German Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe


Coconut has always been a favorite of mine in anything. What a bonus to have this thick delicious sweet and yet creamy frosting over a chocolate style cake. If you haven't had it before you're in for quite the treat! The easiest cake using a mix is a bonus!




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Claudia's Grilled Chicken Spinach Roasted Pepper Sandwich


When I was on vacation I had a similar sandwich in our favorite restaurant there. I decided to try it tweaking it just a bit and making it to my taste. The biggest difference is how I cooked the chicken, I baked it with lime juice instead of fried it. I have to say this is one fantastic tasting sandwich!
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Eggplant Hummus Recipe

A healthy appetizer that taste great with no matter what you dip in it vegetables, crackers or pita bread this has an amazing taste. See the special ingredients that makes this so delicious!



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Slow Cooker Cheesecake Recipe

I would have never thought you could make such a creamy dense perfect cheesecake in a slow cooker in 2 hours. This is by far something that totally amazed me as a cook and baker. I just loved how simple this is. I totally adapted it to our taste using just the same amount of eggs and cream cheese a normal recipe for cheese cake would be. The recipe was flawless. You are going to be so proud of yourself when you see these results. Seriously just amazed me!


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Easy Chocolate Italian Spiced Rum Cake Recipe

This is one of those epic fail attempts! I forgot to grease the pan heavily on my swirly pan and my cake fell apart! So a chocolate rum cake to the rescue was born. This is a simple semi homemade cake. One I had often when I lived in Upstate N.Y. with pudding, almonds and yellow cake filled with either strawberries and pudding or even bananas in the pudding. I made it simple no fruit since I was traveling with it. The cake is famous at a local bakery in Upstate Utica N.Y. called the Florentine.


I was planning on bringing a pretty swirly cake at first to my cousins house (Karen and Bill). They invited us to dinner around 3 hours away from us on our way to Sanibel Island for Vacation. The cake didn't make it out of the pan, after I saw it crumble I had to think fast! Turns out to be the best mistake I ever made! When it all fell apart I went ahead and made one of the most delicious Italian Rum pudding cakes and

all chocolate was another bonus! Hopefully they will never find out it was suppose to be a pretty swirly cake (smile).


My cousin Karen Grimmer and I. We had a great time in Sanibel Island together. Karen and her husband Bill made us a great dinner! We had pork and pineapple kabobs on the grill, salad, coconut rice and a great bottle of wine. The perfect dinner to kick off our vacation. Thank you both we just loved your home!





Sanibel Island Florida is just beautiful! I had to snap this shot going over the causeway, just breath taking after dinner on the way to our West Wind Inn. A great place to stay!
My anniversary week vacation I can imagine even how much better the photo would have been if I had my camera! This shot was through a dirty window and from my phone! Go figure!!!





Before you get started here are some suggestions.

 Note Options: You can make this all white or yellow layer cakes, split and fill with vanilla pudding. Add Strawberries on top of the vanilla pudding or bananas on top of the chocolate pudding in a chocolate split layer cake between layers. Using 9 inch cake pans Don't forget to toast the almond! Soak both cakes with the same Rum syrup below before adding the pudding.
Easy Chocolate Italian Spiced Rum Cake Recipe

1 chocolate cake mix made to package instructions. 

  In the meantime make below: 

1 box cooked chocolate pudding made to package instructions and cooled. I used the larger size pudding box.

Then make the syrup below:

Rum Syrup:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of allspice or cinnamon
3/4  cups sugar
1/2 cup any white Rum (My cousin Bill said it could use more Rum try 1 cup instead of 1/2 a cup if you love Rum it can't hurt right?)

In a medium saucepan, place the butter, water, sugar and spice in the pan and cook until sugar dissolve around 4 minutes.
Remove from heat stir in the rum.



Pour  syrup over warm chocolate cake that has been broken up into pieces and into a container or large trifle bowl (layered looks beautiful).  Cool. Spread the pudding on top.  Refrigerate until cold. Scoop into small glass dessert dishes.  Top with whipped cream or serve with a frozen confection of chocolate gelato and chocolate fudge syrup on top. 


           Perfect place to vacation and we can't wait to go back! 
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Hot Capicola Mushroom Provolone Frittata Recipe

A delicious frittata filled with mozzarella, hot capicola and mushrooms. Of course you can put anything you want in it.
I love roasted peppers in mine.


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Best Chocolate Chips Ever Recipe



I have made so many kinds of cookies over the last 20 years so and so many chocolate chip cookie recipes you wouldn't believe it. Chocolate chips are loved by many but oh so many different ways to make them and all seem to say they're the best!

Some like them soft, crispy, chewy, gooey, hard, thin, thick. The list goes on and on. So the actual preference is an opinion on what the best cookie is. Well this chocolate chip cookie in my opinion is the best I ever made. I won't say it will be the best for you. I can only say this is a thick, rich, buttery, soft inside crunchy on the outside chocolate chip cookie. In closing I feel it's the best of both worlds! Of course don't let me be the judge of these, you need to try them and let me know what you think good or bad I would love to hear from you!





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Zucchini Balsamic Tomato Salad Recipe


When I want a light healthy lunch this is my go to recipe. I just throw everything in it I like and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar, a few of my favorite herbs and spices and I feel great about eating healthy! Of course you can add whatever you like and make some garlic knots or hot Italian crusty bread slathered with dripping butter if you like too!  


Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil (extra virgin)
Jalapeno Peppers Tamed
Grape Tomatoes
Slices of Zucchini cut thin
Avocado slices
Oregano, Basil
Minced garlic to taste
salt pepper to taste

Optional additions: sliced onions, sliced olives, chunks of your favorite cheese, slices of cucumber, olive oil packed tuna

In a large bowl place as much as you like of all the vegetables including options.
Drizzle evenly with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with all the herbs spices and mix in the garlic.

Top with Tuna if using and cheese.
Serve with garlic knots. Click here for the recipe.
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Nutter Butter Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe


If you're a  fan of peanut butter cookies, this vanilla bean ice cream will be a hit in your home like mine. My kids raved on the creamy texture then the delicious crunch of their favorite cookies. A keeper for sure that we will make time and time again.


Nutter Butter Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

2 cups half and half or whole milk
1 egg yolk
1 -1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a medium sized saucepan add the sugar, cornstarch and salt mix to combine.  Add the milk and cream and stir. Cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes.  Mix around 1 cup of the mixture into the egg yolk whisking till smooth. The whisk the egg mixture into the milk add in the vanilla bean mixing until blended smooth. if any lumps occur strain before refrigerating. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight or to spend the method add to the freezer in a bowl for around 2 hours.
Place into the ice cream maker to instructions of maker. Last 5 minutes fold in 8 to 10 crumbled nutter butter cookies to the mixture. Place in a freezer container until firm in the freezer.
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Easy Italian Meat Sauce Recipe


Perfect sauce when making a lasagna or baked ziti recipe. This one with leftovers can also be used for making rice dishes, stuffed cabbage or anything else that requires a meat sauce. Perfect for freezing or as a starter to many meals.  Perfect slow cooked in your crockpot. Put everything in and set on low until you get home from work! See my suggestions below.


 Easy Italian Meat Sauce Recipe

olive oil
minced garlic
4 pounds of fresh plum tomatoes put through the food processor or 4 cans of plum tomatoes pulsed till still a little chunky
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound loose Italian sausage
1 teaspoon fennel seed
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
dried oregano
2 fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

In a large fry pan add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the hamburger, loose sausage meat and garlic. Saute until pink is gone. Add the tomatoes, spices, herbs, salt, pepper and cook for 30 minutes on simmer. You can also add to your slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 2 to 4 hours.

Use for recipes that require a meat sauce. Perfect for topping stuffed peppers, casseroles,  baked ziti, used for tex mex chili starters, add rice  or vegetables ( IE cabbage, zucchini, summer squash, green beans, peas) poured over pasta of choice.
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Italian Pizza Dough Photos and Video

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Mom's Dutch Apple Pie Recipe

One of the pies I really loved warm or cold is Dutch Apple Pie. I just love the soft but slightly crunchy topping on the apples it reminds me of cobblers more than pie. Either way with a scoop of ice cream you got one heck of a pie alamode. Mom use to make this with graham cracker crust and by brushing an egg yolk on the bottom so it wouldn't get soggy from the apples but through the years I adapted this one as I prefer regular homemade pie crust.
You can do either one.


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Grilled Hawaiian Pork Chop Recipe

This is a wonderful tropical tasting dish actually we had in Hawaii when we were there. The pineapple and peppers along with this amazing marinade for these boneless pork chops are drool worthy and you won't be able to wait when you smell them cooking to eat them. I just love this recipe. I recreated it best I could and it really is almost exactly what we remembered!



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Zucchini Squash Pizza Recipe




I was amazed how delicious this was. It reminds me of eggplant Parmesan but better. I have now tried this with both green and yellow squash and they both come out great! If you are looking for a healthy alternative this is it! Of course you can add olives, peppers or any of your favorite toppings to a regular pizza on this but I love it the way it is and lowering the calories! It totally satisfies the urge to eat a lot of carbs in regular pizza. The bottom is soft not crispy like a pizza crust. I have also substituted cauliflower it isn't as delicious as this but you be the judge.




Zucchini Squash Pizza Recipe

1 shredded medium zucchini or yellow squash  ( I put mine either in the food processor or grate it. Then blot dry with paper towels if its very wet)
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 egg white or whole egg
1/3 cup Parmesan Romano cheese grated
3 tablespoons Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 cup tomato sauce any kind for the topping ( I used 1 fresh large plum tomato put through the food processor left a little chunky)
1 cup low moisture mozzarella cheese grated
salt, pepper to taste
optional : red pepper flakes to taste

Mix the grated squash, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley cheese and eggs in a bowl, add the bread crumbs last mix till blended. Spread into a greased pie plate and bake at 350 for around  15 to 25 minutes till browned on the edges depending on thickness. Remove from oven. Add the sauce and cheese and any other topping you like.  Broil for around 3 minutes on high or until the cheese is golden brown. Serve immediately.

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Balsamic Green Bean Pistachio Salad Recipe


Here is a simple green bean salad perfect alone or as a side dish with your meals. Served cold or hot it's delicious! I just love green beans and with this aged balsamic vinegar they are over the top great! The pistachios give them such a great crunch.

A pretty dish to serve during the holiday too!








Balsamic Green Bean Pistachio Salad Recipe
2 lbs green beans cleaned and washed
Balsamic vinegar we use 18 year aged
Pistachios out of shells
3 garlic cloves minced fine
salt, pepper
Oregano
Basil
Extra virgin olive oil
After cleaning the beans steam or boil them until desired doneness. We like ours soft so it takes around 35 minutes steaming.
Drain.
In a medium sized bowl add the beans. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons vinegar and the same for olive oil. Sprinkle with a small amount or oregano, chopped or dried basil,  salt and pepper to taste.
Fold in the garlic and blend together.
Before serving place on a plate sprinkle with whole pistachios. We love our balsamic vinegar so we drizzle a bit more on the place for dipping.

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Homemade Sour Cream Recipe



Did you think you had to buy sour cream when you just may have these ingredients already in the refrigerator to make it in no time at all? Well check this out and maybe next time you have some leftover heavy cream you will know just what to do with it.



Check out how simple this is to make and using what you may already have had leftover from another recipe you made!

Homemade Sour Cream Recipe
1 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch of salt
Whisk in a bowl the heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice until this start to thicken add another teaspoon if it isn't thickening.
After that place a dash of salt into these and stir in. That's it your done!
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Italian Style Poached Egg Recipe



There isn't many foods I make that doesn't have garlic in the recipe. I love it!  These eggs just takes them to another level. Poached eggs are one of my favorites with these simple spices and a hint of garlic it really kicks them up another notch!  My son absolutely loved them this way and now an all time favorite breakfast in our home.


These are just a delight to eat and make, easy and delicious! I love poached eggs, probably could eat them everyday and never get sick of them. The toast has to be on Italian bread of course!


Italian Style Poached Egg Recipe

Eggs 
Granulated garlic 
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes
Boiling water
Butter
Italian bread toasted (1 piece per egg buttered)

Make Italian toast, butter both sides and set aside.

In a large 5 quart saucepan add water to fill half the pot. Bring to a boil. Crack the eggs you're going to be cooking and place in a bowl. When the water is boiling, pour the eggs into the boiling water and cook until the whites are solid around 1 minute and 10 seconds. 
Scoop out with a slotted spoon making all the water drain off. Place on buttered Italian toast. Sprinkle eggs with granulated garlic, salt, pepper to taste and red pepper flakes.

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Pork Tenderloin Apple Stuffing Recipe

A tenderloin slow cooked to perfection with an apple stuffing. This was better than I imagined.

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