January 2022 Recipes

Easy Minestrone Soup  (Minestrone comes from the Italian word Minestra which means soup!) Easy Soup Soup!

This is a very healthy, hearty soup.  It can keep in the fridge for about a week, and you can freeze it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil – I prefer Italian olive oil (EVOO or Light – up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta (Mezzi Rigatoni or Shells)
  • 1/3 cup teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Sauté the celery and onion in oil and butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add macaroni; cook, uncovered, 6-8 minutes or until macaroni and vegetables are tender.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with crusty bread.

Another hearty stew/soup:

CABBAGE & BEANS     

  • 1 (8 ounce) package dried beans, soaked overnight (or 16 oz canned white beans, drained)
  • ½ pound smoked sausage (or your favorite vegan substitute – sounds like an oxymoron to me) Pepperoni or Chorizo is good for this – set aside a few slices for garnishing
  • 16 oz chicken or vegetable broth
  • 5 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes

Directions:

In a large pot, combine the beans, sausage, broth, cabbage and butter.

Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and set a lid on top but leave a crack for steam.

Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the lid, add the tomatoes and; simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

And if you’re in a cheesy kind of mood:

Grilled cheese sandwiches.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  BTW, did you know you can substitute mayonnaise (the real stuff) instead of butter?  I recently discovered that many diners use it in place of butter.

Grilled Swiss Cheese, Bacon & Tomato – I like it on Rye Bread

Make sure the bacon is cooked first.

*Slather up two slices of bread with either butter or mayo.  Place slathered side down on medium heat in frying pan.

Place 2-3 slices of Swiss cheese on each slice of bread.  When cheese starts to melt top with bacon and a slice of tomato.  Let melt for another minute.  Carefully flip one of the slices over and place on top of the other – cheese meets cheese.   Yummy.

If you want a little tang:
Sourdough bread
Provolone
Cheddar
*Same routine as above substituting cheeses

Even more tang:
Your choice of bread
Monterey Jack
Jalapeno peppers – as much heat as you can stand
*Same routine as above substituting cheese and adding peppers

November 2021 Recipes

Now on to the turkey and the fixings.  Left overs?  Turkey meatloaf! 

Depending on how much you have, chop 2-3 cups of turkey in a food processor…don’t pulverize it, just chop it.  Add left over stuffing and a little melted butter—2-3 tablespoons.  Form into a loaf pan and cover with foil. Bake on 325 for about 20-minutes until heated through.  As soon as it comes out of the oven spread cranberry sauce on top.  Voila!


If you are having house-guests you’ll want to have this handy and easy finger picking offering:

Ham & Cheese Sliders

  • 12 Hawaiian style rolls – split in half (top and bottom)
  • ¾ pound deli ham thinly sliced
  • ½ pound Swiss cheese
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350.
Coat sheet pan with spray.
Place bottom of rolls on the pan.
Layer ham first and then cheese.
Place top of rolls over the cheese.
In a small bowl whisk the butter, mustard, dried onion, Worcestershire sauce.
Drizzle mixture over rolls.
Cover sandwiches with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Uncover and bake 3-5 more minutes until tops are lightly browned.


And of course Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without Patricia Dorph’ s apple-pie recipe.

Apple Pie

Pastry  for two 9 inch  pastry pans:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups butter
  • 2-3 tbs cold water
  • Sift flour and salt together
  • Add butter and cut it through with pastry blender until mixture is in pieces, pea size
  • Add cold water a few drops at time until moistened enough to hold together in a ball
  • Wrap in plastic and chill in fridge for 15-30 minutes
  • Take more than half for the under crust and roll out and fit into 9” pie pan

Filling:

  • 5 cups, cored, peeled and thinly sliced Granny Green and Mackintosh
  • Mix together and add to apples
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Place into pie pan
  • Roll out top dough for crust and place on top
  • Make 4 slashes in top crust

Bake 450 degrees for 15 mins. Turn heat down to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 35 mins. Remove when golden brown.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

October 2021 Recipes

Halloween is in a few weeks and we surely need a few treats.  For the bakers I want to revisit a wonderful seasonal pie, and a comfort food recipe.

If you’re craving the traditional pumpkin pie, this is courtesy of Heidi Dugan.

Pumpkin Pie

Pastry  for two 9 inch  pastry pans:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cups butter
  • 2-3 tbs. cold water

Sift flour and salt together

Add butter and cut it through with pastry blender until mixture is in pieces, pea size

Add cold water a few drops at time until moistened enough to hold together in a ball

Wrap in plastic and chill in frig. for 15-30 mins

Take more than half for the under crust and roll out and fit into 9” pie pan

Filling:

  • 2 Large eggs, beaten
  • ¾ Cup brown sugar (may also use white sugar)
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ Teaspoon clove
  • 15 Oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 12 Oz can evaporated milk

In a medium bowl combine ingredients in order listed above.

Pour the mixture into unbaked piecrust. Bake in pre heat oven at 425 for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 bake for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 2 hrs. and serve or refrigerate.

Short Ribs – Crock Pot Recipe – You can make two different dinners from this

  • 2 lbs. short ribs
  • 1 lb. mushrooms – washed and sliced
  • 1 large leek (or onion) sliced thin
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups dry red wine (don’t worry the alcohol will evaporate)
  • 8 oz. broth (bone is the best but you can use chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp. ground savory
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh ground pepper – to your taste

Brown the short ribs in the olive oil.  Don’t overcook. Remove and set aside.

Brown the leeks and garlic in the same pan.

Pour the wine and broth into the crock pot and add savory, oregano, thyme, salt & pepper.  Stir together.

Add ribs and top with the mushrooms.

Cook 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

The meat will literally fall off the bone, that you can discard.

First meal is the beef.  Serve with mashed potatoes.

Second meal (which is the best part for me)

Pappardelle pasta.  Those are the long flat ones that are about a ¼ inch thick.  They  usually come in spirals. Depending on how many people you are feeding you can decide how much pasta to make.

Use the mushroom sauce on top of

Garnish with fresh basil, grated parmesan, or pecorino cheese.

If you’re like me and you want to give it a kick, sprinkle crushed red pepper.

Buon appetito!

September 2021 Recipes

Pasta Fagioli (pronounced Pasta Fazool) – This should feed at least 6 people — and it freezes well too

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 loaves of Crusty Italian Bread
  • (3) 15 oz cans cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 oz pancetta or approx 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups small pasta shells, uncooked
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions:

  • Drain ONE can of beans and set aside.
  • In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and pancetta and sauté until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and sauté about 4 additional minutes.
  • Transfer sautéed ingredients to a blender or food processor and add the two other cans of beans (liquid included). Puree until smooth.
  • Add the pureed mixture back into the pot, along with the drained beans, the chicken and beef broth, salt, and crushed tomatoes. Simmer while pasta is cooking.
  • In a separate pot, cook pasta shells until al dente. Box should give you timing.  You don’t want them mushy.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, remove from heat, drain and add to bean mixture.
  • Simmer everything together for 8-10 minutes.
  • If you like a little kick, top with crushed red pepper; Serve, topped with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, with crusty bread.

For those of you who have been assigned to the local cake sale, here is one of my favorites.  But I warn you, you will want to make one for yourself.  Just yourself.  It’s from Patricia Dorph who gave us her Busch de Noel cake last Christmas.

Patti’s Plum Cake

Ingredients:

  • 9” round pie pan – greased
  • 1 cup butter – softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2-3 plums cut into slices
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsps. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsps. Powdered sugar
  • Juice of lemon

Instructions:

  • Beat sugar into butter; add eggs and vanilla.
  • Add flour and beat mixture well.
  • Spread mixture into greased pan.
  • Starting in the center, place plums on top in wagon-wheel design (spokes coming from the center).
  • Bake 45 minutes – test with a toothpick.
  • Let cool.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon and powdered sugar to taste, squeeze lemon juice over cake top of cake.

August 2021 Recipes

TUSCAN STYLE COLLARD GREENS (A LITTLE BIT OF ITALY)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large bunches local collards
  • 16 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 large leeks, washed, white part diced (slice 2-3 rings for garnish)
  • 1/3 lb. pancetta or bacon chopped

DIRECTIONS

  • Cut or tear collard leaves off stems.
  • Clean by rinsing repeatedly in cold water Soak and use a salad spinner if you have one.
  • Cut into two-inch strips.
  • Place in a large pot, cover generously with vegetable broth (reserve 1/3 cup broth for later), and bring to a low boil.
  • Cook until collards are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Sauté garlic for two minutes, or until tender. Using slotted spoon, remove garlic to a bowl.
  • Add diced leeks to pan, and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes—do not brown.
  • Remove leeks to garlic bowl. Add pancetta/bacon to frying pan, and sauté until browned.
  • Return garlic and leeks to pan.
  • Add reserved vegetable broth and collards.
  • Stir gently and thoroughly until collards are completely cooked, about three minutes. Serve.

 

SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

  • Cut up whole chicken
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cup corn meal
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt season salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3-4 cups Wesson or high heat oil – enough to cover frying pan by at least 1 inch

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash Chicken  – soak in slightly salted water for 10 minutes.
  • Blend dry ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Heat oil until a drop of water sizzles.
  • Dip chicken in buttermilk.
  • Dredge chicken through dry ingredients and place in hot oil.
  • Keep an eye on the chicken—when it’s brown on one side turn over and cook other side.

 

EASY POTATO SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs New Potatoes or red potatoes cubed and cooked – let cool a bit
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup ranch dressing [with or without bacon] or add your own
  • ¼ cup bacon bits or crumbled bacon

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix together and serve or refrigerate for 2 hours and serve.

 

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE – ANOTHER CONTEST WINNER!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.
  • Chop chocolate into small pieces.
  • In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
  • Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
  • Add eggs and whisk well.
  • Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
  • Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust.
  • Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
  • Dust cake with additional cocoa powder. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

July 2021 Recipes

P.S. I LOVE bacon.  I make a salad with a pound of bacon but I’ll share that recipe another time.  With summer Bar-B-Ques I thought you might try a different take on potato salad.  You have to turn on the stove for that one, but the dessert recipe I included is No Bake!

German Potato Salad

  • 5 slices bacon (diced and cooked until crisp)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups sliced cooked potatoes – look for thin skinned like red or fingerling
  1. Boil already-sliced potatoes until they are cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon and keep the drippings. Set it aside to cool.
  3. Heat bacon drippings in a pan large enough to add the potatoes.
  4. Blend in flour, sugar, salt, and mustard.
  5. Slowly add vinegar and water, stir until smooth.
  6. Continue cooking over low heat, until thickened.
  7. Add potatoes and heat through, slowly add crumbled bacon-save a few tablespoons for garnish.
  8. Serve warm or room temp.

No Bake Cheesecake

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 4 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • ½ pint sliced fresh strawberries – sprinkled with sugar – set aside
  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  2. Fold in whipped topping.
  3. Spoon mixture into graham crumb crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Once the cheesecake has set, garnish with sliced strawberries.

June 2021 Recipes

Summer fun food:
Watermelon Salad

  • Medium watermelon—size depends on how many people—cubed
  • Seedless (Engligh) cucumber – cubed
  • ½ cup chopped mint
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup crumbled cheese: use either feta, goat, or ricotta salata (hard ricotta cheese…is the best)
  • 4 oz. prosciutto (optional) cut into small bite-size pieces
  1. Combine the watermelon and cucumber in a large bowl
  2. Mix olive oil, vinegar, half the mint and half the basil in a bowl.
  3. Pour over watermelon and cucumber, toss in the cheese, and garnish with the remaining mint and basil.
  4. If you opt for the prosciutto—which gives it a savory addition—add after the olive oil
  5. Not only is it delicious it’s also a very pretty presentation.

Citrus Grilled Shrimp

  • 2 pounds Medium – Large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, tail-on
  • 1 cup Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon Orange zest
  • 2 tablespoon Lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon Lime zest
  • 1/2 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup Lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  1. In a large bowl combine the olive oil, zest and juice from oranges, lemons, and limes, minced garlic, ginger, parsley, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Whisk together.
  2. Set 1/2 cup of the marinade to the side.
  3. Place the shrimp into a large freezer bag, or an airtight container and pour the remaining marinade over them. Toss the shrimp to coat and seal them into the container or bag and place them in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  4. Once the shrimp is done marinating take it out of the container, removing any excess marinade as you place the shrimp on skewers. Dispose the remaining marinade after all of the shrimp skewered (keep the small portion you set aside before marinating the shrimp).
  5. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.

April 2021 Recipes

Stuffed Shells
1 lb. of large macaroni shells
2 cups Ricotta cheese – please don’t’ ruin it with cottage cheese!
1 cup parmesian or romano – grated
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley – the dried stuff doesn’t do it
½ cup chopped fresh basil – this you can substitute for 2 tsps. Dried basil
2 eggs

Marinara sauce: If you want to save time and have EXCELLENT sauce get a couple of jars of RAO’s. Most grocery stores carry that brand now. It comes from a family recipe at Rao’s Italian Restaurant in the Bronx. The restaurant has only 10 tables and is considered THE hardest place to get a reservation. For real. It’s not even knowing someone. It’s knowing someone who owns a slot who would be willing to give it up for you!

Cook the pasta al dente according to the package. You don’t want them to get too mushy because you will be stuffing them and then baking them.
Drain and let them cool down a bit so you can handle them.

While the pasta is cooking – 10-12 minutes prepare the mixture

Beat the eggs and mix ricotta and parmesan cheeses and herbs and blend. (The mozzarella goes on later.)
Fill each cooked shell with egg/cheese mix.

Preheat oven to 325.

Put a small layer of sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.
Lay stuffed shells on top of the sauce. Its ok to overlap them if necessary
Top the shells with more sauce, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella
Bake for 20 minutes.

They’ll think you have an Italian chef in your kitchen!

Short Ribs Slow Cooker
This is SO easy!
2 lbs. short ribs
3 large peeled carrots cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic – sliced
1 onion sliced (can use leeks if you want)
1 8oz. package of mushrooms (optional)
2 tsps. Thyme
1 8oz. can of beef broth
2 cups red wine or alcohol free wine

Salt the ribs on both sides and brown in a little olive oil– 2 minutes on each side
Remove from pan and set aside.
Saute the onion and garlic in same pan used for browning the short ribs until wilted.

In crock pot add broth, thyme, wine, carrots, mushrooms if desired, then add the wilted onions and garlic and short ribs to the crock pot.
Set on low for 8 hours.
The meat will fall off the bone!

March 2021 Recipes

If you like avocados, here is a quick and easy recipe for those on the run…or running around chasing kids:
Avocado Spread
(1) Ripe avocado
(2) Tablespoons of Tzatziki Sauce (It’s made with yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic, low fat and low calories. ) You can buy it in the grocery store where they have Humus and spreads – Boars’ Head and Cedars make it.
Scoop out the avocado and mash it with the Tzatziki sauce. Eat it out of a bowl or spread it on toast.

Now for Desert:
This is so easy….and impressive when served in a wine glass – balloon size is best.

(1) Premade Devil’s food cake (or make it yourself if you have time)
(2) Pints of vanilla ice cream – let soften
(1) Can of whipped cream
(2) Tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
Maraschino cherries

Let the ice cream soften as you cut up the cake into bite size pieces.
Layer 2-3 pieces of cake at bottom of glass.
Add a spoonful of ice cream on top
Add 2-3 more pieces of cake
Top with whipped creams, nuts and cherries

OR…you can do it in reverse with Vanilla Lady Fingers and Chocolate ice cream.

February 2021 Recipes

FRITATTA
This is great for a Sunday brunch or a quick dinner.
Need ovenproof frying pan.
Ingredients
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion
1 can potatoes or 1 cup [blanched] sliced fresh potatoes
1 package of frozen artichoke hearts –[thawed] You can use asparagus if you prefer
½ cup sun dried tomatoes – sliced
3-4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves shredded/chopped
¼ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
4-containers of Eggbeaters [or 6-8 eggs scrambled]
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese [according to taste preference] to melt on top just before done

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Saute’ onions and potatoes in olive oil until soft
Add artichokes and sun dried tomatoes and sauté until ingredients are mixed
Whisk eggs and parmesan cheese together and pour mixture over veggies, toss half the basil on top
Let entire mixture set for about five-seven minutes on top of stove on low-medium, heat. You don’t want it to cook through.
Once set, place frying pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle shredded cheese and bake additional 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with remaining basil

STEAK PIZZAIOLA – can serve up to 6 people
This is one way to make your beef go a little further—especially if you add the potatoes— with a crusty loaf of Italian bread [great for dunking]

Ingredients
1 ½ – 2 lb. skirt steak or top sirloin
¼ cup flour/corn meal flour for dredging
2-3 cloves garlic – chopped
1 large onion – sliced thin
1 large red pepper – sliced thin
1 large yellow or orange pepper – sliced thin
[Note: I don’t use green bell peppers. Too hard to digest]
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 ¼ tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon basil
¼ – ½ cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese [according to taste
½ – ¾ cup red wine
1 [12 oz.] can crushed tomatoes
3 cups of sliced potatoes [optional]

Directions
Dredge meat in flour and brown on both sides in frying pan with a little olive oil. 3-4 minutes per side.
Remove after browning.
Sauté’ garlic/onion/red pepper in pan
Add 1/2 cup of red wine to the pan and let cook down for 2-3 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, parsley, basil, cook until combined – 4-5 minutes.
Add meat making sure it’s covered/smothered in mixture.
Spread parmesan cheese on top.
Cover and cook 15 minutes. [You can add a can of potatoes if you want at this point]
Turn meat and cook additional 15-20 minutes, until cooked to desired temp.