Thursday, October 1, 2009

Simple Soup for the Calorie Concious.

Stracciatella Soup
  • Cook 2 chicken breast tenders in water with a little bit of rock salt.
  • Throw some spinach in and basically you have Stracciatella soup.
  • For others not so concerned with watching their weight - you can add in capellini pasta.
  • Add a little Parmesan cheese.
My granddaughter says “I want soup, I want soup!”

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a quick recipe:
  • Peel and cut potatoes
  • 6 gloves of garlic (split open) in water while potatoes are boiling.
  • Boil potatoes until tender (the smaller the size you cut the potato into will determine how long you need to boil)
  • Mash potatoes with butter and half & half.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Potatoes Au Gratin

Here is how I make Potatoes Au Gratin:

  • Slice potatoes really thin, like a chip.
  • Casserole dish 2” deep.
  • Dice onions thin
  • Vermont light sharp Cheddar cheese mixed with mild white cheddar.
  • Butter (I am a serious butter-aholic. So I use 1-2 sticks of butter. I frequently make big casseroles so it depends on the amount I am making.)

Layer potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, onions, and cheese. Add another layer. You will get about 3 layers of potatoes.

Pour whole milk over it till casserole dish full.

Bake in oven at 300 for about 2 hrs.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Few Cheater Ingredients

I don't make my own pastas. I have no time to make pasta from scratch. Barilla is my favorite pasta to use. Gelson's Market sometimes has gourmet pastas. I love Celentano's large jumbo frozen ravioli. They are as close to home made as I have ever had. I don't like the tiny little square raviolis.

I use pasta for large parties because it is easy to make and not mega expensive and you can "dress" them up. And who doesn't like pasta. I will do my own sauces when I have time and my own meatballs.

If I am in a hurry I will make a cheater sauce. I will use Prego Mushroom Sauce and add to it. Add fresh tomatoes, extra spices, Worcestershire sauce and my meat. Prego makes a really decent sauce.

I'll even use it as a starter sauce, or add it in if I didn't make enough sauce or if my sauce is too thin, too close to serving time, I will use it for thickening. Just grab a jar of Prego and fix it!

I will reveal my own sauce soon...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th of July BBQ

Since everyone asked me how and what I did to the meats I cooked up on the BBQ, I thought I would share with everyone.

Chicken Marinade:
  • Salt
  • Lowery's Seasoned Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Juice from 1 1/2 large navel oranges
  • Paprika
Left the chicken to marinade over night. Yum!

Pork Marinade:
  • Trader Joe's Fire Roasted red and yellow peppers
  • Sliced Onions
  • Garlic Powder
  • paprika
I cut a pork tenderloin into thin pieces and then left it to marinade over night until the BBQ.

Steak Marinade:
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Diced Onion
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Paprika
Leave the meat to marinade over night.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Teaching My Granddaughter To Cook

I have been teaching my granddaughter to cook for the last 2 years. She is now 6 years old. She really loves to help.

She started off just stirring the soup and mixing things. It was easy to open a can of soup. She can now use the mixer. She knows how to use the mixer with much reverence. I have started teaching her how to chop things and mix and prepare things.

She told her mother that she wanted cooking lessons. She wanted me to give her cooking lessons. So now we have actually started with specific recipes.
  • She learned to make gravies, she knows everything that goes into making gravy.
  • She knows how to make turkey burgers with all the spices in them.
  • She knows how to make no-sugar cheesecakes. Both kinds; the kind that you cook and the kind that you refrigerate.
  • She has learned about food design. She knows the difference between slopping the food on the plate and putting it there so that it looks pretty.
She loves her little creations. When it is dessert time she has to individually serve each person their dessert plate that she has created. She loves to serve that which she has created.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cheesy Rice

Now that you know a little of my cooking background I will be posting some of my adventures in the kitchen and some of my recipes.

The first and most important recipe is...Cheesy Rice (I picked this one because everyone asks for cheesy rice.)
  • Organic jasmine brown rice is the best rice to use (Trader Joe's) or basic brown rice.
  • Make rice. I usually make huge quantities and I don't measure anything.
  • Heat some chicken broth
  • Parmesan and medium cheddar cheese grated
  • Dump rice into casserole dish and stir in the Parmesan cheese
  • Cover the dish with the cheddar cheese and pour in the hot chicken broth and stir it all up. With the rice hot it melts the cheese.
  • It's ready. Cover the casserole dish and put it in oven on warm to keep it warm and it bakes a little bit.
So easy. I can't make enough of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Cook by Sight, Smell and Taste

My mom was a great cook. That's because, when my Dad and Mom were first married, they lived with my Nonni. That was not unusual, it was during the depression and times were tough. Families did that. She learned to cook Italian from Nonni.

My mom was Irish and grew up in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. She knew how to do a lot of great Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch food. And Irish is very similar to Pennsylvania Dutch...a lot of chicken, potatoes, noodles. Very starchy food.

My mother always did Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas dinner (despite what we did at Nonni's).

My favorite thing was staying up until 1-2 o'clock in the morning preparing everything for the next day. Sometimes we would start 3 or 4 days ahead of time. I was always be her helper along with my older sister, right at her elbow.

My sisters and I tried for the longest time to get our mother to do a cookbook. She didn't use measuring cups for the most part. And if she did it was very loosey goosey. And the spices were never measured. She would say, “I don't know how I'm ever going to do a cookbook because I cook from the gut, I don't measure stuff. I eyeball everything. It's a pinch of this, a handful of that, a tablespoon to this. I cook by taste, I cook by sight, I cook by smell.”

And I just sort of picked that knack up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cooking with Nonni

As I said before, I come from a background of a large Italian family.

I remember making raviolis at Nonni's house. We would make the filling for the raviolis and we would make the pasta dough.

She had this beautiful old enamel table and the pasta dough for the raviolis would be rolled out across the entire table. And we would sit there with little bowls and spoons and drop the ricotta cheese and the filling. Then somebody would bring in another big layer of rolled out dough and flop the it on top. Then we would gently press and cut into raviolis. We would then take a little little fork and press into the edges of the raviolis.

Then you would powder the entire table and let the raviolis lay out all day to dry and harden. Turning them once when one side was hard. That way they would be hard enough to boil the next day.

You see, the dough cannot be fresh, it cannot be sticky like a pie dough. It's got to be hardened.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How I Learned to Cook

I learned from Nonni, my grandmother.

I come from a background of a large Italian family. My grandmother on my dad's side was from Italy and didn't speak hardly any English at all. And in the true Italian tradition, every Sunday the entire family would go to Mass and then go to Nonni's house. All of the children, their spouses, all their children and grandchildren would spend the entire day at Nonni's house. There, we would eat and play and watch TV and have a really great family time.

On special occasions like Christmas, Birthdays, and Christenings (of which there were a lot) the meals were even larger and more elaborate.

So, of course, all of the daughters and daughter-in-laws would go down to Nonni's house on Saturday and we would cook all day long.

Nonni was an amazing cook. All of her sauces were homemade, all of her pasta was made by hand without a pasta maker, all of her cakes from scratch. Everything that you ate was from scratch nothing was store made.

I grew up where all the food was from scratch. It was so much fun!