Chicken Marsala Recipe (in memory of my dad Carmen)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Born August 28th, 1912-1995 RIP Daddy

you will always be missed and never forgotten, I love you dad. Thanks for teaching me all your great tricks!

Dad always loved to cook, and loved marsala sauce. This was one of his favorites, today is his birthday and even though he has been gone many years now, there isn't a breath I take without being grateful for having him around as long as I fondest memories of cooking are the days we had in the kitchen together, near and dear to my heart forever and always, I will miss you dad... in loving memory happy birthday to you.

4 chicken breasts sliced thin


1 garlic clove minced fine plus 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

plastic bag

1/2 cup milk

Olive oil for frying

1 pound of your favorite pasta (dad loved vermicelli)

In a large plastic bag, add around 1 cup flour, salt, pepper, garlic. Shake together. In a large bowl add milk, place chicken into the milk. Add the milk coated chicken to the flavored flour. Coat evenly. Fry floured chicken in olive oil till nicely browned on both sides and cook evenly. Set aside in a baking dish and keep warm in oven on low.

Marsala Sauce

1/3 cup butter

1 slice prosciutto, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 pound of sliced shittake, baby bella or regular mushrooms cleaned boiled for 7 to 8 minutes set aside

1/2 cup dry marsala wine or any brand

3/4 cup chicken stock

3 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon black pepper optional

Melt butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Turn heat up to medium high to sauté the prosciutto in the melted butter for about 2 to 3 minutes; be careful not to burn butter, add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add marsala wine, simmer for another 30 seconds or so, then add mushrooms and black pepper. Simmer over medium high heat for 5 minutes.

Dissolve corn starch in chicken stock. Add stock to saucepan and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add parsley and cream to the sauce and simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat, cover until needed. If gets too thick add more wine.

Boil pasta according to package directions in boiling water, toss in 4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl with pasta and cover to keep warm.

Arange chicken on platter spoon sauce over each piece.....sprinkle with more parsley, place pasta on the dish add more marsala sauce on top and serve.

Printable Recipe

Crimini Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

On our cruise this was a dish  I just couldn't wait to recreate and just one of many.  Since I am remodeling my kitchen, I had to make this at my sons house. There is nothing like cooking in your own kitchen, its really hard to get use to someones elses house. Everything is in a different place than I am use to.  The results were fantastic just the same. The mushrooms were  delicious in this fabulous creamy sauce,  just amazing, creamy alfredo with lots of mushrooms and the fettuccine pasta so tender. This is not a dieters dish. The little pink color in this dish was added tomato paste, which was a perfect addition to the color and taste of this dish. Served with plenty of long shreds on top of grating cheese, lots of garlic toast and antipasto salad will be a perfect meal! Enjoy!

1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 clove  finely minced garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons pecorino romano cheese grated in long shreds more for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
freshly ground pepper
12 ounces dry or (fresh preferred) fettuccine pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in butter for (around 5 minutes) add garlic after three minutes in olive oil over low heat. Mix in tomato paste, butter, heavy cream, cream cheese; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer while stirring until cream cheese has melted and mixture has thickened.
Drain pasta. Pour sauce over pasta, and toss with cheese to coat. Serve with freshly cracked black pepper and more grating cheese.
Printable Recipe

Our Western Caribbean Trip and Risotto Prawn Recipe

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Freedom of the Sea's in Port Canaveral, Florida
A very relaxing cruise, 7 days headed for the Western Caribbean.  Day 1 stayed in Port Canaveral, Day 2 at sea, Day 3 Labadee Haiti a private island for RC, Day 4 Ocho Rios Jamacia, Day 5 Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Day 6 Cozumel,  Mexico, Day 7 our return fast this time goes by~

Starting out our cruise, welcome aboard craved out watermelons, amazing ice sculptures, and a huge  luncheon and assortment of special desserts, chocolate covered fruits, tarts, cakes.
We chose a room with our own private balcony, peaceful and warm.
Every night, our attendant would leave us a towel animal, cute little elephant, a different one every night.
Formal night we got to eat my favorite, lobster. Loved the way everything is served on the ship so perfect in presentation and no cooking for me!

Well I got to do my favorite past time, watch fabulous chefs cook in front of me, give me tips and make some fantastic Italian foods. Chefs from the Portofino Intimate Italian Dining Restaurant. They had a demonstration, I got to watch help and later eat some amazing risotto, bruschetta and mouth watering desserts.
The dungeness crab shrimp cake with lemon butter sauce,  above was so delicious!  The risotto alla polpa di ranchio e Gamberetti (prawn and crab risotto) just amazing! I booked a reservation for this immediately after the demo. This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I enjoyed watching them cook, seeing the ingredients used to make this, the presentation, I was so excited, I couldn't wait to come home and try some recipes out!

Just amazing ice sculptures everywhere, one more beautiful than the other, and flowers made out of vegetables.
In the Grand Cayman we did a excursion with Stingrays and snorkeling. Yes, that's me with the stingrays all around. You can see their tales in the water swimming by me, very slimy but fun.
Not one of my favorites parts of my trip, I hate losing my money! The casino was not my friend. (laughing)
On deck 14 we can see the whole ship and the fun on board, peaceful up there, had a nice glass of Cabernet and relaxed while at sea.
Pineapple, cantaloupe, another amazing sculpture with fruit.
Crimini Mushroom Alfredo Fettuccine.
The Ruins in Tulum, lots of history, walking a very well worth it trip in Cozumel. The water was gorgeous, but it was 105 degrees and 88% humidity that day...

We got up watched the sunrise on our balcony set up for a day for snorkeling, stingrays and lots of fun.

Our reservation for Portofino, we had everything I mentioned that I watched them cook except for my husbands large Italian spiced Tbone and desserts, what a huge assortment of wonderful Italian pastry  that kept coming. What a perfect ending to a wonderful trip! Freedom of the Sea's treated us well, the food was superb and the customer service  was outstanding. Can't wait to go back again, a lovely anniversary for us to celebrate 10 years married. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for reading (smile). Please scroll down for the recipe for risotto, you won't be sorry~
Of course I had to add a recipe and now for my  new favorite!  So here it goes!
Risotto with Prawns
1 to 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, hot
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground white pepper
8 large Tiger fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Minced fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and keep hot.

Put 2 tablespoons each of the butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and shallots and saute, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft but not yet browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the rice and saute, stirring, until the rice grains are well coated, about 1 minute. Add the wine and boil it, stirring until it has been almost completely absorbed by the rice, about 3 minutes.

Using a large spoon or ladle, add about 1/2 cup of the hot broth to the rice. Still over medium heat, stir constantly until the broth has been absorbed and the rice looks almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add another spoonful and repeat, stirring after each addition until it has been absorbed, continuing just until most of the broth has been used and the rice is tender surrounded by a creamy sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and white pepper and, if the risotto seems a little dry, stir in the last of the broth.

Immediately heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and white pepper and saute them until they turn white and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle them with lemon juice.

Spoon the risotto a bed on 2 serving plates and arrange the shrimp attractively on top. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Printable Recipe

Banana Chip Scones or Plain Recipe- International Scones Incident Party

Sunday, August 22, 2010
Plain Scones are wonderful with butter or jam. But here is a different version that are a great treat any time of day, delicious and easy to make. This is a great party to join hosted by Penny, and co hosted by Anh  and Cherrie thanks so much and Happy Birthday to all the August babies!~

Banana Chip Scones:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup of pecans (optional)


In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter. Mix banana and buttermilk all together well Add to the dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips, nuts and fold in until just moistened. Knead 12 times. Break dough out into a 6" circle.

Sprinkle with sugar. With a round cutter into 6 - 8 circles or wedges with a sharp knife if you don't have a round cutter. Place 1" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425F for 12 minutes or until golden.
Plain Scones Basic Recipe:
1/2 stick butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk or regular milk
1 egg beaten
Optional 1/2 cup raisins, nuts, or fruit like blueberries or berries.
Basic Recipe
Makes 12 scones
Heat the oven to 450
Grease and flour a cookie sheet.
Place the butter, flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course meal crumbs.
Make a well in the center and stir in enough milk to make a soft dough.
Turn the mixture on to a floured board and knead lightly, roll out 3/4 inch thick using a round biscuit cutter or cut into wedges with a sharp knife.
Cut 12 rounds or wedges.
Place on cookie sheet and brush with the beaten egg and milk mixture. Bake on highest rack in a hot oven for 8 - 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve with butter or jam.


Suzanne's Guest Post Pesto Burger Shots Recipe

Saturday, August 21, 2010
A healthier way to fry, bakeor grill with turkey and delicious flavors for this perfect burger !
I was so excited when Suzanne from "You made that?" said she would be a guest on my blog. This recipe is so original and I love the flavors she's combined in this awesome burger. Please check out her other wonderful recipes on "You made that?" Something for everything! You will love reading her blog, she has a beautiful amazing family.

Pesto Burger Shots

1 pound of ground turkey meat
pesto any type (I used Classico brand)
provolone cheese slices
2-3 roma tomatoes
fresh spinach leaves
sliced red onion
1 tsp. garlic salt
small rolls (I used Hawaiian dinner rolls)

In a medium size bowl add ground turkey or beef with about 6 T. pesto, 1 tsp. garlic salt and pepper generously, mix together with hands or spoon.
ake about 10 small but thick patties about the size of the rolls.
Wash and slice the toppings for your shots and have ready.
To get the cheese slices to match the size of your burgers I used a small round cookie cutter.
In small bowl mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 3-4 tsp. pesto.
Fry the patties in large skillet on medium heat until browned, only want to turn once, turning often dries out the meat.
Cut rolls and toast until browned.
Spread the pesto mayo on both sides and build the burgers.
Thanks Suzanne from You Made That~ for sharing this fabulous recipe!

Homemade Manicotti Italian Stuffed Pasta

Friday, August 20, 2010
Homemade Batter for Manicotti Mom's Recipe

4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water


2 lbs. Homemade Ricotta cheese or your favorite brand
4 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated cheese
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese  1 cup extra for topping
Mix together set aside till shells are done.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, add salt water and blend together. Add flour mix till smooth. Will be a thin batter.
Cook in a heated sprayed pan, as you would pancake in a non stick 6 to 8 inch pan sprayed each time with non stick spray, in between manicotti pasta. Spread quickly on pan and rotate to coat pan, use spatula to flip, will cook fast and require around a minute on each side.
Remove immediately and stack on wax paper. This make around 30 manicotti's.
Spread each shell with approx. one tablespoon of filling. Roll up. Make sure you only use one layer in a large shallow pan. Top with already made Traditional Sunday Sauce recipe on this website, or use your favorite sauce and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Cover and bake for 25 minutes at 375 or till bubbly and browned.

Would like a homemade sausage recipe? Click here!

Triple Berry Shortcake Recipe

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup cream or half and half
granulated sugar
pinch of cinnamon optional mixed in with sugar
blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries
Beat butter and sugar together till fluffy. Add flour and baking powder, salt. In cupcake tins lined with paper cups, or dropping by heaping tablespoons full, sprinkle tops with sugar and Bake on 375 until browned. Cool. Assembly below.

Berry mixture :
2 cups of assorted fresh fruit, blueberries, blackberries mix with raspberry, or strawberries.... 1/2 cup of seedless preserves such as blackberry or raspberry, I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds for easier mixing
. Mix in with the fruit.
Top biscuit with whipped cream and sliced fruit.


Curt's Jack Daniels Barbecued Baked Chicken Guest Post

Thursday, August 12, 2010
Roasted slow in the oven on a rack after marinaded overnight. Curt has a knack for making great sauces for dipping, marinades and gets pretty creative, you may have seen some of this previous  Italian Style Chicken Wing Feast,  with  four flavors of awesome sauces of  Glazed Sesame Chicken.  Curt also made an Italian Style Grilled Version then  made a Catalina dressing marinade for chicken breasts.  I just love when he asks to do a guest post on chicken or something we haven't tried before. This chicken came out awesome, another chicken  recipe keeper for me for sure! If you need a suggestion on a great appetizer take a look at this one try Curt's loaded potato skins!

Moist and tender with a delicious smoked flavor, perfect with baked beans and baked potatoes.

1 - 4lb or 5 lb Chicken
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Jack Daniels barbecue sauce or your favorite brand
In a large freezer bag large enough to fit chicken (or you can use a large bowl) place all ingredients with chicken except for the Jack Daniels sauce. Marinate in the bag or bowl overnight.
Remove chicken from bag and place on a baking pan, cover with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce ( below recipe), and place on a rack.Bake at 350 till brown and crispy.
Serve chicken with extra Jack Daniel barbecue sauce below or your favorite kind.
1 cup ketchup
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup Jack Daniel's whiskey
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and
simmer about 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Printable Recipe

Rocky Road Brownies Recipe

Monday, August 9, 2010
I decided the night before I left for vacation this would be a quick treat to leave behind to my kids, so they can enjoy them while house sitting this week. They didn't least long enough for left overs. At the end I included a list of things you don't want to forget to bring on any long vacation trip....see you all soon on the blogosphere!

Chocolate Chips, Ground Pecans, and Fresh Marshmallows on a gooey chewy brownie. These go so quick I  hardly had any left as I tried cooling them in another room!  The smell of these baking are too irresistable!  Always a favorite, easy to make and fun to eat. I love Rocky Road anything cupcakes, candy...and these definitely fulfills that  craving in a hurry!

6 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup  unsalted butter
11/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows or large cut up
1 cup ground pecans
1/2 cup mini chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line an 8-inch square baking pan parchment paper.

In a large bowl melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is just melted. Mix it up to melt the chocolate completely. Stir the sugar into the melted chocolate until dissolved. Mix in the vanilla and eggs. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Immediately sprinkle the marshmallows and nuts evenly over the brownies add chips. Stick it under the broiler for 1 minutes, or until the marshmallows adhere to the cake. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut when cooled.
Printable Recipe

I thought I would add a great list for anyone going on a vacation you can print this out below the list for future use. It's always good to have a check sheet of things you don't want to forget. Here's something I put together:

ID passports and drivers license for both, sometimes marriage license if your name just changed its required

Woman's list

glasses for reading and sunglasses
lingerie/night gown/pajamas/robe
bars and panties
compression stockings (for airplane flight to prevent swollen ankles)
exercise/walking socks
trouser socks or pantyhose
purses (day and evening)
gloves and stocking cap(if expect cold weather)
walking shoes
walking sandals
rubber sandals for reef walking and beach
evening shoes
costume jewelry and extra watch
swim suit
swim suit cover-up/pareo/sarong
thongs/flip flop shoes
work out clothes and jog bra
dress/outfit for informal nights on ship
dress/outfit for formal nights on ship
dress/outfit for casual nights on ship
tops of all types (sleeveless, short-sleeved, long-sleeved)
capri pants
windbreaker jacket
evening sweater
raincoat with hood
blow dryer
curling iron or curlers
hair gel
hair spray (non-aerosol)
shower cap
bar soap in plastic container
dental floss
make-up mirror
make-up and make-up bag(list can be endless!)
make-up remover
moisturizer and freshener
nail polish and remover
nail clippers and file (be sure to pack in checked luggage)
razor and shaving cream
trial size lysol, antibacterial soap
aspirin, tums, Imodium, motion sickness pills, prescriptions
foods for kids
dried fruits, nuts, pop tarts, cereals, pretzels
band aides with antiseptic
bottled water if going abroad to brush your teeth with
 Calling cards for International phone calls
cell phone,  digital camera, battery, sd card, laptops ,chargers, or any other electronic device
Men's Clothing Packing List

glasses for reading and sunglasses
underwear (briefs or boxer shorts)
pajamas and robe
compression socks (for airplane flight to prevent swollen ankles)
exercise/walking socks
black dress socks
gloves and stocking cap(if expect cold weather)
walking shoes
walking sandals
rubber sandals/shoes for reef walking and beach
evening or dress shoes
"docksider" casual shoes
sport jacket
regular ties
tuxedo shirt
dress shirts
swim suit
swim suit cover-up
work out clothes/T shirts
casual shirts
slacks (casual and dress)
windbreaker jacket
raincoat with hood

Men's Sundries and Miscellaneous
shampoo and hair products
bar soap in plastic container
dental floss
nail clippers and file (be sure to pack in checked luggage)
razor and shaving cream (or electric razor and supplies)
Printable List

Claudia's Funnel Cake Recipe

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Funnel cakes are fun to make with the kids and also eat! Here in the South, these are popular at feasts, flea markets and other social events. You can make these for your family and friends when having company or a breakfast treat! Check out the photo's how easy these are, all you need is your index finger and a large holed funnel or zip lock baggie to make the design!


Italian Home Fries Recipe and BonVoyage!

Friday, August 6, 2010
Freedom of the Sea's Royal Carribean in this picture above, we are leaving for vacation Sunday on this beauty,  for a 7 day Western Carribean Cruise, will continue to auto post until we  get back.  Sorry to all my blogging friends for not making any comments for awhile, will catch up with you all when I get back!  It's a special 10th anniversary for my hubby and I.
  I want to thank all my readers in advance for  all your continued support and will catch up with all of you on August 17th....bon voyage and thank you to my wonderful kids Chad and Curt for watching over things at the house and here while we're gone, as the carpenters start my new kitchen! So many things going on at the same time!
Last week I had a  great giveaway from CSN stores and  am so excited and pleased to announce the winner.
Congratulations goes out to Jennifer C from Pollocuisine..please send me your contact information so I can send you your $60.00 gift certificate!!  Thank you for participation in this giveaway, enjoy and happy shopping!

Here's today recipe Italian Style Home Fries!

Here's another one of those mustgoes ( for those of you who are new here, the story was if you asked mom what we were having for dinner tonight she would say "mustgoes" she always got someone to ask what are mustgoes? She would say, "everything must go"!!!!  anything  during the week mom had in the refrigerator leftover would all be taken out at the end of the week. So, we had zucchini starting to get soft, peppers, and lots of potatoes in the house, it was time to make the mustgoes!
One of our favorites was potatoes,  peppers and zucchini combo's, now that'sa Italiano! Sometimes she'd add eggs to this and we would have what is referred to a frittata. At least that's what her and grandma called it. If there was meat it was added to it, like sausage or steak.
Very easy. Adaptable recipe. So anything goes, especially if you have must goes! My dad's recipe is just potatoes sliced and fried, mom added the rest!
3 large cleaned thinly sliced potatoes
2 peppers one green one yellow or red
1 large zucchini grated and some sliced
 grape tomatoes and whole milk fresh mozzarella
1 garlic cloved minced, optional onions chopped
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grating cheese
Optional Italian flavored bread crumbs
I a large heated fry pan, add 1/4 cup olive oil, saute garlic and peppers to flavor the oil, add potatoes. Fry stirring frequently till very browned. Add the grated zucchini towards the end and slices as they cook quickly. You can add anything cooked you like at this point.  You can also add the bread crumbs on top before serving.
Note grape tomatoes are cut out stuffed with mozzarella cheese  with sliced peppers on a toothpick for garnish.
Printable Recipe


Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche Homemade

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Unfortunately I don't have as much time to devote to delicious recipes like milk caramel that takes quite awhile to make from scratch. I would like to make everything from scratch, as that is always the best. This time I took the easy way out, being a career working woman, you sometimes have to find new ways to make great tasting desserts. I love this one, because it doesn't require alot of time in the beginning, perfect for summer. I love my crockpot, and I use it for so many things that I never dreamed would come out so good, and continue to experiment with things that shock me on how good they end up. This one here is another example of it. I loved this idea and it worked like a charm. Making something at night before I go to bed, then viola, the next morning magic is made.

Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche Homemade


The Story of Peaches and Chianti , What's Cookin' Inspiration

Monday, August 2, 2010

Featured picture, Peaches and Chianti. Fresh peaches with Chianti poured over them.....the wine bottle was our Grandma Victoria, who past on at the age of 94 in 1975. The bottle is over 88 years old..... I still have it in 2013 my cherished possession and always will, until it's passed on to my kids.

So this is where it all began the "familia" My hometown was in Utica NY. Many called it Little Italy. Fabulous restaurants, with years of experienced cooks from all over Italy had made their roots there and the food still after the early 1900's remains a memorable experience of traditional cooking of Italian foods.

My family originated in Rome Italy. My grandmother and grandfather couldn't speak a word of English or write. Her cooking was amazing. I still remember the round loaves of dense delicious homemade breads, fantastic egg noodles, and fried dough. Her polenta was full of wonderful flavor topped with ragu style sauce. Then my favorite, she would make a chicken and pea's in a large fry pan, the sauce would stick to your fingers when you picked it up and if you used a napkin it would rip off and stick to you hand too, but talk about finger lickin good sauce, it was so amazing, I've never been able to duplicate it,and neither did my parents. My mom was from Bari, she cooked a whole different Region of foods, nothing like my grandmother, but were fabulous but different. Amazing how two people could make sauce with the exact same ingredients and not taste anything alike. I am sure you all know what I mean, its a mystery!
Every Sunday would be pasta day in our Italian home. After dinner as tradition goes, on a hot summer day, our dad would cut up fresh peaches in the height of the season and pour Chianti over them for dessert. This was after the espresso and sambucca.. Cheers to the memory of our dad Carmen.
Here's our story.....would love to hear  about all your traditions you have passed down to your family. All comments welcome.
As it goes, there are stories to tell in every family background. Our Italian heritage growing up and still today continue to be strong on what we did as children in our family households. My brothers and I have instilled these traditional values down to our kids, and they remain proud to carry on the legacy of Italian cooking and in our case has still become key to keeping the memories of where it all started, still alive in our kitchens....It wasn't a Sunday without fried meatballs for breakfast first...and then someone had to grate the fresh cheese, which was my eldest brother John in our case. Then there was brother Luke, testing the sauce to see what spice was missing by ripping off fresh bread and dipping that hot loaf of crusty bread in the pot of sauce.We would start our dinner with soup with escarole in it, then a huge antipasto, pasta of some kind, usually ziti or rigitoni....then meatballs, sausage, braciole would accompany .....It all started early on a Sunday, every week all day. Mom and Grandma would cook so much food, you were comatose and ready for nap from eating so much! The family would pile in at around 10:30....and we would eat until 7:00pm until we would all felt we were so stuffed we couldn't move and got our full share.... by taking home all the food left over was enough to feed the entire block plus  we all had enough food to take home for a week!!!!!!!.....great memories still live on. That sauce taste lingers in your mind forever. The way the sauce stuck to the meat, the meatballs frying, the smell of  freshly grated cheese, soup simmering, and of course dad preparing his peaches and Chianti for dessert.  The conversations,  our love for each other and closeness has separated through only miles, but there's not a week  that goes by without keeping in touch,  talking, emailing and now texting or Skype or now face time on Iphone and the list goes on!

 The families sure have grown since those days. The best part is the children have a deep understanding of traditions and family to pass on to their families. They all want to  keep in touch and learn about those good ole days, and when we all are together, it was just like we never left that table in the old days, we keep the memories and traditions going from generation to generation.  Hope this gave you all a smile on how good life is with passing on your families traditions.....we all have them in Italian families.

If you would like to make Peaches and Chianti, all dad would do is sprinkle sugar over some sliced peaches and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. When he was ready for this special treat, he poured the Chianti over the peaches then leave them at room temperature for a few hours. That's it. Oh and when they had extra money, strawberries would be added!   Enjoy!  Thanks for reading!

+claudia lamascolo  Author

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Grandma's Italian Meatball Fried Hamburger

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I can remember when I was seven years old, Grandma had a good friend named Theresa. Everyday after school I would rush to go home, Theresa lived in one of my parents small apartments in a two family home in Upstate N.Y.  She would always make me something and it was from scratch and fresh! My favorite was her fried hamburger with fresh parsley and slivers of garlic. I was too young to ask for a recipe but I have spent years duplicating her taste. I finally came to realize its not going to happen. She put love in her cooking to please someone else, that would be me this certain instance, I loved these hamburger so much, so etched in my mind forever will be the taste she made no one could match, the aroma alone as I walked up the steep stairs to her apartment still lingers and that was many many years ago.

I sure do love fresh garlic cooking, this burger has turned the American hamburger Italian for sure,  using just a little Italian flair.

I was use to having so much snow in Upstate NY growing up,  we never grilled  outside, it was a rare occasion. Most of the time everything sauteed in a pan of olive oil or melted butter. The flavor was amazing and everything came out  awesome.
Grandma would just love to torture the neighborhood to with her meatballs they were also the best every!.....all you could smell  is that garlic frying for hours after they were all eaten. oh no they lasted just a few minutes with my two brothers around. We sure had alot of company visit at dinnertime... and she'd feed them all, that's what Italian mom's  and grandmom's do, and I took right after them for sure! Grandma and Theresa sure knew how to cook!

So here is both ways of what I can remember or recreate,  for those not so lucky to grill outside I can tell you this fried in olive oil or  butter still is the tastiest!

1 pound of ground chuck ( she would always use one that had fat (fat is flavor you know~)
2 cloves of chopped chunky garlic
2 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 egg ( recipe calls for 1 egg to every pound of hamburger)
1/4 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 tablespoon grating cheese
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
Mix together till everything blends together with your hands....(whatsamatter for you? you no likeagetyou hands dirty?) Grandma speaking broken English!
Shape into round  extra large meatballs and flatten with the palm of your hand. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, if needed.

You want authentic this is a recap of my childhood memories of after school snacks...and yes, I miss grandma, mom,and always will  have a special place for Theresa with wonderful flavorful memories ! Now with all the news on how bad it is to cook in butter or fry we all try to cook to a healthier living style, we have them once in a blue moon fried now.  I don't know why.... when grandma lived to be 94 and no one ever told her she had high cholesterol, but who knew for sure back then? Oh well...maybe I wouldn't be so lucky. So here is both versions:

 Original option:

In a large fry pan, melt two tablespoon of  olive oil or butter , add slivered cloves of  garlic in the oil and fry burger on both sides till desired doneness, I like well done or very crispy outside.

 Serving suggestions, Use a garlic bread version for your roll, brushed with olive oil spices and garlic... top hamburger with fresh tomato sauce and a slice of mozzarella or provolone, lettuce, tomato. You can dress it up anyway you like.

Healthier Version:
Heat your grill, lightly spray with butter flavored oil, place patties directly on grill cook till meat is cooked to your preference. Serve exactly as above suggestions.