Decorating for Easter and Spring a perfect start to a new season. Go Crazy with flowers and bright colors!
These easy to make chocolate covered Easter Eggs will delight all your family members young and old alike. I sometimes omit the coconut and just make cream eggs and peanut butter. You can serve them plain or decorated with purchased sugar appliqués. However, you choose to embellish these candy eggs will be a big success.
CHOCOLATE COVERED EASTER EGGS
8 tablespoon butter softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
7 ounces sweetened coconut
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 package(12 ounces) Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
6 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon heavy cream
Cream butter gradually with confectioners sugar. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Mix until combined. Divide sugar mixture in half adding coconut to one half and peanut butter to the other. Shape cream mixtures into small eggs. Place on wax paper
Place chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl. Then, microwave one minute on high. The chocolate will look shiny; stir to combine butter. Microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until totally smooth. Chocolate continues to melt once you take it out of the microwave. If you microwave the chocolate until it looks completely melted, you risk burning the chocolate.
Add cream to chocolate mixture until combined.
Roll eggs in chocolate and place on wax paper. Don’t coat the underside of eggs. Use a small spatula to smooth out the chocolate and cover the eggs of the filing. Decorate. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. The eggs can be made ahead and frozen. Makes 36 eggs.
Olives are like food for the gods! Sun-kissed then cured in a rainbow of inviting colors. Green, black, brown all temping to even the most sophisticated pallet. I love a good olive tapenade so delicious, so easy to make. I like to make my own tapenade to serve on an antipasti plate or for a little different treatment, fill phyllo cups with the tapenade, baking for a hot mouth-watering appetizer.
Keep a package of Anthenos phyllo cups in your freezer for easy, quick, delicious bit-size appetizers or mini desserts. Also, you can use store-bought tapenade and be ready in 10 minutes with a tasty appetizer.
Olive Tapenade Tarts
1 cup pitted kalamata olives (you can use any variation of olives)
1 clove chopped garlic
6 sliced green pimento filled olives(for garnish)
curried red pepper, sliced(for garnish)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a mini food processor, combine olives, garlic, and process until olives form a spread. Add oil, capers, and Herbs de Provence. Process until blended. Fill each cup with olive spread, decorate with olive filled with red pepper if you like. Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes until hot. Cool slightly and serve.
Brussels Sprouts are just so good in an Air Fryer. I added olive oil, garlic, olives, and seasoning for a flavorful side dish!
When I first thought about getting an Air Fryer*, I’m not a gadget person, I was a little I was skeptical if it were something I would use very often. Now that I’ve owned an air fryer for a year, I love to experiment, especially with veggies.
Usually, I roast Brussels Sprouts in the oven, which I find brings out the nutty flavor. When I cooked Brussels Sprouts in the Air Fryer, they turned out beautifully charred on the outside with a soft center. I added olive oil, spices, olives, and capers with a flavor-packed side dish. So easy and delicious!
2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and whole
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced Mezzetta Castervetrano Italian Olives, pitted
2 teaspoon capers
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Place Brussels Sprouts in a bowl…
View original post 47 more words
Cooking for me is fun and creative, I derive enormous pleasure from preparing a delicious recipe. I inherited my passion for cooking from my mother. I loved to return home from school and sit on the countertop sharing my day with her as I watched her cook. Memories of my time spent cooking with my mother motivated me to start my blog and share her cooking philosophy, I am amazed when I hear people say they can’t cook or they don’t like how to cook. I say if you like to eat there is every reason to cook.
On my blog, my goal is to make cooking easy and fun. No need to be intimidated by an overly pretentious recipe with ingredients that are expensive or hard to fine. And my personal dislike too many waisted steps. I don’t show off on my blog, I want you to be able to easily make my recipes to enjoy with family and friends. I love to entertain and when I do I want to enjoy my guest not be hibernating in the kitchen.
During the winter months, I make large vats of soups and stews to freeze for consumption at a later date that provides quick and easy dinners when you are short on time. My life is like yours is an endless to-do list so when I am short on time I can open my freezer and discover an array of made ahead meals.
Another reason I make my own soups and stews is I find the commercial and restaurant prepared versions are seasoned with too much salt. If you use good seasonings, salt is a minimal ingredient for a good soup or stew. Limiting salt improves the taste of food and is a healthier option.
I hope I have given you a few reasons to be adventurous if you have never made your own soup or stew! Oh, did I mention I’d love to hear your successes!
If you want to make this a vegan or vegetarian stew substitute plant-based sausage for chicken sausage.
White Bean and Sausage Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15.5 oz.) Cannellini beans, rinsed, I like Goya Organics, low salt
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage or veggie sausage, cooked and sliced 3/4-inch thick*
½ teaspoon black pepper
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beans, vegetable stock, salt, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
Add the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, add more salt or pepper. Remove, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled.
Living in the Boston area we love our fresh fish. In Boston cod is called scrod. I know there is a fancy legend around why we call cod scrod and some say scrod is young cod. All I know is when the fishermen leave the dock to fish they are out to catch cod.
Cod is a firm white-fleshed fish that is versatile and can be used in a multitude of recipes. We love fish in our family and I like to prepare cod differently. Traditional Boston Scrod is made with a Ritz cracker topping that is absolutely delicious.
I’ve updated the preparation by using panko breadcrumbs, pecans, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup.
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
1/3 cup pecan pieces
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1teaspoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. Cod Filet
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In the food processor combine bread crumbs and pecans. Pulse until finely ground. Place in a small bowl and mix together with parsley, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine mustard and maple syrup. Place the cod in a baking dish. Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard mixture. Place the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each cod fillet. The mustard will help the panko adhere. Drizzle remaining mustard mixture overtopping.
Bake Cod for 20 – 25 minutes until topping is browned.
Traditional Pasta e Fagioli is made with a pork product such as pancetta, ham or pigs’ feet(old-time Italian) but growing up my mother always made meatless Pasta e Fagioli on Fridays. I have fond memories of eating Pasta Fagioli on crisp fall nights before rushing off to a Friday night football game or for lunch on a snowy winter day.
My mother’s version of Pasta e Fagioli, I like to call Pasta e Fagioli meets Boston Baked Beans, She used canned baked beans as the base. I have no idea why one time she decided to substitute baked beans, no problem we loved her recipe. Over the years I have added my own touches to my mother’s Pasta e Fagioli to make it an easy totally vegetarian meal.
Pasta e Fagioli
1 cup chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 (16 oz) cans vegetarian baked beans, Bushes
1 can (8 oz) no salt Tomato Sauce, Hunts
1 can (15.5 oz) Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained, Goya
1 can (14 oz) vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup dried ditalini pasta
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Parmesan Cheese, optional
1. In large pot cook shallots, garlic and olive over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Sir in wine, baked beans, garbanzo beans, vegetable broth, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil: reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
3. Cook, pasta al dente(firm but not hard), drain. Stir cooked pasta, basil, oregano into bean mixture. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Pasta e Fagioli should be thick like stew not soupy. Add more broth if thick and cook a little longer if too thin.
Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Make 4-6 servings.
Pasta, a most versatile ingredient, is a perennial favorite in my cooking repertoire. Pasta dishes are easy to make, feed a large group, versatile, and delicious. Now that my husband and I are empty-nesters, I make this Baked Ziti on Sunday for dinner then I package into smaller size portions. I freeze for future dinners when I don’t have time to cook.
If you don’t want to make your own sauce you can substitute a good store-bought prepared sauce, I would use two jars. Add sausage and simmer sauce for about 5 – 10 minutes. Then proceed with the remaining recipe.
You can substitute vegan sausage for chicken and make the baked ziti vegetarian. Release your creativity when you cook and follow your instincts for delicious dinners to share with family and friends. All you need to add to this meal is a salad and freshly baked bread. Oh, and don’t forget the wine!
Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Sausage
1 package ( 5 sausages) Chicken or Vegetable sausages
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 (14-ounce) can crushed or strained tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 package (1 pound) ziti pasta
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces
8 ounces whole-milk ricotta
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup basil leaves
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the sausage from the refrigerator 10 – 15 minutes before cooking to remove the chill from the meat. Layer the baking pan with parchment paper and place sausage evenly on the cooking sheet. Place pan in the oven on the middle rack. Bake sausages for 20-25 minutes. Cool then slice into bite-size pieces.
Lower oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high. Add garlic, oregano, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 2 minutes until garlic is translucent not browned.
Stir in whole tomatoes and their juice, using a spoon to break them up. Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a simmer. Add sliced sausage and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Remove bay leaf.
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
Place a 1/4 cup of tomato sauce in a large baking dish. This recipe layers the pasta with ricotta, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. First, arrange 1/3 of pasta then add 1/2 ricotta. Next place 1/3 tomato sauce over pasta and ricotta. Top with 1/3 mozzarella. The next layer will again be 1/3 pasta, 1/2 ricotta, 1/3 mozzarella, and 1/3 sauce. For the final layer complete by layering the remaining pasta, sauce and finish with mozzarella. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top, then transfer to oven. Bake until pasta is tender when poked with a fork, and cheese is bubbly and lightly golden 30 minutes. (If you’d like a more deeply browned topping, run the pan under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes.) Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
I am normally not a gadget person when it comes to cooking, My Phillips Air Fryer changed my perception of cooking appliances. I use my air fryer so often that it has become a cooking stable in my repertoire of recipes.
Eggplant is a favorite vegetable from my childhood. My mother, if you follow my blog you know she is my soul and inspiration as a cook, used eggplant repeatedly when she cooked. Not just to make traditional Eggplant Parmesan but in a variety of interesting dishes that she served to her family.
I combined using my air fryer with my love of eggplant to create Eggplant fries. Served with my quick marinara sauce for a delicious appetizer or side dish.
1 large eggplant
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbs. water
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat air-fryer to 375F. Coat fryer basket with cooking spray.
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Slice into 2 inch long strips. Place it in a colander, sprinkle generously with salt (don’t worry, you’ll be rinsing most of it off before you cook it) and let it sit for about an hour. Before using, thoroughly rinse the eggplant and pat dry.
Put the flour into a shallow bowl. Stir together eggs and watering another shallow bowl. Put panko and parmesan cheese in a third shallow bowl. Dredge eggplant in flour and then in egg and then in pinko-cheese, shaking off the excess. Arrange half of eggplant or third if using a small air-fryer in the prepared basket. Coat with cooking spray.
Cook 10-12 minutes, turning once until eggplant is golden and crispy. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
Serve with Marinara Sauce.
Quick Marinara Sauce
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, I love certified D.O.P.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour 1 cup water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.
In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add garlic.
As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown or garlic will become bitter), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add whole chile or red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir.
Simmer sauce until thickened, about 15 minutes. Place basil sprig, including stem on the surface. Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce and simmer the sauce for an additional 5 minutes. Discard basil and chile (if using).
Weekday meals can be quick and easy with one-pan dishes that save on time and clean up. And they do not sacrifice on taste and flavor. I love the combination of maple syrup with mustard and the mustard seed adds a flavorful crunch. Rainbow baby potatoes are a colorful addition.
Who says you can’t get a great dinner ready every night. To save time cut brussel sprouts and potatoes ahead so they are prepared in advance. Serve with a fresh salad.
1 pound fresh chicken Italian sausage
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 pound baby rainbow potatoes, halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
Heat oven to 450 degrees and place the baking pan in the oven. Score the sausages in a few places on both sides, making sure not to cut all the way through. Transfer to a large bowl with the brussels sprouts, potatoes and 4 tablespoons olive oil, and stir until coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread the mixture in an even layer on the heated baking sheet, and arrange the vegetables cut-sides down. Roast 15 minutes, until the brussels sprouts and potatoes start to soften. (The sausages will not be cooked through yet.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, mustard and mustard seeds.
Drizzle the honey mustard over the sausages and vegetables, and toss or shake to coat. Flip the sausages. Roast until the sausages are cooked through and the vegetables are golden and tender, another 10 minutes or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper.