Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My good friends from Dallas insist on these spicy barbecued skewered shrimp every time they visit. These are on the spicy side, but by simply adjusting the amounts of the spicy ingredients you can control the HEAT!!!!!!
There are a lot of ingredients but worth all the work. I like to serve these with other skewered marinated meat and chicken. A skewer party - finger food - easy to eat..and my husband is the grill guy so I only have the prep work to do.
When shopping for the shrimp buy shrimp that
are at least a 21-25 count which means there are 21-25 shrimp per pound. I prefer buying fresh shrimp, but you can use frozen, thawed and deveined. This recipe would serve 8 people as a main course or about 12 people as an appetizer.
4 lbs fresh shrimp (no smaller than 21-25 count), deveined.
3 shallots finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 lemon sliced, reserving 3 tbl juice
2 sticks of butter
1 cup ketchup
1 cup olive oil
1 cup worcestershire
5 tbl light brown sugar
5 tbl chili powder
3 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbl, plus 2 tsp salt
Tabasco to taste
After you have taken the shell off the shrimp and cleaned and deveined them, put them in a 13 x 9 pan. Combine 3 tbl chili powder and 1 tbl salt in a bowl. Rub this mixture over all the shrimp, cover the pan and put it in the refrigerator while you make the marinade.
In a saucepan over medium high heat melt all the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and cook about 5minutes. Don't let the garlic burn. Add ketchup, oil, brown sugar, worcestershire, lemon with juice, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, cayenne, 2 tbl chili powder and 1 tsp salt. Cook covered for 20 minutes until it starts to thicken. Remove form the heat, uncover and let cool to room temperature. Take out the lemon slices and bay leaves. Taste and add Tabasco to your desired spiciness.
Take the shrimp out of the refrigerator and pour about 1-1/2 cups of the marinade over the shrimp. Stir so all the shrimp is soaking up the marinade. Cover the pan and refrigerate the shrimp for at least 1-1/2 hours. Cover the rest of the marinade so you can use it for a dip when the shrimp is done.
Skewer the shrimp about 3-4 on each skewer. Toss the marinade that was on the shrimp. Cook skewered shrimp on a grill for about 2-3 minutes a side until shrimp curl up and are pink all the way through. Heat the rest of the marinade that was saved.
Serve on a platter with a bowl of the marinade....a SUPERBOWL favorite!! So great to munch on.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Who doesn't LOVE mac & cheese. This is so tasty with the wonderful flavors of fontina and gruyere cheeses. If you have different favorite cheeses try them. I feel better making it with cauliflower and pasta..... seems healthier...right!!!!!

Ingredients (can serve about 10 people)

1-1/2 lbs of cauliflower cut in about 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups shredded fontina cheese
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1 box penne pasta cooked til just about done
8 oz pancetta, cut in small cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
3-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
2 tbl white wine
1 stick unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups italian breadcrumbs
1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Combine breadcrumbs, 2 tbl melted butter, parsley, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper set aside. In a large ovenproof pot cook pancetta over medium heat. Remove it and let it drain on paper towel. In the same pan add cauliflower and cook in pancetta fat for about 10 minutes. Add tbls of butter as needed, up to about 3 tbl to cook the cauliflower. Transfer cooked cauliflower to a bowl and pour the pancetta fat and butter on top. Put a couple tbl of water in the pan and get all the good bits off the bottom and pour this over the cauliflower.

In the same pan melt 3 tbl butter and add flour to make a paste. Make sure all the flour is combined so there are no lumps. Add the wine and milk and cook about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add cheeses...yyyyuuuuummmmmmm..., cayenne, nutmeg, cream, pasta salt and pepper to taste. Add pancetta and cauliflower back to pot and mix. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven to broil and broil a few minutes until the breadcrumbs become golden brown...

My mouth is watering..this is so creamy and delicious.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Sweet and sour chicken...who doesn't love it...this is very simple and since the chicken is not breaded or deep fried it is far more figure case you were caring about that..... I serve this with brown rice which again is a better health me the flavors grab at you and as Dave would say it is a meal that is a sweet treat but healthy too....

2 tbl canola oil
2 boneless chicken breasts cut in strips
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup canned pineapple chunks reserve juice
3 tbl light brown sugar
3 tbl rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
4 tsp cornstarch with 4 tsp water

In a saute pan with canola oil heat over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and add to pan. When chicken is golden brown on all sides remove from pan and drain oil on paper towels. In the same pan add peppers and cook for 3 minutes. Add pineapple chunks, juice, water chestnuts, sugar, vinegar and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer and add the combination of cornstarch and water until thickened. Add chicken to pan and heat until cooked through. serve over rice.
It is a very light dish. You could add some soy sauce if you want as well.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I am so very sorry to my loyal followers that I did not have a new post yesterday. We had a big birthday bash at our house (pictured above) and I got distracted. I Love Love having parties and this one was great. At the party I made my famous Caesar salad dressing and here it is....
serves about 6 people
6 small heads of romaine lettuce
4 tbl fresh shaved parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic
4 egg yolks
2 anchovies
1 tbl dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
In a wooden bowl cut a garlic clove in half and season the bowl on the bottom and sides. Make sure every inch and a half is seasoned...the smell is divine anyway. In a blender combine all other ingredients except lettuce, croutons cheese, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste it...I always add some salt but the anchovies are very salty so be careful with that...but I love the YOU choose your taste level....
Combine with romaine , shaved cheese and croutons.
If you do not have the wooden bowl to serve in, just blend all ingredients and it will still be wondefulish...

Friday, March 26, 2010


Well for starters, this is an actual picture of the dish I just made for a party tomorrow...YES I took this picture at my kitchen counter....if you didn't know, all the other pictures so far have been found elsewhere on the internet, but of course they always look a lot like my finished product....Rachel are you proud of me????

I am serving this to my family at a party tomorrow. Now most people would think of an antipasto platter as a platter with slices of meats and cheeses and maybe some olives, peppers, etc. While I do like this serving style too, I like my guests to be able to take a scoop of this antipasto, get all the great flavors in one bite with no need for silverware. I serve it with hot crostini so it becomes more like an unbelievably good antipasto bruschetta. The fact that it is also a "make it the day before" appetizer makes me have more time greeting and enjoying my guests when they arrive.

I don't like much heat in my food so if you like heat just add some pepperocinis, or hot giardiniera which is found near the roasted red peppers and italian artichokes in your market.


10 oz jar roasted red peppers chopped, reserve juice

12 oz jar marinated artichokes chopped, reserve juice

6 oz jar pitted kalamata olives chopped reserve juice

10 oz sopressata (salami) diced very small

10 oz genoa salami diced very small

12 oz smoked mozzarella diced very small
12 oz provolone diced very small
10 oz mild (or hot) giardiniera, reserve juice

This serves about 12-15 people as an appetizer, so vary the ingredients for your guest size. In a large bowl combine salamis and cheeses. Add red peppers, artichokes, kalamata olives and giardiniera. Combine all the reserved juices form the red peppers, artichokes, giadiniera and olives and stir. Add about 1/2 cup to the bowl. Stir and taste. Keep adding more juice until your desired flavor. You may want to add some additional olive oil, red wine vinegar or just more juices from the jars of the peppers, artichokes and olives. I find that the juices I reserve seem to be enough to compliment the other ingredients.
I usually plate this in a bowl with a nice red leaf or romaine on the bottom and just pile this on top so that some of the lettuce leaves surround the outside of the bowl, or you can simply serve it like the picture above. A true crowd pleaser and easy to eat while standing at a cocktail party.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I love chicken marsala. I love the sweet taste of the marsala wine.....well I guess I like all wine so that might not be saying much. But this recipe is so easy and you can make it for one, two or twenty people, easy no matter how many people you are serving.
One key is good mushrooms. I prefer crimini. These are baby portabellas and have more flavor than white button mushrooms. I don't like using shitake or others that may have to be rehydrated...I think they overpower the dish. These ingredients would serve about 4 people, so just adjust for the number you are serving.
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup olive oil
3 oz prosciutto (optional) chopped
8 oz crimini mushrooms cut in half
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth, plus 1 tbl
2 tbl butter
1 tbl flour, plus 1/2 cup for dredging
Chicken breasts should be placed under plastic wrap and pounded with a mallet until they are between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Put 1/2 cup flour on a plate and add a good amount of salt and pepper at least a tsp each.
Heat oil over medium high heat. Dredge chicken breasts in flour and add to oil and cook about 4-5 minutes a side until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.
At medium heat add prosciutto (if using) to the pan and cook for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and saute until most of the liquid of the mushrooms is evaporated about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the mushroom mixture. Add the Marsala wine and boil until reduced. Add the chicken broth and let cook down a bit more. Stir in the butter and add chicken back to pan and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, mix the 1 tbl chicken broth and 1 tbl flour together and add to sauce. Remove pan from heat and continue to stir until thickened. This is great with pasta or vegetables, asparagus is best it just soaks up the marsala flavor so nicely.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I have not perfected the calzone, but I work on it often to get the ratio of dough to ingredients to liquid. I will post my calzone when it is READY. In the process I came across this little beauty. It just seems to have the perfect balance of oil to vinegar and the spices are a great balance too.
A product of V. Formusa Co. based in Chicago under the brand Marconi, I found it at a grocery-size Italian market. Not sure how widespread it is marketed, but worth looking for or they do have a website. Just go to You will also find tons of great products on this site including some standard Italian salad dressings and vinaigrette's. Even when I don't quite achieve the perfection I want in my calzone, the flavor of this makes all the cold cuts I use taste great and all subs are fantastic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Well fans, let me set the record straight. I don't eat dessert....sorry...I know it is insane, but I am just not a big fan. I like a good cheesecake with fresh berries, but I do not like the taste of chocolate. Now you are scratching your head looking at this picture and asking why I would blog chocolate...
Well, my husband LOVES chocolate and we have made these for a number of parties and some guests MUST eat one even before dinner. We take a bit of an easy route by using boxed cake mix, but if you have a scratch recipe for cake/cupcakes by all means go with that. I think the secret is to buy a boxed cake mix that you know is moist and creamy. We make the cupcakes by package directions and let them cool.
In the meantime we make the whipped cream.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbl sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a mixer whip the heavy cream until it begins to form peaks. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. When the cupcakes have cooled, put the whipped cream in a pastry bag with a long pointed tip. Simply make an incision in the top of the cupcake and squeeze the bag and you will see them plump up with a great cream filling.
At this point, the world is your oyster. Most people like them topped with some of the whipped cream, but my daughter likes a cake style frosting and even at age 23 likes sprinkles and other cute "children's" toppings.
These are so easy and great for someone like me who could never be a pastry chef. I will try to add more desserts but I may need a reminder!

Monday, March 22, 2010


I don't know about you but I seem to buy
too many bananas and I don't eat them fast
enough and then they start to get a few brown spots and then I don't really want to eat them.

So the only thing left to do is make banana
bread!!!!! I make this probably once a month
and send it off with my husband to his office
and he claims it is devoured within minutes.
Many of his co-workers have asked for this recipe.

Super simple and delicious. If you like nuts
in your banana bread..simply add to the
mixture after if is fully combined.


2 cups bananas mashed with a fork
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine last four ingredients. You know the rule in baking is always to have a bowl for wet ingredients and one for dry. Using a mixer, combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix until combined, but bananas can still be a bit chunky.

Pour into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. If you prefer muffins, grease a muffin tin and fill with mixture and cook at 350 for about 25 minutes. Always check for doneness by using a toothpick or fork. Place the toothpick or fork in the deepest part of the loaf and if it comes out clean then it is done. Cool on a rack. My favorite way to enjoy this bread is to slather a slice with cream cheese....yummy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This is new for me, I am actually blogging a restaurant. This is not just any restaurant. My apologies to my followers who do not live around the Chicago area and may not be able to visit Wildwood.
Opened in April 2006, only months before I made my return to IL, it is a treasure in Geneva Illinois. I have tried almost everything on the menu and have never been disappointed. Having said that, my go to dish is always the Australian Barramundi baked on a cedar plank and served with a mango salsa. Barramundi is sometimes called Asian Seabass. All the fish is wonderful...the Door County whitefish and the Dover Sole are fabulous. Love Dover Sole and it just doesn't show up on many menus. For you meat lovers they have the best center cut pork chops and their veal oscar with a huge king crab leg is to die for.
They have a great wine list and the service is impeccable. Sorry to you Bernie that I never took you there but come on over and I will!!!!!...promise. Kathy we were there but just drank wine and beer, remember?
Just go to to find out more.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I always worried that the only way to get good orange chicken or even sweet and sour chicken was to start dialing the phone to my local chinese take out. But I tried a bunch of ways to make orange chicken and found this to be spectacular!!! If you don't like it too sweet add a bit more soy sauce and less citrus juices and brown sugar. I serve it over rice but it can be a meal all by itself. Try to use fresh fruit juices if you can.

2 full boneless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1-1/2 cups water, plus 2 tbl
3 tbl orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbl soy sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ginger minced
1 shallot minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tbl orange zest
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbl corn starch
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbl canola oil

In a small sauce pan combine 1-1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar and soy sauce over medium high heat. Then add, orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, shallot, garlic and red pepper. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and let it cool. At this point you should taste the sauce to check the sweetness. Add more juice or more soy depending on what you like.

When the sauce cools pour 1 cup into a ziploc bag and add chicken pieces to marinate. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.

In a large shallow bowl combine panko, flour salt and pepper. After the chicken has marinated, dredge the pieces in the panko, flour mixture.

Heat oil in a pan and in batches add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through. Drain excess oil from the chicken on paper towels. When you are done cooking the chicken, wipe out the pan and add the remaining sauce. Heat to a boil and add the cornstarch and remaining water. You should combine the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl first to remove any lumps. Turn heat to low and stir until sauce thickens. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Well I have had a long day.....locked my keys in the car with the car BLONDE. So today I have to give you all an easy recipe because my head is obviously not screwed on right.

This is Rachel's favorite dish that I make. In fact in my three ring binder of recipes it is called "Rachel's Favorite". It a mushroom and asparagus pasta dish. It is also a good one for all of us in keeping with our Lenten promise for no-meat Fridays.

Again this is a recipe you can change up by changing the vegetables. You should use a hearty vegetable that can stand up to 10-15 minutes of cooking like cauliflower for example.

1 box penne pasta
5 tbl unsalted butter
1 lb of mushrooms either button or cremini quartered
1 lb asparagus chopped into 1/4 in pieces
1 clove garlic minced
1 shallot minced
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp nutmeg
parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts toasted and chopped (optional)

While making the sauce, cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente and drain

Meanwhile melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and saute until the water from the mushrooms is mostly gone, about 5-7 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook about 5 minutes. Stir in mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, nutmeg and let it cook until it thickens a bit about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the pasta and toss in the mixture to combine. Taste the sauce, if it needs salt and pepper add to taste. I like a little kick so I add pepper for sure. Add the walnuts if you desire. Serve with a nice crusty Italian bread.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Girard's makes a wide variety of salad dressings, I think about 20 in all. Girard's began in the mid 1930's with an original French salad dressing. With its popularity, Wilfred Girard opened Girard's French Restaurant in San Francisco.
The salad dressing company has been bought and sold a few times moving up and down the California coast to its current home in Los Angeles.
So famous for high quality ingredients and their trademark triangle bottles, these dressings are great. My favorite is the Light Caesar dressing.
On grocery shopping day, I buy an assortment of vegetables and chop them up and put them in individual glad containers and store them in the refrigerator. During the week, my family's favorite appetizer is to dip the fresh vegetables in the salad dressing. A confession---- Wheat Thins and Triscuits taste pretty good "dipped" as well. Makes me feel better when our dinner may not include enough vegetables, it's a fun way to get your daily.
Try it and you will LOVE it. It is sold in most grocery stores or online at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This snack will always remind me of my daughter Rachel and her friends hanging around the kitchen island going crazy for these. Needless to say I have made millions of them. You have to freeze them for anywhere from 4 to 24 hours before you can cook them so you need to plan ahead. Just serve with your favorite marinara sauce for a crunchy cheesey treat!

1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup italian breadcrumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese grated
5 eggs
2 (16 oz) whole milk mozzarella cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups canola oil
Marinara sauce

Cut the mozzarella cheese into sticks about 1/2 wide. In a shallow bowl combine both kinds of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl beat eggs. Working in batches, dip the mozzarella sticks in the egg mixture. Drain excess egg off and then put sticks in the breadcrumb mixture. After you coat them all over, lay them on your counter over wax paper or on a baking sheet. After you coat the sticks once, repeat by putting them back in the egg mixture and an additional coating of the breadcrumbs. Place the twice coated sticks in a covered container and put in the freezer.

When you are ready to cook, heat the oil in a saute pan. Make sure the oil is really hot. Fry the sticks for about a minute a side until they are golden brown. Drain them on paper towel. I like to sprinkle them with a dusting of parmesan cheese and serve while warm with your favorite marinara sauce.

Since my family loves these, I make big batches of them and freeze them in freezer paper in groups of about 10. Make sure you keep them separated from each other in the freezer paper so they don't freeze together. So when someone has a craving I can just pull them out of the freezer and they are ready within minutes. A big crowd pleaser.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Is this my week for soup or what? This soup IS a meal and there is no need for anything else. With the hearty meatballs and the great stock and pasta, some nice italian bread, some good cabernet and your favorite TV drama..all good to go. Again as in many other recipes on this blog, you can add lots of other things....carrots, celery...I just happen to like it the way I make it.
8 oz (95%) ground beef
8 oz ground pork or veal
2 shallots minced
2 tsp minced garlic cloves
1/3 cup chopped italian parsley
3 large eggs
1 slice white bread crust off and cut in small pieces
1/2 cup parmesan cheese plus 3 TBL
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
12 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade
1 lb curly endive chopped
small pasta
First step is to make the meatballs. In a bowl combine onion, parsley, one egg, garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, bread, beef and pork or veal. Roll into very small meatballs and place on wax paper.

Bring broth to a boil and add meatballs and endive. Cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil water and cook 8 oz of a very small pasta. In a small bowl whisk 2 eggs and 3 tbl cheese. Stir the soup while pouring the egg mixture into pot. Taste and add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to desired taste. Add pasta to the soup and serve.

Serve with bread and extra parmesan cheese....WONDERFUL...again so easy.. I make big batches of this soup and freeze it in two serving containers for myself and my husband. I do not add cooked pasta to the ones I freeze as pasta tends to expand. So when I take ones from the freezer I cook a little pasta and add it when it is hot and ready to serve.

Monday, March 15, 2010


This tomato soup is so easy. It only has 6 ingredients takes about 15 minutes to make...that's it!!!!
I like to serve it with crusty bread and some shredded cheese on top, any cheese you like...I am addicted to cheese.
1 (32 oz) box of good chicken broth. Swanson or Progresso
1 (28 oz) can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh basil, 10 good size leaves
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
salt to taste
Cook broth and tomatoes over medium heat. When it starts to boil add the cream, basil and pepper. Taste it and add salt to your desired flavor. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take it off the stove and blend it until smooth in a food processor.
That's It!!! Dinner is served!.. So delicious and easy

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Wine and two favorite things.... At my sister Mary Ann's house yesterday she said several followers of my blog wanted a secret to a good wine and cheese event. So very easy and frankly so delicious. The hardest part is determining the progression of samplings and the snacks to serve.

So let's start with the snacks that will help the palate move through the sampling. For the white wine samplings a melody of sliced melons, mild dried fruits,water crackers and almonds. When you move to the reds your snack selection should include rustic hearty bread, salami, preferably a sopprasata which is a bit more spicy than a genoa salami and at the end a nice dark chocolate. As one of my favorite people reminded me, cheese should ALWAYS be served at room temperature to capture its fullest flavor. So make sure you take the cheese out of the refrigerator at least 3 hours ahead of time.

Pairings are below and should be served in this order...mild to strong...white to red...meek to robust...



Champagne (Moet or like) with a nice Gouda or Edam

Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese

Chardonnay and brie


Pinot Noir and Gruyere

Cabernet or Port with Maytag bleu cheese and dark chocolate.

Again, the focus is not only the cheese and wine but the snacks in between that cleanse the palate between wine and cheese flavors. For this event an interesting table design is also a crowd pleaser. One of my favorites is getting a big tablecloth and putting empty boxes or upside down bowls on the table covering them with the tablecloth and placing snacks/cheese on top of them to give your table a dimension like a top notch restaurant buffet.

To serve the wines you need at least three different glasses per person. One champagne flute, one white and one red. If you have won the lottery and can serve a different glass per wine, please be related to me and add me to your will in a big way. The snacks should be displayed by the types of wine they are paired with. As always buy the wine and cheese at markets that have people who can help you chose the best types within your budget.


Saturday, March 13, 2010


I know I think if you want clams you have to go to a restaurant. Scary to think about making them at home. Heck buying them for me was scary. How do you know if they are good? Well it is MUCH easier than you think. When shopping for clams, go to a market that has a good fish counter. Look at the clams and make sure they are closed. Buy a few more than you think because you will inevitably find some that are not good in the bunch.

When you get them home, scrub the outside of the clams to remove all residual sand and rinse thoroughly. If any are slightly open, try to close them. If they stay closed they are fine. If they don't they are no good...toss those.

Keep cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. Keep them in an open container so they get air. If you close them up they will die. Feel free to add some bacon, pancetta or smoky andouille sausage to the broth for even more flavor.
6 dozen clams
4 tbl olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic chopped
2 shallots chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cups clam juice or water
2 tbl lemon juice
4 tbl butter
1/4 cup fresh italian parsley chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Toasted sliced baguette or pasta
In a saucepan over medium high heat cook garlic and shallots in olive oil, about 4 minutes. Add white wine and let cook down. Add clam and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add the clams. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until all the clams are open. With cover off add butter parsley, salt and pepper. Cook until butter is melted. Serve with toasted sliced baguette or over pasta.
Great as an appetizer with bread or a meal served over pasta.

Friday, March 12, 2010


These pickles are the best ever. Better than Vlasic or any other brand I have tried. I just eat them out of the jar but they are so good in so many recipes or just as a side for any sandwich.

This relish is AMAZING!!! You will never make tuna salad without it again. Great on hamburgers and hot dogs and in potato salad. There is even a spicy version.
A MUST have in the refrigerator. If you can't find them in your local grocery, just go to . and order some. One of my absolute favorite foods.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This recipe like yesterdays can be made differently every time by changing up some ingredients. It is a great vegetarian dish or you can add ground meat or sausage to it to make it even more hearty. This is a very budget friendly meal.
6 bell peppers (any color you prefer)
1 zucchini grated
1/4 cup kalamata olives finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 shallot finely chopped
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/1-2 cups orzo pasta (or very small pasta)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine zucchini, olives, shallot, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, 1/2 cup cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Meanwhile, cook pasta about 4 minutes in boiling salted water or chicken broth. Don't overcook the pasta, it should be only halfway cooked. Drain pasta but reserve pasta water or broth. Stir pasta with the vegetable mixture. Put the pasta water/broth in the bottom of a baking dish big enough to fit all the peppers.
Cut tops off peppers and clean out all seeds and extra skin inside. You should cut a thin slice off the bottoms so the peppers stand up in the dish.
Fill each pepper with the pasta and vegetable mixture. Put the stuffed peppers in the baking dish. Cover the dish with tin foil to prevent burning and cook peppers for about 45 minutes. Mix the last 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Remove the foil and top each pepper with the cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes until cheese mixture browns.
So delicious and a meal in itself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

PASTA PRIMAVERA (simple and cheap)

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it new every time by choosing different vegetables and adding a few twists. I will list some possible twists at the end of the recipe. It can be made for small or large groups of people very simply and cheaply. I will give you the basics of the method here.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
My Favorite Vegetable Ingredients:
(You can cut these vegetables into strips or cubes, but all should be about the same shape.)
yellow and red pepper
snow peas
yellow squash
cherry tomatoes (these seem a must to me)
After you chop your choice of vegetables place them on a big baking dish.
1 shallot diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-1/2 tbl herbs de provence
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
Mix all together on the baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes. Stir vegetables after first 10 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta of your choice. Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta liquid in case the vegetables soak up all the chicken broth.Toss the pasta with the vegetables and add pasta water if needed. Season with salt and pepper and serve with parmesan cheese.
TWISTS: You can also add toasted pine nuts, toasted almonds, cashews, black olives, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts (drained), roasted red peppers....possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Weather man says highs in the 50's!!!!!
Time to break out the first spring recipe...and the simplest ever!
Yogurt and Granola Dressings:
8 oz of plain yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups good fresh granola
Combine all ingredients except granola in a bowl keep cool. Pour granola in a small serving bowl with a serving spoon.
The key to this recipe is the fruit. The freshest berries are best combined with a nice melon selection. If you are using bananas slice them and put them in a little citrus juice (lemon or orange) so the bananas don't discolor.
To serve pour fruit into a serving bowl, pour yogurt dressing in another and the granola in another. Let your guests combine the three as they like. Great for brunch, lunch or a nice refreshing dinner dessert.

Monday, March 8, 2010


This sauce is can make it as spicy as you like by adjusting the red pepper flakes. I believe using San Marzano tomatoes is the key. They are more expensive but they have such a wonderful taste and worth the extra buck per can.


1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium spanish onion chopped
3 cloves garlic diced
2 tbl fresh oregano chopped
2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt, pepper
pasta of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Heat olive oil in a saute pan that you can eventually transfer to the oven covered. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, add red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy), dried oregano and vodka. Simmer until liquid reduces.

Add tomatoes but reserve juice from cans. Add 2 tsp salt and pinch of pepper. Cover pan and put it in the oven for an hour and a half. Let cool for 20 minutes. Put sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return it to the pot and add heavy cream, fresh oregano and taste to see if it needs salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Serve over pasta of your choice with parmesan cheese.

This is so tasty you will be making it over and over again. ENJOY!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Okay so last night I stayed up too late and was kareoking in Galena with a group of people I didn't know so this is a rough one for me...haha.
This vegetable recipe is so delicious and a great side dish that goes with steaks, chicken or fish. I see my friend Rich is a follower who hates nuts in his food so he can certainly omit them, but they are a key component in my opinion.


3 tbl teriyaki sauce

1-1/2 tbl honey

1-1/2 tbl unsalted butter

1-1/2 tbl fresh lemon juice

3 slices of good bacon

3/4 cup red bell peppers cut in strips

2 carrots sliced into thin coins

1 small zucchini sliced into thin coins

1 shallot thinly sliced

1-1/2 lbs fresh green beans

3/4 cup cashews

Combine sauce, honey and butter in a bowl set aside. In a large sauce pan 3/4 filled with water, add the lemon juice. Heat to high and add beans and carrots and cook until beans are bright green and carrots are tender about 5 minutes. Drain and put them in a bowl with water and ice cubes. Drain again and set aside.

In a saute pan add bacon and cook over medium high heat until crispy but not burned. Remove cooked bacon from the and crumble and set aside. Cook the pepper, zucchini and onion in the hot bacon fat and cook about 3-4 minutes. Add cashews, bacon, carrots and beans to the skillet. Cook through and pour into a serving dish and toss gently with teriyaki honey sauce.

As with so many recipes, you can add other types of vegetables or limit it to a few you prefer. ENJOY!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I consider myself a Salmon snob. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest the fresh varieties of salmon were endless...Coho, Sockeye, King, Copper River. Here in the Midwest the varieties are slim, but Fresh Market and Whole Foods are the best. Try to choose salmon with darker color whose flesh is not separating and looking flaky. Ask to smell it, if it smells like anything but the sea forget it. I love salmon with a little Asian flare. This is a light dish packed with flavor and one of Dave's favorites.
1 lb Salmon fillet
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts or almonds
2 tbl Parmesan cheese grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of cayenne
zest of one lemon
Rinse Salmon and pat dry. Combine all ingredients and coat the Salmon with the mixture. Refrigerate for an hour.
In the meantime make the Asian sauce, prepare your vegetables and Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbl fresh grated ginger
1 tbl dry basil
1 shallot minced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbl butter
Combine all ingredients except butter in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let simmer. Taste it and add more soy sauce or chicken broth if you like. Add the butter and take off the heat.
2 carrots, julienned or sliced very thin
1 red pepper, julienned
1 green pepper, julienned
Heat 2 tbl olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Place salmon skin side up in the pan. Cook 2 minutes. Gently turn the salmon and cook 2 minutes. Baste with sauce occasionally. Place the pan in the oven and finish cooking to your desired doneness. I prefer medium rare which will be slightly darker in the middle...Dave wants it well done.
At the same time in a smaller saute pan heat 1 tbl olive oil and add vegetables. While cooking add 1/4 cup of sauce to vegetables and simmer.
Heat the remaining sauce and serve over salmon and vegetables. Pretty low in carbs, but you can serve with rice as well, but I find this is plenty and sooo delicious. ENJOY!!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010


What seems like a million years ago my sister Peggy wrote her egg roll recipe down for me..I still have that same piece of paper today although pretty yellowed and stained from overuse. I have added a few things and taken some away. Make this one our own by using vegetables or proteins that you's always great.


2 tbl canola oil plus 2 cups

2 cloves of garlic minced

6 oz 16-20 count raw and deviened shrimp chopped (you could use cooked frozen too)

1 lb ground pork

2 cups finely chopped baby bok choy

2 carrots grated on a cheese grater or in a food processor

1 can sliced water chestnuts drained

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp salt

dash of sugar

1 tbl creamy peanut butter

1 pkg egg roll wrappers

1 egg

Jar of sweet and sour sauce

Heat 2 TBL oil in a pan or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add pork cook til brown add shrimp, bok choy, carrot water chestnuts cook til tender. Add soy sauce salt and sugar. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add more soy sauce if needed.

Drain mixture thoroughly in a strainer making sure all excess liquid is out. Transfer to a bowl and mix in peanut butter.

Beat egg in a small bowl. Position egg roll wrapper on a diagonal or diamond shape on a plate. Put 1TBL egg roll mixture at end closest to you. Fold bottom corner facing you up over mixture. Fold in left and right sides of the wrapper to ensure no mixture can escape. Then continue rolling until you reach the other end. Dab a bit of egg wash on the end and fold up to seal the egg roll. Repeat until you run out of wrappers or mixture. This recipe should make about 20 egg rolls.

Put 2 cups of oil in a pan or wok. Heat of high heat until about 375 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, put a bit of bread in the oil...when it starts to sizzle it is hot enough. Put a few egg rolls in the oil and turn until all sides are browned. Remove and drain of paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour sauce....frankly homemade sauce tastes exactly like store bought so WHY BOTHER!!

I make these for Super Bowl Sunday every year and never is a single one leftover.


Thursday, March 4, 2010


Just realized all these recipes have made me thirsty thirsty....I have tried every bloody mary mix on the market and none of them has been a winner for me so I created this bloody mary mix from scratch and it is great....getting thirstier looking at this photo..
32 oz plain tomato juice
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 limes
1-1/1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1 TBL green olive juice
1 tsp horseradish (optional)
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 shakes of Tabasco (more if you like it spicy)
Mix together.
Pour vodka in a BIG glass over ice, add bloody mary mix and garnish with a celery stalk, green olives, slice of cucumber..possibilities are endless..even a nice cocktail shrimp
Gotta go my ice is melting!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


This is a very light recipe packed with flavor. You can substitute a nice white fish if you prefer. Most recipes for this dish suggest just lightly dusting the chicken with flour. I prefer a little more of a breading to create a nice light crunch on the chicken.

I have made this dish more than ANY other to the delight of those who have had the pleasure to partake. It is so easy and so full of flavor you will make this your "go-to" meal. The recipe can be served with pasta or sauteed vegetables.

For the chicken:

4 chicken cutlets or 2 boneless chicken breasts halved horizontally

1 cup flour

3 large eggs

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Create a breading station with three shallow bowls. Put the flour in one. Beat the eggs, salt and pepper in the second. Combine the panko and italian breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese it the third. Dredge the chicken in the flour, dip in the egg mixture and coat with breadcrumbs. Lay the cutlets on a baking sheet with wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

For the sauce:

6 TBL butter

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup capers (drained and rinsed)

Italian parsley for garnish, chopped

In a saute pan melt 3 TBL butter and olive oil on medium-high heat. Add chicken cutlets and cook until brown on both sides about 2-3 minutes a side. Put them on a plate and keep warm.

In the same saute pan add the broth, lemon juice and capers. bring the mixture to a boil and get all the bits off the bottom of the pan for added flavor. Put the chicken back in the pan for about 5 minutes add the last 3 TBL of butter and stir until melted butter is combined. Remove from heat and place on a shallow platter and garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve with pasta or vegetables.

So easy and soooo delicious!!!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Pantry Must Have

ARTICHOKE PESTO This Artichoke Pesto is YUMMY and the recipe for Crab and Artichoke Dip is delicious and EASY!!!!
Crab and Artichoke Dip:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and combine:
8 oz jar of Stonewall Kitchen's Artichoke Pesto
6 oz good fresh crabmeat (more if you feel rich)
1 shallot minced
1 clove of garlic minced
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp lemon zest
pinch of salt and pepper
After combined, pour into greased baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes until it is heated through and bubbly. Serve with french bread toasts or crackers.
Stonewall Kitchen Artichoke Pesto can be found at

Monday, March 1, 2010

The First Pitch ...Recipe numero uno

I make this appetizer for almost every get together. It is so easy and so flavorful everyone always wants the recipe.


One 12 ounce jar of marinated artichokes (reserve the juice)

One cup pitted kalamata olives (reserve some of the juice from the jar)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers chopped (reserve some of the juice from the jar)
One pint to a pint and a half of cherry tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Flour tortillas cut into triangles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Blend the artichokes, olives red peppers and tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup each of reserved juices.

Taste and add more juice, olives, peppers or tomatoes as desired. Blend until nearly smooth. Add parmesan cheese and blend to desired taste.

Place tortillas on a baking sheet. Cook at 375 degrees or until slightly toasted on the corners.

Serve both at or near room temperature. Couldn't be easier. Enjoy!!!