read thermometer and a roasting pan with rack.Your chicken will cook more evenly, since air can get around the bird. (A roasting rack will also give you crispier skin, since the chicken won't be resting in its own juices.) For easier cleanup, line the pan with parchment paper it won't stick!

Tips on Herbs :
Sage: Found in Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece and Spain. A shrub in the mint family, slightly bitter taste. Good with pork, sausages, poultry and hamburgers. Available leaf, powdered and in rubbed form.

Fennel: Found in India, France, Argentina. In the parsley family but taste like licorice with tiny yellowish brown seeds. Taste good in soups, fish, sauces, sweet pickles, bread and rolls. Available whole or ground.

Tarragon: Found in France, U.S. A flower top plant that has a pungent flavor resembling licorice. Good with fish sauces, eggs, cheese dishes, green salads, pickels,vinegar, chicken, tomatoes, sauces for meats and vegetables. Available whole or ground.

Thyme: Found in France and Spain. Its is a member for the mint family. Good in soups, chowders,stuffings, beef, lamb, veal, pork dishes, oysters, eggs,cheese, bean and vegetable soups, fish. Available whole or powdered.

Parsley: Found in U.S. and Europe. Tiny green leaf growing in clusters on low plant, mild tangy flavor. Good with meat, vegetables, sauces, soups, eggs, cheese. Available whole, ground, flakes.

Dill: Found in India and U.S. Parsley family with a delicate caraway flavor. Taste good with fish, cream, cottage cheese, fish, vegetables, pickles, tomatoes, potatoes. Available whole and ground

Basil: Found in India, Western Europe, and U.S. Member of the mint family, sweet flavored like licorice taste. Taste good with tomatoes, peas, squash lamb, fish, eggs, salads, cheese, duck, potatoes, Available whole and ground.

Bay Leaf: Found in Turkey Yugoslavia, Portugal, Greece. Green from the leafo of laurel tree, has pungent flavor. Good with vegetable and fish soups, tomato sauces, tomato juice, poached fish, meat stews. Available in whole leaf form.

Chervil: Found in France and U.S. Member of the parsley family. Mild flavor. Good with cheese dishes, chicken, peas, spinach, green salads, cream soups. Available whole, ground.

Oregano: Found in Mexico, Italy, Chile, France, U.S. Member of the mint family. Slightly bitter taste.
Good with tomato sauces, pizza, chicken, pork, beef, veal, vegetables, fish salads, chili. Available whole and ground.

Mint: Found in all parts of the world, this can grow anywhere and also spread. It is dried leaf of peppermint or spearmint plant with strong seet odor and tangy cool taste. Taste good in jellies, juices,candies, frosting, cakes, pies, lamb, ice cream, potatoes, peas, and chocolate desserts. Availabe, whole, dried, sprigs and flaked.

Rosemary: Found in France, Spain and Portugal. It is leaf of evergreen shrub. Curved pine needles with a piney taste. Taste good with poultry stuffing, veal and lamb roasts, potatoes, cauliflower, fish and duck. Available whole and ground.

Marjoriam: Found in France, Germany and Chile. A member of the mint family. Good with chowders, vegetables,soups, eggs, cheese dishes, stews, roast chicken, beef, lamb, pork stuffings. Available whole and ground.

Italian Broccoli Cheese Cornbread

We just love this quick and easy herb cornbread.. Italian herbs and spices that will be addicting with any  chili especially Italian Chili, also any barbecue meal or even a Lemon Chicken. Great to bring to picnics and you soon will add to your list to make as a regular.

4 eggs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, cayenne
1 package or box corn bread/muffin mix( approx amount on box is 6 or 8 oz sizes) I have used both and works out fine
3 fresh chopped florets of broccoli chopped in small pieces and microwaved in water for 10 minutes or use a (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon each, garlic powder, oregano, basil, parsley,

In a bowl, combine eggs, butter and salt. Stir in corn bread mix just until blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, do not over cook. Slice and serve warm. Goes great with Italian Chili

MOM'S Old Fashioned Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Cookies and a little History on our Family

I have to tell you something about Italian recipes that has always had me thinking. Mom never use to measure anything. For those of you looking for authentic recipes, stop looking.  just remember, most of them come from those who still live among us, unfortunately all of our family has long since past that came from Italy that learned from their mom's and grandma's. When they lived in those Italian Regions they grew up with their versions of recipes. My parents were both born here in the early 1900's. Mom being born in America learned  her families way of cooking, Italian, and from the Region, Bari. She got her cooking expertise from her mom that lived in Bari, then later on, her motherinlaw, that came from Rome, Italy .No cookbooks back then, no two cooked alike. To this day, I cherished her penmanship she left behind although just ingredients no amount. It was all assumed measurements. The Region she was born in Italy, Bari, was very different than my grandmother who lived in Rome, Italy.  Aunts from Calabria, and many many other Regions all made things differently. For instance we have cousins that put raisins in their meatballs, mom put boiled eggs in lasagna. Was it wrong? No, not wrong, just different style,  to the kids that grew up in those different households and families that grew those additions were the only way to eat these foods and nothing else compares to mom's. We continue to recreate what their legacy and traditions were, however, it's a bit impossible to duplicate anything the same, just give you guide lines of what we were used and the close similarity of what we can reproduce since the creator isn't here critique it. There is no Authentic anything,  it is certainly an opinion of the original origin here. Years change what was once first created adapted and perfected. I can't possibly get the fresh chickens, eggs and meat they had, mom was a butcher too, so the meat was 100% better tasting back then so we can't produce the same ingredient in some cases either, that taste can't be reproduced without them.   I can't be an authority on Italian cooking by Authenticity, I didn't live there or that time period. I just the love her simplicity of the recipes that once was created, we will try and recreate as close as possible, adapt and hope to make a recipe close to the same.. my mom made great cookies, cakes, and fabulous recipes of foods for dinners, that never got written on this site you will find my best guess and the closest resemblance of my dearest memories of her, that has long since past.. I have never tried to suggest its exactly like  hers, similar, as I could never replace the original which is long gone and by far in my eyes the best!
So enough about my feelings on mom's, grandma's, and originality, she lives on through her teachings and cooking, it's as  close to what some remember as we can get here, keep looking its out there somewhere, and kept experimenting you'll get there~ for the love of family and cooking!... Thanks for reading~
Her cookie recipe:

Mom use to tell me the trick was to start out soaking the raisins in hot water till they plump before adding them. This time I did it, they actually seem to keep the cookies fresh longer, soft and chewy, these were delicious.
A simple easy cookie I always think why not for breakfast it's healthy there's oatmeal in them!
When I was a kid I actually hated raisins, so she cut this batch in half and added chocolate chips to one half and raisins in the other.. if you have picky eaters, like I was, you won't be sorry these are an awesome cookie!

Old Fashion Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins( place in a bowl with hot water for around 1/2 hour then drain optional)
or 1 cup chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together sugar, butter, molasses and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients except raisins until well blended. This is where you can split the batter into two bowls, add chocolate chips to one and raisins to the other. Stir in preferred blend. Even split I add a cup of each.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 9 to 10 minutes or just until set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.

Mom's Veal Parmigiana

2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Romano grating cheese
1 cup flour add 1/2 teaspoon each to the flour, oregano, parsley, basil, garlic powder, pepper
4 eggs
1 pound of Veal pound 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup oil
Marinara Sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Romano grating cheese
Combine bread crumbs, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt,  some freshly ground pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Put flour, breadcrumbs and eggs in three separate dishes. Dredge cutlets in flour, dip in egg, then breadcrumbs to coat. Let sit for around 1/2 hour. Heat oil in large skillet and fry cutlets until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Preheat oven to 375.
Spread marinara sauce in a 13x9 pan. Place a single layer of cutlets on top. Top with sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella and grating cheese. Cover with foil. Bake until the cheese melts then becomes browned.

Valentine's Day Desserts and More New and Old Posts

White Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

Fresh Fruit Tops This Coconut Cream Pie Filling (New Post 2011)
Happy Valentines Day!

1 pie crust recipe or store bought baked into a 8 or 9 inch heart shaped pan (spray with light cooking oil) cooled, remove from pan
1 jar of triple berry ice cream topping or blackberry jam warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave
fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or strawberries
1 package of homemade coconut cream pudding or packaged vanilla cooked with 1/2 cup coconut added cooled
1 container of whipped topping

Fill heart cooled crust with pudding. Top with fresh berries, sliced thin and arrange on top of pudding,  brush with triple berry topping. In a small zip lock bag  snip one end and add whipped cream piped around the heart, sprinkle with colored sugar and serve.

Some Recipes from past Valentines Day's:

                                       Oldie But Goodies

Three Olive Appetizer

                                   Valentines Day  Conversation Heart  Butter Cookies


Dad's Favorite Coconut Jam Filled Cake

Valentines Strawberry Nutella Cookie Cake

Have a Sweethearts Day!

Shrimp Teriyaki and Rice with Pea's and Carrots

3 pounds of shrimp cleaned deveined with tails marinade below: ( you can substitute chicken, beef or pork)
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 clove of minced garlic
Mix this all together and this is the perfect marinade!~
Place shrimp and marinade at least 30. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on high each side either outside or on a indoor grill.

Rice Recipe:
Boil 1 1/2 cups of rice of choice to package directions.
In a large fry pan, heat 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 cloves of minced garlic saute till soft. Scramble two beaten eggs in the butter and garlic.  In a small saucepan or microwave,  par boil 1/2 cup of julienne style carrots and 1 cup of frozen pea's till  they still have a bite to them, drain well. Add to the butter, garlic and egg mixture in  the frypan. Add the cooked rice. Mix 1/4 soy sauce and 1/2 cup of water together add to the pan, heat till warm.
Place rice in a large dish, add shrimp on top and serve.

Valentine Day Cake Recipe, Dad's Favorite Coconut Jam Filled

In Honor of my Late Dad Carmen Colenzo, his favorite cake was always Coconut Jam Filled Scratch Cake, so this one's for you daddy! I use to make these all the time for him. My mom, my Margaret use to make the cake from scratch, fill this cake with whatever jam she had in the house, add the coconut on top and this became his all time favorite, try it you'll soon see why!

*Cupcakes are also a great alternative if you don't have a heart pan

Slice off the tops with a sharp knife, set aside and sprinkle with 10x sugar. Fill your top of the cake with red  jam, replace the sugared top. Almost like a famous cookie knockoff for Valentines Day  just using cake!

Happy Valentines Daddy, I will always miss and love you! 1912-1995 RIP

1 Heart Shaped Cake Pan greased
White Cake Mix or Homemade Cake see below
1 jar Strawberry Preserves or Red Raspberry Jam
1 cup of coconut put through the food processor till fine

Bake cake mix as directed or follow cake recipe below. See above for cutting layer off the top of the cake, using a cookie cutter, cut the middle of the top layer into a heart. Set aside. Sprinkle cooled cake with confectionery sugar. Fill cake layer with jam, sprinkle with coconut careful not to fill the middle hole with the coconut to cover the jam in the center. Replace the sugared top on the cake.

Homemade Cake Recipe Click Here > Grandma's Scratch Cake

*For those of you without Heart Shaped Pans use cupcake tins, slice off the tops same as the cake, fill with favorite jam, coconut. Use a heart shape small cookie cutter for the centers. Sprinkle the cut off heart centered tops with confectionary sugar, place on top of the cupcake and there you have it! Viola!

Carmen Colenzo 1912-1995 RIP

Fried Calamari, Fresh Marinara and Pasta

A very nice meal for the Calamari lover...fresh fried Calamari with Marinara fresh sauce over pasta,  a great combination sure to please!

You will need to make the above highlighted recipes:
 1 batch of  Fried Calamari click on Calamari above for recipe
 1 batch of Fresh Marinara click on Mairinara above for recipe
Your favorite pasta boiled in salted water, we just love Angel Hair or Linguine

Place cooked pasta on a plate, top with fresh marinara sauce, surrounded by freshly fried Calamari, top with lots of freshly grated Romano cheese.
Serve with garlic knots and  hearts of romaine salad.

Strawberry Blueberry Orange Heart Scones

Scones are an all time comfort breakfast food and also great during tea time. I love the buttery biscuit stuffed with fruits. A hint of sweetness make them irresistible. The dough is so versatile, you can cut it into any shape you like. Here is a great Valentine shape for the occasion.

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 
1 cup fresh strawberries sliced and in half or use red raspberries, cherries chopped or another fruit you like.
1/2 cup light brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
Zest of 1 small orange
2 1/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Extra flour

White sugar, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment or lightly spraying with spray oil.
Chop the strawberries into small half slices either by hand set aside. Wash blueberries pat dry and set aside. In a bowl or food processor mix all dry ingredients then add chilled cut up butter into the dry ingredients, add brown sugar and orange zest into the food processor or bowl and mix until fine and crumbly. Stir in the beaten egg and milk. Fold in fruits.
Sprinkle the counter or a board with flour, and dump the dough out on it. It will be very wet and sticky. Mound a rectangular shaped dough about an inch high and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until just getting golden.

Serve warm with honey, butter or jam.  We like them plain just the way they are.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Warm slightly in the oven wrapped in foil.

Optional: While warm drizzle with a mixture of powdered sugar and leftover juice from the orange to make a very thick glaze. Drizzle over the top of warm scones. Serve warm.

Grilled Lemon Chicken and Almondine Rice Marsala

1‑1/2 pounds cubed Chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Optional Vegetables:
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces,1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces ,1 yellow squash, cut into 1-inch pieces,8 ounces large fresh whole mushrooms, wiped clean and stems trimmed

Place Chicken in large resealable food storage bag. Combine oil, juice, garlic, chopped oregano, salt and black pepper in glass measuring cup; pour over chicken in bag. Close bag securely; turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 4 hours, turning once or overnight.

Drain Chicken, reserving marinade. Alternately thread chicken, and whatever vegetables you like
IE bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, onion and mushrooms onto 12 (10-inch) metal skewers;  brush both sides with reserved marinade.

Using wooden skewers, soak in cold water 30 minutes to prevent burning.
Place kabobs on grid. Grill, on covered grill, over medium-hot coals 6 minutes. Turn; continue to grill, covered, 5 to 7 minutes for medium or until desired doneness is reached. Serve with rice (see below). Garnish with lemon, if desired. Serve hot.

Rice Almondine Marsala

Panko Crusted Italian Baked Fish with Marinara Sauce and Angel Hair

 Lesson : DO NOT take a picture holding a hot plate in the center while balancing the camera!!! Well since I tried to make a beautiful plateful of Angel Hair and the presentation was ready for the picture, I went to snap it and the whole plate slid right into the sauce, landed on the stove and as you can see made a horrible mess! I am a clumsy cook at times.  Blogging is about presentation, mine is far from perfected, it all  about the taste for me and where we  came from,  taste the same to me no matter if the plate is pretty or plopped onto it in a piles it still tastes great!

Add to parchment paper to keep the fish from sticking to a pan.

Very simple fresh recipe here.
Baked fish, fresh marinara sauce on top of Angel hair pasta. Here's the recipe:

4 white filets of fish sea bass or tilapia are my choices
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
4 tablespoons water
1 package of Italian Style panko bread crumbs
grated cheese long strands of Italian Romano
 Marinara Sauce store bought or recipe found by Clicking Here
1 lb Angel hair pasta cooked al dente or to your preference in salt water

Make  marinara sauce first or use store bought.
In a large enough pie plate or dish to fit the fish, add 1/4 cup olive oil, water and lemon juice, blend together. Dip pieces of fish in that mixture than into panko bread crumbs coating both sides. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet, bake on 350 till browned. This is fry in the oven. About 35 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Around 15 minutes before fish is done, cook pasta, drain, toss with 1/4 cup of grating cheese and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
To serve, place pasta on plate first, fish on the side, scoop marinara on the middle of the pasta top with more grating cheese and serve.