Showing posts from 2017

Baked Artichoke Dip

Looking for a quick, easy, delicious tasting dip ready in thirty minutes.  My Baked Artichoke dip that I am sharing with you is a family favorite that your family and friends will love. Mix the ingredients - place in a baking dish- refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

Baked Artichoke Dip
2 jars(6 oz.) marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped. 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup finely graded Parmesan cheese 8 oz shredded mozzarella, divided in half 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence 
Preheat oven 350F. Combine artichokes, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese,  1/2 mozzarella and herbs in large bowl. Place in baking dish topping with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and brown around the edges.  Serve warm.


Tuscan Chicken Wings

Chicken wings so versatile and delicious are also easy to prepare. For this recipe I choose to do Tuscan themed chicken wings that are perfect as an appetizer. Dizzying lemon over the chicken wings brings out a zesty taste. You can make these wings ahead, freeze, ready for unexpected guest or an easy casual drinks with friends.

Roasted Tuscan Chicken Wings

3 tablespoon olive oil

2 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoon rosemary, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

juice of one lemon

Combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary*, salt, and pepper in a large, resealable bag; seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken wings; reseal and shake to coat. Arrange chicken in a baking dish. Drizzle with lemon juice. Bake for 1 hour or until crips and cooked through

*Rosemary, a Good Dinner Mrs. Mellen favorite, adds a melodious flavor to the chicken wings. Rosemary in old cooking books is known for remembrance.


Chicken with Wine and Mushroom

Growing up I was fortunate to have a wonderful cook for a mother. My mother is one of those intuitive cooks who effortlessly just knows how to marry spices for the most flavorful food. I learned how to cook watching my mother in her kitchen making her magic from cooking to baking. A solitary cook my favorite time to cook is when I am alone in my kitchen channelling my mother remembering my special time spent with her so long ago. One my favorite chicken recipes from my mother is chicken paired wine and mushrooms. Chicken is very versatile capturing flavor from the ingredient you add. I especially like rosemary added to chicken releasing a flavorful aroma to the sauce. After cooking in the over for an hour and half the flavors are perfectly combine with the chicken so tender breaking away from the bone.
Chicken with Wine and Mushroom
4 lbs. cut up chicken, 8 pieces 2 tablespoon olive oil 8 oz slice mushrooms 1 shallot, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 8 oz. slice mushroom. I like to use baby po…

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans

1 1/2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, rinsed, ends sliced and remove any tough outer leaves
1 cup cranberries 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted 2 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoon lemon juice Zest of a lemon 2 teapsoon sea salt 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. C. Toss Brussels Sprouts, cranberries, pecans with olive oil, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper. Place in baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes. Brussels Sprouts should be tender and browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper with Turkey, Orzo and Feta Cheese

Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper with Turkey, Orzo and Feta Cheese
Peppers 6 peppers, 2 red, 2 yellow and 2 orange 1 cup orzo, cooked according to package instructions, cooled 1 lb. ground turkey 1 cup mozzarella 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon mint 1/2 teaspoon dill 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon zest of lemon 1 1/2 teapsoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Sauce 2 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1 can(14.5 oz) petite chopped tomatoes, I use Hunt's no salt added 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut off the top of each bell pepper and reserve the tops; discard the seeds and white membranes. Put the turkey in a large bowl; add 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup feta, orzo, oregano, mint, dill, allspice, cinnamon garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.…

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

INGREDIENTS3 cups sugar1 cup vegetable oil3 large eggs1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin3 cups all purpose flour1 teaspoon ground cloves1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1 teaspoon ground nutmeg1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon baking powder2 cup fresh cranberries

Perfect Roasted Chicken

Lazy Sundays are perfect for cooking wonderful family meals. Sunday dinner, a tradition in our home, has all our family coming to our home to enjoy sharing time and food as a family once again. From my Italian heritage shared with me by my mother who masterfully created a different feast every Sunday, I learned to cook and gather my family together to enjoy my food. With a busy life style I look forward to languishing on Sunday preparing a bountiful meal without hurrying through the preparation. Roasted Chicken is easy to create with many different seasoning that bring out the flavor of the chicken. I love to experiment with different ways to make a whole chicken from marinating to roasting. However you choose to cook a whole chicken be create and have fun!

Perfect Roasted Chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt inside out of the chicke…

Greek Egg Salad

Egg salad doesn't have to boring. I love to combine different flavors to create innovative recipes that is how I came up with Greek Egg Salad. One of my favorite Greek dips is Tzatiki a luscious combination of yogurt, garlic and cucumbers which I used as the base for this egg salad. Adding Kalamati olives boast the flavor reminiscent of the Mediterranean where olive trees fill the country side with luscious plants bearing the beautiful bountiful olive fruits.

Greek Egg Salad  
4 hard boiled eggs 3/4 cup Tzatiki 1/4 cup plan Greek yogurt 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup Kalamati olives, chopped 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 cups spring greens 1 cucumber, sliced  1 large tomato sliced kalamata olives

Combine first five ingredients. Place spring greens on plate. Top with egg salad. Arrange sliced tomatoes and cucumber around the egg salad. Decorate with olives. So simply delicious and easy for a wonderfully flavorful lunch or light dinner.
Servers two.

Farm Fresh Tomatoes with Scallops

If you follow my blog you know that I love farm fresh tomatoes especially tricolor cherry tomatoes. These little rainbow color flavorful jewels add visual vistas to any meal. Fresh scallops combined with farm fresh tomatoes roasted to they are just ready to pop is one of my favorite combinations. Add some olive oil, garlic, seasonings and lemon juice, a simple, elegant, delicious, quick meal.

Farm Fresh Tomatoes with Scallops
1 lbs. Fresh Sea Scallops Juice of one lemon 2 tablespoon olive oil 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon Tuscan Sunset from Penzey Spices 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pre-heat oven to 375F. Place Scallops in baking dish top with lemon juice. Combine in a small bowel oil, garlic, pepper, sea salt and Tuscan Sunset. Drizzle over scallops. Remove form over topping with cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes. Serves 4. I like to layer sliced fresh Italian on plates topping with the baked tomatoes and scallops.…

Quinoa with Fresh tomatoes and Mozzarella

If you have followed my blog you know that I love tomatoes - big juicy heirloom tomatoes in rainbow colors, petite cherry tomatoes colored in bright hues by the sun. I never met a tomato I didn't just want to eat.  Inevitably all the bountiful tomatoes of summer find a place in my cooking either fresh or gently simmered bursting with flavor. Tomatoes and grains are a wonderful pairing to make a light lunch or a tasty side dish. You can use any gain as the base for this recipe, I used Quinoa but I have made this dish with farro or Israel couscous.

Quiona with Fresh Tomatoes and Mozzarella  
1 cup Quiona, cooked according to package instructions 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoon balsamic fig vinegar 1 minced clove garlic 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes 1/2 cup slice cucumbers 1/2 cup cubed fresh Mozzarella
Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard and herbs in bowl mixing with a whisk. Toss Quiona with half of oil mixture an…

Farm Fresh Tomatoes Pesto Pasta

Summertime's farm fresh tomatoes are my favorite ingredient to use for everything from salads to pastas. With a bountiful crop of basil I made an easy pesto sauce, roasted farm fresh colorful cherry tomatoes and tossed with cooked pasta. A wonderfully easy, quick summer time dinner that everyone will enjoy!

Farm Fresh Tomatoes Pesto Pasta
1 pint tricolor cherry tomatoes 2 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 sea salt 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 cup basil leaves 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/3 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon butter
1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked according to directions.
Preheat oven to 350. Toss tomatoes, oil, salt and crushed pepper. Place in baking dish roasting for 20 minutes or until tomatoes start to burst.  In a food processor combine remaining ingredients except for spaghetti. Processor until smooth.  Toss pesto with hot spaghetti, top with tomatoes. Serve 4 

Grilled Portobella Mushroom Sandwich

Portobella Mushroom Sandwich 
Portobella mushrooms are so versatile and delicious along with being a filling alternative to meat. Grilling Portabella mushrooms marinated enhances the rich flavor.  Grilling the mushrooms on a barbecue makes a wonderfully flavorful sandwich. Quick, easy, delicious and simple to prepare. 

3 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 ounces Brie, slice thick
l large tomato, sliced 
10 fresh basil leaves
olive oil for brushing 
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced in half  

 Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Place caps on a plate with the gills up. In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
Brush bread with oil. Grill mushrooms over hot grill for 10 minutes. Grill bread for the last two minutes. Remove mushrooms and bread. Place mushroom on bottom slice of bread. Layer on top of mushroom tomato, basil th…

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Summer to me means fresh juicy blueberries- just fresh picked, ripped to perfection! My problem with blueberries is I can eat a whole pint before I even bake a cake or a pie.  What I love about my blueberry coffee cake is that it fits my requirements for summer, simple, easy, delicious and make ahead. This cake is short on time and long on taste.

    ¾ cup all purpose flour
    1 cup pecans, chopped
    ½ cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
    ¼ cup granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

    1 ½ cups all purpose flour
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
    1 egg
    4 T unsalted butter, melted
    3/4 cup cream
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish

    Prepare the Pecan Streusel: Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, s…

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw 
Make ahead Summertime salads easy, tasty completing every meal are such a favorite of mine. I love to combine different ingredients always adding fruit and nuts for sweetness and crunch. For the crunchy, tangy, sweet and sour taste of this Coleslaw I added pineapple, almonds, soy, and a touch of Chinese five spices with a hint of garlic. Amazingly I can always find a different fusion of spices creating a new outstanding addition to my summertime salad repertoire.


    1/4 cup pineapple juice
    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 tablespoon low salt soy sauce
    1 teaspoon Chinese five spices
    clove garlic, crushed
    freshly ground black pepper to taste
    salt to taste

    1 (12 ounce) package Dole Classic Coleslaw
    1 cup diced fresh pineapple
    1/2 cup slivered almonds
    3 green onions, chopped


    Combine pineapple juice, red wine vinegar, oil, soy sauce, Chinese five spices, garlic, pepper and …

Finally my mothers sauce and meatball!

I've said it before, my mother and my grandmother  were my inspiration for cooking. My fondest memories growing up are watching both these wonderful cooks in the kitchen, as well a savoring the delicious meals they prepared. So when I asked my 88 year old mother for her spaghetti sauce and meatball recipe, I thought I could just share it with you all. Not so, I needed to fill in the blanks because my mother just cooks from memory. I worked with her to get the full recipes down on paper. I still think that only my mother can make her recipes sing with the most harmonies flavors. I gave this my best. I cooked all kinds of variations of her recipe and now my freezer is filled with enough sauce and meatballs for months. I must admit I did have fun cooking like my mother and grandmother, making large pots of sauce simmering on the stove. And the funny thing is that I don't make that much traditional sauce because I have never felt that I can duplicate the flavor of my mother and g…

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo this deliciously simple Enchiladas casserole. You add more heat to dish by adding more hot sauce and 2 not one jalapeno pepper. Have fun adding your own spin to the meal.

1 pound boneless chicken breast or use Purdue short cuts
2 tablespoon olive oi
1 bunch scallions
2 cloves garlic
1 fresh jalapeño chile pepper, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons Franks Hot sauce
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup sour cream
10 soft flour tortilla 
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Jalapeño wheels

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Place chicken breast in baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes. Shred chicken and place in bowl, set aside. Heat oil in skillet, add scallions, garlic, jalapeno pepper and tomatoes. Saute, stirring for 5 minutes then add cilantro and hot sauce continuing to cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside. Put tortilla between two paper towels and microwave for one minute. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup c…

Vegetable Soup with Israeli Couscous

I love this flavorful vegetable soup that is filling yet very healthy. Make and freeze in individual serving sizes for a deliciously easy soup. I added a Parmesan cheese rind for added flavor that is your option. If you want a strictly vegan soup omit the cheese. Serve with freshly baked bread along with a big salad for a fabulous easy quick dinner.   

Vegetable Soup with Israeli Couscous

2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon Penzeys Mural of Flavor
64 oz.( 8 cups) vegetable broth
1cup dry red wine
1 can (14.5 oz) Hunt’s Petite Diced Tomatoes without salt.
12 oz French green beans cut into 2 inch pieces
6 celery stalks thinly sliced
1 package (16 oz)  baby carrots sliced
1 can (15.5 oz) small white beans, drained and rinsed
1 4 inch piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
1 cup Israeli Couscous

In a large stock pot heat oil then add garlic and shallots cooking just until translucent. Don’t over cook the garlic…

Asparagus and Egg Sandwich

When I was young I spent many hours at my grandparents home - memories that I cherished. My grandparents, Theresa and Vincent came to American in the great immigration waves at the beginning of the 1900's from Italy. Along with their desires for a better life here they brought their love of food and preparing food. My passion for cooking began with these two wonderful people sitting in their kitchen as they prepared feast after feast for our family. Their cooking was so simple with fresh ingredients lovingly prepared sharing with me the family traditions. As a young girl it appeared to me that my grandmother was always cooking - even before church on Sunday she would start her meal just having to add the finishing touches when we all descended on their home for Sunday dinner. I loved all her cooking although my favorite was her impromptu meals she make just for me when I would top by her home. One of my favorites was her Asparagus and Egg Sandwich, so good I couldn't stop eati…

Springtime Lemon Pasta with Prosciutto and Asparagus

Springtime cooking for me always includes foods with asparagus and lemons. Add pasta, prosciutto and cream for an easy deliciously simple meal. My passion for good food leads me to create easy meals that are fresh and flavorful with simple ingredients. Eating food for nourishment doesn't mean that we need to sacrifice on taste. Food is meant to be savored, enjoyed with family and friends not to be rushed eating standing up or walking down the street. Make an easy beautiful meal, invite family and friends to relax while you all create lasting memories to cherish.    


        1 pound spaghetti or linguine
        Kosher salt
        3 tablespoons olive oil
        1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 large)
        4 ounces Prosciutto, cut into thin strips
        1 cup asparagus, lightly steamed
        1 cup heavy cream
        1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
        2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf …

Baked Stuffed Quiona Artichokes


    4 large artichokes
    2 quarts of water
    1 lemon, halved
    2 bay leaves
    2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
    1/8 cup salt
    1/2  cup Quinoa cooked according to package instructions.  I like Earthly Choice
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons assorted fresh chopped herbs (such as parsley, basil and oregano)
    2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, toasted
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and black pepper


    Cut off the stem, trim the tips from the leaves and cut off the top quarter of the artichoke. In a large pot bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add artichokes. Squeeze juice from the lemon halves into water, then add the bay leaves, garlic cloves and salt. Cover, reduce heat to simmering and cook until artichokes are tender, and base can be pierce with a knife,  about 25 minutes. Drain artichokes. Placing the artichokes on their base, spread apart the outer leaves and carefully remove and discard the center section and fuzzy chok…

Panko Baked Scallops for two

I love the french recipe Coques St. Jacques which I bake and serve in beautiful scallop shells. The traditional recipe has many steps and requires time to make. Loving Scallops cooked in a casserole but not always have the time to prepare I created this easy baked scallops for a delicious weekday meal.  Prepare the casserole in the morning to bake at night having a wonderful fresh dinner in 20 minutes.


1/2 lb sea scallops
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup Italian Panko bread crumbs, I used Roland
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon butter

Preheat over to 375F. Place scallops in a bowl. Squeeze lemon over scallops. Add olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt tossing to combine. Place scallops in over proof baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and cheese. Place bread crumbs on top of scallops. Dot butter over break crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until topping is brown. Serve over pasta tossed with butter …

Blueberry Poppy Seed Scones

In my world of 24/7 where warp speed isn't fast enough, where quantity not quality is the norm, how luxuriating enjoying a cup of tea with all the accompaniments, so Downton Abbey -  tea hold a special place in my life.  Slowing time, if just a little, Afternoon Tea is a wonderful pleasure I thank the British for cultivating. My spirit fills with joy sipping a cup of tea from a beautifully crafted English china tea cup while eating dainty little tea sandwiches along with freshly baked Scones topped with a dollop of clotted cream. Over time I’ve amassed an extensive collection of English tea china and accoutrements to host my own teas which have marked special moments in my life. Christmas mother/daughter teas with my daughter’s friends and their mothers, Mother’s Day Teas to celebrate the women in my life and a Bridal Shower Tea for my daughter - afternoon tea shares many cherished memories throughout my life. When traveling I am not only on the hunt for an additions to my collect…

Roasted Cauliflower with Italian Tuna over Pasta

I love to create easy weekday meals that just burst with flavor. Being of Italian heritage I learned at an early age from my mother that you should only consume food that taste delicious. Meticulous preparation was so important to my mother who enjoyed the art of cooking instilling in me that food is love that your share with family and friends. I have continued her tradition preparing meals with the focus on flavor and taste. All you need to add as my mother is fond of saying is a pinch or this, a dash of that, just doctor it up! Still at ninety five she knows how to make food sing with flavor.

Roasted Cauliflower with Italian Tuna over Pasta

1 head cauliflower, chopped
six skin-on garlic cloves
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 salt
1/4 black pepper
1/4 red pepper flakes
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon butter
two tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
Italian yellow fin tuna in olive oil
1 tablespoon capers

1 pound pasta or spaghetti

On a sheet pan, drizzle a head…

Christmas Morning Breakfast Casseroles

Christmas morning I find myself returning to memories of my Christmas mornings as a child where we would wake before the moon was tucked away for the day. So excited to see what Santa had left under the tree we would rush into our living room eyes filled with delight holding my breath as we got our first peek at our tree and gifts. Christmas still holds that child wonderment for me even now all these years later. After exchanging gifts our tradition includes a large Christmas morning breakfast before we ready for our company to arrive for Christmas dinner. I love to make these easy breakfast casseroles which conveniently can be readied the night before just baking in the morning for an easy, delicious Christmas morning.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound chicken sausage links
6 slices soft hearty white bread
One 8-ounce package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tea…