Showing posts from 2017

Fettuccine and Shrimp Pomodoro sauce

During the Holiday Season when busy is the norm with frantically list writing busy coming in a close second, I love to prepare perfectly delicious easy meals so inviting after a hectic day, just beckoning you breath and enjoy . Carving out a peaceful meal time is essential to keeping stress away and promoting healthy eating for me and my family. I don't believe in eating on the run. I'm flabbergasted as I walk down the street surrounded by people eating food as they walk, my only rule breaker is ice cream. I subscribe to the motto that food is to be prepared with care and you should take time when you eat food.  Sit, relax, enjoy, let your body savory the flavors as well as giving your system time to digest your food. When you relax enjoying a meal you don't over eat either. Being present at the meal insures that you enjoy each bite signaling that you are satisfied and full. Even during this rushed season in addition to stoping to experience the festivities, make time for a…

Chocolate Cake with Butter Cream Frosting

Baking has always held a special place in my heart since I made my first chocolate cake with my mother. After my first successful baking experience I became a passionate baker so talented my mother assigned the baking of our family cakes to me. I continued after I had my own family my love of baking encouraged by my love ones. I love to make all different kinds of cakes pairing with a ray of different frostings. My personal favorite for chocolate cake is butter cream which goes well with the rich cake. You can finish this cake as I did or add your own personal touches depending on the season or the holiday. 
Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature 6 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 cups sugar 3/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 large eggs 2  3/4 cups  Unbleached Self-Rising Flour 1 1/2 cups water
Instructions .Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8" round cake pans. .Beat together the butter, oil, sugar…

Kolaches - Hungarian Christmas Cookies

Kolaches, Hungarian Christmas Cookies take me back to Christmas of my childhood where my mother would spend days baking Christmas cookies, filling our home with perfectly delightful smells. I would come home from school being greeted by my mother and the aroma of cookies baking in the oven. One of her favorite cookie to bake was Kolaches: a recipe that was pasted down to her by a Hungarian neighbor when she was growing up. Like my mother these flakey pastry cookies become one of my favorites that I still make today for my family and friends!
Kolaches - Hungarian Christmas Cookies Ingredients For the Pastry: 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt 8 oz cream cheese 1 cup unsalted butter, softened ½ cup powered sugar for rolling 1 can Solo Poppy Seed Cake and Pastry Filling Instructions For the Pastry Dough:
Sift flour and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.Beat the cream cheese and butter together with a stand mixer or a hand mixer until completely incorporated and creamy (3-5 m…

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…