Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dinner in an Instant

It's Crunch Time Entree week in the continuing Real Women of Philadelphia Cooking contest. This week we are challenged to create a dinner in 30 minutes using only 5 ingredients and of course cream cheese. This week we are asked to use the Cooking cream which I LOVE because it does all the work for you. I chose the Italian cheese and herb flavor and paired it with lentils and turkey sausage.
Here is the recipe I hope you try it for your family meal.

This is a quick and delicious meal that will satisfy any hungry family. Since the cooking cream does all the work for you, with all the herbs and spices dinner can be on the table in an instant.

5 oz Philadelphia Brand Italian Cheese & Herb
1 cup lentils
½ cup celery diced
½ cup carrots diced
1 package turkey sausage
Salt-pepper to taste

In a 5quart pot bring water to a boil. Add lentils, carrots and celery cook until al dente. (About 25min)
While lentils are cooking in large sauté pan cook sausage until no longer pink (15 min). Remove from pan set aside.
Drain lentils, place back in sauce pan, add the cooking cream. Stir until cooking cream melts and is heated through.
Place lentils on a serving platter, top with turkey sausage.
Garnish with parsley if desired.

Until tomorrow eat well live well

Monday, August 22, 2011

Italian Rice Balls

It's week 5 in the Real Women of Philadelphia Cooking Contest. Congratulations to all the winners so far. Each winning recipe has been awarded $500.00 and a chance to get their winning recipe in the RWoP Cookbook Season2. I am working towards being one of them.

Ok It's INTERNATIONAL Appetizer week. We are challenged to get passports in hand and
create an appetizer inspired by another country. For me this is a no brainer. While I love lots of other countries appetizers my heart belongs to ITALY and this particular recipe has been in my family for forever. I just tweaked it a bit with the addition of Philadelphia Brand cream cheese and dare I say it was even a bit creamier and more delicious then ever. I am hoping its a $500.00 winner; nevertheless it is a winner in my family!

Recipe follows hope you enjoy.

Italian Rice Balls

These delicious little bites have been in my family forever. They are the most requested most loved appetizer. Family and strangers gobble them up. There is never enough no matter how many I make. The addition of the cream cheese in the rice balls as well as the dipping sauce just put them over the top. Yum!

1 cup cooked hot plain white rice
6 oz cream cheese (softened and divided)
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1 handful parmesan cheese
5 basil leaves chopped
Salt pepper to taste
Italian Panko bread crumbs
8oz of your favorite marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook rice according to package directions. Drain, do not rinse.
Place in a large mixing bowl and add 4 oz cream cheese along with the next 6 ingredients. Stir to incorporate & cheeses are melted.
Form into bite size balls. Coat in the bread crumbs. Set aside.
In a 2 quart sauce pot heat ½ cup of oil. You will know it’s ready when you insert a wooden spoon handle side in and the oil bubbles around it.
Fry the rice balls 2 by 2 until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

For the sauce: in a sauce pot heat your marinara along with the remaining 2 oz of cream cheese until hot and bubbly. Add a dash of pepperoncino if desired for a little kick.

Prep time :30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 50 min
Yield : 30 rice balls

Until tomorrow Eat well live well

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Working to your best ability

I was commissioned to make a cake for a young woman who is about to start a new chapter in her life. She is off to college and her family and friends are giving her a party to wish her well.

She had a simple request yellow cake with buttercream icing. No fancy flavors no foofy fondant just straight up and down yellow on white.

Ok so its all about the client and off I went to give her what she wants. Easy enough request, my cakes baked nicely and my buttercream has just enough sweetness and vanilla flavor to please this purist.

Now, the decorations. Ok here is where I can really show my stuff and when I began to think
of all the things I could do to decorate, it occured to me keep it simple but elegant. All she requested was Pink soooooooo. I know all the cakes out there that have edible decorations but I am still a novice (I am practing, practing) and sometimes I frustrate myself because I cannot deliver the level I am satisfied with. I am not too proud to take outside help.

I think these silk flowers are a nice touch to this cake. They give the cake just enough so that it has a WOW! factor. I am pleased and proud to present this to my client.

I have stopped beating myself up and go with what I know will work for me. Until I get better at edible flower decorations this is the way to go.

I hope she enjoys. I had a good time making this for her.
Good luck to you Jacquelyn your future is bright

Until tomorrow eat well live well

Monday, August 15, 2011

Impressive Desserts

This week in the Real Women of Philadelphia Contest is most everyone's favorite. DESSERT!

We are now challanged to create an IMPRESSIVE DESSERT. Here is my submission and how it came about. Do you think it's a $500.00 winner? I sure hope so.

Little Black Dressed to Impress Dessert Shells

When challenged with creating an IMPRESSIVE DESSERT I thought about all the fancy desserts I had either eaten, seen or made. Then I thought about going to fancy parties and what makes the best impression.”The Little Black Dress”. It’s simple, elegant, always correct and can be dressed up to wow. From that came these dessert shells. Simple ingredients dressed up to IMPRESS.

6 oz Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
2 Heaping tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons strawberry jelly
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 capfuls vanilla extract (divided)
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
6 store bought ready- made dessert shells

In a 3 quart heavy bottom sauce pot scald heavy cream until sides begin to bubble.
Do not boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and 1 capful vanilla. Let stand 3-5 minutes.
Then stir until chocolate and cream are incorporated to create a shiny pourable ganache´.
Place in a large measuring cup, set aside to cool.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, peanut butter, jelly, sugar and 1capful vanilla until fluffy. Spoon into dessert shells (mound it up); place filled dessert shells on a wire rack over a large baking sheet. Put in the refrigerator for 15 min to set up.

Remove dessert cups from fridge and pour cooled ganache´ over each shell making sure to cover completely. Add any topping you like for garnish (peanuts, strawberries, raspberries…) and a small piece of mint.
Place back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until ganache´ has hardened. Serve and Enjoy!

Until tomorrow eat well live well!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby's 1st Birthday

Aren't Birthdays fun? I don't care what your age or how much we protest, we all like to celebrate the day that is ours alone.

The most precious to any parent next to the day their child oficially came into this world I think is the childs first birthday.There is always a big celebration. Lots of people, children, jumpy games, pony rides you name it. Every 1st birthday party is filled with whatever the parent thinks might be fun. Most of the time the child doesnt realize what the heck is happening but they know it is something big and it involves them as the star of the show.

The cake is also one of the highlights. That is when we see how much of a mess one little child can make eating a piece of cake. Normally when the baby makes a mess we clean it right away, but somehow the more the mess the more we laugh, ooh and ahh and take pictures. Life is good.

So this is a cake I was commissioned to make for a friend who's child is turning ONE tomorrow.

Hope he enjoys, I had fun making it for him.

Vanilla cake with chocolate fudge inside and out. That ought to be messy enough. The clowns are already smiling in anticipation.

"HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY ANDREW" Bless you and many more. Let's eat cake!

Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

Week 3 for the Real Women of Philadelphia contest has begun and its entree week. The challange create your best Breakfast for dinner entree dish including of course Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese.
This was so easy for me. I have been making this recipe for years now and it never fails me. It is always always a winner with my family. A sinch to put together then bake it up. It is also versitile eaten hot, cold or room temp. Served with a side salad or fresh fruit its a hearty meal.Cut into small squares it makes a great appetizer. LOVE IT!

So now I share my latest submission. Enjoy!

Sausage Egg Pie

This has been a favorite Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch or Dinner meal with my family from the day I whipped it up. It came out of the need to feed everyone at different times. It is so versatile, can be eaten hot, cold or room temp; served with a side salad or fresh fruit. Cut it in small squares for a great appetizer. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser.

1 lb Italian sausage removed from casing (you can use turkey sausage)
1 cup biscuit mix
6 oz Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
8 oz mix cheddar and Swiss cheese
2 cups milk
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp garlic powder
6 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven 350°.
Grease 2 qt casserole dish
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain.
In large bowl mix sausage & remaining ingredients.
Pour into casserole dish.
Bake uncovered for 45-50 min

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time 50 min
Total time 60 min
Serves : 9

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Monday, August 1, 2011

Philled Zucchini Boats

And the competition continues. This is week 2 of the RWoP cooking contest where you have a chance to submit your winning recipe that might be worth $500.00 and a page in the RWoP Season 2 cookbook.
This week its all about the side dish so I stepped outside and gazed around my garden for some inspiration. The zucchini looked really good this morning so i put my thinking cap on and here is what I came up with. Wish me luck.

Philled Zucchini Boats

The inspiration for this dish came from what was available in my garden this morning. It was delicious with my sage roasted chicken.

5 oz Philadelphia Italian Cheese & Herb cooking cream
2 Medium zucchini sliced vertically in half pulp scooped out
1 medium shallot minced
1 clove garlic minced
6 baby Portobello mushrooms diced (or your favorite)
1 roasted red pepper diced
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
2 tsp plain bread crumbs
1 tsp grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven 350°
Slice zucchini vertically in half and scoop out pulp. Set aside.
Chop zucchini pulp. Set aside.
Sauté shallots and garlic in oil until translucent in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Add mushrooms, roasted red pepper (minus 2 tsp for garnish) and zucchini pulp. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté a few minutes more.
Add cooking cream and chopped basil, stir to incorporate and cook 1-2 minutes to blend all flavors together.
Fill zucchini boats with equal amounts of zucchini mushroom pepper mixture. Top each “boat” with breadcrumbs and Romano cheese.
Bake 18-20 minutes. Zucchini boat should be soft yet still have a crunch
Garnish with reserved roasted red pepper

Prep time 15 min
Cook time 20 min
Total time 35 min
Serves 2 (or 4)

Until Tomorrow eat well live well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

For Now

I know this blog is about food and recipes but today I had a personal turing point in my life and I began to ponder a lot of things. What am I doing with my life, am I where I want to be in my personal and professional life. I have always said I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family but some things you and you alone are responsible for. So I pondered a bit more, asked some questions to myself that maybe I really didnt want the answers to.

So humor me as I talk out loud.

“For Now”

Two words I dislike intensely. To me it means I have given in, lost the fight, and settled for less than what I really wanted.

We all know what happens when we say this is fine “for now”; let me fix it this way “for now”; I’ll stay in this job “for now”. It becomes a holding pattern, a shelving of ideas, dreams.

How long is “for now” anyway? Once we settle in, get comfortable, how long does it take before we forget to change the “for now” into what we really want as “forever”. When is it ok to leave it and just wish it were something more than it is?

I am as guilty as the rest when it comes to “for now”. I have a lot of those in my life. I don’t like it but I am not doing much to change it either. I forget to step out of my comfort zone and just begin to change.

“For now” is a band-aid; a temporary fix, a blanket for things we are not ready to take a closer look at. Like dishes in the sink, those extra 10 pounds – we know it’s there but if we ignore it long enough it will go away, hopefully.

So what if today, right now we stop with the “for now” and make everything “forever” like we wanted it in the first place? Do not sell out –sell short because we believe “some is better than none” another phrase I despise (we can cover that another time). Let’s work toward a goal. Set it and achieve it. Do not stop short be cause others think it silly, and unattainable, because it’s too hard, taking too long. Patience my friend “Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Everything is achievable if you want it bad enough. You have to work at it, for it, earn it with all your passion and strength. They say that 99% of failure could have been avoided if we just pushed on. We were so close to success but missed it because we gave in to “for now” too soon.

As we look around at other success stories with jealousy wishing and thinking if only that were me. Those who succeed, fulfill their dreams are no better or smarter than us. What makes them different from us is the fact that they didn’t settle for “for now”. All they see is the finish line in clear view. No matter how many times they were knocked down, told NO do it this way “for now” they never gave up. Like the energizer bunny they just kept going and going…….. Always keeping their eyes on the prize.

So who’s with me? Let’s make a concerted effort to turn one “for now” into one “forever”. Little by little it will become second nature not to settle for that quick fix, the band aid, and the phrase “for now” will be wiped out of our vocabulary. Once we do that we will come to expect and always get the “forever”.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Finding Inspiration

There are so many cooking contests out there in the culinary world, and I love to enter as many as I can. Hovwever there are times I am just at a loss as to where to begin in creating that winning dish.

I begin by thinking of all the foods I love and there are plenty. I always go with what I know and try to stay true to my cooking roots. Beginning is the hardest part so I try to break it down in sections.

What is the theme of the contest.

Keeping my recipe simple (if there are too many ingredients or steps no one will want to make it)

Make sure my ingreditents are available to a wide audience (I come from New York where you can get anything) but maybe someone in a smaller area doesnt have the selection I do

Using as many fresh ingredients as possible, keeping it healthy and flavorful.

A woman I admire (Paula Todora) and a Friend through a cooking community RWoP gave me some ideas on where to find inspiration and I wanted to share some of them with you.

Use your five senses.
The SMELL of food can conjure up an idea for a recipe

Overripe bananas can lead to a wonderful Banana Muffin, Banana Bread, Banana Pudding

Using a favorite dish or platter can help you create that perfect presentation

Browse the aisles in the grocery store or farmers market to see what looks good today

Take an already favorite recipe and deconstruct it, then put it back together to give it a completly new spin.

My head aches sometimes with all the ideas in my head. I always keep a pad and pen with me to jot down those ideas . Some of my better creations have come from mixing and matching flavors I never thought would go together.

Inspiration can come from everywhere all you have to do is keep your eyes and mind open.

I'm off to the kitchen to get cooking. who knows that next dish I create may just be a winner

Until tomorrow eat well live well

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Party Perfect Appetizer

Season 2 for the Real Women of Philadelphia contest has begun. Each week is a different theme. Create an original recipe within the theme and the only real rule is that it MUST contain at least 4 oz. of cream cheese.

$500.00 will be awarded to the best recipe that captures that theme; and secure a spot in the Season 2 RWoP cookbook.

This contest runs for eight weeks with a total of 40 winning recipes. This weeks theme, "Party Perfect Appetizers". You must include a short description of what inspired this appetizer and a photo. You may submit multiple recipes and your only limit is your imagination. Hundreds of recipes are flowing in. There are some really talented women (and men) out there. The photo presentations are beautiful and I am excited to try most if not all of these appetizers at my next gathering.

Here is my submission and I am quite happy with it as it's one of my favorite meals. Caprese Salad simple yet flavorful and satisfying; but taken to the next level. Hope you are inspired to try it.

Perfect Caprese Bites with Cream Cheese Basil Pesto Dipping Sauce.

6 oz Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese

2 plum tomatoes seeded and diced

1/4 cup fresh basil chopped

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella diced

salt- pepper-& garlic powder to taste

20 wonton wrappers

7 oz store bought pesto (or your own home made)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix 4 oz cream cheese with the pesto set aside.

Line wonton wrappers in mini muffin cups.

In a bowl combine tomatoes, mozzarella,and basil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Evenly divide caprese salad mixture among wonton cups. Top each with the remaining 2 oz of cream cheese.

Bake for 10-12 min; until cheeses are melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top each caprese bite with some cream cheese basil pesto.

Serve immediaetly with more basil pesto on the side for extra dipping.

Until tomorrow Eat well, Live well

Remove from the oven and finish with a teaspoon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Dinner

Happy Easter to all. Hope the Easter Bunny was good to everyone. I had a fabulous day with my family(we were 20 in all ranging from 80 to 9 months). We ate drank laughed and loved. I cooked a wonderful meal that was enjoyed by all. I am going to list the menu and post the pictures of some ot the dishes and let them speak for themselves.

I am thankful I have such a wonderful family it is a pleasure to share my life with them.

OK here's what we had. Some of my favorites are the traditional Italian dishes that define the Easter Holiday (at least for my family)

Appetizers: Mini Meatballs in sauce

Antipasto Platter

Pizza Rustica (Italian meats & Cheese in a Ricotta mixture encased in a savory pie dough).

Calms & Mussels in a garlicky beer & wine sauce (MMGOOD!!!)

Entree: Roasted Vegetables

Garden Salad


Fresh Pork Roast

Herbed Rice

Lard Bread / Celebration Bread (home made)

Dessert: Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese / Marscarpone Cheese Frosting

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Pizza Grain (Wheat Grain in Ricotta /custard mixture with orange oil & candied fruits)

A feast fit for a King wouldnt you agree. Yes I am truly Blessed. I try to remeber that everyday.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Bunny Cake (Frozen Butter Cream Transfer)

Here is a decorating technique I came across while I was trying to come up with an idea for a Bridal Shower cake I am commissioned to do next week.

It is called Frozen Buttercream Transfer. While it is not a new technique, I was not familiar with it and found it quite interesting.

I am going to post the link for the video as it is easier to watch and the video explains it much better than I could. I found it quite interesting and after viewing the how-to video (by Wilton) I thought I can do that!

Basically what you do is take any picture make a copy of it place it on a board cover it with wax paper or plastic wrap and proceed to color it in with buttercream. Once done you place it in the freezer for at least an hour up to 24 hours. Once frozen you then flip it over and place it on the cake. Its a 3-D effect that is really quite amazing to me. I am pretty pleased with my first attempt. It was really quite easy and believe me if I can do it anyone can do it.

This cake was a practice run. Now I have a picture of the Umbrella I want to make for the bridal shower cake. It's a bit different from all those flowers and stuff I personally find beautiful but same old same old.

Ok here is the link for the how to video and following is the recipe for the Butter cream.

Butter Cream Frosting:

1 cup crisco

3 sticks butter

2 tsps flavoring (vanilla, butter, lemon)

2 pounds confectioners sugar

Cream the butter and shortening well.

Add the flavoring

Slowly add the confectioners sugar

Mix on 8-10 speed for approximately 5-10 minutes for a smooth consistency.

Add more sugar if not stiff enough.

You can then divide the buttercream up and add food coloring (or gel coloring) as your picture or wishes dictates.

This is lots of fun hope you give it a try.

Until tomorrow Eat well Live well

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough Balls

I love making cookies, but for me the best part is the raw cookie dough. Stange you may say but I would bet there are a few of you out there who would agree. I am sure if we admit it, we have eaten more than our share of raw dough. I often wondered why I never got the suggested yeild amount of cookies, Then I figured it out. I tasted more dough than I actually got on the pan and into the oven. Recently I came across and idea from one of my favorite food sites and there it was. The answer to my delima. How to eat raw cookie dough and not have to apologize for it. Genius. The recipie was easy and even removed the raw eggs so there are no worries for those who have issues with that. I got to work right away and as you can see it worked out quite well. I used peanut butter chips and dark chocolate for mine but you can use your favorite combination. Heres how it goes. Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough Balls 2 lbs of your favorite chocolate chips 2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature) 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk Decorative toppings (optional) With a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour then add the milk. If desired mix in 1/2 cup of the chips into the dough. Cover fingers in flour and roll cookie dough into roughly 1 inch diameter balls. Place on a heavy weight sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put into the freezer for 1 -1 1/2 hours until chilled. Melt the remaining chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave on medium power for 30 second intervals) Using a dipping tool (a fork works nicely) add 1 frozen cookie ball at a time to the melted chocolate turning to coat. Place the coated cookie balls on a heavy weight sheet pan lined with parchment paper (now would be the time to add decorations (jimmies, color sprinkles, toasted coconut....) and refigerate until set (approx 10-15 minutes) Yeild: 60 Cookie dough balls Now you can enjoy in my opnion the best part of a cookie. The raw dough! Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cream Cheese Iced Carrot Cake Loaf

Many years ago I fell in love with carrot cake. I was a little amazed by this since I am not a big dessert eater and besides everyone would chide me for not picking a chocolate dessert as being one of my favorites.

Finally I figured out why I chose this dessert time after time; It was the Icing silly goose. CREAM CHEESE. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I figured out that the carrot cake was just a veichele for this lucious icing.

To this day anytime Im feeling like I need something I still go for the carrot cake. Makes me feel like Im still being a bit healthy. After all I use real carrots and raisins (thats a fruit) in my batter. I go so far as to replace any oil or butter with apple sauce and that gives the cake (loaf) a light moist texture.

Now we get to how I prepared the icing. I just took 4oz. of softened cream cheese, 2 tbsp white sugar and 1/4 or so cup vanilla flavored coffee creamer. I blended it with a hand mixer until I have a loose enough consistancy so I could pipe drizzle it on the cake; then gave it a dusting of cinnamon.

For me slice of this with a cup of my favorite jo and I'm a happy lady.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saint Patricks Day Feast

Ok I know its April 3rd, but every year my mom and I have a traditional St. Patricks day meal of Corned Beef & Cabbage ; however this year circumstances made it impossible to dine together on March 17th so we decided to have our St. Patty's day meal last evening.

While the meal was traditional my method of cooking the corned beef was a little different this time due to a recipe I had seen in a magazine.Here is my spin on that recipe. It turned out delish.

You will need:

1 4-5lb corned beef (with pickling spice packet)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

2 cans beer (whatever brand you like best)

1 cup dry white vermouth

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

4 cups water

1 medium head cabbage (I prefer savoy) cut into large chunks

6 small red potatoes cut into quarters

5 carrots peeled and cut into bite size chunks

In a large pot heat oil add onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat until fragrant. Add corned beef and sear on all sides until golden brown. Add beer,wine,2 cups water and pickling spice packet to the pot with the corned beef, cover and cook over medium heat for 2 1/2 hours.

At the end of 2 1/2 hours add the vegetables, spicy mustard and the other 2 cups of water. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for another 1/2 hour. Close the heat and allow the corned beef and vegetables to mellow out (approx 15 min).

Remove corned beef to cutting board and slice across the grain. Line a large serving platter with the cabbage and vegetables place sliced corned beef on top.Add a ladle or so of the cooking juices over the top eat and enjoy!

This meal was as easy as delicious. We ate it along with a glass of cold beer some good rye bread and a bit more spicy mustard.

So you see any day can be Saint Patrick's Day!

Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Whats for Dinner???????????

Roast Chicken over Garlicy Escarole. This has to be one of my top 10 favorite dinners. It's a simple hearty meal that just does it for me everytime. Forget that it's both figure and Diabetic (I am one) friendly, it's just plain goooooooooooood!

Take one whole chicken (3-4lbs) and rub it with just about every and any herb in your cubbord.Salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry, rosemary, complete seasoning..... (what ever you like best) .

Drizzle it with lemon juice and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes. (until the juices run clear or it registers 165 on a thermometer).

For the escarole. Heat some oil (I use canola) in a large pot add chopped fresh garlic, salt, pepper to taste and some additional garlic powder. Saute for a few minutes to soften the garlic before adding 2 heads of washed chopped escarole. Cover and cook until the escarole is wilted but still has a little crunch.

With a slotted spoon place escarole on a large serving platter .(Don't throw away the juice save it and add to chicken stock. I drink it out of a cup OK so I'm strange).Layer the roasted chicken over the escarole and prepare to embark on a flavorful satisfying meal.

Until tomorrow Eat Well, Live Well

Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake w/ Orange Glaze

Feeling a bit restless and craving something this beautiful Sunday morning in New York I decided to bake. I am usually not a sweet eater (I'd rather waste my calories on savory) but every once in a while.........

As I sifted through my pantry I came upon a few ingredients I thought would go together nicely.

Ok I took a bit of help from store bought items but I think this was a winner just the same.

1 box yellow cake mix

1 box sugar free orange jello

1 cup fresh cranberries ( these were fresh cranberries I bought and had in my freezer)

1 /4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 cup confectioners sugar

orange slices and cranberries (optional for garnish)

Make cake according to box directions. Add the jello, cranberries and mayonnaise.

Place batter into a bundt pan and bake for 35-4o minutes in a 350 degree oven. Check for doneness using the toothpick method.

Cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out on cooling rack and cool completly.

For the glaze:

Mix together the orange juice with the powdered sugar until you reach a thick yet pourable consistancy. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

Garnish with orange slices and cranberries. Serve and enjoy!

For me this hit the spot. It was like a brunch treat. The combination of orange and cranberries was refreshing just enough sweet and tart, the perfect balance. I had a peice with a lovely cup of coffee and satisfied my craving.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Celebration Bread

Making bread has always been something I love to do though I don't do it as often as I like. I have never used a bread machine, I mix and knead every loaf the old school way; by hand. I find it quite relaxing and theraputic to feel the raw ingredients come to life in my hands.

I have numerous bread recipes in my collection (I even produced some tasty bagels) but my favorite by far would be the "Celebration Bread". This bread is fool proof and has never let me down. Friends and family request it again and again.

I am not sure where this bread recipe came from but it was given to my mother years ago and I adopted it as my own. I even gave it it's name; due to the nature of what this bread was originally used for.

My mother teaches religion classes (for over 20years now) to 7yr olds preparing them to make their First Holy Communion. Every year in the Lenten Season they have a retreat where the children gather for the day and create banners for their Communion Day as well as make bread to symbolize the bread Christ shared with his 12 Apsotles at the Last Supper. Each year I help my mother prepare the bread for the children and to me it was a celebration so everytime I refered to the bread I called it "Celebration Bread" and the name just stuck.

This year my mother was unable to make the bread so I took on the task myself, producing 92 loaves of these little beauties. I make the bread the night before allowing it to rise and then each child is given a piece to shape their own loaf. We bake it and then they get to take it home. It is quite nice for the kids as they are quite proud of what they have produced, excited to share this bread with their famlies.

As I said this bread is fool proof. It comes out perfect every time. You cannot over knead it, beat it, flour it (you should see what the children put it through) so even if you have never made bread before I highly recommend you try this recipe. It even freezes well.
Here is what you will need to yeild
2 loaves of bread (1.25 lbs each) or
6 mini loaves (7oz each) or
18 dinner rolls.

1 packet dry yeast (I have used both rapid rise and regular) both work equally well.
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup skim milk powder
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl combine yeast, sugar , milk powder and water. Mix with a wooden spoon allowing yeast to dissolve and incorporate with other ingredients.
Add salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour. Stir well with wooden spoon.
Now add 2 more cups of flour and continue to mix with wooden spoon until incorporated.
At this point you will be able to turn the dough out onto a floured board. Using the last cup as needed. (depending on the day you may use all 6 cups of flour or not).
Knead the dough until smooth and silky approximatley 5-8minutes.
Place in a warm environment covered with a clean towel (I also use a blanket) and allow to rise. This should take approximately 45-60 minutes.
Punch down, shape into loaves (I free form them) or you can place in a disposable loaf pan and allow to rise a second time. Approx 30 minutes.
Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so I open the oven and mist the bread with water this creates steam in the oven producing a beautiful brown crispy crust.

This bread is sooooooooooo good just like this, but after doing it for some time now I have expanded on it a bit by adding pesto to the mix or chopping some greek olivesin and even shredding whatever cheeses I have on hand at the time to create a completly different taste. This recipe has endless combinations. It's limited to your imagination.
So go ahead and give it a try. I know you will enjoy it and really be suprised at how easy it is to make. Your family and friends will thank you and think you are a rock star.

Until tomorrow. Eat well, Live well.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bruno's 50th Birthday

It was my pleasure to have cooked this weekend for my Brother in law Bruno to celebrate his 50th Birthday. I have known this wonderful man for over 35 years. He is a brother to me forget the in-law. We celebrated with 150 of his closest friends and family. There was a lot of food, drink , laughter and LOVE.

My sister(Patricia) and I made the entire meal consisting of all Brunos favorite dishes. Sausage & peppers, Pasta Bolenese, Marinated roasted chicken, Flank Steak in a butter & red wine sauce.

There were mounds of Italian Antipast Platters, Shrimp and of course his favorite cake (yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting).

The party was a success and I am proud to have been a part of making his 50th birthday one he will remember for a long time.

You know with me its all about food family and making everyone happy.

Here's to you Bruno may you see another 50 years and then some.

the link to view pictures of some of the dishes I presented

Until tomorrow eat well live well

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Moving Forward

As I ready myself for the coming week of the New Year I am focusing on my goals for 2011 "To Move Forward". It's time to get going , stop walking in place pick and up the pace.

I am blessed to have a good, supportive family and friends but they cannot get me to where I want to be. Only I can achieve my goals. I am the one responsible to make things happen in my life be it a new career, a new home more money.

I am going to focus everyday on makeing small changes. To eat healthier, exercise more be kinder to those around me. One smart choice leads to another. I want to be all I can this coming year. No more excuses , no more wishing it were so. I want to remember to say thank you for all my good fortune and blessings. I need to share my goodness with others and rejoice in that satisfaction.

I look forward to using all my talents for good , to enrich my life as well as those around me. This is my idea of moving forward.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Begins

Hope everyone had a Happy New Year. The last of the "Offical" holiday. A sign that the holidays are over but really it just the start of new beginnings.
2011... I am sure we have all made our resolutions to do what ever it is we have been meaning to do. Lose a few lbs., exercise more, save money...... whatever.

I suggest that in 2011 we all resolve to be kinder to ourselves, to stop beating ourselves up for not being perfect at our diets, not exercising enough , not being as paitent as we should with our family co-workers, friends. Instead lets pat ourselves on the back for all the little accomplishments, the baby steps that lead to big strides. Do what you can and be happy with that. Lets not set ourselves up for failure , rather success. Strive to eat a little better everyday to walk a few more steps. Hold your tounge when all you really want to do is make a comment.
What seems like nothing will in fact add up little by little and before you know it we will have reached our goals. To like who we are for what we are. Remembering that no one is perfect and in fact it is our imperfections that make the person who is loved and respected by those around us.

Let 2011 be the year of you. Once your house is in order you can be all the more to those around you. You can be that better friend, wife , daughter, son ....... Things will naturally fall into place when you are happy with the skin you are in. When we love ourselves it is so much easier for others to love us. We project positive and in return receive positive.

So happy 2011 to you. Get going on all those things you want to accomplish no matter how big or small. Time passes all too quickly as we well know. Lets strive to make everyday the best day of our lives.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.
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