Mom's Lemon Ricotta Cookie Recipe



Seriously delicious addicting cookies. These are perfect for a wedding tray, holiday, coordinate them to the theme and colors of whatever party your giving. Great for giving as a gift as they travel well also. Mom made these often and they were one of my dad's favorite cookies. A lemony flavored cookie that is light and airy not dense. They even taste good over cooked which I have been known to forget the cookies baking in the oven when I start baking!  Hope you enjoy her recipe. Thanks mom we all miss you everyday, until we meet again we will enjoy your recipes you left behind to share with the world and you will remain forever in our kitchens and in our hearts, your loving daughter Claudia....




Mom's Lemon Ricotta Cookie Recipe
(This recipe can be doubled):
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup ( 8 oz.) of whole milk ricotta cheese 
(preferably homemade click here for mom's recipe)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
pinch of salt
1 stick of butter softened
(see frosting garnish below)

Cream the butter and sugar together for around 2 minutes. Add the ricotta, mix to blend. Add the eggs and stir till smooth. This is all done by hand no mixer. Add the, flour, flavorings and baking soda last folding in the peel.
Heat oven to 350 degrees, I place these 2 inches apart dropped with a teaspoon on parchment paper. Bake until bottoms and edges begin to brown around 12 to 15 minutes.

Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
drops of hot water to make a thin frosting
grated lemon peel optional

Mix the water a little at a time until the frosting runs a small stream, add peel if using around 1/2 teaspoon.

Dip hot cookies into the frosting and sprinkle with colored candies.

Pita Bread Appetizer Pizza Recipe


Seriously the easiest pizza, snack or appetizer you will ever make quickly for unexpected guests or a party. Just remember to keep a package of pita bread in the freezer, bottled sauce and mozzarella shredded on hand.  This is all homemade from scratch but you can use all store bought and have all kinds of pizza made for individual taste! The toppings are endless!



Pita Bread  Appetizer Pizza Recipe 

Fresh Basil chopped
Fresh Plum tomatoes put through the food processor or your favorite sauce
Homemade Pita bread or store bought
Olive oil
Minced garlic
Mozzarella
salt, pepper
Oregano dried flakes
Note:
Additional toppings can be used,  you can get creative by topping the pita with sauce then adding meats of your choice, peppers, olives, eggplant, pepperoni, loose cooked sausage, ham and pineapple, mushrooms, chopped broccoli, zucchini or spinach, shrimp and garlic with cheese. Use your imagination. When having a party, you can cut these in strips and use as appetizer pizza bites!

Place the pita bread on lightly greased foil and bake on 425 hot oven until browned and crispy. Take out of oven, add the chopped basil,  sauce on top, mozzarella, sprinkle with oregano,  salt, pepper and minced garlic. Place the oven on broil to high and watch carefully until the mozzarella begins to brown. Remove, cool slightly and serve.

Italian Chocolate Cream Birthday Cake Recipe


A filled chocolate cake that has the best pastry vanilla cream filling I ever tasted. Come try this decadent dessert
everyone will rave about! I had to make something special for my 60th birthday on April 26th.  I usually don't eat many desserts but for my milestone year this turned out to be a great way to start  this new journey ahead of the golden years. If you want to treat yourself to a special cake this is it.





Italian Chocolate Cream Cake  
(you can use your favorite chocolate cake mix also)

(this makes 2 - 9 inch cakes I freeze one and just use 1- 9 inch cake layer sliced in half,  a thin layer)

1 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter with water in small saucepan,  then add and cocoa whisking for around 30 seconds. Cool.
Blend together all dry ingredients and mix.  In another bowl blend eggs and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture into the chocolate cooled mixture until blended. Fold in the sour cream last.

Directions for the cake:

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and thick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed. On low speed, add the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan and, with the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the chocolate mixture. Combine well, then pour the mixture back into the pan.


Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until thickened. If the mixture begins to curdle, remove it from the heat and beat it vigorously with a wire whisk. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, butter, vanilla, and heavy cream and mix until the chocolate and butter are melted.


Bake in 2 heavily greased 9 inch pans on 350 degrees.  Cool cakes completely. Split one cake in half with a sharp serrated edge knife. Place the first layer on a plate the other on wax paper. Fill with cream. Top with another layer. Garnish with ganache and cherry on top.

While cake is baking make the cream filling and set aside.

Italian Cream Filling:

6 egg yolks beaten
2 cups milk
2 tab of butter melted
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Make the cream:


Melt butter in pan add flour stir till smooth no lumps.. add milk, beaten egg yolks, sugar, butter, vanilla...stir constantly until thick and creamy, if it gets too thick add a little more milk. Remove immediately from pot as it will continue to cook and then pour into a bowl. Cool with a piece of wax paper over the top and a teaspoon of sugar this will keep the skin from forming on top....

Garnish:

Chocolate hot fudge sauce
Cherry with stem

Ganache:

1 cup good grade semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped

1 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate in medium glass bowl.  In a small pan heat cream bringing to a boil. Tip: (Watch closing as you add the chocolate the cream can spill over if not a deep enough bowl.)  Pour chopped chocolate into cream and whisk until smooth.Starting from the center of the cake pour the ganache on top and let it run down the sides. Drizzle with warmed hot fudge and stemmed cherry on top.


Whole Wheat Cavatelli Pasta Recipe



 A healthier version of this great homemade pasta. When your watching your carbs this is a great alternative not totally without carbs but low and still a delicious treat. Perfect for one who is a health conscious.


Try not to add too much additional flour as you make the cavatelli, you want a nice soft dough and more flour will make them crumbly. Place dough on a board, lightly floured, roll the ropes out, cut and use your fingers to make an indent.  Place on wax paper lined cookie sheets and freeze the whole tray until ready to cook. They keep their shapes better.

Whole Wheat Cavatelli Pasta Recipe

1 - 15 ounce container of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Whole Wheat unbleached flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs

Mix all together until a smooth ball forms. Let rest covered with plastic wrap around 30 minutes.
Roll out dough using very little flour into ropes, cut and make indent with butter knife or use your fingers.
I freeze these on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Place into bags until ready to use or cook when frozen. 
To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil with salt.
Place pasta in the pan and cook until they float to the top.
These are great with olive oil, salt, pepper and steam broccoli. Or use your favorite tomato sauce.

 For Homemade Original Cavatelli Recipe Click here



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Easter Pizza Rustica Recipe


A traditional meat pie Mom always made at Easter time and we couldn't wait for this to cool and eat it. This recipe can be cut in half as it makes one large or two small ones
and it also freezes well. Pizza Rustica is basically a meat quiche with a buttery crust.
I usually make two instead of one large.



Dough:

6 cups flour
5 eggs slightly beaten
pinch of salt
4 stick (1 pound) butter
Using a flat beater dough hook, add to the mixing ball and beat until this form a smooth ball. Set aside for 30 minutes covered. Cut in half.

Meat Filling:
( note I buy the meats and cheeses from the deli in 1 pound chunks not sliced then dice in 1/4 inch diced cubes for below I use 8 ounces of each meat  diced or cubed in this recipe)

Hot Capicola
Pepperoni
Soppressatta
Prosciutto
 Mozzarella
Provolone
2 lbs Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/2 grated cup Romano Cheese
10 eggs
1 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Garnish:
1 beaten egg to brush on top of the crust

you will need one 10 x 15 inch baking dish oil sprayed or 2 - deep  9 inch round cake pans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix all filling ingredients together (except the beaten egg for the top) until well blended and set aside.

Roll dough out into two sections. Fit into the lightly sprayed greased baking dish.
Pour filling in the bottom dough. Roll remaining dough to fit the top. Poke holes on top with a fork.

Bake at 375 degree hot oven around 45 minutes then brush with beaten egg, return to the oven to cook another 30 minutes or so until golden brown and set in the middle.

This recipe can be cut in half and it also freezes well. I usually make two instead of one large.

Semolina Bread Recipe


One of my favorite breads to make and so easy to do, semolina Italian rustic bread.


 Semolina bread is a dense and heavy bread great with stews and anything you can think of to use this great bread to dip in any savory recipe!
Semolina Bread Recipe

4 cups semolina flour
2 3/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1  5/8 cup warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 teaspoons salt

Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Using a dough hook add the flour, sugar and olive oil, salt to a large mixing bowl. Beat until combined. Cut the dough into 3 pieces. Dump the dough into 3 round  greased deep cake pans round or place on a pizza stone sprinkled with corn meal. Rise around 3 hours. Bake at 400 degrees until nicely browned. 

Spinach Caprese Garlic Pizza Recipe



Spinach,  grape tomatoes and fresh whole milk mozzarella gives this rustic style pizza a burst of fabulous flavors. Of course you can make several other options you can add but this was one of my favorites so far in combinations!



1 lb store bought pizza dough or homemade pizza dough ( you can also use flax seed pita bread or regular pita bread)
raw or leftover cooked spinach 
grape tomatoes sliced
whole milk mozzarella
grated cheese
olive oil
minced fresh garlic
butter melted 
dried oregano
fresh basil and parsley

For Traditional Styles:

Options and other suggestions: meat lover ( add pepperoni, cooked loose sausage, chopped ham, bacon) veggie lovers: thin sliced eggplant, zucchini,  sliced mushrooms, cooked broccoli rabe, tomato sauce, sliced peppers, sliced olive
Use your favorite homemade pizza sauce or store bought if you want it with tomato sauce

Roll the dough out if using fresh on a floured board. Make and roll out small rounds that fit a 9 x 9 cake pan that has been floured and greased. Brush tops with olive oil, butter and add minced garlic. Place spinach leaves on top, around a handful to fit. Top with sliced tomato, grated cheese and mozzarella. Sprinkle with herbs and drizzle with more olive oil evenly. Bake at 430 degrees until cheese melts and starts to brown.
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Italian Leftover Meat and Rice Recipe



This is a leftover meat dish that is absolutely delicious using meat and rice. The sauce is divine check it out yourself the recipe is simple and the perfect second meal after making a roasted chicken, pork tenderloin or beef roast!


Italian Meat and Rice Recipe

Italian Whole Tomatoes 28 ounce can or 8 fresh skinned
Roasted leftover Pork Loin cut up, chicken or roast beef
White rice cooked to package instructions
4 Tablespoons Butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 4 to 5 tablespoons
Garlic cloves sliced 1 or 2
Sliced Bell Pepper
salt, pepper, cayenne,  fresh parsley to taste
Optional: Romano cheese

In a large fry pan, add olive oil, butter and garlic saute 1 minute. Add whole tomatoes, peppers and saute until they can be crushed down and simmer around 35 minutes. Add the cooked pork or any other cooked meat. I have even used cod or tuna.
To serve place the cooked rice in a platter or bowl pour the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

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No Bake Cheesecake Tartlet Recipe


There is nothing like a dessert that anyone can make no matter who you are even if you can't cook or bake. I really love when someone compliments me on this recipe since I can make it in my sleep it's so easy! The only problem is you will be asked to make this recipe time and time again, yes it's that good. If you are trying to impress anyone on your baking expertise, this will be your go to recipe. Don't tell them it's no bake and how easy it is. Oh and you don't even have to make the crust. You can buy pre packaged graham cracker crusts and just make the filling! Now isn't that easy?


Pastry crust : 

either buy prepared graham cracker crust tartlets or 1 - 9 inch graham cracker pie shell store bought or make your own homemade  pastry crust Click here

If making your own dough use:

12 mini tart individual pans or use 1- 9 inch tart pan. (you can even use mini muffin pans that will make many miniature tarts.)
At 350 degree preheated oven. Line the tart pan of choice with dough. Bake to package instructions, cool and set aside.

Garnish:

Strawberry jam warmed or your favorite
Whipped Cream
Assorted sliced fruit (strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, peaches, cherries grapes banana, and raspberries.)

Filling:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 - 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese and milk all together until smooth. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Stir in sugar.  Spoon filling into store bought shells or cooked cooled tartlets. Refrigerate for around 3 hours until firm.

Top with sliced fruit drizzled with warmed jam and  top with whipped cream.



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