Sunday, February 4, 2018

Kale, Sausage & Bean Soup

I have grown to love Kale and what better way to eat it than in a healthier soup version.  I used uncured Hot Italian Style chicken sausage but you can use whatever rings our bell. I was lucky enough to find a pre chopped and cleaned bag of Kale at my local Aldi store. Matter of fact that is where my chicken sausage was purchased too. It has become my favorite grocery store. I also simmered a piece of rind from a Parmesan block. I highly recommend that you not skip this step because it adds a nice flavor to the soup. I save my rinds and place them  into a ziploc baggie and freeze them until I can use them later on. Yum! Also Chicken base is the bomb! It comes in a jar as a paste and you mix it with water. It has a better favor than store bought broth or even bouillon. Once you get hooked on base you will not turn back. You can find it in the soup isle in any well stocked grocery store. I mail order my harder to find flavors like clam and mushroom.

  1. 10 cups water *
  2.  1/3 cup chicken base *
  3.  1 Tbsp Olive oil 
  4.  1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  5.  1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  6.  1/4 tsp sea salt
  7.  1 cup diced sweet onion
  8.  1 cup diced carots
  9.  1 piece of Parmesan rind
  10.  1 can of cannellini beans 15.5 oz , drained and rinsed
  11.  10 oz of hot Italian Sausage, cooked and sliced thin
  12.  12 oz bag of chopped and washed Kale or the equivalent of freshly bought

* You may substitute 10 cups of chicken broth and omit the water and base.

Toss all of the above ingredients into a large soup pot and bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and lower heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Remove Parmesan rind and throw away, serve immediately. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Eggs in Purgatory - Italian Style

The "Eggs in Purgatory" have been set free. That's right, they are in my belly and I'm fat and happy. Italians are notorious for taking a few simple ingredients and making a delicious meal. I'm here to tell you that you need to add this one to your list. It's quick & easy to make, low cost and so flavorful. It's eye candy too, I know because it made my mouth water.

I have a confession to make. When ever I  prepare fresh garlic I like to sit around afterward and smell my fingers. LOL! Why? Because I love garlic. Maybe it's an Italian thing. Anyway you can serve this on top of bread or use bread to dip into this hearty treasure. I used a hearty slice of garlic bread, but I have also used toasted organic oat bread. You decide, some may even want it on top of an English Muffin.

You will need a 12 inch nonstick skillet with a lid for this dish.

  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled & slice thin, or 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • One 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup fresh basil leaves, I like to cut it with kitchen scissors
  • 4 large eggs
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Bread of choice: Garlic bread, English muffin, or a hearty bread toasted.
  1. Prepare and set aside above ingredients, even having the eggs cracked open and in separate dishes.
  2. Preheat nonstick skillet up on medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onion, saute for 3 minutes. Do not brown.
  3. Then add canned tomato, oregano and basil. Bring mixture to a simmer til it is nice and bubbly, then cook uncovered for 3 minutes. You may add salt & pepper at this time or on top after it is cooked and plated.
  4. Add eggs spread out evenly in skillet and quickly sprinkle a thin layer of shredded Parmesan over top of tomato mixture leaving egg tops exposed. Immediately cover eggs and cook for 3 minutes. No peeky, peeky! You will be poaching the eggs in the sauce. Keep in mind the mixture is hot and egg will continue to set once it is served over bread.
  5. Meanwhile as the eggs are cooking toast the bread of your choice
  6. Place 2 eggs per plate over top of the bread. Enjoy!  Serves 2

Notice how the eggs are evenly spaced in the skillet. Also I like a 3 minute egg with this dish as it will cook some more once it is removed from the skillet. If you prefer more spice you can add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes  at #3.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Smashed Potatoes

Spuds, Tators, Tubers are just a few of the many names for the versatile potato. Smashed Potatoes are kinda like a Twice Baked Potato, only different. :) Once you try these buttery tasting golden brown morsels you will never look at a baby spud the same way again. The golden caramelized cheese on top is the bomb. I like to serve them as a side with Dinner or Breakfast. They are so darn good hot out of the oven, but cold leftovers will be calling you back to the fridge. So make sure you make extra!

These small bags of baby potatoes can be a bit pricey, but I was lucky enough to discover them at a much better price at my local wholesale food club.

  • About 40 baby yellow meat potatoes
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • grated Asiago cheese, about 6 oz.

In a medium size pot with salted water boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until fork tender, then drain in colander. I bake my spuds on a large cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 degrees.

I use a juice glass to gently press down the potatoes to smoosh them down (I like the word smoosh). Do not press too flat as you want them to still hold their circular shape.

Next I like to brush on the olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle cheese on top. Place into oven and bake at 450 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Every oven is different so cook time may vary. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Peppermint Bark~~ two versions

I have two recipes for you this time. One is only 4 ingredients and the other is only 3. Don't you just love that!

I found the Red Bird mints at my local dollar store, my regular grocery store sells them for $2.69 a bag. I prefer the softer mint to bite into, but if you want more crunch you can break up some candy canes. I must confess my weakest link is candy making. We can conquer our candy making skills together!

Peppermint Bark is a seasonal tradition over the Holidays and I'm going to show you one of the easiest candy recipes ever. Most folks love getting homemade scrumptious goodies over the Holidays. Share the love with your friends and family. Enjoy!


  • 1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli dark melting wafers
  •  3/4 tsp. plus another 3/4 tsp Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 2 cups Ghirardelli white melting wafers
  • 2, 4 oz bags of Red Bird soft peppermint puffs
  • mini Christmas designed paper candy cups.
You will need 1 qt zip lock bags and a meat mallet to break up candy pieces.

1) Open Peppermint candies and place inside a qt size zip lock bag, then place on top of a cutting board. Now break candy into tiny pieces using the flat side of a meat mallet, set aside.

2) Open paper cups and place one each inside the mini muffin tin, set aside.

3) Make a double boiler (one small saucepan inside a medium size saucepan with about 2 inches of hot water in the Medium pan), heating over low heat, now add the dark wafers. Stirring  occasionally with a wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted, it melt quickly. Once chocolate is melted add 3/4 tsp of the peppermint extract and whisk together until it is blended well. 

4) Add the chocolate mixture to the zip lock bag, squeeze out excess air then seal it off. Cut off one corner of the bag and fill each paper cup 1/3 full. It will flow easily and you will not need to squeeze the bag to release it. As a matter of fact it will flow fast and you need to be careful it does not come out to quickly. Set aside, do not refrigerate.

5) Repeat step #3 only using the 2 cups of white chocolate. Then fill paper cups almost to the top with the white chocolate mixture.

6) Sprinkle candy crumbs on top and gently press into the melted chocolate. I used a small iced tea spoon to sprinkle candy crumbs on top. 

7) Cool for about 1 hour then place into a airtight container for later or you may eat some right now.

  • 2 cups Ghirardelli white melting wafers
  • Red Bird soft peppermint puffs, leftover from above recipe.
  • 3/4 tsp. Pure Peppermint Extract
You will also need a sheet of wax paper and a cookie sheet.

1) Repeat above directions from step #3 on mini peppermint bark cups, but using 2 cups of white wafers.

2) Line cookie sheet with wax paper and spread about a 1/4 inch layer of the chocolate on top.

3) Gently drop crushed peppermints on top of melted chocolate and gently press into chocolate. Place in refrigerator for about 45 minutes or until chocolate has completely hardened.

4) Break bark into uneven portions and place in an airtight container to eat later or you may enjoy some now.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


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!


  • 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.


  • 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.

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.

  • 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.