Roasted Tomatoes with Stuffed Italian Meatball, Melted Provolone Curt's Guest Post

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My son called me and said Mom I got an idea for a stuffed tomato recipe and this was  a huge success and over the top delicious!  We were both so excited with the results I couldn't wait to share it with the world.  He really aced this one, it was a hit with the whole family.


Bleu Cheese Crackers Recipe

Friday, June 29, 2012

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients together, knead and form into two logs. Wrap in plastic wrap or zip lock bag.  Refrigerate overnight.  Roll out for thickness for squares, rectangles and cut with a pastry cutter for the pretty edges or just slice logs in 1/4 inch thick rounds. To get them shine brush with a beaten egg yolk or egg beaters work well too.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Leftover Broccoli Fritters Recipe

Thursday, June 28, 2012

1/2 all purpose cup flour
1 egg
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
3 cups chopped steamed leftover broccoli
1/4 teaspoon each oregano, basil, garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
salt, pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne optional
1/4 cup grating cheese Romano preferred
Canola oil for frying
Heat the oil in a large fry pan around 1/2 inch deep on medium heat.

In a pie plate mix the egg and flour adding the spices and herbs adding the cheese last and beat till smooth.
Stir in the broccoli into the egg mixture. Use a tablespoon or melon scooper to makes rounds of the broccoli fritters and drop frying into the hot oil. Fry till golden brown. Absorb the grease on paper towels. These are delicious plain or dipped in melted cheese,  marina tomato sauce or hot sauce.

Note alternate baking for dieters and healthy version: I have baked these many times. Just use a parchment lined cookie sheet. Drop by spoonfuls on the cookie sheet. (They will look anemic as mom would say compared to fried) Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on the top of each one and bake on 400 degree hot oven till crispy.

Try some of these other appetizers:

Fried Potato and Tuna Cakes
Fried Avocado
Fried Polenta


Quick Baked Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmigano Recipe

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
This quick baked zucchini and yellow squash parmigano recipe is delicious in so many ways!

You can eat it as a side dish, in a sandwich or just as it is for a lunch with a salad! It all bakes together and delicious. Dad used to have a wonderful garden growing up so mom had many creative ways to cook zucchini.

Quick Baked Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmigano Recipe

1 or 2 green zucchini
2 or 3 small summer yellow squash (or use all the same green or yellow doesn't matter)
Italian style bread crumbs
2 cups of prepared tomato marinara sauce fresh or store bought
1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, oregano, parsley ,fennel seed
salt pepper to taste
cayenne pepper if you like a little heat
long shredded grating cheese
shredded mozzarella
olive oil
Optional: add some crushed meatballs to the sauce make a bolognese sauce click here for this dish and it's a full meal all in one!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Clean ( I lightly scrape some of the seeds out of the squash) wash and slice zucchini in coins, around 1/4 inch thick. Cut the tail ends off the yellow squash and cut them lengthwise, 1/4 inch thick slices.
In a aluminum throw away pan, single layer some yellow and green sliced squash, evenly sprinkle with bread crumbs, herbs, spices, mozzarella and  top with sauce. drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Repeat until you have only around 1/2 inch left to the top. When your around 1/2 inch from the top, add more sauce if needed, shredded mozzarella and grating cheeses, sprinkle with herbs and spices, end with bread crumbs and drizzle more olive oil.

Bake and cover with foil for around 15 minutes. Take foil off and continue to  cook on 400 degrees until the fork goes through the squash easily and the mozzarella is brown, around 25 more minutes.

Avocado Chickpea Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Avocado Chickpea Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe is an amazing salad that everyone raves about that makes it. If you are an avocado lover, chickpea and feta cheese, this salad is calling your name. It shouts summer and a delightful addition to brunch, lunch or dinner. However I make a whole meal out of it!


Rainier Cherry Baked Skillet Crumble Recipe

Monday, June 25, 2012

A crumble that will be a great addition to your dessert recipes!

 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 2 tablespoons cornstarch
 pinch salt
3 pounds of rainier cherries pitted
1 cup flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon toasted crushed almonds
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons butter
cooking oil spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in preheated oven; heat 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine cornstarch, juice, dash of salt, and cherries in a large bowl, mixing coating well.

Pour cherry mixture into prepared cast iron pan.
Combine flour, sugar, almonds,cinnamon and butter in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle flour mixture over cherries. Place skillet on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until filling is thick and bubbly and topping is browned. Remove from oven, let stand 20 minutes. Serve warm with bing cherry ice cream, whipped cream, (it's great by itself.)

Cake Vodka Banana Chocolate Nut Martini

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2 oz cake vodka
2 oz banana rum
2 oz heavy cream or half and half
1/4 crushed ice
1 banana cut into chunks
chocolate fudge syrup
crushed nuts
Prepare glass and banana before mixing drink.
Dip a martini glass rim in chocolate syrup and coat the rim with crushed nuts. Cut banana into chunks. Dip banana into chocolate syrup then into crushed nuts secure with two toothpicks for garnish at the end.
In a shaker, place liqueurs, ice and cream. Shake, strain. Pour into prepared martini glass. Garnish using the chocolate nut coated banana over the top secured with toothpicks. Some freshly chilled whipped cream is an optional addition. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe try other recipes using cake vodka below:

Cake Vodka Coconut Cream Martini
Cake Vodka Smores Nutella Martini

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake Using a Cake Mix Recipe

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My sisterinlaw  Theresa Colenzo, gave me this fabulous pedestal cake plate that was her parents (RIP) I am so honored to be able to have this memento from them, as I will cherish it. While visiting recently in my home town, Utica N.Y., she gave me this to take home. So I decided to make a cake and feature it on this gorgeous vintage cake plate.

Amazing light in texture banana cake made with a cake mix and chocolate!

A delicious moist cake no one can tell it's made with a cake mix!

Mini bundt pans

Dress this cake up to make it for special occasions.....

Plain cake with a dusting of powdered sugar, it's still fabulous!

4 eggs
1 box of yellow or white cake mix
1 cup heavy cream (I have used evaporated milk or sour cream too)
8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder like Hershey's
1/2 cup chocolate chunk style chips
1/3 cup canola oil
3 very ripe bananas

Heat oven to 350 degrees and in the meantime prepare the pans you will use. I used two mini bundt pans and a large bundt pan. You can also use a 13x9 sheet cake. The cake will rise nicely and be full. Generously grease your pan and set aside.
In a large bowl with either a hand mixer or a Kitchen aid, beat all ingredients above for at least two minutes.
Using a spatula, carefully empty into your prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees.  Baking time varies. If using the small bundts this takes around 25 minutes testing with a toothpick in the center. The larger cakes take around 45 to 50 minutes.
Garnishing these cakes are so much fun and versatile. Some suggestions: decorate with fresh fruits and whipped cream like a banana split. Try some whipped cream, ice cream of choice and hot fudge sauce. Or keep it simple as it is super moist cake with just some powdered sugar. A light glaze will be delicious too. Have fun and enjoy!

Coconut Grove, Whining and Great Dining Review and Coconut Custard Tarts

Friday, June 22, 2012
The photo above is my brother John Colenzo and I at the Village Of Merrick Park in Coconut Grove, Florida. John suggested this would be a treat to see all the fine cars and retailers here. John, besides being my brother, is a music entertainer in Fisher Island (not too far from here) and has some great friends in the area who you'll meet further down the article posted below.

Merrick Park has several Retailers here to see, to include and name a few are anchors Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom's. Quite some interesting finds here. If you are lucky enough to own a Lexus (my favorite car) it's free valet parking. The rest of the vehicles would have a fee. Some very impressive vehicles we saw were the Bentley, Ferrari and the least expensive, a Corvette (still very respectable)! A car buff and lovers dream place to visit here!


Chicken Penne Mozzarella Marinara

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Light Italian chicken marinara, a perfect summer dinner!

2 boneless chicken breasts chopped into chunks
4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 box penne pasta boiled al dente drained and set aside tossed with two tablespoons olive oil
fresh mini mozzarella balls
1 recipe for fresh marinara sauce or large jar store bought
1 pound fresh tomatoes grape tomatoes or plum chopped
red pepper flakes
Romano grating cheese
salt + pepper
fresh basil, rinsed

Saute chicken in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper to taste and parsley. Cook until juices run clear around 12 minutes. Set aside keeping warm.
Boil water for pasta in a medium-large pot. Add salt and pasta to water and cook al dente. Drain in colander.  Slice tomatoes in half if using grape or chop in small chunks if using plums, place in a bowl.
Heat sauce, add chicken.
Add pasta to plate. Top with fresh mozzarella, spoon some sauce over the top of the pasta, chicken and tomatoes. Place under broiler till  cheese melts. Add basil, sprinkle with red pepper and grating cheese.
If you like this recipe you may like:


Mussels, Scallops, Clams, Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine Recipe

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1 pound mussels
1 pound bay scallops
1 can baby clams drained and rinsed
1/2 pound large shrimps with tails on
8 oz mushrooms sliced and cleaned
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons sherry wine or more to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can chicken broth
1  pound linguine pasta or angel hair
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat and saute mushrooms and garlic till soft. Add wine, salt, ground black pepper and 1/4 cup cheese.
Add chicken broth and fish,  increase heat and boil rapidly for 7 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Reduce heat for fish medley and add parsley; place sauce on top of linguine. Remove any mussels that have not open and throw away. Serve pasta with fish and sauce on top.

Love Shellfish? Try these recipes:

Florida Rock Shrimp
Shrimp Kabobs with Blackberry

Grilled Shrimp Marinara
Seafood Medley over pasta
Shrimp and Coconut Rice
Broiled Lobster Tail
Firecracker Shrimp
Scallops with Italian bread crumbs

Grilled Brown Sugar and Pineapple Salmon

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
If you are a Salmon lover, this is a sweet pineapple topping that totally compliments this fish. We just love fish, salmon is a healthy fish full of healthy oil. We make this often on the grill wrapped in foil. I love how the pineapple takes you to the tropics in taste.


Mini Baked Coconut Doughnuts

Monday, June 18, 2012

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees then  oil spray or grease a mini donut pan, mini muffin pan, or regular sized donut pan. Set aside.
Mix the flours and baking powder together in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, nutmeg, and salt. add the butter. Fold in the milk, yogurt, vanilla, and egg and stir until combined, don't overmix. Spoon the dough to a zip top bag and seal it. Snip off one corner and fill your pans about two thirds full.
Bake mini muffins around 20 minutes and full size donuts around 35.

Glaze : Beat the powdered sugar, three tablespoons milk or water, and the vanilla until smooth. whisk in more milk or water if the glaze is too thick.
Dip the donut into frosting then into the coconut place on a wire rack with wax paper underneath to catch the drippings.

If you donuts try these other recipes:

Baked Blueberry upsidedown donuts
Dark Chocolate Baked Donuts
Vanilla Baked Donuts

Father's Day Favorite Recipes

Sunday, June 17, 2012
 Hold on to every precious moment. Dad is special, he is part of why your here. Love each day you have together and make beautiful memories to last a life time. I did. 
Happy Father's Day RIP Dad, gone but never forgotten, in my heart always....
That photo was the beginning of a great relationship that lasted 38 years of my life. Dad, best friend, great listener, supporter and one who loved his family unconditionally... that was my Dad, Carmen Louis Colenzo. For me one of the greatest men on the planet. What made him so special? His unconditional love, patience, and he never judged anyone. He was there in anyone time of need and always there to help, ever strangers.  At age 82, August 12th 1995,  the angels came and took him from us. His spirit lives on in each of us children left behind, we all lost a great man that day in our family. Amazing how he never complained, his kindness and generosity was stellar. He lived life with a smile, loved his wife, children, family and friends, worked extremely hard for what he had and most of all appreciated everything anyone did for him with deep gratitude.

Dad went fast, a stroke took him and within two weeks of it's onset, with some minor suffering he went peacefully.  RIP Dad, hoping you are having a beer, playing some pinochle card games up there with mom and many friends. Just hoping you know how missed you are today and always.

Here are a few of Dad's favorites he would have loved today:

Fried Calamari
Sunday with Peaches and Chianti
White Pizza
Italian Style Broccoli
Italian Gnocchi
Dad's Chicken Marsala

Grilled Beer Chicken
Mom's Veal Cutlets
Feast Upstate NY Style Sausage and Peppers Sandwich
Roasted Potatoes with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Baked Haddock Wine and Tomatoes
Mom's Stuffed Peppers
Dad's Favorite Jelly and Coconut Cake
Raspberry Pie
Fried Dough

Hope you all find something you like in this roundup menu...
          Happy Father's Day to all the Father's out there!

Southwest Cheddar Sausage Scones Recipe

Saturday, June 16, 2012
A great Southwest quick bread. Scones go great with Chili and Chicken dishes, this one is full of great flavors that will be sure to be a great accompaniment!

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup half and half
1 egg
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup cooked sausage drained
Optional: add 1/2 mixture of corn and black beans instead of sausage
1/4  cup chopped pepper medley of fresh green, red and yellow bell peppers or use Chile peppers
egg wash for the top of the scone

Preheat oven to 375 degree oven.
In a medium size mixing bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, oregano, garlic, salt, herbs and spices. Add in liquid and egg, mix thoroughly. Stir in cheeses and chopped peppers and sausage or corn mixture. Roll out on a floured board and cut into triangles. Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets (or you can use a muffin tins) and bake them until browned around 25 minutes ( brush tops with egg wash).
375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Taste great dipped in salsa and melted cheese.

Try these other Southwest Recipes:

Arizona Vacation
Southwest Soup
Tequilla Lime Grilled Shrimp
Grilled Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken and Vegetables
Southwest Crockpot Corn Pudding

Grilled Turkey Meatball Recipe

Friday, June 15, 2012
A great appetizer during any barbecue these will get snatched up quick!

2 pounds ground turkey (for beef  lovers, use ground sirloin, ground lamb or mixture of ground pork and beef, omit the olive oil below when substituting)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Romano grating cheese
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
4 slices of  Italian day old bread, removing the crusts, then and run under cold water. Squeeze out the water over the sink and set aside
4 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 eggs
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 cup Burgundy wine

Mix everything in a large bowl using your hands until everything is well blended and comes together. Roll into balls. Spray a cast iron grilling pan with cooking oil.

Heat the grilling pan to a medium heat. Place meatballs in pan. Cook until the meatballs have grill marks on one side. Flip, grill the other side until grill marks are noticeable. Takes around 35 minutes total.

Here are some more grilling idea's:

Grilled Lime Chicken
Grilled Pizza
Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs
Grilled Eggplant
Grilled Scallops

Green Grape and Pear Mallo Salad

Thursday, June 14, 2012
A summery picnic potluck... So quick and easy and all the kids love this one!
 Great at Christmas time too when decorated with maraschino cherries.

1 pound seedless green grapes or red washed and blotted dry ( use some of each if you like)
3 green chopped pears
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1/2 cup package chopped pecans, almonds or other nuts

Beat the cheese cheese at room temperature and marshmallow creme until light and fluffy around 5 minutes. 
Combine grapes and pears in the bowl. Mix the creme into the fruit until blended.
Simple with nuts, refrigerate or serve immediately.


Chad and Curt's Birthday Menu

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
My two son's have a birthday this month June 12th  for Chad and June 19th for Curt.

I decided to make their favorite's  tonight for both of them...

Breadsticks, chicken cordon bleu, chicken parmesano, bread sticks, percatelli pasta, margarita pizza

A great birthday celebration, we had a great night, everyone was stuffed and watched a movie together ... life is great and we are blessed to all be together... so grateful. 


Chad's favorite:

Chicken Parmesan
avocado tomato cucumber appetizers
homemade marinara sauce and meatballs
pasta of choice on the side
bread sticks (artisian bread recipe)
margarita pizza
Italian flag cake (marble cake)

Curt's favorite:

Chicken Cordon Bleu Style
avocado tomato cucumber appetizers
homemade marinara sauce and meatballs
pasta of choice on the side (grandma's noodles)
bread sticks (Artisian bread recipe)
margarita pizza
Italian flag cake (marble cake)

I love my boys!


Grilled Chicken with Herb Cream Cheese Topping Recipe

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Here is a great version of grilled cordon bleu.
 All the great ingredients to make any lover happy to get this one on the grill  quick and easy!

4 or more boneless chicken breasts (quanity to your guests serving)
olive oil
salt, pepper
garlic cloves peeled
2 fresh lemons
8 slices prosciutto or any ham
1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs mixed with
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Saute spinach with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon garlic powder, pinch of cayenne pepper, cook till spinach is soft around 10 minutes.

Chicken Topping:
 1-  8oz package softened cream cheese
 1/2 teaspoon parsley
 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder,
 pinch of cayenne pepper,
 1 tablespoon milk.
Mix all together till smooth, add more milk to make spreadable.

Heat grill on high.  Rub chicken with garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper. Grill until brown both sides around 2 minutes each side. Lower heat. Put top of chicken with a dollap of cream cheese mixture on each piece of chicken. Close cover. When cheese looks slightly melted top with ham. When the ham is heated through, place chicken on a large plate with spinach on the bottom. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil, Italian flavored bread crumbs and parmesan cheese over the top.

Avocado Cucumber Tomato Appetizers

Monday, June 11, 2012

1 avocado peeled and mashed
1 cucumber cut into thick slices
1 lime juiced
seasalt or kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
grape tomatoes slices
garlic powder

Wash all vegetables and fruit. Juice lime. Peel avocado and remove skin. Mash avocado in a small bowl, add the juice of one lime, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, freshly grated black pepper and salt to taste. Smash with a fork leaving some chunks. Slice cucumber in thick slices and slice the grape tomatoes thick round to place on top.

Start with cucumber on the bottom, add a tablespoon of avocado mixture, top with sliced tomato.Pretty delicious, healthy and quick appetizers. Serve them on chilled romaine lettuce for presentation (if you don't eat them all before they hit the plate!)

Cake Vodka Nutella S'more Martini Recipe

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cake Vodka and Godiva liqueur with Nutella what can be better to start off your day? I got this idea after making last week Cake Vodka Coconut Cream Martini and seeing that I love S'mores so much and my good friend Claudia at Journey of an Italian Cook made some rockin' marshmallow pop treats... check them out here.
 I had to come up with a flavors that I love but with the addition of Nutella, Cake Vodka into a
S'more Martini. So here it is hope you love it too!

2 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
2 oz heavy cream
2 oz Cake Vodka
1/4 cup ice
1 teaspoon Nutella
crushed regular or chocolate covered graham crackers
toasted large marshmallows
wooden skewers
Nutella for the rim
Whipped Cream in a can

Toast large marshmallows on wooden skewers, cool. Dip cooled marshmallows half way into some Nutella and coat with crushed graham crackers set aside.

Dip the rim of the martini glass into some Nutella all around the top ridge (about 1/4 inch). Roll in crushed graham crackers, set glass aside. Place all liqueur, Nutella and  heavy cream in a shaker with the ice. Strain into a Martini glass. Top with some whipped cream.  Sprinkle with crushed grahams and a toasted s'more Nutella marshmallow.
If you like this recipe and Cake Vodka, try this Coconut Cream Martini Version
 by clicking here...

@claudia lamascolo Author

Light Spinach Penne Saute Recipe

Saturday, June 9, 2012
A lighter dish for the warmer weather. Great for a light lunch or dinner.
Full of  great Italian flavors and won't hurt you waistline.

1 16 oz package of fresh spinach rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb whole wheat or regular pasta of choice boiled with reserving 1/4 cup pasta water
extra olive oil for tossing pasta in
grating cheese
red pepper flakes
fresh basil
black pepper

Boil pasta in salt water according the package instructions, drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Place pasta in a bowl with the water, add a few tablespoon of olive oil and mix together with 1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a large fry pan, add the wet spinach in 2 tablespoons olive oil, cover to avoid splattering,  sprinkle with salt, pepper and add red pepper flakes to taste. Add in 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic after spinach has cooked down and wilted. Cook around two more minutes. Takes around 5 minutes total cooking time. Place pasta on a plate, top with sauteed spinach. Sprinkle with grating cheese and top with some fresh basil. We love spicy hot so add more red pepper if you like.