Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mussels, Shrimp and Calamari over Linguine Pomodoro

One of our favorite seafood dishes is mussels ,shrimp calamari over a bed of linguine. A fresh tomato sauce with basil gives this dish a taste of the sea for sure. Easy to make and a show piece to your guests.


The sauce can be made as spicy as you like, you decide how much red pepper to put in. Diavolo (hot spicy)


Saute seafood with garlic and olive oil.


Use vine ripe tomatoes or plum


Using the food processor makes the tomatoes as chunky or pureed as you like.



2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 box black mussels
12 large shrimp
1/2 cup red wine
8 vine ripe tomatoes run through food processor to make marinara sauce or two 1lb cans of diced tomatoes with olive oil and basil
fresh basil, parsley, oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, red pepper flakes and black pepper
1/2 pound calamari cut in pieces with a cooking shears
1 lb linguine, cooked
4 leaves chopped of fresh basil
2 tablespoon bread crumbs
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add garlic, saute until brown. Add the mussels, and shrimp. When shells start to open, takes about 7 minutes, add the tomatoes( marinara) , cook five minutes. Add wine and spices, cook 3 more minutes. Then add calamari, cook 5 more minutes. Boil the pasta (in salted boiling water) to desired doneness, then drain ( you can start this step while saute the mussels and shrimp as suggested above). Put pasta on a plate and spoon the fish on top of the linguine sprinkle with fresh basil, red pepper flakes and Italian flavored bread crumbs.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crock Pot Lasagna Easy Recipe


Crockpot Lasagna quick and easy
(shown is a 7 quart crockpot oblong
doubled the recipe)

2 16 0z jars store bought or Traditional Sunday Sauce....on this website.
1 can 16oz can of crushed tomatoes mixed with 1/2 cup of water
1 container 1 lb of ricotta cheese mixed with
2 eggs, 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1lb of ground Italian sausage, 1lb ground hamburg or turkey, fried and drained seasoned with 1/4 cup grating cheese, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 lb. box of any lasagna noodles or you can use other pasta it works fine just looks different ( great for baked ziti as well)
2 pkg. 16 0z of mozzarella shredded cheese

(And any other ingredient of your choice can be added.)Break up lasagna noodles into smaller pieces to fit your crockpot. Mix cheese seperate with seasonings and then everything else together in large bowl raw, alternating pasta, then meat filling on the bottom and cheeses on the second layer end with noodles, ending with mozzarella cheese, parsley, more sauce, grating cheese and sprinkle garlic powder over the top. Set on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Serve with salad and garlic bread.

Tiramisu (without eggs) Recipe with Hot Fudge, Nutella and Frangelico

Ok, so I know the real Tiramisu Recipe has raw egg yolks in it. It's rich with marscapone and has cocoa powder on top and not all this chocolate fudge on top. A couple of things about me, I always worried about salmonella. So I decided one day since everyone loves this dessert I was going to make it as close as possible without the eggs, and make sure since us Italians eat all day from noon to dusk, if it sat out I wasn't going to make anyone sick. Sorry about the pictures not being clear, this day had horrible overcast, but being able to have our dinner out on the patio in mid March was awesome, Florida has had cold months this winter so no compliants, to us it was beautiful a cloudy 78 degrees.

Having a special family gathering this 2010 Palm Sunday and this was specially requested, we started to put different ingredients in here that everyone liked. I used Frangelico instead of Kaluha this time, and this has a combination of Nutella and Hot Fudge on top.



The Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur and the nutella complimented this well, everyone loved it!




TIRAMISÙ
Loosely translated, tiramisù means "pick me up," and it has been picked up on practically every menu in America. Since the early eighties, it has been one of the most famous Italian-American desserts, and like spaghetti and meatballs, it is far more prevalent here than in Italy. Purchase one angel food cake and slice or make a sponge cake (recommended )home made easy great recipe or use lady fingers . This is a simple version, not made with raw egg, a favorite of ours we make often.

1/2 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kaluha or Frangelico
1 package (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese (see Tip)substitute cream cheese if you cant get mascarpone
1/2 package or 4 ounce of cream cheese softened or room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 package (3 ounces) ladyfingers, split, angel food, or sponge cake
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
hot fudge syrup, nutella hazelnut spread
whipped cream for garnish optional
Prepare and slice sponge cake for 12x9 inch pan or cut store bought angel food cake, or ladyfingers to fit pan.
In a small bowl, combine the coffee and liqueur; set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and confectioners' sugar until smooth, add a half cup of sour cream. Prick the top of the cake and drizzle with coffee mixture, pour the remaining coffee mixture over the top layer if making a double layer of cake, you can do this either way (if using lady fingers dip them into the mixture then lay into your pan..) Spread cheese mixture on top. Top next with cream and chocolate.
Note: I had canned and added whip cream to the top sparingly, and drizzle hot fudge and nutella on top and sprinkle with unsweet cocoa powder.
PREPARATION TIP: Mascarpone cheese is a soft, sweet Italian cheese, similar in consistency to soft cream cheese. Commonly used in dips and in sweet dishes like tiramisu, it's generally found in the cheese section of the supermarket, you can use cream cheese if you can't find it.

Printable Recipe

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

Two classic favorites, chocolate chip (left) and oatmeal raisin(right)
Oatmeal Recipe

3 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons shortening
1 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp.pure vanilla
4 cups regular oats
2 1/2 cups raisins

Blend flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
Set aside. In another bowl, blend shortening, brown sugar, sugar,
eggs and vanilla. Beat till fluffy. Mix in dry ingredients until well
blended, about 2 minutes. Add raisins and oats and mix. On a
greased cookie sheet, you can use a meatball scoop or 2 1/2 tablespoons of dough. Use cooking spray on the bottom of a glass and press down on each ball until about 1/4" thick, and about 3" across. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if you like. Bake at 350* 9-12 minutes. Cool on sheets.

Chicken Eggplant Sorrento and Tiramisu' A Special Family Dinner Recipe

Chicken Eggplant Sorrento
(recipe at the end of this post)

An amazing dinner for me Palm, Sunday. Since I am working Easter Sunday, we had our Palm Sunday/Easter dinner early. Then, the week after Easter, I will have 20 people for dinner from Upstate NY here, and we will celebrate again! Bonus year for me.
I hadn't seen my nephew Michael in nine years. My, my, he had grown into a fine young man and chef. I had seen several pictures of the wonderful foods he had created, and while he was visiting me, he gave me several tips he has discovered in his culinary adventures. He also suggested a bottle of Pino Noir for this dinner I made while he visited us which was perfect!
We had alot in common in cooking while discussing methods, fresh herbs, vegetables were just a few favorites we had made pretty much the same ways . He said through the years he's learned not to overpower the foods with too many additions, kee it simple... I loved the tip he gave me on making sure to add certain herbs the last minute, instead of cooking all day, and adding a little sugar with butter to enhance flavors in sauces. Nicole, his girl friend was a wonderful help in the kitchen, and they made the perfect couple! I wish them every happiness.
Devin and (Brittany, another new guest at the table today ), were two more of my taste testers on today's introduction of my new Chicken dish. They both loved it!. Devin and Brittany I wish you much happiness, and thank you for joining us today~
I was hoping everyone the rest of the family could be together, unfortunately Devin's brother Matt was working, my brother John( Devin's dad) who has named this dish couldn't make it, and my husband Nemo was working. also..of course I was taking this picture below! We had a wonderful day....Happy Palm Sunday!
In this picture:
Brittany (Devin's GF) and Devin my nephew both from Orlando. Curt my youngest son in the sunglasses, Chad my oldest son, Michael my nephew from New Hartford NY and Nicole (Michael's GF). Amazingly enough almost this whole table is into the food industry one way or the other. Brittany and Devin work for a famous food chain. My nephew Michael works for a famous chain as a manager. My son Curt loves to cook he has been a guest post on here for his potato skins .
Chad, my oldest son is a huge fan of breakfast foods, his favorite to cook is french toast . That's what he made for breakfast today for his cousin's!


Chicken, Eggplant,Ricotta, Mozzarella

Fresh tomato sauce

Bow Tie Pasta boiled in salted water al dente'.


Warming everything up.
Bean Dip

Home Made Pizza

Garlic rolls made with Pizza Dough

Zeppole (fried dough in cinnamon and sugar using Pizza Fritte recipe)

Banana Cream Pie (using a chocolate cookie crust, hot fudge on the bottom and drizzled on top)


One addition to these cookies, I added toffee chips to the chocolate chips and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top of the oatmeal.



TIRAMISÙ
Loosely translated, tiramisù means "pick me up," and it has been picked up on practically every menu in America. Since the early eighties, it has been one of the most famous Italian-American desserts, and like spaghetti and meatballs, it is far more prevalent here than in Italy. Purchase one angel food cake and slice or make a sponge cake (recommended )home made or use lady fingers . This is a simple version, not made with raw egg, a favorite of ours we make often.
1/2 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kaluha or Frangelico
1 package (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese (see Tip)substitute cream cheese if you cant get mascarpone
1/2 package or 4 ounce of cream cheese softened or room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 package (3 ounces) ladyfingers, split, angel food, or sponge cake
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
hot fudge syrup, nutella hazelnut spread
whipped cream for garnish optional
Prepare and slice sponge cake for 12x9 inch pan or cut store bought angel food cake, or ladyfingers to fit pan.
In a small bowl, combine the coffee and liqueur; set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and confectioners' sugar until smooth, add a half cup of sour cream. Prick the top of the cake and drizzle with coffee mixture, pour the remaining coffee mixture over the top layer if making a double layer of cake, you can do this either way (if using lady fingers dip them into the mixture then lay into your pan..) Spread cheese mixture on top. Top next with cream and chocolate.
Note: I had canned and added whip cream to the top sparingly, and drizzle hot fudge and nutella on top and sprinkle with unsweet cocoa powder.
PREPARATION TIP: Mascarpone cheese is a soft, sweet Italian cheese, similar in consistency to soft cream cheese. Commonly used in dips and in sweet dishes like tiramisu, it's generally found in the cheese section of the supermarket, you can use cream cheese if you can't find it.



Chicken Eggplant Sorrento (as shown above pictured)
3 Boneless Chicken Breasts sliced thin in medallion rounds
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large eggplant washed, skin removed every other inch to leave on stripes and sliced in 1/2 inch thick pieces
1 16 oz of ricotta mixed with 1 egg, 1 tablespoon parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, mix all together set aside.
1/2 cup white wine
2 16 0z cans of crushed tomatoes add 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon each parsley, basil, oregano, pepper, and a pinch of sugar
grating cheese
2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned flour (1/2 teaspoon each parsley, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper)
1 container of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
shredded mozzarella
2 large plastic bags

In a large plastic bag, add 1/2 cup of seasoned flour. Dip sliced eggplant into oil then seasoned flour, place on a greased cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 till brown and crisp.
Slice chicken breast thin, around 1/2 inch thick, dip in olive oil and then in a large plastic bag add seasoned Italian bread crumbs and grated cheese. Bake at 400 till browned and crispy.
Oil a large lasagna style pan, layer the ingredients starting with chicken. Top with one piece of eggplant, seasoned ricotta, more mozzarella and grating cheese. Mix crushed tomatoes with white wine, top chicken with sauce and more mozzarella and bake at 400 till cheese is melted. Around 20 minutes.
Serve with bow tie pasta topped with rest of the tomato wine sauce, grating cheese on top.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lemon Coolers ( A famous retired Knockoff Cookie Recipe)

Here is a old time retired knockoff, maybe some of you will remember, Lemon Coolers, changed now to lemonades changed to a cookie with icing now. One of the easier cookies to make in this knockoff series, I've been posting. Thought I would take a little trip down memory lane. My dad use to love any lemon cookies, although mom would make an Italian version home made more like soft cookies with frosting, these were one of the only "store bought cookies" he ate besides the marshmallow cookies, (oh boy he loved them as well, another future post!) Those cookies go back long ago when they cost maybe fifty cents a box, can you believe it? Back in the early 70's wow. Then researching seems to make these retired for at least 12 years or more. Amazing there are still huge fans out there hoping they bring these back. Other companies have tried to make them and never got the vanilla cookies crunch with the tart lemon flavor just right.


I absolutely love these cookies, crunchy, tart, buttery. I am sure we can't ever really recreate the memories of the past cookies, different times, different atmosphere, a whole other past life. Things have really changes. G. S.'s, would not only go door to door, they had booths set up that I can remember at schools, convention centers, we now have them in our grocery store parking lots, door to door, the boxes, marketing, prices, cookies, everything has changed since 1970 something!~ I don't remember much of the time period these were made, but that flavor is etched in your brain forever, once you've had them.



So, this may or may not be a trip down memory lane for you, but hope it gives you a warm feeling of great memories. It did for me, and the great memories I had with my dad.



Roll the while warm, then again when cool.



They hardly spread so you can put them close together



Again slicing while they are cold and firm makes the difference, that is a step you can't miss.



Slice it evenly down the center, lay the flat side down, and slice away, they are perfect half moons! So, easy.



They make quite a few cookies, sure to get everyone a bite~



Roll the dough into a long log, and refrigerate till firm, I always make mine the night before and start off in the morning after they are really firm. Easier to slice and keep their shape.






1 stick (1/2 cup) butter softened
1 cup confectionery sugar
2 teaspoons lemon extract plus 1/2 teaspoon of lemon rind finely grated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons of heavy cream
more confectionery sugar for rolling the cookies in after cooked

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in lemon extract, vanilla extract. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt, mixing with the mixer on low speed to keep the flour from flying. Add in 8 tablespoons heavy cream and beat until mixture just comes together. Dough will be a firm ball. Roll into a smooth log on wax paper using this also to wrap to refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place on ungreased cookie sheets or on parchment paper
Slice dough long way down the middle evenly to split in half. By laying them down on the flat sides to cut, you will get the half moon effect shape of these cookies. Slice at least 1/4 inch thick, they will be crunchier and buttery when cooked, if you want a softer cookie, slice thicker and cook only 8 minutes till set. Place on cookie sheets, cookies won't spread much. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are brown.
While still hot place confectionery sugar in a deep bowl and mix cookies into it. When cookies are cool, take a large plastic bag, add more sugar and shake cookies again to evenly coat.



Not your favorite? Try these other in the series:











Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crescent Roll Italian Pizza Recipe


Trying to work long hours and still make something that will impress your family in no time flat? Try this healthier version fast way to make a crescent roll pizza, keep these refrigerated rolls on hand, perfect for that unexpected company as well.

So versatile, put whatever you want on this crust, fast and easy, no fuss, pizza or appetizer. Add eggplant, or any other medley of vegetables to make the perfect veggie crescent pizza. Or a low fat meat lovers pizza using turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni. I can tell you my kids and husband were amazed they didn't know the difference.


Turkey pepperoni crisps up, and the spices on top enhance the flavor
The blend of cheese give it just the right salt.


Pastry flaky dough, with all fresh ingredients, a healthier way to eat pizza.

The crescent crust makes this a great first course appetizer, or perfect brunch adding a salad.


Meanwhile slice the tomatoes thinly , then add mushrooms, cheeses, seasoning, and drizzle olive oil on top. Bake in hot over till cheese melts.

Spread out crescent roll dough to fit a brownie size pan 12x9 going up around the sides of the pan. Bake until top is brown on 430 about 10 minutes or so.

I have a blend of cheeses feta, mozzarella, romano and parmesan mixed. Turkey pepperoni, crescent roll dough, olive oil....mushrooms, and whatever else you have on hand, just add to your pizza.


1 package refrigerated crescent rolls
2 plum tomatoes sliced
1 container feta cheese low fat
turkey pepperoni slices
no salt small can mushrooms or fresh
1/2 teaspoon each minced garlic, garlic powder, oregano, sweet basil freshly chopped, cayenne pepper, pepper mix together in a little glass bowl set aside.
low moisture mozzarella shredded
extra virgin olive oil
optional other suggestions: chopped peppers, turkey sausage, eggplant, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, olives
Spread dough out into brownie size ungreased aluminum pan or other.
Make sure dough goes up the sides of the pan to make ca cuff around the edge. Bake for ten minutes on hot 430 oven. Remove from oven.
Place tomatoes, mushrooms, pepperoni, both cheese and spices on top of precooked dough drizzle olive oil over the top and continue cooking till brown and cheese is bubbly.
You may like to also try Seafood Trio Pizza

Italian Style Shrimp Nutty Orzo Salad

This is one of those times of the year when I start seeing how much winter weight crept up on me when I wasn't looking. So, after I get over going into denial about the ten pounds, I start trying to find filling, healthier foods that help me lose weight without feeling like I am being punished. This is one of those salads I eat at least three times a week at work. I try and limit the amount to 1 cup to begin with, but I also have two bottles of water with lemon and no fat, no salt crackers to crush on top. Doesn't sound all that good, but when you mix them with the dressing they are like croutons for me. Oh well enough about boring diets. Spring is almost here~ yeah!!!! So I bring you a fresh light salad with orzo, greens, tomatoes and assorted nuts, with beautiful extra large tiger shrimps.

I couldn't find my favorites anywhere, hazelnuts this week! So had to settle for macadamia, pecans and walnuts, but after toasting them and they were wonderful.


The herbs blended were perfect for serving this salad cold and the shrimp had a nice lemony flavor.

Make sure your romaine or bed of baby greens are fresh and crisp

Let you dressing set out awhile, even overnight if you can to ferment the flavors


Orzo is one of those pasta's you can use in just about anything and a great substitute for rice

Extra large tiger shrimp boiled, and then chilled before using


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, cleaned and cooked
4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup each: chopped fresh basil and mint
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon rind, slices of lemon rind curls for garnish
6 tablespoons of white wine
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
3 cups orzo or brown rice
1/2 cup lightly mixed nuts ( first choice hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans and walnuts) Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste ground pepper
1 cup mixed baby salad greens or romaine
In a large fry pan heat or on the grill....using 1 tablespoon of oil
add shrimp and cook, till pink about 2 minutes. Set aside
In large bowl combine tomatoes, basil, mint, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon rind grated, wine, garlic and 1 tablespoon of oil....set aside 20 minutes at room temperature.
Stir in orzo or rice, nuts and shrimp, toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon salad on to the center of the plate and mound with shrimp mixture on top. If desired,garnish with more lightly toasted mixed
nuts, parsley and lemon rind.