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Ricotta Tomato Sauce Seashell Pasta Recipe

A great combination of flavors. The Ricotta and Tomato Sauce enhance this pasta dish to the next level of cheesy greatness.  A cheese lovers dish that everyone will love for sure!

Recipe link below for homemade sauce or use store bought
Traditional Sunday Sauce Recipe
1 pound cooked Seashell pasta or your favorite cooked and drained to package instructions
1- 15 ounce container of Ricotta whole milk cheese
Grating cheese
Parsley flakes optional

Boil 1 pound of pasta to package directions al dente or to your desired doneness and then drain.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, the container of Ricotta cheese, 4 tablespoons grating cheese mix all together until will combined. Gradually add ladles of sauce until the pasta is coated all the way through. Sprinkle with parsley.
Serve  with more sauce and grating cheese if you prefer.

+claudia lamascolo Author

Baked Eggplant Steak Chips Recipe

Eggplant steak chips? Bet your wondering what in the heck are these right? Well I love Potatoes Steak Fries and always bake them. I also love Eggplant. When I cut it in thick wedges and then flour, bread and bake them they taste so good they never make it to the healthier version of baked Eggplant Parmesan which was what I really started out to make. Oh sure you can do that too instead if you like,  but they really taste great without anything else on them or maybe with a little dipping sauce! They can be a fabulous snack or side dish.
When you see the ingredients,  you'll agree they sound delicious because they are! Well even if you don't I love them!  Plus you can dress they up any way you like!
Baked Eggplant Steak Chips
1 large eggplant cut in slices around 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch depending how crispy you like them
grating cheese
garlic powder
salt, pepper,
cayenne pepper
Italian flavored bread crumbs
seasoned flour
2 egg whites beaten with 4 tablespoons water
dried parsley, oregano
olive oil
Slice eggplant leaving skins on and wash in a colander. In a large gallon size plastic bag add 1 cup flour and 1 teaspoon of each salt, pepper, oregano, parsley and dash of cayenne pepper.  Place and shake the wet washed eggplant slices into the flour.
In a pie plate beat the egg whites with water.
In another pie plate place 1/2 grating cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 3 cups Italian flavored bread crumbs in the dish.
Dip one eggplant piece at a time into egg wash then into bread crumbs. Place on a large cookie sheet. Continue until all is coated.
Drizzle each one with olive oil and sprinkle with more grating cheese.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake around 40 minutes or until very browned and crunchy looking.
You can eat them plain or dip  them in marinara sauce or whatever else you like. These can also be used to make Eggplant Parmesan adding sauce and mozzarella then baked again.
+claudia lamascolo  Author

Chocolate Boston Cream Pie Cupcake Recipe



I love Boston Cream Pie. I also love cupcakes. So for my birthday I decided since you can't find such a treat in any bakery, I had to have them.  I also can't believe how fast my life is going by me. Before you know it this will be a vintage blog! Since I love chocolate better than vanilla I guess I will reinvent the Boston Cream Pie into my liking, after all it's my birthday right?
  Yes, Chocolate Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes it is!



Melted chocolate ganache poured over the top with a vanilla filling... a perfect match!




Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes:

6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate
3/4 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
14 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup water


Melt chocolate and butter together in either a microwave or double boiler. After completely melted pour into a bowl and add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and beat with an electric beater. Add the dry ingredients until fully blended together around 2 minutes beating evenly.  Pour into prepared lined cupcake pans. Bake on 350 degree hot oven until the middle looks dry and tooth pick in poked in the center comes out clean around 35 minutes. Cool completely. Make filling below.

Boston Cream Filling:

2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to a boil . In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated with milk and vanilla. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Using strainer into the saucepan, pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and rum extract. Let cool slightly. Chill at least 2 hours


Ganache Chocolate Topping:

16 ounces good grade semi sweet or German chocolate
16 ounces heavy cream

Heat the cream in the microwave or on stove top until it simmers.  Add the chocolate let sit a few minutes. Add to a food processor and pulse until it is combined. If too thin wait until it cools to use as a frosting.

Cut center out of each cupcake with a sharp knife carefully spoon in vanilla cream.
Spoon the ganache over each cupcake and add the maraschino cherry half on top.





Homemade Pizza with Curt's Pizza Sauce Recipe

I had been using just plain no name brands of whole tomatoes for years now.
 Curt from Curt's Delectable Creations Blog introduced me to San Marzano whole tomatoes. I had always been intrigued to try them but they were always so pricey, I couldn't believe they would be that different to spend the extra money on them. I was wrong,  they are fresh tasting and made one of the best sauces I ever tasted. Curt made this great pizza sauce with them and after that I was hooked on the sauce and using these tomatoes. I now make his recipe for pizza sauce and actually I have to say not only was the sauce good this pizza disappeared in 5 minutes. As a matter of fact they didn't wait for it to cool and burned the roof of our mouths on the cheese! 
 Ever done that before?

Here is the link to his pizza sauce and our family dough recipe below:

San Marzano Pizza Sauce  from +Curt Iffert 

Homemade Pizza Dough from this blog recipe

There's nothing like homemade pizza sauce and homemade dough to make your family dinner a big hit. Of course you can add your favorite toppings here are some suggestions that go great on pizza:

Cooked meats such as sausage, meatballs, boneless chicken, slices of steak
Sliced vegetables such as eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, zucchini, onion, garlic
Fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley
Seafood such as scallops, shrimp, pieces of crab or lobster
Assorted cheeses, mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan, provolone
Combinations of ham and pineapple
Other sauces to try with certain combinations: Mushroom Alfredo, Bolognese

Have fun creating your pizza! Thank you +Curt Iffert for sharing your recipe I will always use those tomatoes now!
+claudia lamascolo

Strawberry Rangoons Dessert Video and Recipe




6–8 fresh small strawberries
1/4 cup strawberry cream cheese spread
Optional: 1/4 cup white chocolate chips for extra sweetness
12 won ton skins (found in the produce department of the grocery store) or make homemade ones
fresh mint
Plastic wrap
3 tablespoons canola oil
Cinnamon sugar blend (optional) and Strawberry Ice Cream topping

Cut strawberries into small 1/4-inch-pieces (about 1/4 cup); place in small bowl.
Stir cream cheese in gently until blended add a 1/4 cup chocolate white chips if using.

Lay won ton skins flat. Place about 1 teaspoon of the strawberry mixture in center; do not over fill. Moisten a 1/4-inch-strip along outside edge; fold one corner over filling to opposite corner to form a triangle. Press edges together tightly to seal; repeat with remaining skins. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside until ready to cook.
Preheat oil in large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place seam side down to cook.

I cook 1–2 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden. Drain on absorbent paper; cook remaining rangoons. Put a little of the strawberry ice cream topping on the plate, top with rangoon. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, mint sprigs, and serve warm.

Still not a pro at making video's but still the same you will get the idea on how simple these are to make!

 
         Not one of my better Video's but you will get the idea!


+claudia lamascolo  Author

Roasted Chicken Freezer Marinade Recipe

This is the best Roasted Chicken Freezer Marinade Recipe I have had yet. I love the moistness that it holds while baking!



Not just a plain roasted chicken, this one has been marinated in the freezer!  When your ready to cooking it


Well even though this really isn't much of a recipe, it's more like a tip and method.  It sure is an easy fix ahead of time when you are on a budget and want to save time!

I bought several whole roasting chickens on sale for a great price. I just hate to clean them after they are frozen. You have to thaw them first then take out the insides, clean them all up and I always have a horrible time getting the bags out from inside when frozen takes way too long!

So, I decided to clean them all at the same time then they would all be ready to just roast when I needed one of them for dinner.

I had bought 8 chickens, that's a lot of chicken to clean if they were all in the freezer and such a pain!

I also bought heavy duty freezer bags. Each roasting chicken was about 5 1/2 pounds each.

I proceeded to clean each chicken removing the bags inside of each, snipping off the overlapping skins and back side pieces. Rinsed then shook them dry.

Then I placed each one in a freezer gallon size bag. Now for the best part!!!! The marinade!
Here's what I did:

I poured 1-12oz bottle of beer on each whole chicken any kind will do! Then I added this combination below sprinkling in each bag, the below ingredients is for one chicken. I had to make a lot of this seasoning for all eight, you will have to adapt to how many you have. The best way is to make it for each bag so you don't over season one and not enough for the other.

In a small bowl mix for each chicken using:
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper

Sprinkle on the chicken with the beer in the bags.

I turn it over a few times and stuck it in the freezer to make sure its well coated with seasonings.

Then when I am ready to cook this I let the chicken thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place in a roaster pan with rack. Add juices and herbs too,  and just cook it until it's done around 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on the size at 350 degrees. Baste with the juices of beer and herbs marinade.  

When skin is browned the chicken will be moist, tender and falls off the bone. I also like to broil the top for a crispier skin.

Use leftovers to top a salad or this chicken make great sandwiches.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Italiano Style Baked Fish Recipe


I love making baked fish dishes. Using fresh vegetables enhances any kind of white fish and  tranforms it into a flavorful wine Italian salsa topping with crispy baked buttery bread crumbs!




4 pieces of White fish (Cod, Haddock, Tilapia, Sea Bass or other mild filets)
Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 cups cleaned medium sized shrimps
1/4 cup white wine (Chablis preferred)
1 thinly sliced zucchini
1/2 cup sliced halves grape tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced garlic in olive oil
Optional: cayenne pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
2 tablespoons melted butter
cooking oil spray

She loves this fish, don't dare touch her while she's eating you may lose a finger.  This is Regina our new baby kitten she is was born on March 7th.  We named her Regina after the evil Queen in Once Upon A Time" the television series.  She plays the part well, bites, scratches and torments her older brother and sister, !Fonzo and Trina. We love her to pieces though and we may end up in pieces if we don't abide by her rules (smile)..  she's such a handful of mischief!  When I made this fish she sat there until I gave her a taste and ate the whole piece!


In a large sprayed baking pan, place filet's on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with zucchini slices.  Put the cleaned shrimps on the top of the zucchini.  Top with sliced tomatoes, minced garlic, salt pepper to taste and cayenne pepper if using.
 Sprinkle with a generous amount of Italian flavored bread crumbs and grating cheese to taste we load it on!
Carefully pour wine around the bottom of the pan not touch the toppings. Drizzle with a little olive oil and melted with butter.
Bake on 350 degrees,  hot oven until the tops are browned around 35 to 45 minutes.
Note : Occasionally we sprinkle this with mozzarella cheese and broil the top until browned and bubbly!

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Garlic Parmesan Crusted Roasted Vegetable Recipe

If you have never roasted vegetables, your missing out.  These vegetables are the answer to any meat side dish.  So what are you waiting for? Look no more here is the side dish of all sides dishes. Potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, peppers, garlic, what else do you want to add? 
You can add what your family favorites are!



Here's what you need:
Pepper strips
Broccoli florets
Thinly sliced potatoes
Thinly sliced zucchini
Minced garlic
Olive oil
Italian flavored bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, parsley, oregano
Cookie sheet large enough to spread out single pieces


Other Suggestions Vegetables to use Sliced : portabello mushroom slices, cauliflower florets, thinly sliced carrots, cubed eggplant, tomatoes cubed, okra,  thin sliced onions, preboiled green beans, brussels sprouts, sliced tomatoes, thin slices of prosciutto,, sliced italian sausage or pepperoni for flavor for those who like meat!

In a large bowl place all the amount of vegetables in it that will fit on your cookie sheet in a single pattern when spread out. In that bowl drizzle around 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne powder, 1 teaspoon parsley and oregano. Toss.
Lay out on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle generously with Italian bread crumbs then around 1 cup of Parmesan cheese on top of that. Bake on 400 degree hot oven until browned and potatoes are cooked around 30 minutes.
+claudia lamascolo  Author

Cake Mix Banana Cream Cupcake Recipe

So easy the kids can make this one! Banana  cream filled cupcakes. This is one they will ask you to make again. Great for any picnics or office parties.

Here's what you need for Banana cream cupcakes!
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup water
1 cup mayonnaise
3 eggs

Mix the cake mix in a bowl with all above ingredients using an electric beater for 3 minutes.
 Line your cupcake tins. Fill 3/4 full.  Bake the cupcakes to package instructions. Cool completely.

Using a apple corer or sharp knife, core out the center of each cupcake.

Make filling:

1 package cooked vanilla pudding or instant French vanilla or banana instant puddings made to package instructions
 1 banana mashed  leaving bananas a little chunky you can add more if you like

Mix the vanilla pudding with banana chunks.

Fill the hollow part with mashed bananas pudding mixture. Top with whipped cream and colored sugar. Or you can make mock whip cream frosting and pipe on top.  See recipe below.

Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Note: Use colored sugar any color to the theme your baking  (Valentines Day, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day etc.)

 Adult version
Optional: add 3 tablespoons of rum to the pudding stir to blend.

If your not in a hurry try my SCRATCH VANILLA CUPCAKE RECIPE
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter softened (8 tablespoons)
4 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

With an electric mixer in a medium size bowl beat the sugar and butter together until light around 4 minutes. Add the vanilla, eggs, milk to blend then add the, baking powder, salt then the flour a little at a time. Proceed with above instructions for cupcakes. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until centers come out clean with a toothpick.

Cooked Whipped Cream Frosting:

3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter softened or at room temperature
1 teaspoon clear vanilla
pinch of salt

In a saucepan add the flour and 1/4 cup milk whisk till smooth on low heat. Add the rest of the milk, then add vanilla and pinch of salt  and  cook till thickened then cool and continue to whisk Mixture will get very thick. Cool Completely to room temperature or refrigerate to speed up the process. With an electric mixer beat the sugar and butter till light and fluffy add that all into this heavy thickened flour mixture beating for at least 5 minutes until the sugar lost it's grainy look ( a good test is to take a little of this mixture between two fingers and rub together to see if sugar is dissolved or keep beating). Once it looks light and fluffy it's ready to spread!

+claudia lamascolo Author

Knockoff Banana Strawberry Jello Salad Found on a Chinese Buffet Recipe


I have to admit I am a big fan of this dessert salad at all the Chinese Buffets.  Every time we go no matter how stuffed I am I find room to eat this sugary sweet banana strawberry combination. I started mixing and combining idea's on how to get the consistency right and not use too much sugar. Well this worked perfectly for me. I probably could have made it a little thicker adding another 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch but I loved how this just coated it without a big glob.
If you want thicker glaze then add the extra. 



 Here's how to make this simple jello sauce for you fruit salad! (see notes at the end for different idea's and taste suggestions)

You will need:
1  package strawberry jello
1 cup sugar
2 1/2  tablespoons corn starch (or 1/2 tablespoon more for thicker sauce this is medium.)
1 1/2 cup cold water
Assorted fruits: I used 8 medium sized bananas and 1 quart of strawberries other suggestions below

In a medium sized saucepan:

Add the water to the pan whisk in the corn starch and add sugar. Boil until thickened, around 3 to 5 minutes. Add the package of strawberry jello, blend evenly.

Cool mixture completely on the counter in a glass bowl. Add sliced bananas, I also added fresh strawberries to the bowl and keep in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving or until set.

Other fruit suggestions I have tried:

Kiwi, seedless grapes, apple slices, blueberries with blue jello, raspberries with raspberrie jello, oranges with orange jello.  I am sure you can come up with your  favorites.

One last note: If you prefer a less sweet sauce, reduce the sugar to 1/2 a cup. It will still thicken just not be as sweet. This is is very sweet sauce and this is created to my own personal taste. It is not pasty, it's a smooth clear sauce medium thickness and for me perfectly sweet.

Serve with whipped cream or plain.


+claudia lamascolo Author

Crockpot Baked Potatoes Two Ways and Suggestions Recipes



Who knew that the crockpot could have so many ways to make the working world or just busy folks make dinner without knowing how to cook? You can make a whole meal out of a potato with leftovers or just your favorite toppings from a jar or can! Oh by the way if you have hungry kids after school, this is a no brainer for them to come home they just will have to add cheese on top!

Follow these simple instructions for the best results.

10 to 12 washed Fresh Potatoes (I like to use red, white or yellow potatoes)
Foil
Salt and Pepper
Optional: Softened Butter


Wash the potatoes, place on foil, prick with a fork, add salt and pepper you can spread with softened butter if you like. Fill the crockpot with potatoes on low (dry no liquid) Check using a fork after 8 hours from that long hard day making sure they are soft. Take out cut up and fluff with a fork in the middles. Try some of my topping suggestions.  Besides what is suggested you can always use leftover chili, stews or canned corned beef hash add some shredded cheese for melting and your meal is complete.

Now here are a few more quick meal topping suggestions:

Greek Style Potato: Feta cheese crumbles, olives, Greek dressing, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Philly Style Potato: Steak slices cooked topped with provolone, sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms.

Italian Guys Style Potato: Crushed meatballs in sauce add shredded mozzarella on top.

Pizza Style Potato: Pepperoni, mozzarella. (If you like sausage, mushrooms, peppers etc. have at it!)

Well I think you all get the idea!  Have fun creating your own toppings!

 Till the next time this is +claudia lamascolo  Author  have a great day!

Utica Greens Claudia Style Recipe

Utica Greens Claudia's style recipe! I love them all dressed up!  Click the link below for my version.

A great side dish and so healthy for you! Italian Sauteed Escarole...garlicky with extra virgin olive oil and a little heat! ....tender greens you are going to love~ I make three different version here is just one of them. Every restaurant makes these different. Some made with prosciutto, potatoes, peppers, the versions can go on and on. If you make the basic recipe, you can add your hearts desire. I love mine with mozzarella on top and bread crumbs. It's all your preference. Utica/Rome is noted for their Chicken Riggies, Italian Greens, PustiesTomato PieHalf Moon CookiesCannoli, just to name a few there is so much more. I could probably write a book just on the fabulous foods of Utica/Rome NY...someday I may just find the time to do that. For now watch the video to see why I love UPSTATE NEW YORK UTICA ROME AREA FOR THE FINEST ITALIAN FOODS! 

   UTICA/ROME UPSTATE NEW YORK GREENS RECIPE CLICK HERE






Click here for the recipe   



+claudia lamascolo  Author
         

Mom's Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Spiced Muffin Recipe

I  love a great muffin don't you? Breakfast can be tricky sometimes. We don't always have time to eat a healthy breakfast with a busy lifestyle and I convinced myself this is the way to go when wanting to be on the edge.  I grew up on these fresh flavors and really like the taste of this muffin. Mom could make this come together so quick,  it's an easy fix for a sweet treat when your on the go,  will at least make you smile on the way to work. Great time to eat that carb then burn it off you have all day, right? Go ahead and splurge for a change.  Oh and by the way,  don't like raisins?
Add chocolate chips you can adapt the way you like it!


1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
14 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon orange peel grated
3/4 cup sugar
1 extra large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chips
Optional: Chopped walnuts or pecans
Glaze:
powdered sugar
water
mascarpone cheese

Spray your muffin tins with cooking spray.
In a large bowl add all dry ingredients along with raisins and peel.
In another small bowl add all wet ingredients .
Blend the dry ingredients with the wet until moistened. Add to the prepared cupcake tins 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degree hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the middle is set or comes clean with a toothpick. Cool.  Drizzle with glaze.

Note:  to make make glaze take 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese and then add teaspoons of water or more a little at a time until a thickened glazed sugar is created.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Italian Peppers Prosciutto Pepperoni Cheese Mini Biscuit Appetizer Recipe



I love peppers, pepperoni and ham in my calzones with of course loads of cheese!  Here is an easy appetizer that you can throw everything together in minutes for a tasty appetizer the gang will love! Great for any gathering! These are like having a mini bread calzone or meat pie all in one tasty little bite! Trust me you will make them again! Kind of taste like an Italian style cheddar bay biscuit!

1 small chopped red or green bell pepper
1/3 cup ricotta or sour cream
1 cup pepperoni chopped, or (use Italian loose sausage cooked and drained)
1/4 cup chopped Prosciutto or ham
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grating cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese whole milk
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg beaten

Garnish:
olive oil
dried parsley
garlic powder

Dipping sauce:
Marinara sauce click here for recipe or use store bought

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients, spices and seasonings and blend together. Add the meats, peppers and cheese, egg and ricotta stir until mixed evenly.  Let rest around 10 minutes.
Spoon into mini muffin tins or by tablespoons on a cookies sheet.

Sprinkle tops with dried parsley, garlic powder and drizzle a bit of olive oil on each one, add more shredded cheese if you like.
Bake at 400 degree hot oven for 25 minutes or until golden browned serve with marinara dipping sauce.



+claudia lamascolo  Author