February and New Beginnings

Friday, February 28, 2014
This month started a new journey in life for me as I was blessed with this precious gift that made me a first time grandmother. I can't express the joy to watch this birth of my new grandson Antonio. He truly came into this world with an abundance of love and what an amazing experience to be part of watching. We will all be enjoying this new bundle and have been very anxious these past 9 months to finally have him join our family . My son +Curt Iffert and his fiancee' +Jennifer Carman are the proud parents and I thank them for letting me part of this precious experience to see my new grandson be born. A day to remember February 25, 2014. Antonio Valentino Iffert. Our blessing.

His first photo shot after being cleaned. I was grateful to be part of the birth and watch him come into the world.

Such a quiet little man, he went right to sleep

Tha'ts me holding Antonio with his dad +Curt Iffert and mom +Jennifer Carman

The proud parents with Antonio are Curt Iffert and Jennifer Carman beaming with joy.

That's me Grandma, Poppi Nemo, Mommy and Antonio

Here I welcome our newest family member little Italian man Antonio Valentino, my precious grandson who has brought great joy to all our lives. We are so thankful he is just perfect. Our little man is going to be spoiled with all the love grandma can give, it's already started can't get enough of him.

So thank you for your patience this month as I have been patiently waiting for this new arrival and haven't posted on a regular basis, now you all know why. Now I have even more ideas as we watch him grow with fun things to make for our new Antonio to enjoy in the first years he will learn many new foods, so stay tuned and watch for the updates for future posts. I will be back in March with lots of new recipes. Thank you for being supportive. Proud Grandma +claudia lamascolo Author

Southwest Chicken Chili Recipe

Thursday, February 27, 2014
A great blend of vegetables and chicken in a thickened hearty pot. This is a chili with great personality and South West Style. Beans of all kinds, spices, corn and a nice blend of tomatoes.

With a great thickening of corn chips this will be a must make on your list of chili's!

2 lbs of fresh plum tomatoes ends cut off (leave three out and cut up into cubes set aside), put rest of the  whole tomatoes through the food processor until smooth.

2  fresh whole cloves, cleaned garlic
1 bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn

1 cup cut green beans
1 medium size can  of kidney beans drained
1 medium size can of black beans drained
2 sprigs of fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder

1 package of chili seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
 1 to 1-1/2  pounds cubed chicken breasts

2 cups crushed tortilla chips

shredded cheddar
cubed avocado pieces
tortilla chips 
black olives
avocado slices
sour cream

Saute Chicken  in 2 tablespoons of canola or olive oil.  After pink is all gone, drain out all the oil from pan.
Add all beans and stir in tomatoes that are blended with spices, cook on low and simmer for around 2 hours  add the crushed tortilla chips until thickened. You can also use a crock pot on hour 4 hours.

Ladle into bowls and top with garnish suggestions listed above.

If you like Southwest recipes try some of these below:

Tequila Lime Grilled Shrimp
Grilled Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken and Vegetables
Pumpkin Bread Pudding From Arizona
Southwest Corn Pudding
Southwest Cheddar Scones
Southwest Potato Salad
Southwest Shrimp Pasta

Southwest Tex Mex Hamburger Sauce

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Tropical Blue Jello Island Dessert

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A perfect Island cool dessert that the kids will love to make and eat! During a visit with my nephew Vinny, who is from Upstate New York, (my home town) visiting me here in Florida, we decided to make something tropical, fun and easy. Utica, New York reported having three major snow storms while he had been here on vacation in sunny Florida.

A perfect Island cool dessert that the kids will love to make and eat! During a visit with my nephew Vinny, who is from Upstate New York jello in a little cup


Tropical Beach Spa Cake

Thursday, February 20, 2014
  Making memories in the kitchen is a must for me. There are times in our lives we just have to find something special to cook up to make a lasting memory, this was it! This Tropical Beach Spa Cake was such a fun project!  Really what better way then family memories are made in the kitchen?

My niece Pamela, her husband Bruce and their two kids came to visit me from Upstate New York this week. Samantha my great niece and their little junior cook did a marvelous job with some direction making this adorable cake.

Cake made into a spa a fun project with the kids and great memories to start your own traditions. Cooking with kids is the best way for them to learn for their future. This chocolate spa cake is a great way to start.


Traditional Italian Rum Balls Valentine Heart Recipe

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
An easy cookie that every Rum lover loves! Why not shape these into pretty hearts for your special someone. A perfect treat to celebrate the night with that special someone! 
Rum Ball Cookies

3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup rum
1 box vanilla wafers crushed in food processor fine
1 1/2 cups nuts
More powdered sugar for rolling
Place everything in a bowl and mix until well combined. Shape into hearts. Roll into powdered sugar. I keep them refrigerated.  These look great in a glass mug with candied hearts for a gift. Wrap in cellophane paper and tie with a red bow.

Store in an airtight container.

+claudia lamascolo author


Veal Cutlet Parmisano Sub Recipe

Sunday, February 9, 2014
An Italian favorite found in fine dining Italian Restaurants. Mom and Grandma always loved a tender piece of fried veal. Pounded thin and dipped in egg and flour, lightly fried with sauce made one great sandwich if there were any leftovers. You just may have been used to Chicken Parmesano or Eggplant on the menu's. This is a real delicacy, a little more expensive, very delicious if you like veal. Even if you prefer not to eat veal, try the recipe using thinly sliced chicken,  sirloin or even turkey to make this cutlet coating it's really wonderful.
You will also find some links for other traditional recipes
a little different below than this recipe.
1 recipe of Mom's Veal Parmesano Recipe
1 recipe of Traditional Sunday Sauce or store bought
Shredded Mozzarella 1 cup or more
Olive oil
Minced garlic
Submarine rolls split, brushed with olive oil and minced garlic on each side and then broiled until light brown and toasted.

Spread a tablespoon of sauce on each side of the toasted submarine roll. Add two slice one on each side of the fried veal cutlets. Add more sauce on top and shredded mozzarella. Wrap in tin foil leaving the top open.  Bake on 400 degree hot oven until cheese is melted around 25 minutes. 

Here are more Parmesano Recipes you can use in subs:

Chicken Parmesan
Eggplant Parmesan
Chicken Parm Poppers
Chicken Parm Sliders
Meatball Parmesan and Roasted Peppers


Southwest Tex Mex Hamburger Sauce Recipes Four Ways

Saturday, February 8, 2014
For those of you that read my blog you know that even though I am Italian I love many other kinds of foods. Southwest style is one of them. This is a great sauce almost like a homemade hamburger stew that is hearty, flavorful and healthy. A versatile sauce designed to be used in many ways.

See below for the suggestions. My favorite is really over rice.

1 or 2 pounds ground chuck or small 3 cubed boneless chicken breast
1 bell pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
optional pinch of cayenne pepper
1 can whole kernel corn drained
1 can black beans drained, red beans or pinto beans can be used
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce (1 cup) or store bought in a jar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Optional Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, olives, salsa, jalapeno

Use Below As A Topping And Making Different Meals add additional shredded  cheese on top!

Version 1:
8 to 10  flour or corn tortilla's

Version 2:
Favorite Cooked Pasta

Version 3:
Cooked Rice

Version 4:
In a hurry? Pour over Torilla chips for a quick snack. Use chips, add shredded cheese, black olives and sour cream

For the sauce:

In a large fry pan saute hamburger (or chicken) with peppers in 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons olive oil till pink is gone, drain some of the excess oil from the meat. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, corn, beans and seasonings. Simmer for 30 minutes on low. Your sauce is ready to use on the three suggestive versions!

For Pasta Version: Boil Pasta to package directions. Drain. Add to casserole dish top with cheese and bake till hot and bubbly.

For Rice Version: Boil rice to package instructions. Pour into casserole dish, bake with cheese on top until melted.

For Tortilla Version: Line a casserole dish with tortilla like a lasagna. First layer tortilla some of the Tex Mex mixture, cheese and repeat ending with cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is hot, bubbly and browned.

+claudia lamascolo Author

If you enjoy Southwest Cuisine, try some of these recipes:

Southwest Soup
Tequilla Lime Grilled Shrimp
Grilled Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken and Vegetables
Pumpkin Bread Pudding Recipe
Southwest Crockpot Corn Pudding
Southwest Potato Salad
Southwest Cheddar Scones

Brownie Caramel Peanut Butter Treat Recipe

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Brownies are not one of my favorite desserts but guess what is? Rice Krispy treats and chocolate together! Well this is it, this is the one recipe that has everything in it I love! The bonus here  is these are made with a certain candy caramel and regular peanut butter with Rice Krispy in the topping and that's what made this to have the WOW factor! Hope you like this easy recipe too!

It's up to you whether to use a brownie mix or make the brownies from scratch.

Here's my recipe for the brownies below for the 13x9 size and if you use the boxed mix for the brownies you will need two boxes, or one box for 9x9 and will need to cut the topping recipe in half below.

Scratch Brownie Recipe:

1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips melted plus half cup to mix into the batter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup flour
12 ounce bag of rolo candy around 8 oz use half if using the mix
13x9 cake pan or 2 - 9x9 pans

Heat oven to 350. Mix butter and 3/4 cup chips together and melt. Add the sugars, coffee, vanilla. Mix in the eggs then fold in the flour to combine evenly. Stir in the 1/2 cup chips and the bake at 350 degrees for around 25 to 30 minutes until done. Top with a layer of rolos and place into the oven 3 to 4 minutes just to soften for spreading. Smooth over the top.

Cool slightly. Then add this topping next:

For the topping for 13x9 pan (cut in half if using a mix that makes only one 9x9 pan):

2 cups rice krispy cereal
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
12 ounce bag semi sweet or milk chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate which was around 11.5 ounce)

Add the above ingredients in a microwave safe bowl,  the butter, peanut butter and chocolate.
Melt in 2 minutes increments until melted completely smooth, fold in the cereal.
Spread over slightly cooled brownies.

Place in the refrigerator until chilled around 2 hours. Cut into squares.

+claudia lamascolo  Author