Sunday, May 19, 2019

Potato-Crusted Pork Schnitzel with Hot Pepper Mayonnaise

The recipe for tonight's dinner was found on the Food & Wine site. I was not sure the Hot Pepper Mayonnaise would be a hit but it was. The pork chops were perfectly cooked and perfectly moist. This is something I have a bit a problem with. I have a fear, it is a family thing, of serving undercooked pork.

For a side dish, we had mashed potatoes and sauteed Zucchini and Bok Choy.

This is my version of the Food & Wine Recipe for Potato-Crusted Pork Schnitzel with Hot Pepper Mayonnaise.

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons seeded minced cherry pepper

Kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 cups dried potato flakes 

4 (4-ounce) boneless pork chops, lightly pounded to 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine mayonnaise and cherry pepper in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Beat eggs with a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl. Spread potato flakes in a separate shallow bowl. Season pork chops to taste with salt and pepper. Dip pork chops in egg, letting excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge pork chops 
in potato flakes, pressing to help flakes adhere.
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high until butter melts. Working in batches, add pork to skillet, and cook until browned and crispy, about 2 minutes and 30 seconds per side. Transfer pork chops to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and serve the pork with the hot pepper mayonnaise.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Stacked Beef Quesadilla Pie

I had leftover Quesadillas from our Cinco De Mayo dinner. I thought a Stacked Beef Quesadilla Pie would be nice to try. I had everything including a pound of beef in the freezer. This was really good and really easy to make.

I sauteed some chopped onion and ground beef. Seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder. I added a can of drained diced tomatoes with green chiles to the meat along with about 1/2 cup Salsa, Newman's Own Mild. I layered 4 Quesadilla with the meat, more salsa, some grated Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese and some diced scallions in a pie plate large enough for the Quesadillas. The pie went into a 375˚ oven for about 15 minutes.

More salsa and sour cream were served on the side.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Buona Pasqua

A lovely Easter dinner with Lenore and Ralph, Nicholas, Elenora and Chris. We ate at Portofino's in New Haven. What a relaxing meal after a busy weekend. I really enjoyed knowing that none of had to do any dishes!

Of course, we started with cocktails and appetizers. Sorry photos were not taken except for my dinner dish. Anyway back to the appetizers. Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms. They were fried and stuffed with cheese and prosciutto. Fried Calamari and Mini Osso Bucco. I could have stopped right there. But we plowed on...

I had Rack of Lamb for dinner. Something I never order out. The menu description sounded delicious and oh my gosh it was!!! It was served with a Rosemary Merlot Wine Sauce. Amazing.

Some decaf expresso and the day was complete.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Last Friday of Lent

A repeat appearance of Caesar Salad with Shrimp. The salad dressing was Lidia Bastianich's.

Romaine Lettuce tossed with Caesar Salad Dressing and topped with homemade croutons and boiled shrimp.

The Shrimp was placed in a pan with 2 cups of cold water and lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, along with the lemon half and 1/2 tsp of whole black pepper and 1/2 tsp of sugar. The pan was heated over medium heat to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the shrimp was cooked.

Caesar Salad Dressing
2 Hard Cooked Egg Yolks
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Juice of one Lemon
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
½ Tsp Kosher Salt
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Black Pepper to Taste

In a mini–food processor, combine the egg yolks, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream to make a smooth dressing. 
The recipe suggests dressing the entire bowl of greens. We prefer to dress our own plates. We can never finish the whole bowl of greens. Not mixing the dressing on the entire salad means we can use the greens for another meal... Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday Dinner

Dinner at my sister's house is always a special meal. This year Lenore and Ralph outdid themselves with five courses.

First was the Antipasto. Sorry, no photos. And I should have taken a photo of the pickled eggplant. The slices were cut as thin as a string. I have never seen them cut that thin. Oh, and there was pickled beets. They were seasoned with olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and oregano. Wow!

Next was the Dandelion Soup. This year they used dandelions from their garden that were grown with Italian Dandelion Seeds. The broth was sublime and the greens had a nice bitter taste to them. Something along the lines of broccoli rabe. There was a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old at the table who loved this soup.

Homemade pasta with an Asparagus and Scallion Sauce. Perfect.

Next was the Porkette. Seasoned with Fennel. Moist as can be. Peas and carrots rounded out the plate.

Finally dessert. My sister made her Easter Bread, again no photo...

I brought Cannoli Bits. I had found the recipe in the Italian Sons and Daughters of America Newsletter. They were perfect little bites. You did not have to eat a whole cannoli. Not that you shouldn't but after all the food we consumed it was not for a small bit of something sweet. These will be part of my dessert rotation.

Here are the recipe and the story that goes along with it. I would recommend signing up for this weekly newsletter. Lots of interesting stories and recipes.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar

Tonight we opened La Cucina, The Regional Cooking of Italy, for our dinner recipe. Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar is from the Emilia Romagna region. The recipe was short and easy. I used an Apple Balsamic Vinegar that Chris got me for Christmas. Delicious!

Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar

1 lb. pork chops, cut thin
all-purpose flour for dredging
1/4 olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Pound the pork chops to make them very thin, then flour them lightly.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the pork and brown on both sides.
Salt and sprinkle the pork with balsamic vinegar.
Serve immediately while the heat is still making the vinegar give off all its fragrance.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

10 Years Ago Tonight

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twas the night before Easter…

Let's see, doubled the Meat Pie recipe and I ended up with 4 pies. Double the rice pie recipe, need some for a friend at work and ended up with 4 rice pies. It was like the loaves and fishes.
Used my mom's recipe for the meat pie, always delicious. Found a recipe for Traditional Rice Pie online. Have not tried it yet… one more day of no sweets.
Oh yes for dinner I made pasta with tuna and olives. Not bad, but not great.
Long day of baking.

There you have it. How this all started. After a long day of Easter baking, I missed my Mom. I wished I could have picked up the phone and called her. But I could not so I started this little blog. I have not been posting as regularly as I would like to but life does get in the way sometimes.  

It has been an eventful 10 years. I lost my Dad, Chris lost his brother, we said goodbye to two cats, Kramer and Archie. Chris and I have lost a couple of very good friends. But still every night we sit down to dinner. Some of the dinners have been amazing and others well they have not been blogworthy. 

If anyone is even reading this blog, thank you.
And I hope to be around for another 10 years.
Peace and have another glass of wine,

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sausage and Cherry Tomato Bake

This is an old blog favorite. The first time I made this recipe was for my 5th blog post.  We are coming up on our 10th anniversary very soon!!!!!

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver. Always delicious. The flavors just scream perfection. But remember one thing. You need Italian bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Click here for the recipe and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

That Chicken Pot Pie Recipe... Again

That Chicken Pot Pie Recipe... Again

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups 1 percent milk
1 lb. cooked chicken, leftover rotisserie chicken   
1 10-ounce package frozen peas 
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 9-inch store-bought piecrust, thawed if frozen****

Heat oven to 400° F.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.
Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

****Please make your own pie crust if you can!!! Click here for the recipe.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sausage Frittatta

We have Frittattas quite often. Our usual recipe consists of vegetables and either ham or bacon. The frittatta can be altered to use literally anything. Tonight we used a recipe from La Cucina, The Regional Cooking of Italy

It was so easy it was scary. Remove the sausage casing and cut into slices. Melt butter in an oven-safe sautée pan, add the sausage and cook stirring often. Spread the sausage into a single layer. Add the beaten eggs, I used 6 eggs that were seasoned with salt, pepper, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The heat is reduced to low. When the underside is done place the pan into a 375˚ oven for 10 minutes. Remove when the top is firm.

We made sandwiches with the frittata. I can say this was better than our usual vegetable version.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sorry Mom But There is a New Sauce in Town

I can not believe that I have never made Bolognese Sauce before today. I have always made my Mom's Meat Sauce Recipe. For me, there was no other. Until today...

I made Lidia's Bolognese recipe. It was delicious. Truly delicious. Amazingly delicious. And for the pasta I made hand cut Pappardelle using the only pasta recipe I have ever used, the Tide and Thyme Recipe. The pasta was a perfect match for this sauce.

Flavorful and the blend of meats were perfect. It simmered for 3 hours on the stove. The final result was perfect. I hate to say it but this might become our regular sauce... sorry Mom...

Click here for Lidia's Bolognese Sauce Recipe.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Second Friday of Lent

I dined solo tonight. I ate a simple meal that was packed with memories. Pastine with milk, cheese, and butter. It brought me back to the kitchen on Lettney Place. Sitting on the bench with my Mom making me lunch. Funny how one kind of pasta can trigger a flood of warm memories.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Frittatta

Eggs, meat, vegetables, cheese. The perfect combination for an easy dinner. Disclaimer - I cut up all the vegetables before I went to work this morning.

Red Pepper, Zucchini, Onion, Scallions, Ham, Bacon, some of that Three Girls Vegan Creamery Pepperoni. All of that is sauteed and then the eggs, I used 6 eggs, beaten and added to the pan. Cook on one side until set. The eggs and vegetables are topped with shredded Mozzarella and scallions. Then the pan goes into a 375˚ oven for about 15 minutes.

Serve on toasted Italian bread and at least one glass of wine.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Chicken with Bacon and Leeks

You all the story that Chris and I met when we both worked at a restaurant called Nancy Lee's. This dish was a regular item on the menu. Nancy would have been pleased with the way this turned out tonight.

I dredged the chicken breast in flour and then added them to a saute pan that had been heated up with butter and olive oil. When the chicken was done on the one side, about 5 minutes, I flipped the chicken and nestled in the leeks and bacon. About another 4 minutes and I put the pan in a 375˚ oven to cook through.
Meanwhile, I made a sauce using butter, cream cheese, and milk. I seasoned it with some cayenne pepper to give it a little kick. Here is the link to the recipe, and of course I did not use the recommended garlic.

Pretty good for a Monday night. Just too many dishes!

Sunday, March 10, 2019


How do I make meatloaf? Simple. I mix ground beef (or meatloaf mix), bread crumbs, 1 egg, ketchup, horseradish sauce, A-1, Worchester sauce, salt, pepper, oregano with sauteed onions and carrots. The mix goes into a greased loaf pan, glass pyrex, and into a 375˚ oven for 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165˚.

Dinner was delicious but Meatloaf Sandwiches for lunch tomorrow is the icing on the cake.

Friday, March 8, 2019

First Friday of Lent

This is our second Lenten meal and again I combined Three Girls Vegan Creamery with Lidia Bastianich. Lasagna by Three Girls Vegan Creamery. Caesar Salad is from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen. It was nice getting home for work and preparing the salad. But it was really nice having the prepared Lasagna that just needed to be heated up.

Caesar Salad Dressing from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen-

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cloves of garlic 
4 anchovy fillets
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 hard-boiled egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
fresh ground black pepper 
Romaine lettuce, or anything you prefer

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and anchovies in a blender or work bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding some of the 1/3 cup olive oil if there is not enough liquid to move the mixture around the blender jar. Add the mustard, hard-boiled egg yolk, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and remaining olive oil if any.  Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste the dressing; if it's a little too tangy, pour in a splash or two of olive oil and blend until it's incorporated. Pour over greens and toss to cover the lettuce.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Pepperoni and Onion Sauce with Potato Gnocchi

I have to tell you that the first time I walked into the Three Girls Vegan Creamery I felt like I walked into my Mom's kitchen. My Mom was far from vegan. It was more of a portion thing. I walked in the Three Girls Vegan Creamery hoping to try a couple of menu items and I walked out with a week's worth of food!

The Three Girls Vegan Creamery recently opened a new store with more hours (!!!) and I stopped in this past Sunday to pick up some food for our first week of Lent. Pepperoni and some Lasagna.

Back to tonight's dinner. Ash Wednesday. I got my ashes at an Ashes to Go stop at the Madison train station. Seemed very convenient. For dinner, I amped it up a bit. Lidia Bastianich's Basic Potato Gnocchi with Marcella Hazan's Onion and Butter Tomato Sauce with some of Three Girls Vegan Creamery Pepperoni.

Yeah, it was very good. Not a bad start for Lent.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Chicken and Pastine Casserole

Continuing with the "comfort food" theme tonight we had Chicken and Pastine Casserole. The recipe is from the Giada De Laurentiis cookbook "Everyday Pasta". This was the perfect mixture of pasta, chicken and cheese. The flavors melted together perfectly.

Pastine is one of the things my Mom always made for lunch. She would either add milk or chicken broth or just butter and cheese. That is why this is designated a 'comfort food".

I had to make some changes to the original recipe. I did not mean to I just did not check the pantry before I started. Canned diced tomatoes. Nope. I used crushed tomatoes. Mozzarella cheese. Not enough so I added a little bit of cheddar. And of course, I did not use the garlic.

Click here for the original recipe.

1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice,
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Shepherds Pie

If I had to list my favorite "comfort foods" Shepherds Pie would be in the top five. It conjures up flavor memories and family memories. The first time I had Shepherds Pie was at my Aunt Marie's house. When I got home and told my Mom about this amazing dinner my Aunt had made. My  Mom proceeded to replicate the dish and it was put in her dinner rotation.

Mashed potatoes on top of sauteed onion and beef. Mix in some thawed frozen vegetables and play with the seasonings. I go for oregano, salt, pepper and bit of horseradish. I made this on Saturday and just reheated it when I got home tonight. Pure comfort.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken

Finally making this recipe from the Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook. Chris gave this to me for Christmas and I have been wanting to make this. This was really good. The coating was crispy but the meat was very moist.

The original recipe can be found at this link - Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken.

Here is my version of the recipe. I cut the amounts in 1/2 and still have leftovers.

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves, I used dried thymecKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cups panko (Japanese bread flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breast and 2 chicken thighs
Method-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl mix thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper with the panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and butter to moisten the bread flakes. 
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the mustard and wine.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Dip each piece in the mustard mixture to coat on all sides, and then place skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on a sheet pan crumb-side up. Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken pieces.
Bake the chicken for 50 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

So What Are You Having For Breakfast?

I found this recipe on the Half Baked Harvest site. I love this site. The photos always look amazing. I have tried a few of the recipes and they have all been well received.  Click here for the recipe for Cinnamon Crunch Bagels. I made 1/2 of the recipe and ended up with 6 nice sized bagels.

It was the first time making bagels that are boiled then baked. The dough was simple to work. I started the dough on Friday night and let it rise until Saturday morning. It was a breeze to work with.
The whole process was interesting. The making the hole, boiling and then baking. 

The results were delicious. I will definitely make these again, but I might leave off the crunchy topping. The topping was fantastic, but there is no way these can go into a toaster. Perhaps a toaster oven on a piece of foil (we don't have a toaster oven).

Friday, March 1, 2019

Friday Night Pizza

Leftover beef from last night's steak and cheese subs, some bacon, and cheese. Delicious and easy to prepare. The dough was in the freezer. Yes, it was the Jim Lahey recipe. Also loving the new pizza pan Chris got me for Christmas. It helps the dough bake into a super crispy crust.

I hope to be back and doing more regular postings. 

We had a tough time with our cat Archie. He has been sick since before Christmas and we had to put him down last Saturday. Crap, what a sad time we have had. But Lucy is still with us and as cute as ever.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Osso Buco

Delicious! This was so easy to make. Thanks to the slow cooker.

I picked up a package of 2 veal shanks at Ferraro's for $5.09. We were off to a good start.
I found this recipe online at They gave directions for stove top and the slow cooker. I opted for the slow cooker.

2 veal shanks
1/4 teaspoon of salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup carrots, cut up to resemble baby carrots
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup Marsala Wine
1 14oz can fat-free beef broth

Sprinkle veal shanks evenly with 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Dredge in flour and shake off excess.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add veal shanks and cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove the veal from the pan and place in slow cooker. I hope you are using the slow cooker liners.

Add the carrots, onion, and celery to the Dutch oven and saute for 6 minutes. Place vegetables in the slow cooker.

Add the remaining 1/8 tsp salt, Marsala wine, and broth to the slow cooker. Cover with lid. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW. Cook for 5 hours.

We served this over rice. Very nice!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Thank You Ina

How not to overcook anything. Just the facts. From Ina Garten. Great article on Yahoo Lifestyle. Click here for the whole article.


For baking, the tests are fairly straightforward and the same for almost all cakes. First, lightly press the rounded top of the cake. Does your finger make a mark or does the cake bounce back? If it bounces back, it’s probably done. Next, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two attached, the cake is done. If you’re testing a cake that has ingredients like chocolate in the batter, you should test the cake in several places; if you hit a puddle of molten chocolate your skewer might come out wet even when the cake is done.


Testing meat is a little more complicated because its temperature will continue to rise during the resting period, as much as 5 to 10 degrees, depending on the size of the piece of meat. (Larger roasts like standing rib roasts hold more heat and will continue to cook longer.) To make sure the meat doesn’t go past the target temperature after it rests, you need to take it out of the oven (or off the grill) a little before it’s done. That’s why in my recipes the recommended internal temperatures indicate the temperature you want before the meat rests under foil. 
It’s important to note that guidelines for cooking meat have changed in recent years. At one-time people were afraid that rare or undercooked meat might carry diseases, particularly pork, which was associated with trichinosis. To ensure safety it had to be cooked to 180°F, which resulted in overcooked, dry meat. Now that trichinosis is no longer a danger, I cook pork to 137 or 140°F and it comes out rosy, moist, and delicious.
Beef: 125 to 130°F for medium rare
Chicken: 140 to 145°F for chicken breasts / 155 to 160°F for thighs or whole chickens
Pork: 137 to 140°F for medium rare
Lamb: 125°F for medium rare
Duck: 120°F for rare


Seafood is generally judged for doneness by a visual test. Cooked fish will flake easily with a fork when it’s done, and shrimp will be just firm and pink. The exception is lobster, which should reach 140°F when tested in the tail with an instant-read thermometer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year, New Pizza Pan

For Christmas, I received a T-Fal Air Bake Pizza Pan. It has holes in the bottom. The pizza looked just like a takeout pizza. I did not use my usual crust recipe. I used the recipe from How to Bake Everything by Mark Bittman. I love Mark Bittman but I prefer the Jim Lahey pizza crust recipe.

The toppings were what made this an over the top delicious pie. I used up things leftover from the holidays. Salami, Proscuitto, Bacon, and Vegan Pepperoni from the Three Vegan Girls Creamery.
Wow! What a combination. The picture above is of the first 3 slices I ate. Yes, I went back for seconds!