Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Manicotti





Mom's Manicotti! This recipe has been in my family for many generations. My Italian Great Grandmother taught my Mom how to make these delicious treasures. In turn my Mom shared this recipe with me and you have been chosen to reap the rewards of this family tradition. These babies are so light and tasty in your mouth, but surprisingly filling. It's a little extra work, but oh so worth it. Also this is one of my most requested recipes from my family and friends. It's a favorite of mine as well. I say it's time to spoil those special people in your life. Let those fat cells sing!


MANICOTTI BATTER;

  • 2 cups all purpose sifted flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • oil cooking spray, I use the olive oil one

To make pancakes, combine flour, water, and salt. Beat with whisk until smooth, then beat in eggs. Preheat two 5-6 inch nonstick skillets on med low heat and spray with oil. You do not need to oil every time. Put in ¼ cup batter and roll around to distribute evenly. Cook until firm, do not brown. Turn & cook lightly on other side, they cook quickly. Just stack pancakes on a plate, they will not stick together. Continue until all batter is used, this will make about 24 pancakes.


FILLING;

  • 2 lbs part skim ricotta
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and some extra to top off later
  • 8 oz grated Italian cheese blend, I use reduced fat Sargento
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together above ingredients well. Place about 2 heaping Tbsp of filling and roll up. Spray large roasting pan with oil and coat bottom of pan with 1 ½ cup spaghetti sauce. Place Manicotti seam side down. Cover lightly with sauce and sprinkle on some more Parmesan cheese. Bake for 45 minutes covered with foil. Makes about 24 Manicotti.
Enjoy!

This recipe was a favorite when I was growing up. It is an old family recipe. You can save time by making the pancakes a day in advance, just stack them up, cover and refrigerate.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Turkey Croquettes

Turkey Croquettes bring back warm family childhood memories. My Mom made these every year from the leftover Thanksgiving day turkey. My Dad swears they are his all time favorite, rightly so as we only ate them once a year. This was my Mom's recipe and as you know there are many croquette recipes out there. This one is simple and easy to make, but a tad bit time consuming. I highly recommend you make them early in the day and let them chill thoroughly. A very chilled and set croquette will save you the hassle of them breaking apart while cooking. I was quickly reminded of that as I rushed mine too soon and a few broke apart on me.

                 ***You will need a food processor to grind the meat for this recipe.***


White sauce;

  • 2 cups milk, I used fat free organic
  • 6 Tbsp of salted butter
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  •  1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, add flour as soon as it is melted and whisk together. Quickly add the milk, salt and pepper. Stir constantly until mixture has thickened. Remove from hot saucepan and set aside to cool in a medium size bowl. Reserve 3/4 cup of the white sauce for later use.

Croquettes;
  • 4 cups of turkey (I used 1 cup dark meat & 3 cups white meat)
  • 1 1/2 cup white sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • bread crumbs
  • canola oil
  • Leftover turkey gravy

Add meat to food processor and do short pulses until meat is finely ground, it grinds quickly. Now finely dice 1/2 cup of sweet onion.

Add the white sauce to the large bowl of meat & onion mixture, mix well. Cover and chill for several hours.

Once meat mixture is chilled spoon out 1/3 cup portions of the meat mixture. I like to set them on plastic wrap on my kitchen counter. Then roll one at a time into the bread crumbs and set onto a very large platter and chill in refrigerator, covered until ready to cook.

I added the remaining 3/4 cup of white sauce to the rest of my leftover gravy to help stretch the gravy. Heat this over low heat in a saucepan and stir occasionally with a wire whisk to blend well.

Meanwhile heat up a large 12 inch skillet over medium heat with about 1 inch of canola oil in it. Once oil is hot enough cook in 2 separate batches, it important to not crowd the pan. They should take about 3 minutes on each side ( flip when nicely browned), only flipping once.  I cooked mine 5 at one time, then 6 next time. This recipe makes 11 croquettes.

Place on a platter lined with paper towels to drain off excess oil. Serve immediately with some gravy on top. Enjoy!





Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sweet Pea Salad

Sweet Pea Salad is not only ever so easy to make, it is so scrumptious too. The secret to it tasting so good is the petite frozen peas, they are so sweet and frozen at their perfection for you to enjoy year round. There is one other secret......Bacon....yes..... Bacon! Bacon lovers claim just about everything tastes better with Bacon. For the people who do not eat bacon you can always leave it on the side to use as a garnish instead of stirring it into the salad, but I must warn you about the Bacon mongers. They may all take the Bacon for themselves. So if you have a Bacon monger nearby you must guard the Bacon. :)


  • two 1 lb bags frozen petite peas, thawed in cold water & drained well.
  • 3/4 cup spring onions cleaned & sliced thin, green tops too.
  • 1/2 cup Aldi's Fit & Active Mayonnaise or Hellman's light
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 8 oz thick cut Bacon cooked crispy & crumbled
  • 2/3 cup shredded low fat Cheddar cheese
In a large bowl add frozen peas and cover them with cold water, set aside on counter to thaw. 

Cook the Bacon until brown and crispy, Drain onto paper towels and as soon as it is cool enough to touch crumble and seal into plastic bag and refrigerate for later use.

In a large bowl mix together; Mayonnaise, spring onions, salt, pepper, paprika, & vinegar.

Drain peas well in colander and make sure they are thawed and not still frozen and stuck together in clumps, rinse under cold water if you need to thaw more. Drain very well!

Add peas and cheese to the Mayonnaise mixture and stir well, chill overnight or for several hours. Add Bacon just before serving and stir in evenly or you may use Bacon as an optional garnish.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts never tasted so good. These scrumptious babies were so delicious that I had to make them twice in one week. Hey what's to stop me, I may go for a third time. I know my Stud Muffin will not complain because he said....."I never want to eat Brussels Sprouts any other way." I must admit I agree with him (for once), on this one. I would even think that you could convert non eating Brussels Sprouts people into eating them. I dare you to try!





  • 1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp salted sweet cream butter
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Rinse and trim bottoms off, then cut in half lengthwise


                                                           They should look just like mine. They look big in the pic, but they are small. It's the tiny colander that makes them look bigger. Some of the outer leaves may fall off, make sure they get thrown into the skillet too.


Preheat the a nonstick skillet over medium heat with the olive oil and butter, then add the Brussels. You will need to cook them flat side down for about 7-10 minutes or until you see them caramelize. I turn them over one at a time pushing aside the caramelized ones to the cooler edge of the pan and moving the ones that are not browned yet into the hotter area. Please ignore my blurry pic. :)

Once they are all turned lower the heat to low and place a lid on top. Cook until tender about 7-10 more minutes. If they are ready before your meal is I just turn off the heat and leave the lid on until ready to serve.



                                                                                      I can't look at this pic without my mouth watering and I just ate them for Dinner! Yummy!!!


                                                                                                                                                         3- 4  servings.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Corn Dogs

I love Corn Dogs! They bring back wonderful memories of my childhood. I remember eating my first Corn Dog at a fair in Oklahoma City. Yes, I did live there for 4 years as a child. I was too young to know that I was very different than the other folks there. A dark skinned, dark haired Italian girl with hair down to her butt and a Philadelphia accent. I remember tornadoes and frying eggs on the sidewalk in the Summer. I was picking up the Oklahoma accent just as my Dad was transferred to Frederick, MD, where I have lived since 1966. ~~~ Back to one of my first loves, Corn Dogs. It was love at first bite! My biggest dilemma at the time was how to get enough mustard on there without making a mess. Well I went for it and it was drizzled on for me by my parents, but you can use the dipping method if you prefer. I don't know about you, but they scream for mustard. You can have several different mustard's for a taste test until you find the perfect one for you. You can't go wrong with this wiener, I love the saltiness of the dog paired with the sweetness of the corn bread and the spicy mustard. Corn Dog Lovers Unite!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cup fine ground cornmeal, I used Goya brand
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  •  1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • oil for frying, I used canola
  • 7 inch wooden skewers
  • 1 pack Hebrew National Reduced Fat Beef Franks 
IMPORTANT TIP; You must use a thin dog for this recipe. I chose Hebrew National Reduced Fat Beef Franks because they only have 1g of fat, 45 calories and they are a thin dog. Great taste too!

First I like to skewer the hot dogs by pushing skewer in about halfway or so.

In a medium bowl mix together the first 6 ingredients. Set aside.

In another medium size bowl whisk egg until bubbly like freshly poured soda fizz. 
Add the buttermilk, & honey to the egg and mix well. Set aside.

Preheat oil to 350 degrees in large deep skillet filling it to about 1 inch deep, once oil is heated immediately mix batter together.

I like to add the dry ingredients to the wet and gently stir until just mixed. It will be thick and somewhat lumpy, but the batter will be light and fluffy. DO NOT OVERMIX. 


Pour batter into a tall 12 oz drinking glass and dip wiener into the glass, swirl it around to evenly coat. You can fry 2-3 dogs at a time for about 45 seconds turning each quickly with tongs as they brown. I highly recommend using a thermometer to know your oil temp.


Immediately place onto a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil and eat immediately. If you want to serve them all at once you may keep them hot in a 275 degree oven until all are cooked.

This made 7 Corn Dogs. I meant to try frying up the rest of the batter and sprinkling on some powdered sugar. Darn, I forgot.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mexican Calzone

I love Mexican and Italian food! So I thought.....Why not marry the two food cultures together. That's the ticket, a Mexican Calzone! Fresh baked goodness for a nice savory meal. This would go well with a nice tossed salad as a side for a scrumptious meal. Or if you want a hearty snack, then these babies will fill you right on up. It has creamy deliciousness with just the right zest and some chicken to boot.



  • 1 cup of Thick & chunky salsa in jar (hot).
  • 1 4.5oz. can chopped green chiles
  • 1 10oz. can chicken breast packed in water, drained
  • 1 package of Pillsbury Grand Flakey Layer Buttermilk biscuits, 8 ct.
  • 1 1/2 cup reduced fat grated Mexican cheese blend
  •  1 8oz package of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened.



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile in large bowl mix together cream cheese, salsa, grated cheese & green chiles. Now drain the chicken and lightly break up chicken pieces and add to cheese mixture, mix together well. 

Next you will need to roll out biscuits onto a floured surface until they are 6 inches round, repeat with remaining biscuits until all are done. 


Next add 1/3 cup of the meat mixture onto the biscuit dough.


Brush 1/2 of the edge of the biscuit with water, then fold over and crimp closed with a fork to seal. Repeat this until all are prepared.

             Bake them in a 425 degree oven for about 13 - 15 minutes or until golden brown. You may want to do an egg wash over top of the Calzone's if you would like that nice golden brown color on top. I did not do that this time, but it really makes it look much nicer. I must confess.... I forgot!

I would let these cool for about 5 minutes before you serve them, unless you know someone who needs their throat cauterized. Also You may want to serve some extra salsa on the side for a dipping sauce. Comer or Mangiare!


I had about 1 cup of the chicken cheese mixture leftover. You could open another pack of biscuits to make 3 more or serve it on a tortilla as a Quesadilla or two.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Meatball Treaties for Dogs ~~~ No Bake

Our 85 lb Labrador just loves these treaties. He patiently waits by my side until they are prepared, only because he knows he will not get one until they are all made. If your dog has a sensitive tummy to Gluten products have no fear, you can buy the Gluten Free oats as well if need be. They do smell good enough to eat so I tasted a little bite and I now know why Teddy loves them so much. It's helpful to have a cookie dough scoop to form the meatballs. If your dog is smaller breed than my big galoot you could easily cut the meatball into halves or quarters (once chilled), for a smaller serving size. Celebrate with some treaty treasures for your furry baby. Oh and I must mention that they are very easy to make, that makes for double goodness.

I found out that my squirrels love these meatballs too. I cut them in 1/2 and set them on my deck railings. The little fellas look so cute munching on the meatballs.


  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter, Xylitol free
  • 1 15oz can 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
  •  1/3 cup honey
  •  5 cups oats 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
IMPORTANT TIP! Make sure that your peanut butter does not have XYLITOL in the ingredient list as it is TOXIC to dogs. If you want to be extra cautious use organic peanut butter for your furry baby.

You will need a large cookie sheet, wax paper, cookie dough scoop and a large mixing bowl for this recipe. I was lucky enough to find a large bag of Steel cut oats at my local wholesale food club. 


Add all of the above ingredients into a large bowl and mix well until all is blended in and oats are covered. 

Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper, then scoop out meatballs with a cookie dough scoop onto your hand. Roll each one into a ball and place onto cookie sheet until all are rolled. It about makes 54 meatballs. 

Now place cookie sheet into the refrigerator for about 1 hour, then come back and transfer them into a air tight container separating each layer with a sheet of wax paper.

They will keep for 3 weeks refrigerated or up to 3 months in the freezer. How cool is that!




                                                                         I found the large bag of oats above at my local wholesale food club. I love a bargain because that is how I roll.


Teddy!