Italian Rigatoni Pasta with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

Sunday, November 22, 2009
A light Marsala sauce with Ricotta Cheese, herbs and Rigatoni Pasta
When you want something light but satisfying look no more. This pasta dish has a hint of sweetness of Marsala and all the full flavors of a gourmet dish that tantalizes your taste just have to see for yourself.....

Mushrooms sauteed in extra virgin olive oil and fresh minced garlic, then simmering in Marsala some pasta water, till tender. The additional butter is added at the end.

Hot Rigatoni pasta mixed with Ricotta cheese a little Parmesan .

Sauteed minced garlic and mushrooms till tender around 3 minutes

Extra virgin olive oil and butter to saute the garlic, till soft not brown.

In a large fry pan, saute two cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add two tablespoons of butter. Saute for around three minutes. Add 1 lb of sliced fresh mushrooms to the oil and garlic.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of black and red pepper, pinch of salt, and add 1 cup of Marsala wine. Simmer for eight minutes. In the meantime prepare Rigatoni below and reserve one cup of pasta water when pasta is done. Add the one cup of pasta water to the mushroom sauce and add four tablespoons of butter. You can add salt and pepper to taste at this time.

1 pound of Rigatoni boiled and drain reserving 1 cup of pasta water for Marsala sauce.
1 cup of Ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese mixed together

Add cheeses to hot pasta and mix evenly in large pasta dish.
Spoon sauce over the Rigatoni and Ricotta mixture, sprinkle with fresh parsley,basil, grating cheese.

Fudge Marble Chocolate Chip Cake with Triple Chocolate Icing

Sunday, November 15, 2009
The end result to make this delicious cake is worth the trouble. A rich cake that will satisfy both the yellow and chocolate cake lovers of the world. The thick rich chocolate frosting with chocolate chips is truly perfect to finish it off...


Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Mom always made these, an inexpensive healthy dish. This recipe was adapted by her since the Traditional way of making isn't at all Italian.

So in went, the garlic and the tomato sauce with Italian herbs and the Italian version was born.

Amazing how healthy these are when made with ground turkey, rice and cabbage delicious blends of herbs and a great sauce.


The Family Story of Popcorn with Recipes

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Since the early 80's my kids Curt and Chad were huge fans of all kinds of popcorn. Coming from a family who loved all kinds from regular to caramel, candy coated, we began experimenting with several recipes. Hope you like our journey of different kinds we came across through the years. We made it a tradition to have our caramel corn always around the holidays.

John Colenzo (Cole)

There are so many kinds of glorious popped corn, one that was newly introduced to me is the black kernel. We always had your classic yellow or white kernels. I also remember years ago,multi colors in a bag that popped a rainbow of colors when I was a little girl. A place called Loblaws supermarket carried it back in 1960 something. That's what we used to trim our christmas tree with. Now a new one for me, Black Jewel popcorn, was a little different to see the amazing black kernel with the end result being an amazing pure white in color.

It starts out with black kernels from the package and turns snow white when popped. I had never had the chance to try this until now, as it is hard to find here in Florida . My brother John introduced me to this delicious popcorn.

John, my brother, is an entertainer who works on Fisher Island located off Miami Beach Florida.Named after the first resident of the island Carl Fisher. Fisher Island is 3 miles off shore of Miami, Florida. No road or causeway connects to the island, which is accessible by private ferry ,helicopter or yacht. So he travels by ferry every night to get to work. He has the opportunity to introduce many new foods to me in his culinary experiences in his line of work. This was one of them he heard about.
We both recall our family having all kinds of requests on how they like their popcorn. My mom and dad (RIP) loved caramel corn, all our kids basically love homemade and the theater popcorn, my brother Luke is living up North, makes the best homemade (which I will have a full read below), my husband likes basic microwaved and easy, and me, homemade definitely. So when John called me about this Black Jewel, I had never had it before, but heard of Black Jewel, and wanted to try it right away, as curiosity struck me and he wanted to get my input ....

So here it is, a delicate and delicious popcorn, it was white as can be. I have to agree it was a definite change to what we have had in brightness and color but amazingly a black kernel turning white was so bizarre to me. A very good taste, worth a try.

All of us had a different  flavor craving for popcorn.
Dad loving caramel corn as he did, I decided I had to make it. When I was around seven I could remember we would go once a year to this great place in Upstate NY that made the best caramel corn in the world to all of us. It's still there today, called the Midway in Sylvan Beach. Awesome smell,while cooking fresh on the site, a buttery caramel corn that was mouth watering. Here is my version that I would make for dad below , I still make for my kids every holiday, one of their favorite's now also.

So many variations to choose from or make air popped ,pan popped, barbecue, cinnamon, pizza, butterscotch, cappuccino, caramel pecan, caramel, cheese, chocolate, classic sea salt, candy coated, gourmet sea salted, kettle, macadamia, Mexican, nacho, organic, black jewel, white, yellow, popcorn salt, pop corn in oil in oil , so many ways to make popcorn and a great snack indeed! Some folks like it sprinkled with garlic powder and black pepper, we can go on and on, I can say I love them all, as I am a big popcorn lover! How do you like yours?

My brother Luke, spent allot of time perfectly popped homemade corn, no one has duplicated the fresh taste of his buttery perfection.

Luke Colenzo

Luke another brother,( the middle child of us three kids ) , lives in Upstate NY in Whitesboro, and has five children. He works in a local courthouse and is retired Police Officer.
His secret weapon is his seasoned and" broken in" very very old popcorn pan, handed down from our grandmother back in 1975 when she passed on that pan was already 80+ years old back then. The pan is a a thick heavy club aluminum with a steam release button on the cover that rang like a bell, no other pan made popcorn this good! By far the best popcorn and still our favorite, when we can be together to have him make it for us. (The pan was only one part of his secret) He never could make enough, as we would always want another batch....and was worth fighting over ! Everyone marvels over the huge over filled bowls of popcorn he would make, that vanished in no time because it not only smelled good, but it was so addicting. So, needless to say Luke was the King" of making homemade popcorn in our family.

So that's the story on popcorn.......delicious whatever you fancy , as always, thanks for reading.

Here's a few recipes on different versions to make using popcorn:
Marshmallow Candied Popcorn with variations:
3 quarts popped corn, unsalted
5 tablespoons of butter
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow fluff
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. gumdrops

Preheat oven to 270 degrees. Place popped corn in greased deep cake about 13x9 size pan. Melt butter in saucepan, add marshmallow creme stir until well blended. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. Pour mixture over popped corn; toss until well coated.
Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Stir in gumdrops. Spread onto wax paper; cool. Store in tightly covered container.

Variations: CHOCOLATE replace gumdrops with a 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips to melted butter stir until smooth see further directions above

CINNAMON : replace gumdrops with 1/4 cup red cinnamon candies to melted butter, stir until melted continue as above directions.

Pizza Popcorn

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoned Italian herbs
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 quarts hot popcorn

In blender, blend cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper about 3minutes. Place popcorn in large bowl; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Toss to coat evenly.

Popcorn Snack Mix
3 quarts popped popcorn
2 1/3 cups salted peanuts
1 cup of cereal like chex
2 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups cheese crackers, I like the fish
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and crackers. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Place in 2 ungreased 15 x 10-inch baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 250 degrees F for 1 hour; stir every 15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container when cool.

Nacho Popcorn
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
10 cups warm popped popcorn
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, stir paprika, red pepper, and cumin into melted butter or margarine. Gently toss butter mixture with popcorn, coating evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Peanut Butter Popcorn

2 quarts popped popcorn
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring sugar and corn syrup to rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract, quickly stir popcorn to coat.

Amaretto Pecan and Almond Popcorn Crunch
10 cups popped corn
1 1/2 cups whole pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 cup Amaretto Liqueur
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon Amaretto Liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter baking sheet and large bowl. Toast pecans and almonds until light brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Mix popped corn and nuts in large bowl. Combine sugar, butter 1/4 cup Amaretto and corn syrup in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, to 275 degrees F, or until small amount dropped into very cold water reaches soft crack stage (separates into hard, but not brittle, threads).

Remove from heat. Quickly stir in 1 tablespoon Amaretto and salt. Pour over popped corn and nuts, mixing until evenly coated. Immediately spread mixture on baking sheet. Let cool about 1 hour.

White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

4 cups of popped corn
3 tablespoons of melted butter
1/4 cup of white cheddar cheese powder
1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a pan, dont over cook butter. Once melted, pour the butter into a large bowl and add cheese, mustard Stir together till well blended.
Curt and Chad age 2 and 4

Curt's Loaded Potato Skins

Sunday, November 8, 2009
I want to introduce another up and coming cook in our family, Curt. His specialty is game day pick foods and loves family gatherings, picnics and large functions to cook for a crowd. These are one of his all time favorites, so I wanted to share this recipe as it is just a great crowd pleas er. He is often asked to cook for his friends, since cooking is becoming one of his favorite hobbies. He usually has the table piled high with potato skins, wings, and loves his nachos and pizza. So Sunday's nights after the big traditional pasta afternoon lunch, he starts his appetizer medleys for the big game. We usually have a houseful of hungry friends joining us, so nothing goes to waste here.
Curts favorite appetizer is potato skins and he makes them crisp and loaded with a variety of
garnishes . I was so happy he agreed to post this, as this recipe is really easy and delicious.
The skins are loaded with bacon, sour cream and a medley of cheddar blended cheeses.
After they are fried, they are baked in the oven then smoothered in cheese immediately when taken out of the oven and the heat melts the cheese perfectly.
Then he loads them up with the sour cream and bacon.
They take about ten to twelve minutes to fry till golden.

You will need about a 5lb bag of scrubbed potatoes, sliced thick, about 1/2 inch.
1 quart of oil
2 cups of fiesta blend cheese shredded
1/2 cup crumbled bacon
1 container of sour cream
Fry sliced potatoes in several batches, in heated hot oil till brown, around 10 minutes.
Put into baking dish.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, remove from oven top with shredded cheese and allow cheese to melt around five minutes.
Garnish with bacon crumbles and sour cream.
**Optional toppings, jalapeno peppers, black olives, chopped tomato.

Recipe developed by Curt Iffert for a guest on What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine
Thank you Curt for sharing your recipe with us!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Bakery Style Recipe)

Did you ever have a huge chocolate chip cookie from your favorite bakery and think why can't mine taste like that ? Well this is the one for you to try. Back in Upstate NY when I was growing up, I had friends that owned a bakery long since gone now and the cookies were so fantastic the taste is and always will be embedded in my mind, what's the saying " to die for".


Old Fashioned Coconut Cream White Cake

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fresh Coconut a taste from the tropics. White delicate cake with heavy whipped cream and a sweet coconut make this light cake taste like a tropical paradise.....easy and delicious

Two options to top it with, one of my favorites red raspberries and then coconut and whipped cream on top of the cake...either way it a fresh summer treat or just leave it plain and sprinkle with coconut!

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream White Cake

Make this delicious Old Fashioned Coconut Cream White Cake Pin it for later

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream White Cake


3 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups coconut milk (if using fresh coconut milk, add regular milk to make 1 1/3 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon of coconut flavoring
5 egg whites
2 pints of heavy cream
1 cup coconut shredded

Cream shortening and butter with 1 1/3 cups of the sugar. Add sifted flour alternately with liquid, beginning and ending with flour; add vanilla and coconut flavors. If desired, add 1/3 cup fresh coconut to the batter. Beat egg whites to soft peaks; gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Fold meringue into cake batter, just enough to incorporate. Spoon into 2 9-inch layer cake pans grease with shortening and dusted with flour. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until cake bounces back when touched lightly. Cool thoroughly..

In a large bowl using a beater, beat heavy cream adding 1/4 cup of confectionery sugar to each pint of cream. Beat till thick and spreadable. Split both layers in half and frost each layer then entire cake, sprinkle with coconut. For the raspberry option, just frost a split layer with whipped cream frosting and use a decorating star tool to pipe on the frosting in long strips. I used a berry red ice cream topping and then decorated with fresh raspberries, add sprinkle coconut on the frosting as well.
Created using The Recipes Generator


Amaretto Marscapone Hot Fudge Brownie Dessert

Monday, November 2, 2009

The batter is swirled to make a marble effect.  Almond flavoring throughout this deep dark chocolate brownie is topped with whipped cream, hot fudge and sliced almonds with a little Amaretto on the cake before you add the ice cream on top

Brownie Crust
1 devils food cake mix 18.25 oz size
1 stick of butter softened
1 egg

Layer on top
1 8oz package of mascarpone cheese, or cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Amaretto or almond extract
3 tablespoon of almond paste
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
slivered almonds for garnish and optional

Using a mixer, pour brownie mix in large bowl, add butter and egg, beat till well incorporated and makes a smooth dough.

Pat dough down with moist hands (dampened with water, this keep the dough from sticking to you) place batter into a greased brownie pan size 12x8 x2

In a clean bowl beat with mixer 1 package mascarpone cheese and sugar together till light and fluffy around 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Pour 1/2 the batter over brownie mixer reserving the rest. Add the almond paste to the remaining batter and Amaretto flavoring, beat well. Pour remaining batter making a marbleized swirl over brownie mixture. Add chips on top. Bake at 350 till lightly browned and set around 30 minutes. Cool, cut brownies into squares. Swirl hot fudge on the plate, top with a vanilla ice cream, whipped cream a tablespoon of Amaretto on the cream and slivered almonds more hot fudge on the top.

Whipped cream
1 jar Hot fudge sauce
1 quart of vanilla ice cream


Margarita Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A delicious combination, of Buffalo Style Chicken on this delicious Homemade Pizza Crust all the taste, no mess and a great way to eat healthier.