Italian Ricotta Triple Berry Cheesecake

Thursday, June 30, 2011
Great dessert for Memorial Day or the 4th July bursting with flavor and color!

Ricotta Cheesecake with mashed blackberry puree poured over the cheesecake...and topped with fresh fruit.

A perfect dessert in color for the respect of our flag and what it stands for, freedom. When lush berries are in abundance it's the perfect dessert. You can serve this plain or dusted with confectionery sugar. A wonderful delicious light cheesecake very different than regular cream cheese.

You can serve this plain or dusted with confectionery sugar. A wonderful delicious light cheesecake very different than regular cream cheese.

Ricotta Whole Milk Cheese 32 oz or 2lb container of homemade Ricotta

2/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

5 eggs

1 tablespoon 1 teaspoon lemon extract or almond you can use Amaretto or Limoncello also

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Suggested fruit: 2 cups of each Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries Strawberries

Prep work:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees . Set rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and flour a 9 1/2 inch spring form pan, and tap out excess flour or if you prefer use a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom. Wrap the entire pan in aluminum foil just around the spring form pan outside, to preserve integrity of the pan..... this is in preparation for the water bath. The water should be no more than 1/4 inch below the top of the foil not above the foil. See above photo.

You must have patience for this recipe as the longer you beat this and make sure its completely smooth as directed the better the results are.


Place the 2lbs of ricotta in a large mixing bowl, and beat it as smooth as possible with an industrial mixer, beat with flat beater for 7 to 8 minutes..... on stir mode. If your are doing this by hand using a rubber spatula it will take at least 12 to 15 minutes. Stir the sugar and flour together thoroughly into the ricotta, beat another 3 minutes. Stir in the one egg at a time until each egg is well blended around 1 minute per egg, beating a little faster than a stir mode. Blend in the flavorings, and salt. Pour batter into the prepared pan it will be medium thickness in consistency not runny or thin. Bake in the center of the oven in water bath about 1/4 inch of water (refer to picture) for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours on 300 degrees, until a light golden color. Cook making certain the center is fairly firm, insert a knife in the center to see if the batter is solid. Cool completely. Chill till serving time. Serve with powdered sugar, a dab of whipped cream or a puree sauce over the top ( any fruit puree cant be substituted). Top with fresh fruit medley.

Note: If you prefer a crust. Line bottom of this pan with crushed shortbread cookies add 1/2 stick melted butter, dash of cinnamon and mix. Add to the bottom of lightly greased spring form pan.

Triple Berry Puree Sauce

1 cup red raspberries

1 cup blackberries

1 cup strawberries or blueberries

1/2 cup granulated white sugar, 1 Tablespoon Chambord (optional)

Put berries, sugar, flavoring in food processor pulse puree leaving some chunks, use for topping.


Italian Avocado Fries Recipe

Monday, June 27, 2011

2 large avocados, cut into 6-8 slices lengthwise (for each avocado)
canola oil for frying
2 cups of panko Italian  flavored breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of flour seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon each, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, parsley, salt and grated parmesan cheese.

Separate flour, egg and  panko Italian breadcrumbs into three bowls.Using a fryer or deep wok style pan,  pour in enough oil for frying and turn  the range to medium heat.

Take one slice of avocado, and coat it in the egg mixture. Then coat it in the flour mixture and then the breadcrumb mixture. it again in the egg, flour and then breadcrumb mixture. Put the avocado piece in once the oil is hot.

Cook avocado until the breadcrumb turns golden brown. These will not take long to cook around 30 seconds on each side, make sure you turn them for even cooking.

Repeat with remaining avocado slices. Serve with fresh salsa to dip in.

Note: I have baked these as well for healthier version. Place on parchment paper and only drizzle with olive oil lightly. Bake at 400 degrees until browned turning once with a spatula.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Very Berry Breakfast Smoothie

Sunday, June 26, 2011
Such a pretty smoothie to start off your breakfast in elegant style~ you deserve it!

A refreshing drink, but a healthier way to start off the day . A quick burst of energy to get you started in the morning. I thought this was so delicious it must be good as a cocktail too! So the other night, by adding a shot of raspberry rum, I made this healthy smoothie into a wonderful cocktail (not so healthy, smile). So, you don't have to convince me that this is a versatile drink for anytime of the day, oh and then I also thought a healthy cocktail is there such a thing?

Seriously refreshing, but I am trying to stick to the healthy version these days! So here is the recipe~

Berry Smoothie:
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1 banana
1/2 cup apple juice
1/3 cup ice, or raspberry flavored sorbet

Put all ingredients into blender.
Blend until thick and all ice is smooth. (if you prefer to have no seeds it will take a little time but you can put through a small strainer to just use the pulp, I prefer this without the seeds from the blackberries.

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple and Rice

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple and Rice is one of our favorites.

This is a quick delicious meal we just love,  if you occasionally need a change from the usual, you just found it!

4 boneless chicken breasts cut up in cubes
2 tablespoon sesame oil or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne pepper
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks reserve juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
reserved pineapple juice
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 to 4 tablespoons rice vinegar or regular vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped green or red peppers or both

In a large fry pan, brown chicken on all sides in oil. Season with salt, peppers. Reduce heat and simmer with water covered 30 minutes.
In a small bowl mix corn starch, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, pineapple liquid and stir. Add sauce to chicken in fry pan cook stirring constantly until clear and thickened. Add pepper and pineapple. Cook 10 minutes... Serve over fluffy boiled white rice.


Glazed Fresh Fruit Turnovers

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
 I love turnovers. I made blueberry, blackberry, banana, and raspberry. Like little hand pies. Topped with sugar and cinnamon.

 Each one had a different sweet filling with fresh fruit. Easy and so fresh tasting.

Banana and caramel. Raspberry with raspberry seedless preserves. Blackberry with blackberry preserves and blueberry with blueberry preserves..... So many choices, you will have to taste each one of these.

I just love how easy they are to make, and are perfect for dessert or even a breakfast fast treat!

The best thing is the crust from scratch and the filling is fresh~

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, or margarine softened
3/4 cups half and half
1 fresh assorted fruit suggestions peaches, apples, banana's raspberries, blackberries ,blueberries, strawberries
seedless jams that coordinate with the fruit such as strawberry, blueberry, blackberry etc., or ice cream toppings caramel for banana's or melted chocolate

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar (more if needed)
pinch of cinnamon
water or milk

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender,or heavy duty mixer cut in the butter and mix till crumbly. Add rest of ingredients and stir by hand to moisten the dough. .
Press the dough out on floured board and with a floured palm of your hand press the dough to form a circle. Add sliced fruit, or berries of your choice with a teaspoon of seedless jam. I use caramel and/or chocolate for the banana's, you can also use pineapple jelly or preserves. Fold over and with the tines of a floured fork seal them tightly.Place on parchment paper and bake at 400 till brown. . Bake for 15 to 20 minutes Let the turnovers cool slightly before you apply the glaze.

To make the glaze, add milk or water to the powdered sugar, mix together. I added 1/4 cup of sugar at a time and 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid until the glaze was a good consistency to drizzle over turnovers.


Mini Strawberry Muffin with Kahlua Hot Fudge Sauce

Monday, June 20, 2011

A mini strawberry muffin dipped in a delicious Kahlua sauce!

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup milk

1 cup of sour cream

2 cups strawberries cleaned chopped in small chunks

Preheat oven to 350º. Oil spray muffin tins and set aside...  I used  four 12 count muffin tin.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Using another bowl or measuring cup, beat egg for about 20 seconds, add sugar and mix well, then slowly add melted butter. Add sour cream and milk fold to combine.
Add berries to the mixture till blended. Place in mini muffin tins and bake on 350 until brown or tooth pick comes out clean. Cool. Place two or three muffins  inon a plate, dip strawberries and muffins in Kahlua Chocolate Sauce.

Hot Fudge Kahlua Sauce

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 tablespoon of Kahlua ( I like to add a little more your by choice, omit vanilla add another 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Combine condensed milk, chocolate and salt in top of double boiler over rapidly boiling water. Stir and cook until chocolate melts and mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in water, a little at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency. Cool slightly and stir in vanilla add Kahlua.
There is still time to enter my backyard giveaway, now until July 2nd  click here to enter!

Pina Colada Frozen Gelato

Saturday, June 18, 2011
I'm a little lazy when it comes to making ices, I want it easy, fast and still delicious. This is so refreshing and very smooth, almost like a frozen Pina Colada drink but in a wonderful solid confection. If you love coconut rum that will enhances\ the flavor of this wonderful frozen confection.... hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

3 cups chopped fresh pineapple (14 ounces)
1/3 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
1/3 cup light rum or coconut rum
1 tablespoon of coconut put through food processor so its really fine

Equipment: ice cube trays (I scoop it out with a tablespoon for serving)
Purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into mold of choice. Freeze 30 minutes. Garnish with more coconut.

Don't forget to enter for my blogoversary giveaway going on until July 2nd take a look here

Dad's Favorite Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake Mom use to Make

Thursday, June 16, 2011

After school let out back in the 1960's, mom use to make a quick easy cake that dad loved, he hated frosting.. We always use to sit around the table and this song use to come on the transistor radio, boy was that a long time ago, I was around 10 years old... see if you just may have heard this one along the way. So today being her anniversary death on June 16th 1999, I miss her everyday, I decided to make the cake, play this song as it brought back wonderful memories of both of them, hope you smile a too!

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
16 ounces sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 ounces chocolate chips (milk chocolate)

Have ready a greased 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
 In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar, then mix in the egg yolks, sour cream, and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into the butter mixture.
 Beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, then fold into the batter. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the chocolate chips.

 Pour half of the cake batter into the pan. Sprinkle the top with  the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Pour remaining batter on top.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle with confectionery sugar.

In this picture brother Luke, Brother John, Dad. Mom and Claudia

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Grilled Lemon Salmon and 2nd Year Blogoversary!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A little late but it's my 2nd year Blogoversary and to celebrate after 638 posts, I am having a backyard picnic GIVEAWAY!

To enter this giveaway just need to be a follower, tweet the giveaway, add to your facebook to spread the news. Each time you mention or follow you will be given more chances to win, just let me know when you have retweeted or reposted!

a delicious grilled lemon salmon healthy heart food


Barbecue and Hot Sauce Chicken Legs

Monday, June 13, 2011

4 to 5 whole chicken legs or any parts you like ( boiled in a large pot water for 1/2 hour, save broth for another use) pre cook and cooled.

1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (see below for recipe)
1/4 cup  chicken wings sauce ( I use Franks)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil

Place chicken legs into marinade mix well and place in a container  for at least 3 hours or overnight.
When chicken is marinated, pre heat grill on high, then lower to medium. Place legs on the grill, cook chicken until crisp and brown, cutting to it with juices running clear.

Basic BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper

Mix all the above in a bowl, taste better made the day before and refrigerated, however you can use this right away. 

Or here is another alternative for you.... if you like a smoky flavor
Smoky BBQ Sauce
1 bottle chili sauce (12 ounces)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon mustard
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Again, mix it all up in a bowl and refrigerator overnight if possible.

Italian Cannoli Birthday Cake with Strawberries Recipe

Sunday, June 12, 2011
This cake is a great quick fix for all you cannoli lovers out there! It's also a great alternative to making the cannoli shells over a hot fryer! The bonus is still having these similar homemade flavors.  Everything  goes together so simple and has all  our favorites in one cake! Thanks for stopping by, Ciao Claudia

My son loves cannoli's maybe you remember this post of his Upstate NY Style Cannoli?

 Well today is my first born son, Chad's, 31st Birthday... It's so hard to believe it and strangely enough, I often wonder how I reached this age when I still feel his? Where does the time go, seriously!

Starting out I decided to make a marble cake first... since he likes both chocolate and vanilla.

Batter for Marble Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 - 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. of almond extract
1 1/4 cups milk, half and half sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup of mini chocolate chip
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

After cake is cooked brush with:
1/4 cup marsala wine mixed with 1 tablespoon of butter

* Note :  Cannoli filling recipe to follow below make this while cake is baking and refrigerate till needed.

Mix the butter sugar together until light. Add flour, eggs,baking powder,baking soda, vanilla and milk. Beat till smooth, around three minutes, split batter into two bowls.

Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to one bowl mix well.

Grease a spring form pan, or you can use a bundt pan, a 13 x 9 sheet cake pan or two 8 inch pans using same method. Start with a small amount of vanilla cake batter on the bottom, add a dollop of chocolate batter in the center, swirl around with a knife. Do not stir. Bake at 350 for around 40 minutes till done, test with a toothpick if it comes out clean in the center. When cake comes out of the oven sprinkle with mini chips. Brush top of hot cake with melted butter and marsala wine.

 Cannoli filling.

2 cups whole milk Ricotta or use Homemade Ricotta Recipe
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
dash of cinnamon
Mix all together.

 Spread cannoli filling over cooled cake, brushed with marsala mixture . Top entire cake with whipped cream.
 Optional: garnish with strawberries or other fresh fruit.

If making layers, spread filling between sliced layers, and proceed the same way.


Grandma's Triple Berry Filled Poundcake Recipe

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grandma loved to make heavy poundcakes pretty much all scratch cakes or poundcakes are heavy that she made, but the taste unlike any other type of cake. She usually left it plain when she served it. I decided to experiment with her recipe, this was a nice change. I will only suggest one other thing, leave it in the refrigerator so it doesn't get soggy. This cake lasted all week and still taste great. It didn't look any different on the fifth day!
1 stick(1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups of mixed berries sliced (I used blueberry left whole, raspberry and strawberries sliced)
1/1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large lightly beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2  cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan 5x9 inch in size.
Slice fruit and mix together with 2 tablespoon any flavored jam set aside.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together butter, and sugar till light and fluffy around 5 miinutes. Add eggs, vanilla, mixing in the flour and rest of dry ingredients. Stir in the sour cream till well blended. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan, top with fruit, end with the remaining batter. Bake on 350 degrees around an hour  and 15 minutes or until the tooth pick comes out clean.  I served this at room temperature with whipped cream. Leftover cake will store better in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Purple Passion Potato Vinaigrette

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2 pounds purple potatoes scrubbed and halved
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry vermouth

 Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by about an inch. Bring to a boil and add a teaspoon of salt to the water.  Lower heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 4-7  minutes. These potatoes cook quick.

 Prepare the herb vinaigrette.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlics, thyme, basil, oregano, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

 Drain  potatoes from the water and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the potatoes generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the vermouth and toss to coat. Let the potatoes sit for one minute to soak in the vermouth and then add the herb vinaigrette. Gently toss until all potatoes are coated with the vinaigrette. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Italian Plum Tomato Prosciutto Cheesy Pie

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This is been a great year for our garden here in Florida, I can't get enough recipes for all these plum tomatoes, I couldn't wait to share this light but perfect brunch, or dinner with everyone, it's a family favorite for years! Can you tell how proud I am of these babies, I think it's my third picture, I can tell you one thing, I have never had luck growing my own produce, animals always eat them!  So this is the only reason for my bragging rights this year, please forgive me, I do feel guilty not sharing!

deep dish pie crust homemade or store bought  ( prick holes in the bottom and bake for 9 minutes @375 degree oven)
6 slices prosciutto chopped in pieces (you can use ham or bacon if you choose)
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 medium plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, cayenne pepper and parlsey
1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese
1/2 cup shredded  white Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Romano cheese
optional :1/2 cup mushrooms, green peppers or zucchini
Place cookie sheet on oven rack. Heat oven to 375°F. Add prosciutto, garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper to the bottom crust, sprinkle with Romano cheese. In medium bowl, whisk together half-and-half, flour and eggs, add spices. Stir in shredded cheeses. Pour over tomato mixture.
Bake on cookie sheet 25 to 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Italian Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Thursday, June 2, 2011

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne pepper
salt to taste
8 ounces rotini pasta
2 cups frozen or fresh broccoli florets cooked in microwave for 7 minutes
3 cups skinned and boned cooked chicken, torn into large pieces
1/2 cup sharp shredded cheddar

1 cup  butter style crackers like( ritz or club) crackers crushed fine mixed  with 2 tablespoons of melted butter  and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, mix and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan; stir in the flour until well blended. Gradually stir in the half and half add broth and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until mixture is smooth and comes to a boil, about 8 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the mozzarella and cheddar then add  1/4 cup of the Parmesan; remove from heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente or about 10 minutes.

 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the pasta, broccoli, cheese sauce and chicken; spread in a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.  Top with cracker crumbs, cover with foil. Bake until top is golden and mixture is bubbly, about 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Crockpot Chicken and Sweet Potato with Pasta

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
6 boneless chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed of fat
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into spears ( I slightly boil in microwave to 9 minutes)
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary,
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons teriyaki

parsley for garnish

 cooked pasta of choice or fluffy rice

 Place chicken, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, garlics, wine, rosemary, salt and pepper in a 5-quart slow cooker mix all together. Put the cover on and cook on low until the potatoes are tender, about 4 to 5 hours. Mix all sauces together pour over chicken. Serve with pasta topped parsley or with white rice. Serve the potatoes on the side.