Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category

This delicious Cannellini and Tuna Salad recipe came from my parents who learned how to make it in Italy.  I started calling it “Protein Salad” one summer when I was serving it to my friends’ teenagers.  I figured if an athlete hears ‘protein’ he will be more likely to eat it.

Protein Salad
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 7oz cans white tuna, drained
1 cup finely chopped onion (I use vidalia/sweet)
6 TBSP salad oil (this is how the original recipe was written, and I usually use half extra virgin olive oil and half vegetable oil)
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 cup parsely, chopped (I usually just chop up a huge bunch and don’t measure.  I’m sure I use more than 1/2 cup!)

Protein Salad ingredients Protein Salad mixed Protein SaladThis is so simple, and absolutely delish!

The creamy beans are really satisfying and this is a healthy lunch choice.

(And the teenage boy actually ate it and liked it!)

Nov 486


  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 5 eggs

Put lemon zest and sugar into Cuisinart and process fine.  Add remaining ingredients, process smooth, and put into cake pan (greased and floured.)  When making cupcakes, put the liners into the pans and then use a scoop to evenly measure the cake batter into the pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F until done.  Use a cake tester when it comes out clean.  For regular sized cupcakes it will take about 23 minutes. For jumbo cupcakes it takes around 25 min.

BUTTER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (Buttercream cheese or Butter Creamcheese or Butter Cream Cheese? hmmm. . .)

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter

[sidebar tip: 8 TBSP = 1/4 pound = 1/2 cup, so this recipe would take 12 TBSP or 3/4 cups]

  • 1 1/2 bricks cream cheese (12 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar (24 oz. or 680 grams)

The butter and cream cheese should be at room temperature.  Cream together and add vanilla.  Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat well.  Pipe onto cupcakes and refrigerate if not eating the same day.

This recipe is the vanilla cupcakes in the photos.

The chocolate cupcakes are “Black Mocha Cake” from page 146 of  the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.  The frosting on the chocolate cupcakes is “Buttercream” from page 84. “Holy Moly” it it good! With 15 egg yolks and four cups of butter it sure is rich. The Moosewood Buttercream is labor-intensive but so so worth it.

Nov 475     Nov 478 Nov 477  Nov 481 Nov 484 Nov 483 Nov 480 Nov 479

 “You can’t eat just one!”
  •     1 box Club Crackers (not saltines)
  •     2 sticks butter (1 cup or 1/2 pound)
  •     1 cup brown sugar
  •     12 oz. pkg. milk chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips
  •     1 cup diced pecans or sliced almonds
  •     coarse sea salt
  •     non-stick baking spray (such as Baker’s Joy or PAM)
  •     aluminum foil or non-stick foil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 9″x12″ pan with non-stick foil, or foil sprayed with cooking spray.

Line pan with club crackers.

Club CrackersMix butter and brown sugar and boil in a heavy saucepan for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

IMG_4001Pour over crackers.


Put pan in oven for 3 to 5 minutes until crackers float.  Remove pan from oven.


Sprinkle with 12 ounce package of milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips.


When melted, spread chocolate with spatula.


Cover with nuts or coarse sea salt.

IMG_3997Refrigerate, and when cold and hard, cut into bars with a sharp knife.


IMG_4004Add walnuts for a nice nut crunch.  This is our attempt at making the Chocolate Pizza Company‘s classic Toffee Nut Crunch which is made with homemade English toffee.




For homemade holiday candy, add coarse sea salt for salted toffee bars.  These are similar to Skor or Heath candy bars.


The salt complements the rich buttery toffee.

AMAZING and easy!

Cashew Brittle

I originally got this recipe in the local newspaper about 10 years ago, and over the years I’ve tweaked it.  This takes 15 minutes to make, and it’s only six ingredients!

Package it in a nice tin or holiday GladWare container and give it to neighbors for a token homemade Christmas present. It’s always appreciated and looked forward to by our friends.

You will have to play around with the recipe because every microwave oven is different.  Even an extra 30 seconds can make this go from amazing to awful.  If it’s undercooked it will be chewy like caramel (still yummy) and if it’s cooked too long the cashews will be brown and it will almost taste burned.

I’ve got it down to a science, and here is my version:


  • 1 cup lightly salted roasted CASHEW halves & pieces – this is aprox. 1/2 can (Planter’s can is 9.5oz, and Southern Grove by ALDI is an 8oz. can)
  • 1 cup granulated white SUGAR
  • 1/2 cup LIGHT CORN SYRUP
  • 1 tsp. BUTTER (I just cut 1/3 of the TBSP. line on a stick of butter, but sometimes it’s closer to 1/2 of the line so it’s really more like 2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. pure VANILLA extract
  • 1 tsp. BAKING SODA

In a 2 qt. microwave-safe bowl with handle, stir together the nuts, sugar and corn syrup.

Microwave, uncovered, at high for 6 minutes, until the mixture is light brown, stirring well halfway through at 3 minutes.   (The original recipe said around 6-8 minutes, but again, it depends on your microwave.)

Meanwhile, grease a Silpat Baking Mat (on a cookie sheet) with butter.

Prepare vanilla, butter, and baking soda measurements into small bowls, as you will need to work quickly with the hot candy.

Using oven mitts, remove the bowl from the microwave oven. It will be VERY HOT, so be sure you don’t let it touch your skin.

Stir in the butter and vanilla. I use two rubber spatulas, one to stir, and one to clean off the spatula back into the bowl.

Continue to microwave the candy, at high, for 90 seconds (the original recipe said 1 1/2 – 2 minutes but 1 1/2 is perfect in our microwave.)  The mixture should be caramel-colored.  Get your cookie sheet ready in the meantime.

Remove with oven mitts and add baking soda.  Stir quickly until light and foamy.  IMMEDIATELY and carefully pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin with spatula as quickly as possible (sometimes I just tip the cookie sheet and let ooze, but it will be thicker.)

Cool for 30 minutes and then break into small pieces.  I usually put a plastic sandwich baggie on my hands to break the candy.

Stores well in a covered container for up to two weeks (but it won’t last that long.)

This is so delish!  It’s that mix of sweet and salty which is now so popular with the sea salt & caramel.



IMG_3010 IMG_3009


IMG_3024 IMG_3030IMG_3007

THIS LAST PHOTO IS WHAT IT SHOULD NOT LOOK LIKE.  This batch was cooked 30 seconds too long and the cashews are too brown.


There is nothing like homemade pizza.  And my man tosses the best pizza pie!

For a quick weekday dinner, we buy the dough in a frozen ball (found in the deli at the grocery store). 

Defrost it on the counter all day. 

We like either Don Pepino or Furmano’s canned pizza sauce.

Most of the family eats cheese (just a lot of shredded mozzarella), and mama likes veggies.

Tonight my slice was sweet onion, fresh basil, and sliced and pitted kalamata olives.  MMMMMM!

My typical corners have any of the following: sliced tomato, feta cheese, pesto sauce, banana pepper slices,  bell pepper (green, or red/yellow/orange), basil, kalamatas, and ALWAYS sweet onion. 

. . . il mio piatto preferito? Pizza con pomodoro e cipolla.

Last year I made turkey cookie treats for our daughter to take to school for their Thanksgiving feast.  I looked up several different versions online and then created my own, based on:

  • what I had on hand
  • portability
  • time, &
  • convenience.  

They also had to be nut-free because of kids with allergies in her class, so I couldn’t use the peanutbutter cups.

They aren’t as cute as those made with the candycorn tail feather fan, but I didn’t want them to fall apart enroute to school.  I think these turned out great!

Here’s what we used:

  1. Mini Pretzels
  2. JUMBO Marshmallows
  3. Candy corn
  4. Dare Maple cookies
  5. Melting chocolate


First, cut the marshmallows into quarters (you’ll probably only need to cut them in half if you use regular large sized marshmallows.)  

Next, stick a toothpick into the domed part for dipping. 

I melt the chocolate in the microwave in a small glass pyrex measuring cup.   Dip the marshmallow and use a spoon to get chocolate on the top (Sorry this picture was taken at the end of the project!)










Then, place the chocolate “body” onto the “tail” (maple sandwich cookie) while the chocolate is still wet. 

Quickly place a mini pretzel onto the flat side of the marshmallow and cookie, so that the rounded “feet” stick out in front.  It’s important to do this while the chocolate is still wet so that it sticks.  

Take the toothpick out carefully (I used a fork to keep the body steady.) 


Finally, place the candy corn “head” on top, right over the toothpick hole!  The white tip “beak” should stick out a bit.  

We used the candycorn with the brown base (on sale right after Halloween), but the traditional yellow version would be cute too!   I should have added eyes, but at that point I was DONE!!

Growing up in Italy, our mom always served pastina in brodo.  As a matter of fact, I still have my “recipe”.

Pastina in brodo recipe

 We now make it for our kids, but I don’t really measure.  
I add about 1 1/2 inches of water to my 4 quart soup pot  (approximately 6 cups) and heat until boiling.
Add two Vegetarian Bouillon cubes.  (Mom used the tiny cubes of chicken flavored bouillon but we like Knorr extra large cubes in this home.)
Add a few scoops of pastina pellets (Acini di pepe).   After adding the pasta turn down to lowest heat and cook until pastina is done, around 10 minutes.
Typically I buy Barilla brand pastas for my family, and they do make Pastina, but it’s star shaped. 
For this soup, I prefer what I grew up on which is the teeny tiny balls.  
You can find these from such brands as Ronzoni, Prince, Delallo, De Cecco, DaVinci and other Italian brands.   Look for Acini di pepe pasta or sometimes misspelled as Acine de pepe.  
Serve with parmesan cheese
If you want to be really authentic, put one wedge of The Laughing Cow creamy swiss cheese in the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup over the soft cheese.  That’s how we liked it as toddlers, and how our daughter eats it in our home.   
I did a quick websearch and found this authentic recipe.  Grazie Barbara!
Here’s her translation into English. 

I just made this delicious summer salad, first posted by Elizabeth Rider at Whole Living Blog and reposted by Alina at My Yellow Umbrella.  Thanks ladies!


Black Bean & Quinoa Salad
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 20 min
Serves 4-6

Ingredients for the dressing:

•1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•2 tbsp Agave Nectar (or Honey, but I prefer Agave as it’s low-glycemic)
•1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
•1 Tsp Cumin
•1 Clove Pressed Garlic
Ingredients for the Salad:

•3/4 Cup Dry Quinoa
•1 Can Whole Black Beans
•1 Red Bell Pepper
•1 Handful Cilantro
•1 Bunch Green Onion (about 7-9 onions)


1.Combine all dressing ingredients in bowl and set aside to allow the garlic to diffuse.
2.Cook quinoa according to package instructions.  (With whole grains in general, double the amount of water for the amount of grains you are cooking, combine water and grains in a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer until the water is cooked into the grains.  In this case, 1.5 cups of water and 3/4 cup quinoa should take about 15-20 minutes to cook. Careful to not let it burn!)
3.While the quinoa is cooking, chop the red bell pepper and green onion into small pieces.
4.Drain and rinse the black beans.  Make sure to give them a good run under the water and drain out completely.
5.Give the cilantro a medium chop.
6.Combine all ingredients and dressing and fold together. Salt and black pepper to taste. (Can be served warm or chilled, and keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.)


I substituted a mixture of white, red & black quinoa and used honey because that’s all I had on hand.   I also only had 1/2 of a red pepper, but it still tasted excellent.

Great recipe to bring to a party!

Taco Mound    

Layer on a serving platter or quiche dish, in this order:

Mix together and spread on top:

  • 1 16-oz. container sour cream
  • 1 1-oz. package taco seasoning

Add fresh pico de gallo salsa made with:

  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 sweet or Vidalia onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (taste it and perhaps you’ll use both halves)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (a handful)
  • olive oil (splash)
  • salt & pepper
  • Tabasco pepper sauce (a few shakes) or part of a fresh jalapeño pepper, minced

Top with:

  • 1 bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Mexican Style Finely Shredded Cheese (a blend of Cheddar, Monterey Jack & other cheeses)

Serve with tortilla corn chips. (We like TOSTITOS®  Scoops or Hint of Lime.)

This is so delicious and people always ask for the recipe!

 Thanks Sarah!

Okay so if most of your family doesn’t like seafood you can’t make traditional caesar dressing with anchovies.

We’ve found a delicious substitute which makes us want to have extra helpings of salad!

Caesar Dressing

  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest (I zest the entire lemon with my Microplane and add it all)
  • 3 TBSP. fresh lemon juice (Always use a real lemon – never bottled!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (always use fresh garlic – never from a jar.  I press two large cloves with my Garlic Press.)
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (I use Real Salt from Utah.)

This recipe is from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins © 1989 (Authors of The Silver Palate Cookbook & several more.)

Serve over romaine lettuce, with Kraft Shredded Parmesan cheese and croutons.   If you have a Cheese Grater, then definitely use a hunk of authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano or asiago.

Eat with crusty bread and red wine.