Chocolate Covered Coconut Cream Rum Bon Bon Candies

Sunday, January 31, 2010
One of my favorite candies I still make for any party we have, is coconut rum filled chocolates. Our Mom's favorite was coconut candy especially at Easter time. We always had to make sure we had lots of those coconut cream filled eggs, those were always the first missing out of the basket. So, if you like coconut, you are in for a real treat, because these taste very similar. A soft truffle like creamy filling inside a chocolaty shell. A great confection any time..

The coconut has been put through a food processor for a fine shredding.

The coating is semi sweet chocolate, and the rolled truffle is placed in a bowl and tossed with two forks.

Really is a simple but a little messy to make.

The filling is smooth and creamy, but dropping by teaspoons and then freezing, make it much easier to coat smoothly.

Beating the ingredients till smooth and whipped looking will make this less sugary, make sure you beat all ingredients until fluffy looking.

1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons coconut rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 package dry dreamwhip mix
3 cups finely ground coconut put in food processor
2 cup semi sweet chocolate
Melt butter that is at room temperature till fluffy. Stir in 3 tablespoons rum and vanilla.
Combine powdered sugar and whipped dreamwhip topping package (you can also substitute nonfat dry milk powder) beat in 1/2 cup at a time into butter mixture until smooth and fluffy. Stir in processed coconut. Drop by teaspoon into 1-inch balls, and place on ungreased baking sheets, freeze 20 minutes. You can now try and shape to round balls while frozen they are less sticky.

Melt chocolate microwave dip balls using two forks quickly then transfer to wax paper to dry . Store on cookie sheet in refrigerator till firm place into paper candy cups.

Valentine's Day Frangelico Nutella Cookie Cake

Saturday, January 30, 2010
Happy Valentines Day

A cookie kind of cake or pie ? This is a buttery tasting cookie with chocolate chips, layered with Nutella spread, chocolate cool whip and a fresh strawberry glaze. A delicious confection anytime but perfect for Valentines Day ....

Keep your cat out of the kitchen! Had no idea he would like strawberries, he really shocked us on the table and didn't budge when we caught him, thinking he wanted to be my Valentine!!!! He definitely captured my heart!

Top with glazed strawberries.

Line dish with chocolate fudge sauce.

Slice strawberries and put into the glaze.

Mix the cool whip with unsweetened chocolate cocoa powder

Spread generously with Nutella....

Cool for about 2 minutes and flip onto wax paper to cool completely.
Sprinkle with 1 shot of Frangelico over the top...

Press into prepared greased pan, top with chocolate mini chips.

Can't get enough Chocolate!

Recipe for cookie dough:
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mini chocolate chips for top of dough.
1 container of cool whip
1 shot of Frangelico
1 tablespoon of unsweet cocoa
Sliced fresh strawberries 1 quart
1 container of strawberry glaze mix sliced strawberries into glaze set aside
1 jar of Nutella hazelnut spread
1 jar or squeeze bottle of Hot Fudge sauce
Mix all ingredients together well, stopping at the salt above . Press dough into greased, desired shaped pan. Sprinkle with mini chips. Bake till browned. Cool two minutes, flip cake onto wax paper to cool thoroughly.
Sprinkle top with Frangelico. Spread top of cookie with a thick layer of Nutella spread. Top with whipped topping that has been mixed with 1 tablespoon of unsweet cocoa powder. Top with glazed sliced strawberries.
To serve squeeze hot fudge sauce around plate, slice cookie cake and place on top of fudge sauce.

Beans Beans Beans Recipe

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I had to write an article on beans. You will find recipes if you click on the highlighted entrees. These happen to be one of many I make in my  slow cooker for various recipes especially Pasta Fazool. Putting the beans in 4 to 4- 1/2 quarts of water in the crockpot overnight make amazing beans ready for any recipe you have, with no fuss. Yes, it make allot, but freezing them makes them easy to take out for any of those recipes, and so much healthier in the long run along with many other great reasons to use your crockpot...

I love the Northern beans for soups, chili's, rice dishes. Great to have fresh, as they are so much healthier!

I am amazed on how much food has gone up. Dealing with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and rising food costs, gave me just a few of the many reasons to use dried beans instead of canned. Salt, money, healthier, hmmmm sounds like a good plan. Easier than I though. I bought several varieties, cleaned them then in the crock pot at bedtime they went in the pot. Ten cups of water to a bag, got up in the morning the house smelled wonderful, drained them. Took what I needed, and into the zip locks bags went the rest, and then to the freezer! Wow how simple. No salt, no mess, inexpensive, the crock pot did the work. What is better than this. Off I went to make some White Chili...
Not only did they taste better, they were easier to store than cans and no recycling! So, I bought red beans, black beans, lentils, northern beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans. Wow, the money I am going to save, and can make so many wonderful meals with these. I thought this was going to be such a chore.
Chili has never been easier, a package of dried beans cost $1.29 and made a full 4 quarts of beans. Can you imagine the amount of money we spend on all those cans? So it just takes the night before to prepare the beans that will last you a long time in the freezer for up to 3 to 6 months depending what kind they are...

So, before you go to bed, just wash the dried beans in water, add water to the crock pot and when you wake up.....oh boy do you have beans....lots of them, perfect and ready to add to that special dish your going to make. Nothing to it!

So here are the many reasons I have found to use dried over canned any day of the week!

Price the purchase of dried beans, they are so inexpensive. You get a significantly amount of more beans by forgoing the canned varieties. What a difference in price! Sodium free, you can add what you want, and salt is so bad for your arteries or in general for you. Canned beans are loaded with salt!

Healthier for sure, and I can tell you dried beans in a package have to have a longer shelf life than cans, and you don't have to worry about botulism in these beans. No chemicals no preservatives!.
Much tastier. My husband woke up to this incredible aroma in the house, after cooking in the crock pot all night, it was amazing how great those beans smell through the house. Plus slow cooking dried beans is far tastier than eating precooked canned beans. There is no waste and nothing to worry about throwing out, cans etc. so its even good for our recycling! No cans!
So many kinds to chose from. You may find in the dried bean version beans that you cant find in a can anywhere! It’s awesome to try new varieties every now and then and bypass the canned bean aisle with the same old stuff.

You can use them for the freezer for soups, chili, rice dishes, so many uses. The control in how firm, juicy, or mushy the final bean will be.


Personally, the less I expose myself to chemicals the better.
You can store stacked in the freezer and requires less space than storing canned beans.

Fast and easy prep. So why not try this, it just makes perfect sense. At least you will wake up with a wonderful mouth watering aroma......thanks for reading ... and try some of these recipes below.

 Pasta Fasoli
Italian Style 3 Bean Chili
Italian White Chicken Chili
 Escarole, Chickpeas and Pasta
Chickpea Shrimp Diavolo
Grandma's Ham, Bacon and Lentil Soup
Depression Bean Soup
Best Split Pea Soup
Lamb Chili and Burgundy Wine
Italian Chili Mac


Homemade Torrone Italian Candy

Torrone Italian Nougat Candy......
We usually have this just around Christmas time but it's a favorite in our home so we make it often all year long. It's a delicious honey flavored almond delightful candy. You can order the wafer part online I usually just omit it but the Authentic way is to use that wafer candy paper.

We always make this around Christmas time. This is a fluffy white delicious lemon flavored Italian candy. Grandma would always have Torrone in the house, she would always say it tasted like the communion in Church and her favorite.
Amazingly enough its not hard to make, just time consuming. You can makes this in many flavors, lemon, vanilla, orange to name a few. Little squares of fluffy nougat and delicious hazelnuts and almonds. Quite a treat and old fashioned tradition.


1 c. blanched filberts( hazel nuts) or pistachio's
2 cups of blanched whole almonds
2 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla extract (lemon,orange,almond are optional flavors to try)
1/4 c. butter, softened
Edible wafer candy paper available on line 
(just google edible wafer paper)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on cookie sheet. Toast in oven 10 minutes, until golden. In heavy, deep 3 quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, honey, salt, and 1/4 cup water. Stir over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring to 252 degrees on candy thermometer, or until a small amount in cold water forms a hard ball.
Meanwhile, in large bowl of electric mixer, at high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In thin stream, pour about one fourth of hot syrup over egg whites, beating constantly, at high speed 5 minutes, until mixture is stiff enough to hold its shape. Cook rest of syrup to 315 to 318 degrees on candy thermometer, or until a small amount in cold water forms brittle threads.
In thin stream, pour hot syrup over meringue, beating constantly, at high speed, until stiff enough to hold its shape. Add vanilla and butter, beating until thickened again, about 5 minutes. With wooden spoon, stir in toasted nuts. Turn mixture into a buttered 1 - 1 inch x 1 1/4 inch deep pan lined with wafer paper. Smooth top with spatula, place another piece of wafer paper on top. Refrigerate until firm.
Loosen edge of candy all around; turn out in large block. With sharp knife, cut into 2 inch pieces. Wrap each in waxed paper. Refrigerate. Makes 2 pounds.

Italian Rigatoni with Chicken, Broccoli, Garlic ,Peppers and EVOO

Friday, January 22, 2010
A healthy dish, made with grilled chicken breast, broccoli, peppers, fresh slices of garlic in a light extra virgin olive oil and a splash of wine.....over some of your favorite pasta. Perfect for getting back to healthy eating after those holiday treats!

The chicken is grilled indoor or outdoor, till almost done, and finishes in the stir fry.

Just the right spice to give some heat, we add a pinch of red pepper flakes

I then add the broccoli last, since this is also precooked, I want to also make sure the garlic flavor, oil and wine is saturated around all the vegetables to make this a perfect match for any pasta you choose.

The chicken is already partially cooked on the grill, I like to make sure the peppers and garlic saute with the chicken to give it that extra flavor.

Fresh garlic, olive oil, grilled chicken, broccoli, red and green peppers, long grated Romano cheese shred's....a healthy meal and delicious.

You can make into long strips as this is easier to grill. I make sure the pieces are wide enough not to go through the grates on the grill when cooking outside. If using an indoor grill, no problems on the size of the chicken, just make sure you have greased each side of the grill to make sure it doesn't stick.

2 pounds of cut up boneless chicken breasts in strips
1 green and 1 red bell pepper
1 head of fresh broccoli
1/3 cup for saute extra virgin light olive oil and extra for mixing with cooked pasta (if you want you can also use in addition to the olive oil, some butter a richer flavor , add to the cooked pasta while still hot and toss in with olive oil)
2 fresh pieces of minced garlic cloves
1 pound of rigatoni
grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup of white wine, or Marsala, (I used Marsala in this recipe)
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
First you will need to do these two steps ahead of time.

Use an indoor grill like George Foreman, or outdoor grill. Grill chicken until almost cooked. Set aside in a bowl. Wash and cut up broccoli into small clusters. Steam for at least 9 minutes to partially cook, unless you like it stir fry and very crisp. This will soften the broccoli perfectly by doing this step if you like it cooked through.

Start to boil water and make pasta, you can use any kind you like, angel hair works well with this dish also. Boil in salt water, drain, put into a large bowl, add some olive oil to keep pasta from sticking or butter if you prefer, add grating cheese mix together.
In a large fry pan heat 1/3 cup of olive oil, and fry garlic till brown, about two minutes, add peppers and chicken. Saute till chicken is thoroughly cooked another 5 minutes. Add broccoli, a pinch of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Pour 1/4 cup of wine over this and mix together well, cook 2 minutes.
Pour this over the top of the pasta add about 1/2 grating cheese, sprinkle more on top and serve!

Glazed Salmon with Apricot, Pineapple and Orange

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
A simple blend of preserves and a delicious orange marmalade, make this Salmon a wonderful taste of fruity delight. Not very sweet, but perfect compliment and just enough to give this a tropical flair.

The apricot, pineapple and orange blended together wrapped in foil overnight make this tender and mouth watering.
Taking a large piece of foil, placing the salmon on it that has been heavilly sprayed with oil ,place the blended preserves and marmalade on top of the salmon. Fold tightly around the salmon. Place this in the refrigerator, overnight. .

Actually as you can see in my picture, I never can usually get fresh salmon, and this one is frozen.
So I place the frozen salmon on the tin foil, slather the topping on this and leave it in there over night. Next day its marinaded and also it ready for the grill in the foil.

1 jar of apricot pineapple preserves
1 jar of orange marmalade
1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
4 tablespoons of unsweetened pineapple juice
aluminum foil
cooking spray
1 lb of salmon cut into two to three pieces skin on.
Spray the foil with cooking spray or olive oil. Place the salmon skin down on the foil. Bring sides up. Take at least 1/2 cup of preserves and 1/4 cup of marmalade in a bowl mix together. Add garlic. Slather over the top of the salmon, add the juice. Fold top and sides together tightly and marinate overnight.
Next day place skin side inside the foil, down on hot grill of bake in the oven around 25 minutes. Will be tender, moist and delicious. Enjoy!

Italian Flat Bread Recipe with Garlic

Sunday, January 17, 2010
Whether is flat bread, focaccia, tomato pizza, panini, here is the one dough that does it all.

If you have any of these left after you make them (which is so unusual), they are a great basic dough, for what is called focaccia. This flat bread with a garlic butter flavor, is so delicious, you will need to double the recipe to have any left for a focaccia recipe. We use it for sandwiches, pizza's, panini's, focaccia. The sky's the limit. The soft delicious dough is great baked, grilled or fried! You decide.

Amazingly enough after all these years, its easier than ever to make them with so many variations, its always a good choice to make anytime.

Using a basic counter top grill will make this Italian Flat Bread easy to make in no time at all. Just butter the grill grids and your on your way to a perfect tasting Italian Flat Bread.

I have stuffed these with various fillings as well, chicken caesar melts, chicken parmesan, meatballs and mozzarella, tuna melts, turkey melts, ham and cheese, buffalo chicken, any sandwich filling you like goes with this bread, the suggestions can be endless.

The butter on both sides gives this a crisp delicate bread a perfect flavor.

Just a small handful of dough stretched out to make rounds is enough to make this puff up perfectly for any filling.

Using wax paper to make these and letting them rest for around 15 minutes makes them easier to handle, and all ready to be placed on the grill.

Its ok if you have something to do and let this rise all day. Keep a very wet towel over the top, with a cover or lid from your largest fry pan.

The ingredients are simple and you can make this low fat by adding skim milk and low fat ricotta or low fat cottage cheese.

4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm skim milk (I microwave it for 25 seconds)
1 cup Ricotta
2 teaspoons sugar
1 clove of fresh garlic minced and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder ( use 1 1/2 teaspoons if you omit fresh) leave out this step if you want plain tasting bread.

1 stick butter this is for grilling

Dissolve sugar in warm milk and add yeast.

Using a mixer beat blend flour, salt, add garlic.

Pour in the milk and Ricotta and using dough hook beat till smooth and elastic

Form into a ball, return to bowl and cover with a wet towel and large saucepan lid, cover for 2-3 hours (or until doubled).

When ready, rip off a handful of dough, and using wax paper makes round around 1/8 inch thick.

Use your inside countertop grill or outside grill to cook, I use an electric countertop, it works great and evenly browns on both sides.

To bake in the oven, I recommend purchasing a gridded grill to use as a baking grill in the oven, place on a buttered grill gridded pan, and bake at 400.

Bake until browned and crispy looking on both sides flip and cook till browned.

If making Foccacia, first brush top with butter and olive oil, add rosemary, minced garlic, dried oregano, parsley, basil, black pepper, grating cheese, and mozzarella..drizzle olive oil over the top and bake till cheese is melted.

Pizza's are basic, add sauce your favorite toppings and mozzarella. I use two of these to make a panini's, just fill with meat and cheese melt some butter in a frypan and weigh it down with a heavy skillet, flip when crisp on one side, and cheese is starting to melt, brown the other side as well.

Best eaten the same day, if any leftover bag the flatbread and freeze them. Use as needed. Also, they are great toasted.


Valentines Day Food Can Be An Aphrodisiac?

Saturday, January 16, 2010
While discussing how aphrodisiac foods can play a part in your romantic dinner recipe. A simple saute procedure for sea scallops and a Red Wine reduction while still hot poured over fresh mozzarella cheese can play a big part for the ending to a perfect evening, after all, it's Valentines Day and a day for love.

As legend has it, the goddess Aphrodite was carried to earth on the shell of a scallop. And, thanks to this very tough job, scallops have been enjoyed as an aphrodisiac reputation since the time of ancient Greece.

Today there is evidence that scallops’ aphrodisiac classification may be more than folkloric mystique. Like others such as (mussels, oysters, and clams), scallops were featured in a 2005 study that indicated that these succulent gems of the sea just may have some fact potential for raising sexual hormone levels in both men and women. Wow, quite an amazing discovery.

Scallops have always been a favorite of mine, and not always easy to find the large ones, that are Sea Scallops. Their flesh is far milder than many of the ocean’s creatures. Their texture is soft and so sweet. Their shells make beautiful serving vessels. And, when served at their freshest, scallops are one of the best-tasting shellfish in the sea. In my opinion. In this post you will find from start to finish a romantic dinner to make for that "special someone in your life, a friend first and foremost one who shares your passion for food......and what's in store later... life is full of surprises, and this one can be a night to remember.

A romantic Valentine's Day dinner with all the trimmings from seafood , desserts and a romantic setting for two. There is a mussels, calamari all n a rich marinara sauce. A heart shaped pastry cream filled cake and delicious sea scallops in a balsamic reduction. To end your evening white chocolate covered strawberries


Italian Beef Roast with Burgundy Wine and Vegetables

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Here is a very versatile dish, for the busy homemaker, man of the house of even older children, anyone can make this simple delicious meal, and easy recipe. A delicious roast, that's juicy, tender and rich with flavor. The beauty with this recipe , is if your lucky enough to have any leftovers you can make the best roast beef sandwiches over garlic bread, lettuce tomato and Italian dressing. Or you can shredd for barbecued beef by adding some favorite sauce to it. But the main course is awesome. The juice that comes out of this roast is so good you can pour over penne or bow ties. Delicious. Even mashed potatoes. So imagine the many ways your family will enjoy this. You just have to adapt your your taste. A little prep in the beginning, and if you use a crockpot its a bonus, now with todays plastic liners ,you won't even have a mess to clean up. But if you don't want to use a crock pot just try the good ole fashioned dutch oven method....either way this is a win for you and your family, they will love it.....

The meat can be used in so many ways, the taste isn't over powering with the wine just subtle tastes. If you have alot of leftovers, you can put this in a food processor and add a nice tastey barbecue sauce to make great barbecued beef sandwiches. Thats the beauty of using the tomatoes, they already are a compliment for a beef barbecue sauce and won't ruin the flavor. Many roasts are with brown gravey and you won't be able to do that with them. We never waste food in our household.... leftovers are always welcome to other idea's, what would you use it for? Would love to hear your thoughts.

I actually took different angles of just the meat this time to let you see the beautiful color and almost capture how tender it looks. This is a very easy and delicious dinner if you are a out all day and very busy.

3lb to 4lb Eye of the round roast or rump roast
2 cups of Red Wine I actually use any kind Burgundy, Chianti, Cabernet, whatever you have, just make sure its Red
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon minced garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1 lb of diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil added
1/4 teas cayenne pepper
1/2 cup each fresh carrots, cubes potatoes, mushrooms and 1 cup of fresh green beans (you can use any kind of vegetables you wish.)
flour to coat meat
Italian flavored bread crumbs about 1/4 cup

Shake meat in flour. Slit meat in several area's and place pieces of sliced garlic cloves in the slit pocket of meat. Place meat in oil lined or oil sprayed dutch oven or crock pot works great also, add spices, pour wine over meat,. Top meat with potatoes, carrots and fresh green beans add tomatoes. Sprinkle top with Italian bread crumbs. Cook in dutch oven at 250 for five hours. If using the crock pot on low for 6 to eight hours.

Meat will fall apart and be very tender.
Variations serve over boiled pasta, rice mashed potatoes. A side of hearts of romaine salad, garlic bread and glass of your favorite Red Wine...... Cheers!