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Prosciutto and Penne

September 13, 2010

After rummaging through mother’s recipes the other weekend, I walked away with one that seemed so fast, so easy and would be great to make when you really do not have a lot of time to make a time-consuming gravy. On Friday, my best friend came over for dinner and I made this pasta dish in 30 minutes. I added sausage to it to make more like a bolognese but you can also add pork.

Prosciutto with Penne
1 lb. pasta
1 can plum tomatoes chopped
1/4 lb. proscuitto chopped
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp fresh basil
4 tblsp. butter
1 large onion chopped

Saute onion in butter and olive oil. Add Proscuitto and saute for 1 minute. Add in the sausage cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and basil, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Serve over pasta.


“Giada Piccata”

September 10, 2010

When I went searching through my mom’s huge recipe box this past weekend, there was one common dish that I could not find a recipe for. This is probably because something like “Chicken Piccata” is a recipe memorized by mom. However, I had never made this dish before and who else to turn to for a great recipe, but Giada. I found her recipe here. I have to say that this dish is simple and light but packs some flavor that is unique from the regular chicken breast you may grill on a week night.

Giada’s Chicken Piccata
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large 10 or 12-inch skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Reduce heat to medium low and add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley

Guilty Pleasure

September 8, 2010

There are just some things that I have to have sometimes.
I know that after I eat some of these things that the next morning
I will be running on the treadmill a little more the next day
but sometimes they are just worth it.

{my mom’s white pizza with tomato}

{banana split from Two Cents Plain in Margate NJ}

{Orangina Soda}

{jalapeno Poppers from Chickies and Petes}

Crabs and Macaroni

September 7, 2010

This weekend was the last weekend of summer.. so upsetting. I never enjoyed leaving the shore on Labor Day for as long as I can remember. From when I was little, I hated the fact that there was school the next day and now that I am older it is just as bad to know there is work the next day.
There’s something nostalgic about the shore on Labor Day weekend. The beach usually starts to get chilly around 4 so you end up walking home that day with a beach towel around you to stay warm, families up and down the streets are packing their cars to capacity and some of the bars will just not be as fun after this weekend. However, it was a great weekend and what made it even better was the crab gravy that my mom decided to make on Saturday.
The crabs for the gravy were caught by my family and I on this tiny boat that we rented from Scotts Dock in Margate on the bay. I am not much of a crabber, I was more interested in getting a tan, and watching the crabs chase my cousin Megan around the boat as I released them after her. However, once we starting catching some, the trip get fairly entertaining and we ended up with a little over 2 dozen crabs. What made this even more comical was the fact that the owner of Scott’s Dock made us take a group picture after the trip holding up our “prize” crab as if we had caught a Mako Shark or something.

Picture Below: (feel free to laugh at this picture since I thought it was the craziest thing ever, “we caught crabs lady, relax”)

After our crabbing extravaganza, my Mom and Aunt Adele made the best crab gravy, so I guess the crab trip was worth it. However, maybe next time I will skip getting up at 6 am to catch crabs, go buy them at the seafood store, and stay in bed a little later. Either way you do it, this crab gravy recipe is easy to make and something that everyone should write down if you don’t have one already and add to your recipe collection.

Crab Gravy
1 dozen crabs cleaned and rinsed well
1/2 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
hot pepper flakes
1 can tomato puree
1 can fresh cut tomatoes (in the store they call this chef’s cut)
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 tblsp. fresh thyme
1 1/2 lb. spaghetti

How to make it:
In a large pot, add the olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and pepper and hot pepper. Place the crabs in the pot to saute. Crabs will turn white and then add your 4 cans of tomatoes (crushed, puree, and fresh cut) Add in your fresh basil and thyme and cook on medium heat for 20 mins. Lower to simmer and cook for 1 hr. Add more salt, pepper and hot pepper if desired. Once gravy is almost done cooking, add spaghetti to a boiling pot of water and cook al dente. Once finished, remove crabs out of gravy and serve gravy on top of pasta.

A Lighter Pasta

September 2, 2010

When it comes to pasta, most of the time I end up making a heavy gravy or creamy blush sauce, and do not get me wrong, these will always be first to me, especially during the winter when its freezing outside. However, when it’s hot, [I sat in my car this morning at the temperature was already at 84 degrees] and I am still craving pasta, I tend to go a quicker, easier route with my sauce. I decided to pair a simple sauce with chicken cutlets. This sauce is as simple as it gets. Tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil. Thats it! As I thought more about the mixture I realized that this sauce would also be great on top of grilled chicken, garlic bread, fish etc.

Tomato Basil Sauce
6 tomatoes on the vine chopped
1 cup basil
1 cup olive oil
1 garlic glove
crushed black pepper to taste
salt to taste
red pepper flakes
parmesan cheese

In a large sauce pan, combine the olive oil, and tomatoes with the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook on simmer for about 15 mins. Add the Basil in the last 5 mins. Top over any pasta, add cheese on top.

Spread It

August 31, 2010

There is one thing that I can always look forward to when I visit my parents at the shore. I call it “The Spread”. Even before anyone can actually wake up and pour coffee, my mom is going to town making a fabulous breakfast. There is absolutely no need to hit up a diner, the table is covered with a breakfast meat of some sort, fruit, coffee, toast, and usually a frittata or like older Italian women say “fritad“. My mom said this past weekend that she makes a big breakfast so we can all be around the table and talk, before everyone is off the beach, shopping etc., sounds good to me.
The frittata that my mom makes is fairly simple and one that her grandmother used to make. In better words, it is a tradition. What am I going to do in the winter months when I will not have my mom to make me “The Spread”. Obviously, I will have to make it myself. This recipe is used to serve 6 to 8 people divide to make smaller portions.

1 dozen eggs (use egg whites for a healthier option)
1 white onion chopped
5 to 6 potatoes peeled cut into quarters (this helps to cook them faster)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tblsp garlic powder
2 green or red pepper taste
2 cups cheddar cheese
olive oil for cooking

In a large pot boil potatoes until soft about 30-40 mins. (Feel free to do this part the night before). When the potatoes are almost done cooking, in a large saucepan, add olive oil or Canola oil to coat the pan. Add the onions and peppers. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook until onions are translucent. Once, potatoes are done cooking chop into bite size pieces and add to the pan with the onions and peppers. Brown the potatoes about 5-10 mins. While you are browning the potatoes, mix the eggs. Once potatoes are golden brown, pour the egg mixture on top, and add in the cheddar cheese. Put a lid on the saucepan and simmer until eggs are fully cooked. Remove from pan and cut to serve like a pie

Big Burgers

August 27, 2010

This is fantastic burger recipe that I saw on the Rachael Ray Show. Rachael Ray is the queen of fast and easy meals. She is more or less into that no stress kind of cooking and most of her recipes are quick and painless. (Usually you will see recipes on here that I made recent, however, last night, well I really did not like what I made. Stay tuned for that recipe when I get it right.) This burger I made last year and about 5 times since then. It has a few components, the homemade cheese sauce and roasted tomatoes are good combo.

Burgers / Rachael Ray Recipe

3 vine-ripened tomatoes (for four burgers), sliced about 1/4-inch thick
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Black pepper for seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon coarse ground
2 pounds coarse ground sirloin
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 Kaiser rolls, toasted
7-8 leaves red lead or red romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup basil leaves, about 8-10 leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup balsamic drizzle

Balsamic Drizzle is another recipe on its own buts its easy and I use it to drizzle over steak, chicken anything. All is it is I cup Balsamic Vinegar and 2 tablespoons brown sugar brought to a boil and then the heat is reduced for ten mins. You know its ready when it has a syrup consistency.

Directions for Burger:
Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes on the rack then drizzle with a touch of Olive Oil and season the tomato slices with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes 45 minutes.

When the tomatoes are about ready, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of Olive Oil, about 2 tablespoons. While the pan is heating up combine the sirloin with some salt and pepper and form into 4 patties, thicker at edges and thinner in the center for even cooking and to insure you end up with a flat burger as the burger bulges up during cooking. Cook patties 10 minutes for medium-rare patties turning once. Cook 12 minutes for pink centers and 14 minutes for well-done.

While the patties are cooking, place a small pot over medium-high heat with the butter. Add the garlic to the melted butter and cook for about 1 minute. Add the flour to the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture and bring up to a bubble. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, lots of pepper (about 1 teaspoon) and stir in the cheese. Prepare balsamic drizzle in small pot if not using store-bought.

To assemble, place some lettuce on the bun bottom and top with a burger patty, pour Parmigiano sauce over top, set a roasted tomatoes in sauce, scatter basil over burgers and garnish balsamic drizzle, set tops in place.

Recipe found on Rachael Ray Show. all rights this recipe are found on