Marinade for Lamb Recipe

Friday, December 30, 2011
A very Merry bunch and more than a few good men!

( Nephew Matthew, brother John, husband Nemo, son Curt, nephew Devin and son Chad on the end)

All with hearty appetites~ my handsome bunch! Who can resist such merry men?


Curt's Blueberry Pancake Recipe

Thursday, December 29, 2011
One favorite meal of the day is breakfast, with all the pancake recipes out there we have tried, Curt always comes back to the one he grew up with. He definitely adapted this one to be even better, with the addition of lemon juice. The texture is light and crispier than the original. I just love having my kids learn the art of cooking and starting new adaptions of their own... what a great breakfast we all had together!


Leftover Panettone Recipe Ideas

Wednesday, December 28, 2011
We usually get quite a few boxes of Panettone for Christmas but we also make it! You can just eat so much of this in just toast! Recipe at the bottom for this amazing bread. Here are some recipes to use with leftovers too.
Actually we love this kind of bread in these baked breakfast brunch style dishes. We usually make so much we can't possibly finish all the Panettone with just making it as toast.


Fried Polenta Croquette Appetizer

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dipped in a fresh marinara I can make these a whole meal!  

Fried Polenta Appetizer:
1/2 cup of corn-meal
 around one tablespoon butter
two tablespoons grating cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove of minced garlic
cold water
Slice of Gruyere, provolone or mozzarella cheese

For coating
 Italian flavored breadcrumbs
grating cheese
Olive oil or Canola oil  for frying

In a small saucepan boil( using package instructions)  measure  1/2 cup of corn-meal into boiling water and cook until stiff in consistency and before removing  from the stove top add a tablespoon of butter and and the grated cheese and mix well.

Pour onto a cutting board by spoonfuls using cold water to form some golf ball size rounds. These spoonfuls will be hot, the cold water will help to mold them.  On each of these croquettes place a very thin slice of  cheese, so that the cheese will adhere to the corn-meal wrapping around them. Then allow them to cool in the refrigerator on a baking sheet. When they are cold,  dip into a beaten egg, then into breadcrumbs mixed with more grating cheese. Fry in hot oil and serve with marinara sauce.

Saucy Eggs Breakfast

Monday, December 26, 2011
Taste like pizza~ this is a real Italian style egg breakfast!
1 dozen eggs
1 cup milk
1 pound Italian sausage or pepperoni
3/4 cups Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 16 oz jar or 2 cups of homemade sauce recipe 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
herbs, oregano, garlic powder, basil, parsley (dried)

 If using sausage, cook sausage until no longer pink, then drain. Set aside.

Beat eggs and milk, add crumbs and  pepperoni or sausage and pour into 13x9 baking pan that is lightly sprayed with cooking oil.  Refrigerate over night.
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until set. Remove from oven.

Spread sauce on eggs and sprinkle with cheese and a little of each of the herbs. Return to the oven until cheese is melted.

Homemade Dad's Eggnog

Sunday, December 25, 2011
I love homemade eggnog and dad made the best.

It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I enjoyed it topped off with a shot of rum.

This is his recipe and a tradition every year to make in his memory.

Everything is fresh and the perfect holiday drink!


Italian Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Recipes

Saturday, December 24, 2011

From start to finish there's always a lot of traditions going on in an Italian kitchen through the month of December. Christmas Eve is all fish with Catholic traditions and on to making homemade pasta, sauce and much much more as you scroll through this gallery of foods. We are thankful every year for our blessings and here are a few of our favorite recipes we enjoy. Buon Natale.

this is a collage of all the holiday foods we prepare in an Italian Household for Christmas Eve and Day


Chocolate Covered Coconut Macadamia Rum Balls

Friday, December 23, 2011

A great combinations of flavors to add to your cookie or candy tray!

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup rum
3 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1 cup coconut
Combine crushed vanilla wafers, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, cocoa and nuts.
Mix in the corn syrup and rum.
Shape into 1-inch balls;
Melt chocolate in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds till melted. Using two fork dip each ball into the chocolate, sprinkle with coconut and place on wax paper to dry
Store in the refrigerator for a few days before serving to seep the flavors of the rum.

Rocky Road Cookies and Cream Peppermint Fudge

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate morsels or white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate cookies of choice I used oreo's just the cookie top part  chopped into small pieces
1 can (14 oz.)Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint
3 cups miniature marshmallows
optional 1/2 cup chopped pistachio or macadamia nuts
12 small peppermint puffs crushed  (these are easier to chew and not crunchy, soft ones so much easier on the teeth) or use 4 peppermint candy canes
LINE 13 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking oil.
MICROWAVE morsels and sweetened condensed milk in large, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Fold in marshmallows, nuts and cookie pieces.PRESS mixture into prepared baking pan.

 Sprinkle with crushed peppermint puffs or candy canes. ( I placed them in a plastic bag and hit them with a rolling pin until fine chunks.)Refrigerate until ready to serve. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into pieces.Makes 48 pieces


Cranberry Amaretto Holiday Gelatin Salad

Friday, December 16, 2011

Here's what I did to use up this whole Amaretto Cranberry sauce I made. It's a great side dish with any poultry meal~

1 large box cherry, or strawberry gelatin
1 cup hot water (if you haven't made the Amaretto Cranberry sauce, or you can use 3/4 cup hot water and 1/4 cup Amaretto)
1 homemade batch of Amaretto Cranberry Sauce or use a  (16 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped apples I like Mcintosh
1/4 cup chopped pistachio or walnuts
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Dissolve gelatin in hot water. Cool and chill slightly about an hour so it's  liquid wiggly not solid.

Break up cranberry sauce with a fork and add to gelatin with celery, apples and nuts. Fold in cream cheese. Pour into an 8-inch square pan or festive mold such as a Christmas Tree holiday mold. Refrigerate.

Mom's Italian Style Chicken or Turkey Gravy

Thursday, December 15, 2011
I always said Mom made the best gravy and I still think so...

I can't to this day make that same taste... I think this is very close,

but without her love in there it could never be the same... of course the Holidays wouldn't be the same without making her gravy... so here is Margaret's recipe.

this is a homemade Turkey Gravy or homemade Beef gravy my mom's recipe from the 1940's.

Drippings from roasted turkey (you can use all liquid from the Turkey but it must be strained and cleared from cooking the turkey) or use the broth suggested below).

If using beef use beef drippings from any beef roast

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cloves minced garlic

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour( we like it thick so heaping spoonfuls!)

2 cups chicken or turkey broth if using beef use beef broth)

1/4 cup Chablis white wine or Marsala wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 pinch of garlic powder

chopped parsley for garnish

Strain any fat from the turkey juices in the roasting pan. Add the broth to the drippings to equal at least 2 to 2 1/2 cups. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes.

In a seperate small sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter saute garlic. When it is soft, add the flour and stir rapidly to cook the flour until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the combined drippings. Cook, stirring constantly, until the gravy is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and season with salt and pepper and pinch or garlic powder. Add more wine if too thick and garnish with parsley.

Pour into a gravy bowl with a pouring spout.


You can make beef with beef drippings and follow the same directions.

Mom and Dad 1940

Dad Carmen and Mom Margaret... forever in my heart.....

Thank You Mom My Teacher, My Friend, Miss You Always but keep you alive in the kitchen.

Old Fashioned Holiday Fruitcake

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When I was a little kid I hated this kind of cake, of course it had booze in it so that made it yucky to me!
I grew up to think it's still not my favorite but it's not Christmas without Grandma's Fruitcake~

Either you love it or you hate it. Fruitcake had to be on the table, grandma loved it.  Now  I always wondered where the term nuttier than a fruitcake came from. with all the nuts in this, I don't wonder  anymore!
Old Fashioned Holiday Fruitcake

1 (32 ounce) container chopped fruit mixture (candied apples, pineapples, red cherries, green cherries)
8 ounces whole green candied cherries for decoration
8 ounces whole red candied cherries for decoration
1 cup pecan halves for decoration
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
2 cups dark raisins
2 cups white raisins
1 cup pecans coarsely chopped
1 cup macadamia nuts coarsely chopped
2 cups pecans coarsely chopped
1 cup regular sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 bottle each  flavoring rum, black walnut and vanilla flavor
5 eggs
1 bottle dry sherry or bourbon

Put all the mixed fruit, raisins and chopped nuts into a large bowl. Add two cups of flour and mix until fruit and nuts are coated with flour.

Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Pour a cup of sherry over the nut and fruit mixture. Mix well and cover. Let set for at least 2 hours.

Combine 1 tablespoon each of walnut, rum and vanilla flavor with eggs, flour, butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use electric mixer and mix until batter is smooth.

Gradually stir the fruit and nut mixture into the batter. If it gets to thick to stir, add about 1/2 cup sherry or water.

Line loaf pans or festive style pans or even tube pans with parchment paper. Grease paper lining lightly with butter or spray oil coating. The mixture will be thick and need a spoon shape spatula to spoon the mixture in the pans. Decorate the fruit cake with whole red and green cherries and pecan halves.

Bake in a preheated 250 degree F oven for 3 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Pour sherry over the cake and place in closed container.

Store in decorative tin.

Nutella Rugelach with Hazelnuts Recipe a Holiday Favorite Cookie

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We love Nutella here in our home, my son adores it by the spoonfuls. I have used this for filling many pastries such as thumbprint cookies, filling for cupcakes but I just found our newest favorite cookie for anytime, but especially one for the holiday and gift giving... this one was a huge hit. We have enough jam filled recipes, peanut butter, we never have enough Nutella favorites! Hope this will be your newest favorite too!

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
1/2 lb. cream cheese (8 oz)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1- 1/2 cups flour

Mix all together using a heavy duty mixer or by hand kneading the dough until well blended with all the above ingredients. Chill  dough wrapped in plastic or wax paper overnight. Remove from the refrigerator a 1/2 hour before rolling.

      1 jar Nutella
      1 or more cups of chopped hazelnuts

  Roll out to 3/8 inch thickness on a floured board. Spread with a light layer of nutella and sprinkle evenly with chopped hazelnuts.

 Roll in jellyroll fashion and cut into slices 1/4 inch wide. Put on cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.
 ( Optionial: brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with fine sugar).
Bake in 350 degree oven on a middle rack,  10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and loosen with knife immediately place on a wire rack to cool on. Watch carefully not to burn.
I like to spinkle them with a little powdered sugar just for presentation.

These are by far our newest favorite cookie! Happy Holidays Enjoy!

Irish Creme Holiday Balls

Friday, December 9, 2011

Of course these are the same recipe as the traditional style rum balls which is still an old time favorite..  these are a great addition for a change.. also try Kahlua~
Irish Creme Balls

1 package vanilla wafers
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4-1/2 cups Irish Creme (click here for an Irish Homemade Cream Recipe!)
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2-1 cup crushed hazelnuts

 Crush wafers and hazelnuts in a food processor (or in a bag using a rolling pin till fine). Add sugar and cocoa; mix well.
Blend in corn syrup and Irish cream. Cover and chill dough for an hour or overnight.
 Cover hands in powdered sugar and roll into 1-inch balls.
Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or make ahead and freeze them.
 Roll in powdered sugar or sprinkles before serving.
Somehow I think these two got into the liqueur cabinet!
Happy Holidays from Fonzo and Trina~

Italian Style Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Here is one of our favorite ways to eat macaroni salad.

We love it with tuna pasta salad it's perfect anytime with any other meal or by itself.

Sometimes we can just enjoy a big plate full of this macaroni salad with a big hunk of crusty bread and butter and it's a whole meal.

When I was growing up, mom used to make lots of salad, place a scoop of each salad on a bed a lettuce leaves.

That was a filling lunch for sure with all three.

It was a treat to have her tuna macaroni salad, potato salad, and either ham salad or egg salad all on one plate.

You can also add baby shrimp or leave it plain.

The colorful salad is perfect for holiday side dishes or all summer long for those awesome cookouts and parties outside.

To us, this was the best tuna pasta salad in the world, we just loved it growing up.

Through 1960 and present, my kids and family enjoy this retro old school recipe.

This is tri colored spiral pasta made into a macaroni salad with tuna in a glass white casserole dish


Sour Cream Amaretto Cheese Cake

Monday, December 5, 2011


    16-ounce sour cream
    8 oz. cream cheese
    1/4 cup corn starch
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup of sugar
    1 tablespoon Amaretto
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    3 eggs

    In a mixing bowl combine the corn starch, baking powder, set aside. Add the sour cream, cream cheese and sugar beat around 5 minutes till light and fluffy.

    Add eggs, almond extract, and Amaretto and mix well until completely smooth.

    Almond Crumb Crust:

    3 cups fine crumbs such as cinnamon graham cracker(is what I used), regular graham, vanilla cookies, or chocolate wafers
    8 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
    Preheat Oven 350 degrees:

    Melt butter in the microwave. Mix with fine crumbs, almonds and blend well. Place the crumb mixture in 9-inch springform pan lightly sprayed or lined with parchment paper or you can you one greased deep-dish pie plate and a 6-inch springform pan (always line or lightly spray) and press crumbs down to form. I like to wrap the bottom with foil to prevent dripping in the oven.

    Pour batter over crust. (I didn't prebake the crust, but you can for 5 to 6 minutes if you like, then cool first before adding the filling on the crust)
    Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.
    Cool before serving. Top with hot fudge sauce with added Amaretto or a pureed fresh fruit topping.

    Amaretto Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

    1 (14 ounces) can sweeten condensed milk
    2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons Amaretto
    1 teaspoon almond extract

    Combine condensed milk, chocolate and salt in top of a 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 Amaretto and vanilla. Drizzle over cake. Refrigerate any unused for up to a week.

    Italian Lemon Polenta Biscotti Cookies

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Very crunchy lemony flavored biscotti one of our first cookies we bake every year a long time favorite.

    Italian Lemon Polenta Biscotti Cookies


    Orange Snowball Cookies

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    2 1/4 cups flour
    1 1/4 cups coconut flakes
    2 Sticks butter (softened)
    2 1/2 cups powdered sugar( sifted)
    1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
    1 1/2 Tbsp orange zest (orange part only)
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Baking sheets
    Electric Mixer
    Mixing Bowl
    Parchment paper
    Melon Baller

    Preheat oven to 350. Toast coconut (place on a baking sheet and spread out evenly, cook for about 10 minutes, until golden, watch it closely it will burn)

    In a mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high with an electric mixer until smooth, add vanilla and coconut extract and continue mixing. Slowly add 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar and blend well. Add flour, orange zest,  cinnamon and salt and continue mixing. Remove mixer and stir in coconut with a spoon. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.  Let dough rest on the counter for a few minutes to allow softening slightly.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a melon baller, or a tablespoon, get one level scoop (tablespoon) of dough for each cookie. Roll dough into balls with your hands an place on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes and roll hot cookies in remaining powdered sugar. Cool and roll in powdered sugar again. Store in airtight container.