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 at 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.

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.