Italian Strawberry Cream Cake Recipe

What better way to serve fresh strawberries to your Sweetheart for any occasion?
 A perfect homemade treat to make for any super special day! This is my special treat for Valentine's Day but it doesn't have to be a holiday just make this one because it's awesome!

Italian Strawberry Cream Cake Recipe


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
5 eggs seperated
2 cups double sifted flour or cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3/4 cup finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans 

Whipped Cream Frosting (see below recipe)
Glaze Recipe (see below recipe)

2 quarts Fresh Strawberries washed and hulled mixed with glaze

Preheat oven to 350 grease two 8 inch pans ( I make two cakes and freeze one for a later use)
In a large mixing bowl beat together the sugar, shortening, butter until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time beating after each one added. In another bowl add flour, salt. Add buttermilk and baking soda. Mix all together. Stir in the vanilla and coconut then chopped nuts.

Beat egg whites until stiff in another mixing bowl until stiff. Gently fold into the batter. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 until brown and middle springs back to the touch or use a toothpick method. Cool.  Spread cake layer or layers with whipped cream and mound Sstrawberries in the center to serve.

Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon clear vanilla or almond extract

Beat heavy cream with sugar, salt until stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use on completely cooled cakes.

Glaze for Strawberries:

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons jello strawberry powder
1/2 cup water + 2 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup corn syrup
red food coloring (2 drops optional)

Combine water, cornstarch, jello powder and corn syrup. Whisk to dissolve. Place on medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Add food coloring if using. Set aside to cool.
Add the strawberries to the cooled glaze and garnish cake.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Coconut Chip Cookie Bars Recipe

A favorite cookie bar that has acquired  many names and recipes on the net. Called 7 layer, magic cookie bars and other names. I made this one with crushed vanilla wafers crust and omitted the traditonal nuts and added cinnamon to the crust. A little different but with a little spice this cookie bar was a huge hit at this wonderful fund raiser I made them for. This one generated many more donations than I ever imagined for a great cause.   Here is my version. Hope you like it too.

1 can condensed milk
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup coconut
Bottom Crust Layer:
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package vanilla wafers crushed in a food processor
In a 13x9 pan place the stick of butter in the bottom of the pan and put into the oven on 350 degree until it melts. Stir in the vanilla wafer crumbs and cinnamon,  mix together until evenly blended.
Pour the can of condensed milk on top. Spread with shredded coconut and then chocolate chips on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for at least 25 to 35 minutes until coconut starts to turn golden brown. Cool cut into squares.

By the way if you have the  chance to stop by and see my cupcake submission below 

Please vote for me....  1/30/2013 throught 2/13/2013  thank you!


+claudia lamascolo  Author

Italian Style French Toast Recipe

 Italian French Toast?
The ingredients are very rich but if you want to treat yourself to a great Italian french toast, this is it. Sometimes you have to indulge. When we were growing up, we had a milkman. Mom would use some of the cream accumulated on the top of the milk in this recipe and sometimes even whip the cream to use as a garnish. Don't forget to pass the butter and real maple syrup.

Italian Style French Toast Recipe You will need a 1-lb whole loaf sliced by hand and thick ( cut  2 to 3 inch thick sliced) should be day old bread not fresh
suggestions: Italian,  egg bread, panettone, ciabatta, cuban bread, french bread stick, brioche.

6 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk 1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel

In a large baking square deep dish, whisk the eggs, cream, cinnamon, vanilla and peel together.
Lay the bread slices in the dish and let soak for 5 minutes.

Using a griddle heated on medium, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Place the Italian French toast on the griddle and cook 3 minutes on each side or golden brown.

Serve with real maple syrup, honey, fresh ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese or jam. Garnish with whipped cream if you prefer. You can sprinkle pecans on top or chocolate chips too for a real treat.

Chickpea Spinach Florentine With Orzo Soup

One of those comfort foods I grew up but using mostly Escarole than spinach. Greens were always an important part of the soup. Spinach makes this vibrant and comforting!  Any greens you like can go in this soup. I just love spinach and escarole.

Chickpea Spinach Florentine With Orzo Soup


Silicone Tart Molds And Tart Dough Recipes

Inexpensive little molds that are no fuss in clean up and easy to use for a variety of baked goods. They come in a variety of colors and quite affordable! The benefits are no greasing or oiling pans required. Pans heat quickly and bake evenly without dark edges and super easy to 
remove just by lightly twisting or gently pulling on the sides for quick release. Check out
Curt's Delectables Blog today for a great recipe using his Homemade Nutella 
filled Cannoli Tarts!

They are freezer and refrigerator and microwave safe.  They are also dishwasher safe. Bake, store, freeze and reheat. No rust like the aluminum ones! No need to alter your batter or temperature. Cleanup is so easy. Lightweight and easy storage plus they don't lose their shape!  Once you make these tarts, they are so versatile. You can fill them with anything you like from scrabbled eggs to open face quiches to mouth watering desserts. 

Check Curt's Delectables as he is featuring these filled with my Cannoli Filling today
 and his Homemade Nutella Filling!

You can make them plain or fancy just by dipping the edges in chocolate then nuts before filling!

Some things to remember along the way:

Now with all that said on how much I love using the silicone molds, I have experienced that heavier silicone larger molds use can be a disaster if you don't grease them or have a heavy filling they fall apart easy and are hard to handle. Also learning to make sure they are completely cooled or the larger tarts with top crusts can split in half or fall apart. The large ones just didn't do well with top crusts.
I stick to the small ones. You can then unmold them fill with fresh fruits, puddings or other ideas you may have. The smaller ones do well with top crusts when making fruit filled or egg filling quiche tarts, or pies.

The last thing I encountered was baking time. Most instructions say bake as usual. These seemed to cook much quicker. I reduced the pie crusts and tart dough time by 10 minutes. Another tip is to prick the dough first before baking to ensure it has air in it and doesn't puff up.  Cool dough before removing from the molds.

All and all I really like using these but with everything you have to get use to the pros and cons.
I still like the metal ones for heavy filled pudding treats like Italian Pusties with a top crust.
I find releasing a heavier filled tart these are too flimsy to handle.  Here are some dough recipes that worked well for me and I didn't need to grease the molds.

For easy clean up and use, refer to the package instructions.

Tart Dough: (for desserts or savory tarts)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening using a pastry blender tool or 2 knives. Continue until it makes  coarse looking crumb. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time stirring with a fork after each addition just enough water to forms a dough. Using floured hands make a flat disk. This can now be used to cut out the tarts, quiche or anything else you need a pastry dough for. Male sure piercing the bottom with a fork. This recipe makes enough dough for one 9 inch quiche or tart shell. Bake at 375 until brown, around 12 to 15 minutes, keep checking.  Around 12 to 16 miniature individual tart pans depending on their size. If not using immediately refrigerate up to 2 days.
Suggestions for dessert tarts: Fill with lemon, chocolate or vanilla puddings with a combination of fruit added. Or just fill with fresh fruits such as blackberries, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, cherries. Fruits can also be used as a topping to the cream filled tarts.  Garnish with chocolate curls, whipped cream or meringues.

Pie Crust Dough: (more for just fruit pies)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
 1 tablespoon sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
 6 to 7 tablespoons ice cold water

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix well. Add the shortening and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water and let sit 1 minute. Either using a fork or your hands, carefully press the mixture together to form a soft ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/4-inch thick.Roll into desired pan or pie plate. Mold the edges and chill again for 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake pie shell until golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before filling.

Chocolate Butter Crust : 
Makes 1 large tart shell in pan with removable bottom
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt in the bowl mix together with electric heavy duty mixer. Add butter, mixture will resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolks, cream, and vanilla; process until mixture comes together, keep adding cream if too dry, a little at a time.

Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and flatten into a disk with the palm of your hand. Wrap well, refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to use, up to 2 days.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Small Sour Cream Coffee Cake For Two Recipe

Sometimes I just want something sweet in the morning. This one is still the go to  cake for me. I always loved the taste of dense scratch cake with cinnamon and nuts. It's not a large cake so I don't have to worry about leftovers for days with just the two of us. Turns out to be both our favorites now. I don't make this very often unless I just happen to have some sour cream left over from the holidays. Maybe you will want to use your up on this one too!
Filling for the top of the batter:
Double ingredients for a thicker topping (I Do)

1/4  cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup ground pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoons of flour
Mix all together and set aside

Cake Batter:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4  teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter softened
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In small bowl, mix all topping ingredients and set aside.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat sugar, butter,  vanilla and the eggs with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add in flour mixture mix in sour cream on low speed.

Spread batter in a greased pan. Or you can use cupcake tins.  Use a square or rectangular greased pan as it makes only one small cake. Add the filling to the top and spread out evenly.
Bake about 40 minutes or until toothpick is clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool 10 minutes.
Cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you prefer.


Red Beans and Rice Recipe My Way

No I am not an expert on Rice and Beans in the South way of making them or in the wonderful Latin way, but an expert on spicing it up! 
This is something easy to make come out perfect and a great side  for barbecued meals.

2 cups red beans or pinto beans canned or dried cooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cups cooked rice to package instructions 
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Saute cooked beans in 1 tablespoon or more of olive oil with 1 teaspoon minced garlic around 1 minute. Add the cooked rice to a bowl with bean mixture. Toss with all seasonings, add the olive oil to the mixture blend together.

Serve warm with your favorite barbecued meat.

+claudia lamascolo Author

Suggestions for meats:

Barbecue Spare Ribs with Jack Daniels
Barebecue Chicken Legs with Hot Sauce
Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Blueberry Banana Bread Recipe

I really enjoy banana bread but with the addition of blueberries it's over the top.  Just makes the best coffee or tea break time. The top is sprinkled with a blend of cinnamon and sugar. You can leave it plain while baking if you want, it's perfect the way it is! You can also make muffins with the same batter if you like the individual grab and go breakfast!

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In another bowl beat well:

1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups mashed banana's
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
4 eggs

1 cup fresh blueberries
Optional: before baking add a mixture of cinnamon and sugar to the top ....

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix till well blended, fold in the blueberries. Pour into two well greased loaf pans or make muffins. Bake ar 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until brown and middle is dry when tested with a toothpick.
Another great way to use this batter is to pour this mixture into individual cupcake tins, sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar... this batter makes great muffins!

Broccoli Rabe, Artichoke and Olive Pizza Recipe

We love broccoli rabe and this one with artichokes and the combination of fresh tomato,olives, sauce and alfredo has a unique taste! I put some on top so you can see how good it looks!

I really over did it with the cheese... sorry folks all the olives and chopped artichokes are on underneath, you will have to just use your imagination. I can assure you this pizza is worth every minute of your time to make!

1 homemade pizza dough (around 1 lb or store bought dough)
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce sauce homemade or store bought
1 cup chopped cooked Broccoli Rabe or( spinach frozen and drained then blotted dry)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 minced garlic cloves in olive oil
2 fresh plum tomatoes sliced thinly on a slicing tool (mandolin) or sharp knife
1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1/2 can artichokes hearts chopped  (around 4 to 6)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup of marinara sauce homemade of store bought
oregano, basil and parsley dried
Shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
olive oil

Stretch your dough, brush with the Alfredo sauce. Mix the broccoli rabe or spinach, garlic powder and salt, drop by tablespoons of the broccoli rabe or spinach onto the dough trying to evenly distribute. Next place some artichoke hearts on top and sliced olives. Next end with thinly sliced tomatoes and the tomato sauce just dropping on top with a spoon . Add minced garlic, sprinkling evenly. Add lightly with a little of all three dried herbs and then a generous amount of shredded mozzarella of cheese on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a hot oven till brown and bubbly on 425 degree hot oven around 40 minutes.

Alfredo Sauce Recipe: (makes a large amount) So have pasta too! Great on Fettuccine

1 quart heavy cream
5 ounces Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Fontina cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 tablespoons butter

Add butter and garlic in a pan saute till garlic is soft. Add the spices, cream and stir. Simmer on very low around 15 minutes, add cheeses at the end till blended and melted.

Homemade Dough Recipe Click HERE

Marinara Sauce Click HERE

Broccoli Rabe Sauteed

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Crockpot Beef Roast with Marsala Gravy Recipe

Rump Roast never tasted better! Here is one that fell apart was moist tender and  had no leftovers.
I always love the leftover to make sandwiches with garlic bread,  rump roast and in Au Ju.
That didn't happen this time
the roast melted in your mouth. Served with mashed potatoes, corn and brussels sprouts it was a superb meal made in the crockpot. You won't be sorry with the outcome.

Here is all you do:

1 can or jar of beef gravy
1 package 8 oz fresh sliced baby bella mushrooms
1- 2 1/2 pound or larger Rump Roast (this is tied with string)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or use dried
1 teaspoon minced garlic in olive oil
1/4 cup Marsala Wine

In a bowl mix the wine, gravy, sauce, parsley and garlic together.
In a 5 to 7 quart crock pot coat the crock pot with a light cooking spray oil or ( line with the new plastic crock pot liners). Add the roast to the bottom. Pour the mixture over the top. Set to high for 4 to 6 hours or low around 7 to 8 hours.  Remove string slice and serve with
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Corn or your favorite vegetable.

More Crockpot recipes:

Crockpot Mac and Cheese
Crockpot Lasagna
Chicken mushroom Crockpot stew
Best Boston Butt Crockpot Roast
Crockpot Pulled Pork
Crockpot Brownies

+claudia lamascolo Author

Baked Wonton Nutella Filled Turnover Recipe

A great blogger friend made a filled ravioli on his blog that inspired me and then I tried them fried instead of baked. He baked his and I thought I would give them a try this time. I will never fry them again! These are of course so much healthier baked. Thanks so much Greg and Curt for this inspiration. They are all gone the husband ate them all in one night!  Make sure you go over and check out Crostini and Chianti on Greg's blog Click HERE, everything I made from his blog comes out fantastic.  He made Nutella Ravoili with a raspberry sauce over the top that were outstanding!
 I made a bunch of these into crispy cookie like turnovers to take to work and these little gems a hit!

I also used my son's recipe of homemade Nutella which made these even more special
Check out that recipe Homemade Nutella on Curt's Delectable Blog click here

Wonton wrappers you will find in the produce department in local supermarkets
1 homemade recipe of Nutella or store bought
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for sealing edges

Take the wonton flat, brush all the edges with egg wash. Place 1 teaspoon of Nutella in the center, fold into triangles. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake on 350 until light browned. I let cool and sprinkle powdered sugar on top. That't it!
A crispy filled cookie like turnover!


Curt Made Nutella Homemade Recipe It's On His Webpage

Yes that's right! Curt made this fabulous container of homemade Nutella. Since he was little I would have to keep it hidden away if I ever wanted some That was always store bought! It didn't surprise me on his excitement when he called and said your not going to believe what I made! Now I am just hoping mine will turn out so good. I can't wait to try this one!  Oh the recipe? You will have to check that out it's so easy you won't believe it! 

Here's the link below and let us know how you like it. We thought it was super delicious, easy and a keeper!

Nutella Homemade Nope I'm Not Kidding You Recipe!


Refrigerator Buttermilk Biscuit Spinach Appetizer Recipe

One of my favorite snacks anytime are these easy to make spinach filled orderves. Mozzarella, sauteed spinach and herbs all folded into a delicious refrigerated pre made dough, found in the dairy case. These even taste great reheated when you have leftovers! Great for lunches and after school snacks. A great addition is to add some marinara sauce to dip these in!

2 packages of refrigerator  buttermilk biscuits removed from carton
1  16 oz package fresh spinach sauteed in olive oil till soft with 1/4 teaspoon each,  salt, pepper and garlic powder
1lb  package  shredded mozzarella cheese
1 beaten egg white mixed with 3 tablespoons water

Parmesan cheese
dried parsley
black pepper
dried oregano
garlic powder

Unroll ten biscuits. Flatten to a thin 1/4 inch with your fingers on a cutting board. Brush each one with beaten egg whites. Place some shredded cheese on the dough then a tablespoon of sauteed spinach.  Roll up. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs, spices lightly.  Place on a parchment lined or foil cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degree oven till browned on top around 10 to 15 minutes

Italian Baked Fish with Breaded Tomato and White Wine Recipe

I just love fresh fish! Here is a quick throw together recipe you can use as a basic recipe for any white fish!
If you don't like to use alcohol substitute chicken broth. But white wine is a perfect compliment to this delicate baked fish! Enjoy the Italian baked cuisine! It's all in the topping!

2 to 3 Fresh sliced plum tomatoes
1 container Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Fresh chopped Italian parsley or dried
1/4 Chablis White Wine
2 Tablespoons melted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil use to drizzle over the top
salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil spray

4 to 6 pieces of white fish of choice (see below for suggestions) or more for the amount you will be feeding

White Fish : Halibut, Tilapia, Haddock, Flounder, Sea bass Whiting, Cod just to name a few use any light flavored fish

Here is what I do:

In a bowl mix about 1 cup of bread crumbs with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, minced garlic and parsley. Set aside.
In a deep dish pan to fit the amount of fish your using, coat and spray with cooking oil. Place the fish on the bottom in single pieces. Drizzle with melted butter. Place thick slices of plum tomatoes on top of each piece of fish. Sprinkle generously with Italian flavored bread crumbs mixture evenly over the tomatoes and fish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
Pour 1/4 cup white wine over the bottom of the the dish not touch the tomatoes. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 350 degree hot oven until fish flakes easily with fork around 35 minutes, depending on thickness.

Serve with roasted broccoli and carrots recipe and 
red roasted potatoes.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Roasted Amaretto Butternut Squash Recipe

1 large butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
1 large cookie sheet
parchment paper
1 tablespoon sea salt more or less to taste
1 teaspoon white pepper more or less to taste
1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur
1/2 cup melted butter or use half olive oil half butter if you want to cut calories
 olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated garlic or more to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place cubed cleaned butternut squash on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Roast the cubed butternut squash for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Keep turning so it doesn't scorch or burn.
Place in a bowl, add Amaretto, butter and/or olive oil, then more salt and pepper to taste.

Crockpot Mushroom Marsala Chicken Over Linguine Recipe

Working all day I want a meal that is quick to throw before I leave in the morning and then when I get home there is not much left to do. Well this is it!  This makes it's own sauce with tender chicken and mushrooms to just leave the pasta to boil. Here's an answer to what taste gourmet and like you have cooked this from scratch, a tender chicken with the richest gravy flavor!

1 jar 12 oz or using a can of  beef gravy of your choice
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
1 jar drained sliced mushrooms
4 large boneless chicken breasts
1lb linguine pasta cooked to the package instructions (I like al dente')
1/2 teaspoon each dried parsley, garlic powder, pepper
dash cayenne pepper

Olive oil
grating cheese

Place the chicken in the crockpot. In a small bowl mix the gravy, seasonings and herbs, add the wine. Pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Cook the pasta to your preference, drain. Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 cup grating cheese like parmesan.
Serve the chicken mixture over the pasta, spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with more cheese and dried parsley and serve.

Note: for a much thicker sauce add 3 tablespoons of wondra flour with water to make a paste, add the to crock pot for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
+claudia lamascolo  Author

Curt's Italian Homemade Salad Dressing Recipe

                         If you haven't gone to visit +Curt Iffert  Curt's Delectable Blog
your missing out. Curt has innovative ideas and brings his foods to a new level of creativity. Here is one great salad dressing recipe we will use over and over on our salads and fresh vegetables. Be sure to hop over and say hi! Curt's Blog Click Here.
Thanks +Curt Iffert  for this guest post today!
What ever you decide to add you can make a whole meal out of a salad. It can be  as low fat or high in calories as you decide it to be. Salad dressing is herbs, spices a good grade of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. All the herbs in the bowl  are nothing until you add the oil and vinegar. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley and oregano will enhance the fresh flavors. Fresh garlic, crusty Italian bread are a must have when we eat our salads.
 The sky is the limit to what you put in your salad. Starting out with an assortment of mixed greens to include Romaine lettuce. Everything and anything you add is a plus.

Salad is versatile you can add everything you like in greens, beans, vegetables of all kinds to nuts!

Here is a list you can add to your salad of suggestions:

Mixed greens
Romaine, Bib, Fancy Greens Mix
Carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, baby corn, olives, palms of hearts, artichoke hearts, cheeses, salami, pepperoni, crumbled bacon, prosciutto, roasted peppers, regular peppers, mushroom, garlic, onions, raw broccoli, cauliflower and avocado.
The list goes on and on.
Seafood's like tuna, shrimp, smoked salmon and boiled egg slices are popular on salad.
Corn, peas, garbanzo beans, black beans and cut green beans are other suggestions.

Then there are toppings of croutons, nuts like pecans, walnuts, almonds and pistachio's, fruits of all kinds and
the endless kinds of dressings.
Here is an Italian basic salad dressing that taste great on anything you choose to build you salad with.

Italian Homemade Salad Dressing Recipe:

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoons each of fresh preferred, (dried when not available) basil leaves, parsley chopped, oregano, 2 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon powder,  dash cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste, and 2 tablespoon grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup good grade Balsamic Vinegar

Mix all ingredients above for dressing in a bowl and whisk to blend together.
Pour over your plated salad and serve with Italian Crusty bread.

Thanks +Curt Iffert  this was an awesome recipe you shared with us today!

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Baked Cheesy Seafood Appetizer Recipe

We are huge seafood fans here. If we have a game day gatherings or any movie night, this is always the first appetizers everyone wants me to make. Has a great flavor to the sauce. I usually keep it this on warm in the crockpot if I need to make it ahead of time. Cooking for an hour on high. However the baking in the oven takes as little as 25 minutes. Either way this is a great appetizer for seafood lovers!


The Best Fillings For Cupcakes Recipes

Smore's Filled Cupcakes Recipe below

There are many ways to fill a cupcake and with amazing fillings to make them over the top gourmet!
A few simple tools will work. I have used a sharp paring knife, apple corer (my favorite) small orderve cutters just to name a few of the easier ones.
For the fillings I use a ziplock bag, fill and snip a small portion of the end off to squeeze out the filling.

So lets get started to making the filling recipes. Raspberry, peanut butter, lemon curd, chocolate pudding and smore's filling just to name a few at the top of my list. Interested? Of course if your making an instant treat with puddings you can just make your favorite fillings to include even instant cheesecake filling to butterscotch with the instant brands out on the market.

All topped with a butter cream frosting or choice or a rich ganache.
For white or yellow cakes, I like to fill them with lemon, coconut cream, chocolate or even a vanilla pudding.
Mix and match your favorites.
For the chocolate cake try these fillings, smore's, peanut butter, raspberry and chocolate filling.

First Bake a batch of your favorite cupcakes using a mix or a favorite recipe!

Coconut Cream Filled Cupcakes:
(this goes on top of the batter in the center before baking)

2 egg whites
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups of flaked coconut put through a food processor
Mix all together. Put a small amount of batter in a paper line cupcake tin, put some of the filling in the center and top with more batter. Bake to package directions.

Raspberry Filled Cupcakes:
(filled after the cupcakes are baked and cooled)

2 cups fresh raspberries smashed
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon Chambord or Vanilla Extract

Mix the sugar, corn starch and little water to blend smooth, add the rest of the water then and Chambord. Cook until thickened. Fill cooled cupcakes by cutting the middles out and piping in the filling in the center. Replace with the cake that was removed and frost.

Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes:
(filling is used after the cakes are baked then cooled)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 stick of butter, softened
3 tablespoons of heavy cream

Add all ingredients in mixing bowl and beat using an electric mixer add more cream if too stiff should be fluffy enough to fill not dry.
Filled the center of cooled cupcakes by scooping out the middles and piping the filling into the centers. Replace the cake and frost.

Fresh Lemon Curd Recipe:
(filled after the cakes are baked then cooled)

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed, seeds removed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon peel
1/4 cup butter melted

Using a double boiler, place beat the eggs and sugar together add to the boiler pan. Add the lemon juice, peel, and butter. Simmer over the boiling water until thickened around 15 minutes
Fill cooled cupcakes with lemon curd by removing the center of the cupcake, pipe in with the lemon curd and replace the cake into the center. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Smore's Filling: (as shown in the first photo, using a chocolate cake for the cupcakes the bake, cooled and filled)

6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat together ingredients. Add 1/4 mini chocolate chips set aside.

In a food processor add 1 package of graham crackers with 3 tablespoons softened butter. Pulse until crumbs.
In the center of the cooled cupcakes, cut the centers out. Spoon in a little of the crumbs mixture in first then pipe filling (using a ziplock bag with this filling and snip the end off) adding a small amount of marshmallow filling on top of the crumb mixture. Top with cut out of cupcake middle.  Frost,  leave plain or add ice cream for garnishing.

Click links for these other fillings:
Pastry Fillings:

Chocolate Pudding
Vanilla Pudding
Banana Pudding

For Ganache Style Glaze toppings:

1/4 cup butter
3 ounces white chocolate
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons rum or water

In a microwave safe bowl, add white chocolate and butter till melted. Mix in sugar and water, stir mixing till blended.

1/4 cup butter
3 ounces dark chocolate
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons of warm water
In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and butter till melted. Mix in sugar and water, stir mixing till blended.


Easy to make by chopping 8 ounces of good grade chocolate and putting into a heavy duty glass bowl. Heat 1 cup of heavy cream just to a boil and then pour over the chocolate. Let sit around 10 minutes stir until melted and well blended, do not over blend.

Use with white or dark chocolates and pour over any cake you like.

Buttercream Frosting:
(High Humidity Frosting: (Great for Florida or hot weather area's.)

2 lbs powdered sugar
2/3 cup crisco
2/3 cup water
1 package of dream whip
2 tablespoons clear vanilla

Beat with a flat beat in an industrial mixer 1 package dream whip and crisco till light, gradually add the powdered sugar in and little water at a time. Whip or 12 minutes, fold in the vanilla. The frosting is thick and ready to frost a cooled cake.

Some Cake Batters to try:

Irish Cream Cupcakes
Chocolate Boston Cream Pie Cake
Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake
Fudge Marble Cake

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Crockpot Pizza Dip Recipe Appetizer

Photo Courtesy Taken By Jennifer Carman

Homemade Marinara Sauce

 Crockpot Pizza Dip Recipe Appetizer

1- 3/4 cup marinara sauce store bought or homemade
3/4 cup chopped pepperoni, sausage or any other meat you like
1 sweet red or green bell pepper chopped
4 tablespoons chopped black pitted olives, mushrooms or any other usual toppings you like
1/2 teaspoon each oregano, basil, parsley and garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese or a blend of Italian cheeses
3 tablespoons grating cheese
1 3 ounce package cream cheese

Combine pizza sauce, pepperoni, peppers, olive and spices in a small crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 1 1/12 hours. Stir in the cheeses. Heat through until melted on high.  Serve with garlic bread toast or bread sticks.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

White Chicken Cannellini Chili Recipe

A simple recipe that is a nice change to the regular sauce chili. You can dress this one up with jalapeno peppers, sour cream, tortilla chips and cheese.
We prefer to add mozzarella cheese or provolone and some broken up garlic bread .
Whatever toppings you chose this is an easy recipe that you can dress up however you like.

2 tablespoons olive oil or more for frying chicken
4 boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes
2 cloves minced garlic
4 sweet peppers chopped (I use red, yellow and some green for color)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
dash of cayenne pepper
2 cans chicken broth
3 cans cannellini beans  drained (2 cans drained leave whole and 1 can drained and pureed keeping a little chunky)

Topping suggestions:
Shredded mozzarella, provolone or white cheddar cheeses
Crackers, garlic bread, croutons, or tortilla chips
Optional: Sour cream

In a large dutch oven or heavy saucepan around 5 quart, add the olive oil saute the peppers and chicken together. Saute until the pink is gone 4 to 5 minutes. Add the seasonings, chicken broth stir to blend.
puree beans by pulsing a few times in the food processor leaving them a little chunky

Add the pureed beans and the two cans of whole beans.  Simmer until thickens and chicken is tender around 1 hour on medium heat or throw it all into a slow cooker for 2 to 4 hours on low.

To Serve: Top with  sour cream, shredded white cheese, mozzarella, provolone or shredded cheddar. Add some crushed tortilla chips, garlic bread or crackers crumbled fried bacon is great on this also.

+claudia lamascolo  author

Mediterranean Style Chicken Zucchini Stew Recipe

A wonderful blend of Italian seasonings, chicken and vegetables make this a Mediterranean Style Chicken Stew. Also can be put into the slow cooker with all the same ingredients on low for 8 hours. A great inexpensive meal to feed a crowd.

2 to 4 boneless chicken breasts
1 8 oz package fresh sliced mushrooms
2 peeled and sliced potatoes
1 stalk celery cut up
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 diced into chunks of zucchini
2 green or yellow bell peppers sliced
1/4 cup red wine
1- 16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice or use whole plum tomatoes and cut up
olive oil
salt pepper to taste
Optional: Red pepper flakes for a little heat

In a large fry pan or dutch oven, saute boneless chicken breasts in 3 tablespoon olive oil around 3 minutes on each side. Add the pepper, celery, mushrooms and garlic. Continue to saute for 4 more minutes.  Add the tomatoes with juice, seasonings, wine. Cook covered around 15 minutes stirring to blend. Add the diced zucchini. Simmer until the chicken is tender around 35 to 45 more minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked all through. If using a slow cooker dump everything in after chicken is sauteed and cook on low up to 8 hours or high 4 to 6 hours.
Serve over a bed of white cooked rice or any kind of pasta.
+claudia lamascolo  Author

Fresh Pizza Dough with Garlic Plum Tomato Recipe

A garlic pizza with plum tomatoes and lots of cheese....
a perfect crispy pizza with  whole milk mozzarella!

1 homemade pizza dough recipe or store bought
marinara sauce homemade or store bought
sliced Roma plum tomatoes
minced fresh garlic 2 cloves
salt, pepper to taste
sprinkle of oregano, basil and dried parsley, garlic powder
shredded whole milk mozzarella
grating cheese

Spread dough out on a large pizza pan (I lightly oil spray parchment paper and spread the dough on it). Rise a half hour or until doubled in a warm spot.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes.
Take out, drizzle olive oil on the bottom and top of crust. Spread a few teaspoons of marinara sauce spread thinly over the crust. Place thin sliced plum tomatoes on crust and sprinkle the entire pie with the mixture of minced garlic. Sprinkle herbs and spices to your taste evenly over the pie. Sprinkle evenly with grating cheese and generously with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees until melted browned and crispy.

Mom's Birthday and No Bake Chocolate Covered Fig Cookies Recipe

One of my mom's favorite cookies to add to a wedding tray. Today she would have been 93 years old. Even though
I made these at Christmas time. I never served them and left them in the freezer until today as I made them in her memory as a tribute. She would make these for every Italian wedding in the family! One of her favorite cookies as well.
Happy Birthday Margaret Ann Fanelli Colenzo. Missing you everyday and all the fabulous foods you made for us!  I will continue to be inspired to make your recipes. Love you always and forever......
 I am so lucky to be part of you and proud to have you as my mom. Save me a good place up there.
Mom's Wedding photo.  She was so beautiful inside and out.
A woman that had a love for family, friends and fed everyone and anyone, anytime with her food!
Everyone would always call her to find out how to make her sauce which she really was famous for!
I can still taste it in my mind along with so many other specialties she made.

Here's her favorite cookie and recipe:

Packages of fig cookies store bought cut in half (she would use fig newtons) You will have to judge how many you need. She made enough to feed 300 people!
Chocolate Chips melted (she would use semi sweet chocolate chips)
Crushed walnuts
Wax paper 
Cookie sheet

Cut the cookies lengthwise in half. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until free flowing.
Dip each cookie into chocolate using a fork allowing the excess to drop off into the bowl. Roll in coarsely chopped walnuts. Set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and allow to dry. You can also freeze these for them to set quickly. 

Simple but delicious!

Love you always Mom,  R.I.P.  Happy Birthday...
In loving Memory of Margaret Ann Fanelli Colenzo
1919 - 1999

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Italian Style Chili Made with 15 Beans Recipe

Every week we make Chili in one form or the other. Here is a bean lovers Chili if I ever saw or had one. This has just about every bean imaginable all in one pot and very very tasty! We were pleasantly surprised how hearty and satisfying this was! Hope you like it too! If not check out the links below for more recipes making Chili!

1 package 15 beans soaked over night (Tip: use a crockpot on low or quick method, simmer for 70 minutes on top of the stove)
1 can crushed tomatoes seasoned with basil and oregano
olive oil
1/2 cup Burgundy wine
4 cloves minced garlic
2 large red or green peppers chopped
1 pound ground round or use ground turkey
1 teaspoon each dried oregano, parsley, basil, sugar
salt, pepper to taste
dash of cayenne
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 chopped celery
olive oil

In a large sauce pan add 3 tablespoons garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add the meat, celery, peppers for another 3 minutes until the pink is gone from the meat, drain most of the oil out. Add the sauce, herbs, seasonings to taste, Worcestershire sauce, sugar. Stir in beans. Simmer on low for 2 hours or the lowest settings or use a crockpot for 4 to 6 hours. Serve with shredded cheddar, mexican blend or your favorite shredded cheese and sour cream. Great with tortilla chips crushed up too!

Don't forget to whip up a batch of Tex Mex Muffins that go perfectly with this Chili! Click Here for the recipe.

Not the one you were looking for try these other Chili favorites:

Three Bean Garlic Chili
Chili Mac
White Chicken Chili
Lamb Chili with Burgundy Wine
Southwest Chicken Soup
Crockpot Turkey Chili

+claudia lamascolo  Author