Fresh Summer Peaches With Cannoli Cream

peaches and cream

Here’s an easy, low effort dessert that will keep you cool and satisfy your sweet tooth this summer, with no oven required.

Fresh summer peaches with cannoli cream. Perfectly ripe and juicy peaches are the base for generous dollops of cannoli cream on top.

fresh peaches

You can slice the peaches, dice the peaches and even grill them up if you wish, and if you prefer, you can also do the same with nectarines or even apricots.

cannoli cream

The cannoli cream can be made ahead, placed in your fridge until you’re ready to serve up your peaches. It’s a great summertime dessert to have after a dinner party or when friends and family visit.

peaches and cream in a wine glass

You can layer the peaches and cream in a pretty glass for an individual presentation, or just serve it family style with a generous amount of the cannoli cream plopped on top of the sliced peaches, either way you’re sure to impress your guests!

family style peaches and cream

Happy summer!

Fresh Summer Peaches With Cannoli Cream
Dreamy cannoli cream layered with fresh peaches makes the perfect summertime dessert, no oven required.
  • fresh peaches, sliced or diced or even grilled
  • 1 lb. whole milk ricotta, drained of liquid if bought in a deli, or use one with less liquid that you can purchase from a container. Just make sure no visible liquid is dripping out.
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • zest of half an orange, or more to your liking
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ cup of mini chocolate chips
  • pistachio's for garnish
  1. Using your hand mixer place the ricotta into a bowl and mix until the ricotta is nice and smooth.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, zest and cinnamon.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, keeps for a couple of days.
  5. NOTE: Taste for sweetness along with the zest and everything else to your own liking.
  6. Serve over sliced peaches or diced and layered in individual serving vessels. Garnish with pistachio's, optional.



Limoncello Cookies with White Chocolate and Pistachio Drizzle

limoncello with cookies

A warm summer day calls for a nice cold and refreshing drink of limoncello. Not only is it a wonderful drink to sip slowly and enjoy, and by the way today happens to be National Limoncello Day,  it’s also used in cooking and baking, so having a bottle stashed away in your freezer is a good thing.

cookies and limoncello cream

I made these delicious cookies using limoncello crema, if you haven’t tried the creamy version of limoncello I encourage you to do so, it’s out of this world amazing. This is the perfect pairing for a hot summer treat.

The cookies are infused with the limoncello crema, lemon zest and juice. The cookie itself has a crisp edge with a light and crunchy interior. The tops are drizzled with white chocolate and chopped pistachios.

a row of limoncello cookies cookies

This recipe comes from Food Network magazine and it’s definitely adapted because after I had formed and shaped the cookies and was ready to put them into the oven, I realized I forgot 2 tablespoons of olive oil that the recipe called for. By that time I just let it go because there’s also 12 tablespoons of butter included in the recipe so I figured it would be fine, and it was, we loved them as is.

I will post the full recipe but use your own judgement on the olive oil addition, just know they turned out great without.

cookies with white chocolate drizzle and nuts

This is such a unique and special cookie not something common like a chocolate chip, I guarantee your friends and family will love them.

plated cookies

Bring a platter to your summer gatherings and watch them disappear!

Limoncello Cookies with White Chocolate and Pistachio Drizzle
Limoncello infused cookies, bright, crunchy and citrusy, a perfect all occasion treat. Recipe adapted. from. Food Network magazine.
  • 1- ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon, baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½. teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil ( see reference above in post) I forgot to put it in but they still turned out great.
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons of limoncello, I used the crema version
  • ½ teaspoon, vanilla
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon about 3 tablespoons
  • ***
  • 8 oz. white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup of finely chopped pistachio's
  1. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, soda. and salt.
  2. In a larger bowl beat the butter and sugar til fluffy.
  3. In a tiny bowl whisk the olive oil, (see reference above) whole egg, yolk, limoncello, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Add it to the butter mixture on low then also add in the flour.
  4. Now cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, and important step to get the butter cold for rolling the cookie shape.
  5. ***
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 and place parchment onto a baking sheet.
  7. Roll the cookies into a 2 inch long log, place them 2 inches apart on the parchment.
  8. Bake anywhere between 15 to 18 minutes. depending on your oven, each cookie should show a nice medium golden on the bottom and edges.
  9. ***
  10. Completely cool on racks then melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals, drizzle the chocolate on the cookies with a fork then quickly add your chopped pistachio's..



Antipasto Potato Salad

antipasto with potatoes

This is the season for outdoor cooking with BBQ’s, picnic’s, parties, graduations and all sorts of get-together’s. As you can see from my previous few posts lately, I’ve been on a salad kick.

This antipasto potato salad is perfect for any of those occasions, I think you’re going to love it!

This is not your traditional American potato salad made with mayo, which by the way I think is delicious too. This one is called an antipasto potato salad because it’s filled with ingredients you would find on a nice big antipasto platter with the addition of potatoes.

antipasto salad

For the potatoes I used a mix of red and white thin skinned potatoes because that’s what I had, but you can use your favorite kind just don’t use a baking potato or a russet. I also left the skin on but you can certainly peel the skin off as well.

antipasto and potatoes

This is such a nice Italian twist on traditional potato salad, it’s dressed with a delicious red wine vinaigrette so you can put this out and serve it worry free in regards to spoiling because no mayonnaise is required.


Antipasto Potato Salad
Think of a nice big Italian antipasto salad, add some cooked potatoes and this is the delicious result. This recipe is adapted from Delish
  • 2 lbs. of cooked red or white skinned potatoes, cooked until a knife goes through easily, cooled then cut bite size. ( you can peel them if you like)
  • 1 cup of salami, sliced. into quarters or diced
  • 1 can or jar of artichoke hearts, drained of liquid
  • 2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 container of bocconcini mozzarella, or the pearl size, drained of liquid
  • ½ red onion, sliced in half moons
  • a mix of olives, I like kalamata and castelvetrano, a cup or more
  • a handful each of fresh parsley and basil, chopped
  • ½ cup of good extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 small garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 dollop of Djion mustard
  • oregano and salt and pepper to taste
  1. Shake the dressing in a jar.
  2. Place the salad ingredients into a big bowl, tossing in the herbs.
  3. Then arrange and place everything onto a big platter and spoon desired amount of the dressing over the top right before serving.
  4. Toss gently.



Berry Salad with Leafy Greens and Balls of Fresh Mozzarella

fresh berry. salad

This fresh berry salad is bright and flavorful and pretty to look at because of all the vibrant colors. It’s a showstopper salad to serve at your next big party or get- together. It literally goes with so many things you might have as a main course.

You might think, “fruit in a salad?” I’m here to say, “Oh yes!”

berry salad ingredients

Beautiful leafy greens are the base for this salad along with juicy, ripe fresh blueberries and strawberries. Creamy avocado, crisp cucumbers and red onion along with balls of bocconcini, fresh mozzarella. For the crunch factor there’s candied pecans and pepitas.

berries and mozzarella balls

Present this salad in one of your biggest bowls or prettiest platters and it will be the talk of the party when you bring it out.

Always dress it right before serving with a homemade vinaigrette, don’t use that bottled stuff!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Berry Salad with Leafy Greens and Balls of Fresh Mozzarella
A showstopper summer salad to serve for your summer parties. and get-togethers.
  • The ingredient amounts are not listed, just go with the flow according how big your salad will be.
  • ****************
  • leafy greens for the base
  • fresh strawberries, sliced into quarters
  • fresh blueberries
  • bocconcini balls or pearl size fresh mozzarella
  • red onion
  • avocado, diced
  • cucumbers, seeds scooped out and sliced
  • candied pecans and pepitas, please find these, it goes so well
  1. Place the base of the leafy greens into a beautiful big bowl or platter.
  2. Then arrange all the rest of the ingredients all around.
  3. Spoon the balsamic vinaigrette all around at the last minute before serving, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. **************
  6. /2 cups good olive oil
  7. /2 cup of a quality balsamic vinegar
  8. small garlic clove, grated
  9. a dollop of dijon mustard
  10. salt and pepper
  11. Shake it all together in a jar and taste for your liking, you can add a little honey if you want but I find that a good quality rich balsamic vinegar has sweetness to it and there's no need for it.



Summertime Orzo Salad

summer orzo salad

Spring is officially here and the warmer weather has arrived and so has grilling season. I know you can grill all year long but I much prefer doing it in the warmer weather. This orzo salad is the perfect side dish to anything you’ll be putting on your grill.

orzo pasta

It’s bright, fresh, colorful, easy to serve, and great for summer parties because you can leave it out and eat it at room temp and you don’t have to worry about it spoiling.

pasta salad

You might want to throw some colored bell peppers on the grill and cook them ahead before you assemble this salad. I usually grill a red, yellow and  orange pepper ahead of time, a day or two before, the grilled peppers really give the salad a nice flavor.

grilling shrimp

And like I said this orzo salad goes with anything you put on the grill from seafood, veggies, pork, beef and chicken.

grilling chicken

This will be your go to summer entertaining salad and side dish, hope you enjoy!

Summertime Orzo Salad
This orzo salad is your go to summer side dish and salad with whatever you're grilling outside.
  • 1 lb. orzo pasta, cooked and drained and cooled
  • 1 red yellow and orange bell peppers, grilled then diced
  • a mix of green castelvetrano and either nicoise or kalamata olives, you can slice them in half
  • 1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ can or so of canned artichoke hearts, drained
  • red onion, chopped
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of arugula
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  1. Toss everything together in a big bowl, adjusting for salt and pepper.
  3. /4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  4. small grated garlic clove
  5. teaspoon of dijon mustard
  6. /3 to ½ cup of olive oil
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. Place in a jar and shake or whisk it all together until it all emulsifies
  9. You can double the dressing if you like if you don't have enough



Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Spring Vegetables

springtime pasta

This creamy mushroom pasta is packed with spring vegetables and those chunky meaty mushrooms make it so cozy and delicious.

As far as mushrooms go feel free to chose your favorites, you can do all of one kind or a mix of a few different ones. Here I used a chef’s sampler of wild mushrooms that I bought at Costco.

spring vegetables

Fresh asparagus is in abundance right now and it’s the perfect addition along with fresh or frozen peas.

mushroom mixture

Sautéed together with shallots, garlic, some white wine and heavy cream which creates a rich and velvety cream sauce.

creamy mushroom mix

Oh and don’t forget to add in a healthy measure of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano to enhance the sauce even more!

spring veggies with pasta

Pick any pasta shape you like for this, it all works, although I wouldn’t do any small or tiny shape pasta.

pasta with peas

This spring pasta dish would be great for a weeknight meal or even a special occasion, especially if you add in some of those “fancy ” mushrooms.

Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Spring Vegetables
a meaty mushroom pasta dish loaded with spring vegetables.
  • 12 oz. of dry pasta, a shape of your choice
  • 1 lb. of mushrooms, either a mix of a few or one kind, use your favorite, sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 heaping cup of fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • splash of white wine
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 half a stick of butter
  • 1 cup of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  1. In a large wide skillet melt the butter and add in the shallots, garlic and mushrooms, saute til wilted and mushrooms are cooked down.
  2. Note:
  3. Now if your skillet isn't big enough it's ok to saute the mushrooms and peas and asparagus one at a time, then put them altogether after they shrink down a bit and add your splash of white wine and let it cook a little bit.
  4. When vegetables are cooked down put your water on for the pasta.
  5. On a very low heat pour your heavy cream into the vegetable mix, stirring til it thickens, then shut off the heat and add in the grated cheese.
  6. Toss all that goodness into your cooked pasta and adjust with salt, pepper and more cheese if you like!
  7. Enjoy



Pistachio Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Pistachio cake

This pistachio cake is the perfect dessert for any occasion but especially for pistachio lovers. It has a dense crumb, sort of like a poundcake and it’s subtly sweet, it’s filled with finely chopped pistachio’s along with rich and creamy pistachio butter.

The frosting is in a league of it’s own, the mascarpone cheese takes it over the top, it’s my new favorite frosting right now, move over cream cheese!

pistachio cream

This is the star of the show, pistachio cream, pistachio butter, it’s also called pistachio paste, you can fine it at Italian markets or online, it has such concentrated pistachio flavor, the same as you would have in peanut butter, almond butter or any nut butter.

cake ingredients

The pistachio cream gets mixed into the batter along with some finely chopped pistachio’s, the batter will be rich and thick.

The pistachio cream also makes you able to put this cake together in no time, so it’s not labor intensive baking at all.

sliced up cake

The mascarpone frosting is the perfect topping for this cake and it holds up very well for a few days after being frosted, that is if you have any leftover cake.

pistachio cake served

You won’t find any green food coloring in this cake, pistachio pudding or cake mix like in days of old when that was a very popular way to make pistachio cake. You’ll only find the natural color and true essence of real pistachio.

Make this for Easter, Mother’s Day, a girls luncheon or a special birthday, you can even double everything and make it a 2 layer cake if you wish.

cake slice

Grab a fork and have a slice!

Pistachio Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
Pistachio lovers, this cake is for you, subtly sweet with the true essence of pistachio, easy to make and perfect for special occasions. This recipe is adapted from a couple of different ones I found on the Internet that used pistachio cream.
  • ½ cup of softened unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of flavorless oil
  • ¼ cup of whole milk or sour cream
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 T. pistachio cream, butter or paste
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • ¼ to ½ of salt, depending if you're using salted pistachio's
  • 2 T. of small but coarsely ground pistachio's, I used salted
  • you'll be adding more ground pistachio's for garnish on top or just use large chopped pistachio's instead so you'll. need extra
  • ½ cup of cold mascarpone cheese
  • ½ t. almond extract
  • 1t. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup of cold heavy whipping cream
  • NOTE: If you want to make the frosting look green add a little bit of the pistachio cream into the mix, I would just fold it in little by little not making the frosting too loose.
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch pan, glass can also be used.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until nice and creamy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combined.
  5. Add the oil and milk or sour cream then the vanilla and almond extract, mix well and incorporate it all.
  6. Add the pistachio butter, mixing it in on low.
  7. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  8. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix til all combined, batter will be thick.
  9. Toss in and fold the 2 T. of the small coarsely ground pistachio's into the thick batter.
  10. Pour into your baking pan spreading it out with an off set spatula from corner to corner.
  11. Bake 45 minutes, less if using a glass dish, I used glass and it was 7 minutes less.
  12. The key is to check the center if it comes out clean and golden brown on the bottom.
  13. Ovens do vary so check accordingly, make sure cake is completely cooled before frosting it.
  14. For the frosting beat together the mascarpone with the extracts, then incorporate the powdered sugar, now pour in the heavy whipping cream and beat until you get stiff peaks form into a fluffy consistency. Be careful not to over beat.
  15. Frost your cake and garnish with ground or chopped pistachio's.



Crispy Baked Eggplant Cutlets

crispy eggplant

Throughout the years I’ve pretty much made eggplant every way you can think of. It’s one of my top favorite vegetables and my whole family loves it too.

Eggplant is so versatile, you can do so much with it. One delicious way to eat it is in the form of a cutlet, which is a slice of eggplant dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, usually fried, and yes I have fried them many times throughout the years.

Eggplant can soak up oil like a sponge when frying, not to mention your stove will get totaled, plus it’s a long process of standing there while they’re frying, a labor of love especially if your making a bunch.

prepped eggplant

You can get the same crispy effect when baking them where the eggplant flavor really shines threw, they won’t soak up the oil like a sponge, they’re easier to make and much, much healthier.

I have to warn you though, you need to make a generous amount, because once they come out of the oven they can disappear quickly right off the baking sheet. I will confess, I’ am so guilty of that!

crispy baked eggplant

You can serve these crispy gems as a side dish, an appetizer, for lunch or just a snack you can grab out of the fridge, you can eat them hot or cold. If you like to dip, warm up some marinara or make a lemon aioli. It’s all good and you can’t go wrong any which way.

plated eggplant

You can also use them as your base for making eggplant Parmesan. The other day I made some simple spaghetti with marinara and plopped a few of these cutlets right on top, so delicious!

crispy and baked

I hope you try my crispy, baked version next time you’re thinking about cooking up some eggplant.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crispy Baked Eggplant Cutlets
Eliminate the oil and mess on your stove and make these delicious crispy baked eggplant cutlets!
  • 4 slender eggplants, the fatter ones have too many seeds ,peel the eggplants in a zebra pattern, basically alternating about one inch sections that are peeled and not peeled, then slice into half inch rounds
  • 5 eggs, whisked
  • I don't have exact amount of breadcrumbs, you be the judge, you may need to add more or less depending on the size of your eggplant slices
  • olive oil
  • grated pecorino romano cheese
  • granulated garlic, parsley, salt and pepper
  1. No need to salt the eggplant and let it sweat, I don't see the need to do that anymore.
  2. You can use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or plain, but for both I like to dress it up and add a cup of grated pecorino romano, some granulated garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 425. Line your baking sheets with parchment, this is important, then drizzle with olive oil and brush it all over.
  4. Dip your eggplant slice into the egg then into the breadcrumb mixture then place on the baking sheet.
  5. When the pan is filled do a quick drizzle of olive oil on each slice.
  6. Place into the oven, after 5 or so, maybe 10 minutes check them and flip to the other side only if they’re golden brown, if not let them cook a little more then flip.
  7. You want each side to be nice and golden brown.
  8. Place them on a clean tray and sprinkle with salt.
  9. Enjoy!



Umbrian Snowflake Cookies

umbrian cookies

I found these cookies in one of my old Saveur Italian cookbooks that was published back in 2015. These Umbrian snowflake cookies are served at festivals, wineries and charity bake sales and are a favorite of the residents from Montefalco in Umbria.

When flipping through the book, just the look of these cookies immediately caught my eye and I had to make them, I also thought how fun to make them in the winter, hence the name Umbrian”snowflake” cookies.

cookie recipe

The ingredients are pretty basic, but think of the end result as an elevated chocolate chip cookie, with crunchy cornflakes in and out of the batter.

cookie mix

It’s  easy to mix together and fun to make with your kids, because who doesn’t like a special kind of crunchy chocolate chip cookie?

ready to bake

After they’re pulled from the oven, let them cool down a bit, then you’re going to shower them all over with powdered sugar.

powdered sugar cookies

The powdered sugar resembles falling snow.

cookies and coffee

Of course you’re not limited to making these snowflake cookies only in the winter, you can make them anytime your heart desires!

Umbrian Snowflake Cookies
This recipe is adapted from the book, Saveur Italian Comfort Food.
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. kosher salt
  • 1¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup plus 2 T. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 cups cornflakes (2 cups lightly crushed, 4 cups whole)
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • confectioners sugar for sprinkling
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl with a hand mixer cream the sugar and butter til fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time til well incorporated.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough forms.
  6. Fold in crushed cornflakes and the chocolate chips.
  7. Divide dough into 28 balls and roll them into the whole cornflakes.
  8. Space 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake until golden and crisp, 20-22 minutes.
  10. Let the cookies cool down then dust with the confectioners sugar.



Easy Strawberry Cream Puffs Made With Puff Pastry

cream puffs

Strawberry cream puffs are such a quick and easy dessert because in this version you use store-bought puff pastry. Strawberries are good to use because you can dice them up really small and then easily fold them into the heavy whipped cream and mascarpone.

ingredients for cream puffs

Valentine’s Day is near and this would be the perfect ending to a special dinner, it’s light and creamy and the strawberries really shine through.

cut pastry

Just cut your puff pastry into squares, you don’t even have to dock it because you want them to puff up.

baked pastry

Then all you have to do is slice them in half and you’ll have a top and a bottom created.

strawberry cream

With your filling prepared you’re ready to spoon or pipe it right onto the puffed up pastry sheet.

strawberry cream puffs

Your dessert is done, all you have to do is give them a good dusting of powdered sugar and enjoy!

Easy Strawberry Cream Puffs Made With Puff Pastry
An easy creamy decadent dessert worthy for a special occasion like Valentine's Day.
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • sprinkling of turbinado sugar, optional
  • 1 cup of strawberries, diced small, extra for garnish
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon, vanilla
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, extra for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and place some parchment on a baking sheet.
  2. Cut your puff pastry into squares, you can easily get 6 to eight slices depending on the size of your puff pastry sheet, no docking necessary.
  3. If using turbinado sugar press some onto the tops.
  4. Place into the oven for 10- 15 minutes til nice and golden, ovens do vary so check.
  5. Remove and let them cool down completely.
  6. When completely cooled you can slice them in half lengthwise.
  7. To make the strawberry cream, place the mascarpone into a deep medium bowl using a hand mixer to smooth it out, adding the vanilla and powdered sugar.
  8. Pour in the heavy cream and continue to mix well until mixture holds together well and is not runny.
  9. Fold the diced strawberries into the cream mixture being careful not to add juice if there is some.
  10. Pipe or spoon the mixture onto your pastry sheet bottoms, add a few extra sliced strawberries on top of the mixture if you want, put the lid on and sprinkle powdered sugar all over the top.
  11. Place on your serving plate with a couple whole fresh strawberries for garnish.



Spaghetti Squash Egg-in-a Hole

spaghetti squash nest

Spaghetti squash egg in a hole can be an easy and healthy breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner. It’s also low carb, gluten free and packed with protein, something we’re all thinking about post holiday celebrations.

flaked spaghetti squash

I love spaghetti squash, I make it quite often it’s so versatile and really fills you up, in a good way. This recipe comes together fast if you roast your squash ahead of time and have your “spaghetti strands” read to go.

Here are a couple of my other favorite ways to use spaghetti squash.

spaghetti squash nests

Then all you do is grab a handful of your spaghetti squash and form it into a circle making a hole in the center.

cheese in nests

Then you’re going to fill that hole with some grated mozzarella so that the egg can sit right in there.

uncooked eggs in squash. nests

Carefully crack your egg into the center and adorn it with some pre-cooked toppings like bacon or some sautéed peppers, you can also use some sliced cherry tomatoes as well.

cooked squash egg in a hole

Bake it until the whites are set and you’ll have a very delicious, satisfying and fun to eat meal!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Spaghetti Squash Egg-in-a Hole
A healthy and protein packed meal using versatile spaghetti squash, that's so delicious and fun to eat.
  • 1 spaghetti squash , medium to large size. Cut lengthwise with seeds scooped out
  • eggs, depending on how many "nests" you get from your squash, I got 5, one for each
  • No need for precise measuring here.
  • grated mozzarella to fill in the holes
  • grated parmesan
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • pre-cooked toppings like half pieces of cooked bacon, or some sautéed colored peppers with additional sliced cherry tomatoes
  • chopped parsley
  1. You can roast your spaghetti squash ahead of time if you wish, which I usually do.
  2. Take your squash that has been cut with all the seeds. scooped out, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on parchment paper and roast in an oven at 360 degrees until a knife goes through with a little resistance. The key is you don't want the squash overcooked, it can become mushy and watery, which you don't want. I like the squash cooked al'dente.
  3. Mine took about 25 minutes, but keep checking it all depends on the size of your squash.
  4. Then let the squash cool down flake the inside all over to get your spaghetti strands.
  5. Place the strands in a bowl and season it with a handful of grated parmesan, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Place another sheet of parchment on a baking sheet, turn your oven up to 425F.
  7. Grab a handful of the spaghetti squash and place it on the parchment forming a circle with a hole in the center. Make sure the edges are high enough to hold in the egg, but the grated mozzarella will help with that as well.
  8. After you have your nests made, sprinkle each center with the grated mozzarella cheese, then place the cracked egg on top.
  9. Arrange the toppings of your choice right on top of the spaghetti nests.
  10. Drizzle the tops with olive oil and sprinkle each with grated parmesan cheese.
  11. Carefully place the sheet pan into the hot 425F oven and bake til the whites are set, around 15 minutes, but keep checking.
  12. Remove from the oven. and garnish with more parmesan and chopped parsley.
  13. Enjoy!



Stuffed Pork Roast with Apples and Cranberries

apple cranberry stuffed

Tis the season for entertaining and this stuffed pork loin with apples and cranberries is perfect for a gathering you might be having.

It certainly looks complicated but actually it’s very easy to put together, it can even be done a day ahead of time. The confusing part to some might be how to butterfly the meat. You actually open it like a book and then each side of the “book” you open that up. Here’s a visual that will help you, and you’ll see just how easy it is.

stuffed loin

Once you open it up fully you can spread your flavored filling all around. Here I used apple with dried cranberries, garlic, thyme and a sprinkle of bread crumbs. You’ll then roll it up tightly and tie it with butchers string.

pork loin

The apples and cranberries compliment the pork so well, serve it with a green vegetable on the side and maybe some cranberry sauce, a simple and elegant meal to serve your guests.

plated stuffed loin

Add or subtract anything in the stuffing/filling that you choose, choose your favorite variety of apples, maybe dried apricots instead of cranberries or dried cherries, toss in some mushrooms, chopped spinach, make a full bread stuffing if you wish, the stuffing possibilities are endless!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Stuffed Pork Roast with Apples and Cranberries
An elegant dish to entertain with and easy enough for week night meals.
  • Pork loin, the size of your choice but for my post here I used a 3 lb. roast
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 large apple of your choice, chopped finely
  • dried cranberries, a good handful
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • thyme
  • butter
  • a sprinkling of breadcrumbs
  • fresh herbs to place under twine
  • ********
  • You can double everything depending on how big your roast is, don't worry about exact measurements, taste and go along.
  1. Slice open the pork with a sharp knife lengthwise but not slicing it all the way through, it should open like a book. Then each side needs to open like a book as well. Please refer to the link in my post to see a visual on how to do it easily.
  2. After it's butterflied open, cover with some plastic wrap and with a meat tenderizer pound it as even as you can all around. Then season with salt and pepper.
  3. For the stuffing; In a sauté pan add a nice dollop of butter, add the shallot and garlic, then the apple pieces and cranberries, saute til softened but not mushy.
  4. Season with salt, pepper and the thyme to your taste.
  5. Sprinkle the mixture with breadcrumbs, it will help hold the filling together better.
  6. Let it cool down a little bit then spread the mixture all over the opened pork, not quite all the way to the ends.
  7. Roll up and secure with butchers twine in a few places so it doesn’t open.
  8. Season the outside with salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  9. Sear the pork roast all around on each side then place some fresh herbs under the twine.
  10. Place into a 375F oven til internal temp reaches 145. After 30 minutes or so keep checking the temp in the middle so you know where you're at because you don't want to overcook it and dry out.



Baked Squash with Ricotta, Parmesan, Lemon and Sage

5 stuffed squash

No secret here that I love squash, actually any squash is ok by me. There are so many beautiful varieties out there and I can honestly say that I haven’t found any that I really don’t like.

Although my top three would have to be butternut, acorn and these sweet little things called honeynut, pictured here. They’re hard to find in my neck of the woods, but when I do I grab them!

Here’s another idea using kabacha squash, using a different filling and a different way to cut the squash.

stuffed acorn squash

Any type of squash is tender and delicious when roasted and of course chock full of vitamins.

honeynut squash stuffed

These sweet squash are filled with creamy ricotta, a touch of lemon, parmesan and sage, a match made in heaven! Feel free to stuff any type of squash you want this filling will go nicely with any variety.

If you have leftovers they heat up nicely the next day, no problem.

Baked Squash with Ricotta, Parmesan, Lemon and Sage
Stuffed squash, perfect this time of year and as a side to your holiday table.
  • Squash of choice, sliced lenghtwise with seeds scooped out
  • 2 cups of ricotta, drained of moisture if need be
  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream or creme fraiche (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon, fresh lemon juice, plus zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 smashed garlic clove
  • ¾ cup or grated pecorino romano or parmesan, plus extra for finishing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a quick drizzle of olive oil, just a little on top and some extra for later
  • Sage leaves
  1. Heat oven to 400F
  2. Place your squash on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Incorporate all the filling ingredients into a bowl, mix well.
  5. Spoon filling into the cavities of the squash, top with fresh sage leaves.
  6. Lay a sheet of foil over the squashes and crimp it around the baking sheet. Bake for around 50 minutes or until squash is tender, test with a knife for doneness.
  7. Remove the foil, sprinkle more grated cheese on top, a. little drizzle of olive oil and turn up the oven to maybe 425F until you get a light golden brown and ricotta is set.
  8. Enjoy!



Braised Chicken with Artichokes, Shallots, Tomatoes and Olives

braised chicken

If you’re looking for a one-pan meal thats warm and comforting and easy to make, this is the one for you. A wine braised chicken dish with tender shallots, fresh tomatoes, briny olives and sweet artichoke hearts.

one pan chicken dinner

I suggest dark cuts of meat for this dish, I used bone- in, skin on legs and thighs. Dark meat pieces work very well for braising, they’re very forgiving and tend not to dry out like white meat breasts do.

I served this dish with mashed potatoes but polenta would be amazing, especially in the dead of winter, also couscous and rice would work as well.

plated chicken dish

Comfort food with an intoxicating smell as it’s cooking in the oven, and I can assure you that  the leftovers, ( if you have any), will be just as good the next day!


5.0 from 3 reviews
Braised Chicken with Artichokes, Shallots, Tomatoes and Olives
Braised chicken, warm and comforting a one-pan meal with Mediterranean flavors throughout.
Recipe type: one-pan meal
  • 5 legs, 3 thighs, bone in, skin on or dark meat pieces of your choice
  • 2 shallots, quartered
  • 1 pint, cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup of good white wine
  • a good sized handful of your favorite olives, I used castelvetrano
  • 10 oz. frozen artichokes
  • ½ tube of tomato paste
  • ¾ cup, chicken broth
  • herbs such as parsley, thyme and rosemary
  • olive oil
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400
  2. Make sure you use a heavy bottomed pan that goes from stove top to oven.
  3. Pat dry and season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Get the pan hot then drizzle with olive oil and sear the chicken on both sides til deep golden.
  5. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  6. Add the shallots, garlic and sauté a little bit.
  7. Deglaze with the white wine.
  8. Toss in the fresh sliced tomatoes, chicken broth and tomato paste, combine well.
  9. Place the chicken back in and scatter with some herbs.
  10. Toss in your olives and artichokes.
  11. Drizzle the top with olive oil and place into the oven.
  12. Cook til internal temp reaches 165.
  13. The last few minutes you can stick it under the broiler or if you have a convection setting put it on convection roast til nicely golden.



Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart With Puff Pastry

squash torte with ricotta

Butternut squash is hands down one of my favorite veggies. When fall comes around I get excited to see it popping up in all the markets. It’s so versatile and you can make so many different meals using it.

One way I like using it is in a savory tart like this one with a cheesy spinach and ricotta base, the flavors compliment each other so well which brings out the sweetness of the squash.

butternut squash

Now you don’t actually have to cut the squash like I did, you can just cube it up, but if you want to fancy it up a bit and give it a showstopper look, do what I did.

Cut the squash right above the seed section, peel the skin off and scoop out the seeds, now cut side down make thin slices. A little more time consuming but it does give it a pretty look.

squash tart

This time I used puff pastry but in the past I’ve used phyllo and even a piecrust as the crust foundation.

savory tart

I have to say store-bought puff pastry is really time saver, you just defrost and it’s ready to go, and it always turns out nice and crispy!

squash and ricotta

The ricotta mixture is flavored with garlic, grated fontina and pecorino cheese and a good handful of fresh chopped spinach.

savory tart with salad

Serve this with a salad of your choice and you have a great lunch, brunch, light dinner or meatless meal, it’s fantastic and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart With Puff Pastry
A savory tart with butternut squash and creamy ricotta cheese, the perfect combination with crispy puff pastry as the foundation.
  • butternut squash, cut above the seeds, then peeled with seeds scooped out and sliced thin, or just cut in cubes
  • 1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry, defrosted according to directions
  • 2½ cups of ricotta, drained well
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • ¾ cups of grated pecorino or parmesan, plus a little extra
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup of grated fontina cheese or grated mozzarella
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh spinach
  • a sprig of thyme for garnish
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400.
  2. After you slice the squash, place on a parchment lined and olive oiled sheet pan, and also lightly drizzle some olive oil on top. Roast at 400 until just softened, not browned ,about 5 or 6 minutes. Check because ovens vary.Then cool down.
  3. Mix up the filling in one bowl, the ricotta, eggs, garlic, grated pecorino or parmesan, shredded fontina or mozzarella and chopped spinach. Mix well.
  4. On another sheet pan place parchment paper and the puff pastry sheet.
  5. Roll the puff pastry with a rolling pin til it takes. the shape of a rectangle and not a square.
  6. Lightly score a border around the entire edge using a paring knife, then prick the surface inside the border all over with a fork.
  7. Spread the ricotta mixture all over the inside surface but not the border.
  8. Arrange and layer the butternut squash on top of the ricotta mixture.
  9. Brush some olive oil on the border adding a little pepper and grated cheese.
  10. A finishing touch of grated cheese on top of the squash a pinch of salt and pepper and quick drizzle of olive oil all over, then add a few thyme leaves.
  11. Bake at 400 for around 25 to 30 minutes. Check your oven, the bottom of your puff pastry should be nice and crispy golden and the ricotta will be set.



Homemade Chicken Soup With Broken Spaghetti

homemade chicken soup

Fall is officially the start of soup weather and here’s a good one to start you off on, plus you can keep it in rotation throughout the winter. It’s my homemade chicken soup with broken spaghetti pasta.

It’s a simple basic recipe, not a lot of ingredients, but all the ingredients I promise will yield you a most delicious pot of soup!

chicken soup

Can you add other veggies to it? of course you can, and that’s up to you. The key to this flavorful broth is using chicken thighs with the bone and skin on, you need that, it won’t be the same without it.

pot of chicken soup

There’s two steps, first you you need to make the base, the broth, which comes from simmering the chicken bones with lots of aromatics, once done the aromatics will be removed, the chicken will be pulled out, skin and bones removed and the shredded chicken set aside.

You’ll then place all the shredded chicken as well as fresh chopped veggies and herbs back into the both, season for taste and when the veggies are tender it’s all done.

broken spaghetti

We like to make some broken spaghetti on the side and add it into your bowls as needed, so delicious!

chicken soup with spaghetti

Cold a flu season is around the corner and this is just the kind of comfort chicken soup that you’ll be needing.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Chicken Soup With Broken Spaghetti
Soup season has officially started, and this soup is just what you need for comfort during the cold and flu season.
  • 4- bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 2 -1 quart boxes of low sodium chicken broth, or water but I prefer adding the broth
  • 3 large garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in half
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 large carrots scrubbed clean and cut in half
  • 2 cheese rinds, either Pecorino or Parmigiano
  • a handful of parsley
  • a pinch of dried thyme and salt and pepper
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • ½ of a large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • a handful of parsley
  • ½.- lb. of broken spaghetti, cooked on the side
  1. Heat up a large heavy bottom pot, drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Pat dry the chicken thighs and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken thighs skin side down and get them golden brown, then flip them over and cook the other side.
  4. Add the 3 cloves of garlic and cook til golden.
  5. Place into the broth, the quartered onion, pieces, carrot and celery halves, cheese rinds, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
  6. Get it to a boil and simmer low for a couple of hours, give it enough time for the vegetables and chicken to be tender and where you can see the collagen broken down to a gelatine and producing a delicious bone broth, taste for seasoning.
  7. Remove the chicken thighs and let them cool down, then scoop out and discard all the large pieces of veggies, parsley and the cheese rinds.
  8. Pull the skin and bones off the chicken and shred the chicken, then place it back into the flavorful broth along with all your freshly chopped veggies and herbs..
  9. Simmer until your veggies are tender but not mushy.
  10. Serve with your pre-cooked broken spaghetti into your bowls and some sprinkling of grated cheese.
  11. Enjoy!



Zucchini Scarpaccia With Corn And Pecorino

zucchini and onion tart

Tis the season of zucchini and the trend right now seems to be zucchini scarpaccia. It’s basically a zucchini tart where the zucchini is the star, there are tons of  variations all over the internet right now.

It’s like a savory zucchini flatbread, baked until it forms a crunchy, golden brown top, it’s very delicious!

sauteed zucchini and onions

I changed mine up a little by adding to the zucchini and onion mixture, an ear of shucked. corn and in the batter some sharp, grated pecorino.

Several recipes say to add cornmeal to the batter, I used dry polenta.

zucchini scarpaccia

Grab a slice and have it as an appetizer, a side dish, a snack or a light main course served with a salad, like I did recently for dinner.

crispy zucchini scarpaccia

A perfect summer dish especially while zucchini is in an abundance right now.

scarpaccia slice

Easy to make, virtually a one pan meal and very soul satisfying!

Zucchini Scarpaccia With Corn And Pecorino
Grab. your garden zucchini and make this savory zucchini flatbread called scarpaccia.
  • 3 zucchini, medium size sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 white or red onion, medium size sliced
  • 1 ear of fresh corn, shucked
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1¼ cup water
  • ⅓ cup polenta or corn meal
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ⅓ cup of pecorino romano
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ( batter should be loose enough to spread, adjust with a little more water if needed)
  1. Saute the zucchini and onion slices in a saute pan, along with the garlic for about 15 minutes until most of the moisture is gone.
  2. Let it cool down, now mix up the batter.
  3. To a bowl add the flour, water, pecorino cheese, polenta or cornmeal, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, you could also add chopped basil or leave the basil for garnish.
  4. Generously olive oil a quarter inch rimmed sheet pan well or use parchment, if you have a 9 x 13 non stick pan, all the better.
  5. Fold in the zucchini, onion and corn mixture to the batter then spread it out evenly over the pan.
  6. Lightly sprinkle the top with a little polenta, grated pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Bake at 400 til golden and crunchy on top, time may vary according to oven temps 35-45 minutes or so.
  8. Garnish with basil.
  9. Cool down and slice!



Summer Stuffed Shells With Zucchini And Corn

veggie stuffed shells

Looking for a lighter, summer take on stuffed shells? This summer dish consists of creamy ricotta, a little burrata, pecorino, with a hint of garlic and lemon zest and then fresh summer corn and zucchini sautéed and tossed into the mix.

It has a light tomato cream sauce that goes really well with all the fresh flavors.

stuffed shells

Serve this as a side or as a main course with a tossed salad. It was the first time I ever made these, as I always make stuffed shells the traditional way.

I fed them to a few family members to see what they thought and they all loved them, me included, so I decided it was worthy to share the recipe here in a blog post.

A light easy meal you can make mid week!

a pan of stuffed shells

You’ll want to garnish the top with more of the sautéed zucchini and corn, topped off with fresh basil from the garden.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Summer Stuffed Shells With Zucchini And Corn
A lighter take on stuffed shells with corn and zucchini tossed into the creamy ricotta mix. Perfect for summer eating!
  • 1 -12 oz. box of jumbo shells
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta, drained well
  • 4 oz. hand shredded burrata
  • ¾ cup of grated pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1- ½ cups of fresh corn kernels or frozen thawed
  • 2 small garlic cloves grated or 1 large
  • 1 egg
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 4 oz. of shredded mozzarella
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • 1 28 oz can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, or homemade marinara or a high quality store bought marinara
  • heavy cream
  1. Make a quick marinara by coating a heavy sauce pan with olive oil, warm up a couple of cloves of chopped garlic, add the canned tomatoes squishing them til smooth but with some chunks.
  2. Add a teaspoon of salt and fresh basil simmer for 20 minutes or so. When finished pour in some heavy cream, start with ¼ cup and see if that's good for you, if not, add a little more.
  3. Quick saute the chopped zucchini and corn together for a few minutes in a little olive oil, set aside.
  4. Boil shells according to directions on the box, the lesser time for further baking, then drain and cool down with cool water.
  5. Mix up the filling in a bowl with the ricotta, burrata, the egg, grated cheese, garlic, lemon zest, chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste, but not the shredded mozzarella.
  6. Fold in the cooled down sauteed zucchini and corn, reserve some to sprinkle on top.
  7. Grease the bottom of a casserole dish with olive oil, then spread a layer of the tomato cream sauce on the bottom.
  8. Stuff your shells and place them single layer on top of sauce.
  9. Spoon more sauce on each shell but don't drown them with sauce.
  10. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese all around, along with more pecorino or Parmigiano and the reserved sauteed corn and zucchini.
  11. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 25 minutes, garnish with fresh basil.
  12. To serve spread some sauce on the bottom of the dinner plate, add the shells and topped them off with more warmed sauce.
  13. Enjoy!




Party Worthy Summer Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Drizzle

summer fruit salad

Summetime is here and we all need a good fruit salad to serve alongside your next cookout or party. This is the one, it’s certainly very party worthy as a side or even a light dessert.

fresh pitted cherries

Using the best fruit’s this season has to offer, like these fresh cherries, grapes, blackberries and my favorite, watermelon.

summer fruit

When you add in some crunchy cucumber, spicy arugula and a little salt from the feta cheese you have a delicious combination of flavor.

fruit salad

The  honey lime drizzle is clean, simple, refreshing and bright and it just takes the whole fruit salad over the top.

Serve this on your next special occasion, or just make it for yourself!

Party Worthy Summer Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Drizzle
A fruit salad worthy for your next party.
Recipe type: Fruit Salad
  • 2 cups watermelon cubes or balls
  • 2 cups fresh cherries pitted and sliced in half
  • 1 cup of black or blueberries
  • 1 cup of grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup of cubed Persian cucumbers or small chop on regular but remove seeds
  • 1 cup of good feta cheese, crumbled
  • a handful of arugula
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
  1. Combine all ingredients together, then in a small bowl whisk together the honey and lime juice.
  2. Assemble the fruit onto a nice platter and right before serving drizzle the honey lime dressing all over top.



Whipped Ricotta Berry Tart

This is one of those desserts that is just so satisfying, its light, not to sweet, it uses fresh berries in season. There’s lemon and vanilla flavor in the background and it’s all surrounded by crunchy phyllo dough. It’s a whipped ricotta tart and you don’t even need to pull out your mixer!

berry ricotta tart

I love making tarts with ricotta and love using phyllo, which by the way is VERY forgiving. Of course this would be just as delicious if you make or buy your own pie crust and use that, but you’ll need to blind bake that as well. You can also mix up the berries you use, I did sliced strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

I wouldn’t do too many strawberries they’re not as sturdy as the other ones I mentioned, they tend to soften the tart up much quicker, but if you’re eating it right away that won’t matter.

berry ricotta slice

The hardest part will be waiting for it to cool down so you can have a slice with some coffee, don’t forget to sprinkle it with a nice shower of powdered sugar! With Mother’s day around the corner this just might be one to make for that special mom in your life.

Whipped Ricotta Berry Tart
A berry ricotta tart, not too sweet but oh so delicious with a nice crunchy phyllo crust.
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 sheets of phyllo dough
  • tart pan with removable bottom, I used an 11 x 8 rectangle pan
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta, make sure it's well drained if it's from a deli, or use a good one from a grocery in the cheese section
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a mix of berries, I don't measure those, I just fill in and cover the top of the tart to my liking
  • powder sugar for sprinkling the tart when cooled
  1. Heat your oven to 350F, you're going to pre-bake the phyllo for 15 minutes.
  2. With the melted butter, brush your tart pan all over.
  3. Working fast,add 1 sheet of phyllo at a time brushing it all over with the melted butter, repeat brushing the butter on to all the rest of the phyllo sheets.
  4. You're going to layer them on top of each other, squishing them around the sides of the pan, don't worry if they rip, no one will know, phyllo is very for giving.
  5. Put the tart pan onto a cookie sheet for easy in and out of the oven and place into your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
  6. If it puffs up when you take it out just press it down with the back of a spoon, set it aside, now make your filling.
  7. Raise the oven temp to 375F now.
  8. In a medium size bowl whisk together the ricotta, eggs, heavy cream, sugar, zest and extracts til nice and smooth.
  9. Pour the filling on top of the pre-baked phyllo dough.
  10. Sprinkle your berries all around filling in and covering the top of the ricotta mixture.
  11. Bake for another 30- 45 minutes, remember it all depends on your oven, everyone is different and also if the ricotta has a lot of moisture and is not drained properly, that could affect the cooking time as well, I didn't use the deli kind.
  12. Take the tip of a knife after 30 minutes and see if it comes out pretty clean in the center, if not check every 5 more minutes.
  13. Let the tart cool down before you slice into it then sprinkle powder sugar all over it.
  14. Enjoy this creamy, crunchy berry bite!



Summer Bean Salad

bean salad

I’ve been on a salad kick lately, I think it’s the change of weather and the fact that we started using our grill again. If you’re looking for a side dish to any of your grilled meats or fish you need to make this summer bean salad.

It’s quick to put together because it’s made with canned beans and jars of antipasto, usually sun-dried, packed in oil or marinated with some fresh ingredients added in as well.

cold side salad

I used a combination of cannellini and garbanzo beans but you can use all cannellini or all garbanzo, it’s your choice, same thing goes with the other ingredients, make it your own.

summer side dish

This keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge and delicious served cold or at room temperature, plus it can sit out and you don’t have to worry about it going bad, the dressing is simply olive oil and fresh lemon. A great side dish for all your summer parties!

Here’s how I made mine.

Summer Bean Salad
Make this side dish salad for all your summer grilling.
  • 1 can each, cannellini and garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained then patted dry
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, scooped out and chopped
  • jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced finely
  • ½ teaspoon of Calabrian chili paste, (optional for a little heat)
  • olives of your choice
  • bocconcini balls, ( fresh mozzarella) drained and sliced in half
  • chopped red onion
  • chopped parsley
  • a few thin lemon slices
  • a handful of arugula
  1. Toss everything into a big bowl, let the flavors meld together then place into your serving dish!
  2. (Amounts of ingredients vary to your liking and how much you will be making.)
  3. The dressing is simply fresh lemon and olive oil whisked together and drizzled all around.



Grilled Eggplant With Fresh Tomato Salad

grilled eggplant

I can’t think of a more enjoyable salad to make during the warm summer months ahead than this grilled eggplant with fresh tomato salad.

It’s fun to serve for picnics, BBQ’s and any of your upcoming parties you’re planning. All I can say is that whenever I make this and lay it out on a buffet table people gravitate right towards it, not only is it super delicious, it has a pretty presentation and as an added bonus it holds up very well at room temperature.

charred eggplant

Grilling eggplant is so easy, just salt, pepper and olive oil both sides, place on the grill until tender with nice looking grill marks.

I like to look for medium size more slender eggplant rather than the rounder fatter kind, to me there’s less seeds, less bitterness. I also like to peel the skin off in strips, using a vegetable peeler go around the whole eggplant lengthwise making “zebra stripes”. If you take the skin completely off, the eggplant slices collapse and have no structure.

You can even grill up the eggplant the day before, then all you have to do is make your salad and assemble it all on serving day.

eggplant and tomato salad

Fan your grilled eggplant unto a pretty platter and then proceed to make your fresh tomato salad. Mine consisted of sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, red onions, olives, feta cheese, parsley, basil and olive oil. Here’s were you can add your own twist on it, you can replace the feta with any special cheese you like, I’ve changed it up many times myself by using provolone chunks, fresh mozzarella chunks, or even those cute little mozzarella pearls

grilled salad

Once you make this grilled eggplant salad I think it will become a regular for you throughout the summer months.



Spring Asparagus Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

spring salad

This asparagus salad is the perfect side to almost any main you prepare. The cast of characters are crunchy radishes, grilled or roasted al dente asparagus, goat cheese, nuts of your choice all sitting on a bed of arugula and spinach. Dressed and drizzled with a fresh lemon vinaigrette and then topped off with a garnish of crispy prosciutto chips.

Asparagus are in season now and at their peak in flavor, so now is the time to make this for your upcoming parties and get togethers.

crispy prosciutto

The crispy prosciutto chips add a delicious finishing touch to this salad and gives it a wow factor and pretty presentation.

asparagus salad

With Easter and Mother’s day coming up this could be your perfect side dish.

spring asparagus salad

I hope you enjoy every bite!

Spring Asparagus Salad with Crispy Prosciutto
A spring side dish featuring asparagus that you'll enjoy over and over!
  • 1 lb. grilled or roasted asparagus, cooked very al dente so it still has a nice bite, then sliced in half lengthwise
  • A mix of arugula and spinach, enough to fill a pretty platter
  • 3 or 4 thinly sliced radishes
  • 4 oz. chevre goats cheese
  • 3 Tbl. toasted hazelnuts or any nuts of your choice
  • 4 or 5 slices of prosciutto that will be oven crisp and broken in half
  • 4 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
  • 12 Tbl. of olive oil
  • a dollop of Djon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Roast your asparagus at 375 for maybe only 5 minutes. The asparagus should not be mushy or limp. Let them cool and then slice in half lengthwise.
  2. Lower temp to 350 and place the prosciutto on a parchment lined baking sheet, roast maybe 10-15 minutes, keep checking they could burn fast, ovens vary.
  3. In a large bowl add the goat cheese and a couple of tablespoons of the vinaigrette, soften it up a little then toss in the sliced, cooked asparagus and coat well.
  4. Add the greens, nuts and radishes tossing gently.
  5. Place everything onto a platter and spoon more of the vinaigrette all over, as much to your liking.
  6. Garnish the salad with the shards of crispy prosciutto that you broke in half.



Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Berries

lemon ricotta pancakees

Spring is around the corner with Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s day and summer in the near future. I can’t think of a better breakfast or brunch option than these lemon ricotta pancakes during the warm weather.

The lemon and the ricotta remind me of spring and time to lighten up, no more heavy winter foods.

The pancakes are enhanced by a dollop of lemon curd spooned on top that warms up with the heat of the pancake and mingles together with the maple syrup as you cut through them, the flavors are out of this world!

six inch pancakes

I chose to make 6 inch size pancakes, but you can certainly make smaller ones but I would suggest to double the recipe if your making them they’re that good! I yielded 6, six inch pancakes with this recipe.

pancakes with lemon curd

The lemon curd is a must, don’t bother making it from scratch, there are some great store bought brands which are good quality and taste terrific.

pancakes and berries

Garnish with fresh seasonal berries and I promise you this will be a hit with your family and friends in the months to come!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Berries
Fluffy texture bright flavor in these lemon ricotta pancakes.
Serves: 6 -6 inch pancakes
  • 1 cup of full fat ricotta cheese, if using deli kind let the moisture drain out, otherwise purchase a full fat variety that is typically located by the cream cheese, mozzarella area in a grocery store.
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk ( you definitely want the consistency of pancake batter, you might want to add a little more or less depending on how thick it is when mixed.)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp of sugar
  • zest of a whole lemon
  • 1 jar of lemon curd
  • fresh berries
  • butter for swiping the pan
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. In a medium sized bowl add the drain ricotta cheese, then add in the eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon zest and whisk well to combine.
  2. In a smaller bowl add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt, whisk well to combine.
  3. Now add the flour mixture to the wet ricotta ingredients folding gently with a spatula until you see no dry flour areas.
  4. Heat up your pan, swipe with a little butter, like I said i made 6 inch pancakes so I poured about a third or so on the bottom and shook the pan to spread the batter evenly around.
  5. I kept heat at medium and didn't flip until bubbles were showing up in the middle and edges of the pancake, you can peak underneath to make sure you see an nice golden brow, then flip over.
  6. Give the other side a couple of minutes then place onto a wire rack instead of paper towels, you don't want them to get soggy.
  7. Eat them warm dust with powdered sugar and serve them with a dollop of lemon curd on top along with fresh berries.



Chicken Francese with Angel Hair Pasta

lemon chicken with pasta

Chicken Francese is an Italian-American dish that consists of thinly pounded chicken cutlets, dredged in flour then egg, then fast sautéed and which will ultimately end up in a delicious lemon, butter and wine sauce.

It sounds like chicken piccata but it’s really not. Picatta has capers, this does not. Picatta is dipped in egg then flour, Francese is dredged in flour first then egg, and it really makes a difference.

francese process

You must have thinly sliced chicken breast, so you’ll need to slice a whole breast lengthwise and then pound it down a little, of course unless you can find it already done for you like I did.

Another important thing is you’ll want to heat your pan up really good and hot, add the oil and when the olive oil shimmers you can do your fast cooking on each side, but don’t over crowd the pan!

lemony chicken with pasta

I love serving this dish with angel hair pasta better known as capellini,  the thin strands soak up all the juices, it’s perfect!

chicken and pasta

For something green I made some rapini on the side which went very well with it all.

teen enjoying food

My family came over and we made this dish together, a fun night together and we enjoyed every bite!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Francese with Angel Hair Pasta
Chicken swimming in a delicious lemony butter sauce served with capellini pasta.
  • 4 whole chicken breast, thinly sliced lengthwise to equal 8 pieces all together pounded down to make them nice and thin
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves, chopped garlic
  • 1 lemon zested and sliced
  • butter and olive oil
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 lb. of angel hair pasta/ capellini
  1. Set up all your ingredients first, have everything chopped and ready. to go because this goes pretty fast, while you're doing that start heating up your pan, don't use a nonstick pan, stainless is best for this.
  2. Have your dredging stations set up, in the flour add salt and pepper, in the egg mixture also add salt and pepper.
  3. Add a good amount of. olive oil to the hot pan and when its starts to ripple you're good to go.
  4. Dredge your cutlet into the flour first then into the egg, don't over crowd the pan do it in stages if you have to, I did 3 at a time.
  5. Quick fry on each side about 3 minutes, then set aside.Chicken should be tender and golden crispy.
  6. No need to clean your pan, now add the lemon slices and lightly brown on each side then remove and place with the chicken.
  7. Now add a good knob of butter and more olive oil and saute your shallot and garlic together.
  8. Now deglaze with the white wine and let it reduce to half.
  9. Add another knob of butter and stir in around 3 tablespoons of flour to make a roux.
  10. Now add the stock, lemon, juice and zest, then keep stirring till it thickens up a bit.
  11. Now it's time to put the chicken and sliced lemons into the lemony sauce, I actually got a bigger pan and just poured all of the sauce on top.
  12. Let it all simmer together for a little bit making sure chicken is cooked through.
  13. Have your pasta cooked, make sure to scoop some of that sauce into the cooked pasta, it's time to eat!
  14. Garnish with chopped parsley, a little drizzle of olive oil
  15. This dish is best eaten right away, I wouldn’t make it ahead.
  16. Enjoy



Mushroom Bolognese

mushroom and pappardelle

If you’re a mushroom lover then this mushroom bolognese is the dish is for you. It’s hearty, so satisfying, a definite cold weather food, quick to make and so full of flavor.


It’s a vegetarian take on traditional bolognese where savory mushrooms replace the meat.

baby bella mushrooms

Look how hearty that is, savory mushrooms enhanced with thyme and a little bit of rosemary is the main show stopper, along with the veg, garlic and other savory goodness.

stove top bolognese

Thick ribbons of pappardelle pasta tossed into the sauce is what I prefer, but honestly feel free to use any kind of pasta you like.

mushroom bolognese

Like I said this dish is quick to make so it would be great for a midweek meal or a special impromptu dinner party.

plated mushroom bolognese

During the cold winter months this hearty bowl of mushroom bolognese will become your new comfort food.

Mushroom Bolognese
Savory mushrooms replace the meat in this vegetarian version of bolognese.
  • 1 lb. of pasta, papardelle or pasta of your choice.
  • 1- ½. lbs. cremini mushrooms, or a mix of your choice
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup tomato paste
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • rosemary and thyme
  • ¾ cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • butter and olive oil
  • pasta water
  • parsley
  1. In a food processor add the carrot, celery ,onion and garlic, pulse it until you get a nice uniform course chop. ( otherwise finely chop by hand). Remove veg from bowl and set aside.
  2. Next in 2 batches do the same with the mushrooms, pulse til coarsely chopped (or by hand).
  3. In a large heavy bottomed pan drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil and a pat of butter.
  4. Add the veg, with some salt, pepper thyme and rosemary to taste, saute around 5 minutes til softened.
  5. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute until you see little moisture, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste
  7. Add in the wine until it evaporates.
  8. Add in the milk and a little pasta water if need be to loosen it up.
  9. Season to taste, add the grated Parmigiano, a nice drizzle of olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley.
  10. Toss the cooked pasta into the mushroom mixture and after plated, more cheese, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil for garnish.



Labor Day Salads For End Of Summer

green beans

It’s a fact, the end of summer is here. The light is changing already and soon fall and comfort foods will be on the horizon.

Labor Day is just a few days away and there’s still a surplus of summer veggies still available. These salads are easy to put together and great to bring to any cookout, BBQ or just as a side dish for your own personal grilling.

Most salads here have no recipes linked because visually you can see all the ingredients I used, and as far as dressings go you can make your own favorites, but I’ll mention the ones I used.

On the bean salad above I used a balsamic vinaigrette tossed with a mix of colorful veggies and haricot verts.

Greek salad

For this Greek salad I used a good quality olive oil with Greek oregano, salt and pepper.

burrata cheese

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes that I’m dearly going to miss! Adorned with burrata cheese, homemade basil pesto and olive oil.

fresh figs

Figs are coming in strong for their last hurrah, here’s the link how I put it together.

summer tomatoes

More tomatoes of course, on a bed of arugula with my favorite castelvetrano olives, red onion and a generous olive oil drizzle.

tomato salad

Mix up a “salsa” of small diced corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, fresh mozzarella and chickpeas, over a layer of cooked green beans or haricot verts with a healthy dose of olive oil.

zucchini asparagus salad

With this panzanella salad you could easily replace the asparagus with green or yellow beans, here’s the link how I put it together.

tomato and cucumbers

I can’t put a number on how many tomato and cucumber salads we had all summer, it’s a staple in my house, it’s quick to make and the perfect side for summer eating. Good quality olive oil, fresh basil from the garden, it  doesn’t get better than that! You can toss in some toasted. bread cubes or not!

grilled potato salad

Grilled potatoes and grilled corn get tossed together with a combination of Mediterranean ingredients as shown below, the dressing I used was a white balsamic vinaigrette.

salad ingredients

I hope these salads inspire you to use up the best and the last of summers bounty, I know I’ll be dreaming about those exquisite summer tomatoes in the dead of winter!


Fresh Summer Tomato Risotto

fresh tomato risotto

When summer comes and tomatoes are ripe and juicy I look forward to making this fresh tomato risotto. It’s not heavy as you might think, it’s a summer version that’s actually refreshingly light.

You can eat it as is for dinner or lunch on a hot summer day or pair it with grilled meats, veggies or fish, either way you’ll love the delicate flavors of the sweet tomatoes along with garlic, onions, white wine and grated parmesan.

summer tomatoes

Make this while the tomatoes are at their peak at farmers markets, produce departments and especially your home gardens.

making risotto

The process is pretty much the same as making any risotto, sautéing the veg, adding the rice, stirring in the broth.

pot of simmering risotto

The sweet, fresh tomatoes get tossed right into the pot until everything absorbs and mingles together.

cooked tomato risotto

Toss in some freshly grated Parmigiano and a hunk of butter at the end.

plated risotto

Now shower it with fresh torn basil!

stuffed. risotto tomatoes

Now if you so happen to have any leftovers, grab a few  more summer tomatoes, hollow them out, add the pulp to the existing leftover risotto and stuff them into the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and bake until tender and soft!

Fresh Summer Tomato Risotto
A summery version of risotto that features sweet fresh tomatoes.
  • 1-1/2 cups of arborio rice
  • 3 cups of cubed, ripe summer tomatoes, not. cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced, red or yellow
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½. cup white wine
  • 1 box of low sodium broth, chicken or veggie
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • basil
  1. Simmer broth in a pot on top of the stove
  2. In a heavy bottom pan on medium heat add a knob of butter and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Add the chopped onion, stirring til soft but not brown.
  4. Add in the garlic and rice, stirring til coated.
  5. Add the white wine and tomatoes, let it all absorb a little.
  6. Toss in the warm broth a ladle full at a time stirring with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed, continue doing this until the rice is cooked but slightly al dente.
  7. You may have some broth leftover, the key is you want your risotto, loose and creamy but of course cooked.
  8. When finished turn off the heat, stir in the grated cheese along with a knob of butter, taste for salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle with fresh torn basil.
  10. Enjoy!



Batter Fried Zucchini Fritters With Lemon Aioli Dipping Sauce

fried fritters

Zucchini season is upon us and here’s an easy way to whip up some delicious batter fried zucchini fritters. The key method here is using a batter instead of any breadcrumbs, the batter is highly seasoned and it takes seconds to mix up.

You won’t need to do any shredding of the zucchini either, something I never liked doing because the zucchini gets water logged and then you have to spend time squeezing all that liquid out and not to mention it’s such a messy job!

fried zucchini

Batter fried zucchini fritters will give you an end result of nice crispy edges with a soft and tender inside, perfection in the fritter department!

chopped zucchini

What you need to do is take your zucchini, cut it right down the center, then quarter each half then with a knife slice off the seed portion as shown above, you’re not going to get all of it off and that’s ok, you’ll get most of it. Then proceed to dice up the rest.

chopped zucchini in batter

After you whip up your batter you’ll just drop your chopped zucchini right inside and toss to get it well coated.

frying fritters

Then just scoop out and start frying!

fried fritters

And before you know it you’ll have a tray full of crispy and delicious fritters!

eggplant batter

Back in the day my mother in law would make this versatile batter to fry up her eggplant slices and zucchini this way. For the eggplant she would just do a quick swipe on each side into the batter, then into the frying pan, her old school method never fails!

fried eggplant

The picture above is a tray of eggplant slices made with her batter, so good you just want to eat them like that!

fried zucchini fritters

I hope you try this easy batter method for your zucchini fritters and whatever other veggie you want to try. My mother in law never had a specific recipe for this, she would always say you just want the end result to be the consistency of pancake batter, some what loose but not runny. I did however try to give you specific amounts in the recipe below, but make it your own.


Batter Fried Zucchini Fritters With Lemon Aioli Dipping Sauce
Zucchini fritters, quick and easy!
  • 3 good sized, medium zucchini, sliced in half then each half into quarters, slice off most of the seed section then small dice the rest. ( refer to picture in blog post)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2- 3 heaping tablespoons of chopped parsley, you could do basil as well
  • ¾ to 1 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sparkling water like Pellegrino
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup full fat mayo
  • fresh lemon juice, enough to thin out the mayo
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, flour, cheese, parsley and sparkling water until you get a nice pancake like batter consistency, not too thick and not too loose. salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Toss in your chopped zucchini pieces and. coat well.
  3. Get your skillet nice and hot add olive oil to coat the bottom. ( I used a non stick pan.)
  4. Scoop the zucchini batter with a quarter cup measuring cup, then press down a little to make a patty shape.
  5. Fry til deep golden on each side and place on a wire rack not a paper towel, sprinkle lightly with salt while hot.
  6. For the lemon aioli just mix everything together in a bowl using enough lemon juice to thin out the mayo to a nice consistency.
  7. A great snack, appetizer, side dish, light lunch or dinner.
  8. You can also dip them in warm marinara sauce.
  9. I yielded 18 fritters with this amount.



Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Olive Muffalata

Muffuletta stuffed tenderloin

Fire up your grill to make this gorgeous looking stuffed pork tenderloin, it’s tender and juicy and it’s becomes a beautiful presentation for a main course.

It’s actually filled with an olive relish that’s store bought which makes it come together super easy. An addition of a few extra ingredients that I added makes the flavor out of this world!

muffuletta mix

You should be able to find several brands of olive salad packed in oil at a regular grocery store, it’s pretty popular. The one I used was a muffalata style but I’ve seen them as a relish or an olive salad in a jar.

olive mix

This is the one I used.

stuffing tenderloins

Just remember to drain your oil based olive salad well before you begin layering.

Next up you’ll want to take your pork tenderloin and first remove the silver skin all around, it’s easy to do just take the tip of a sharp knife, lift up underneath and pull off, be careful not to grab the tender meat.

Once that’s done you’re going to open the pork tenderloin like a book slowly slicing from top to bottom to open it up.

Cover the open pork with plastic wrap, take a meat mallet and pound it flat evenly all around, then you can start the layering process.

I used a thin sliced, sharp provolone cheese as my first layer which goes very well with the olive mix. The cheese also helps anchor the olive mix when it’s all grilled together, but feel free to use your favorite cheese

tenderloin rolls

Then roll into a nice bundle and secure with kitchen twine, rub down with olive oil and now they’re ready for the grill!

grilled tenderloins

First sear the meat on both sides using direct grilling, once the searing is done use indirect grilling keeping the heat around 375F until internal temp reaches 140-145, then take it off. Anything past that it and the meat will start to dry out, and you don’t want that.

Start checking the temp after 20 to 25 minutes.

A delicious and pretty main course to serve with any side dish of your choice!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Olive Muffalatta
A super flavorful main course with a great presentation that gets some help with a store bought olive mix.
  • I used 2 pork tenderloins because that's how I buy them from Costco. Silver skin removed as per instructions in the post
  • 8 oz, of muffalata olive mix, drained
  • 6 whole sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into small slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • sliced, sharp provolone, enough to cover the bottom of your opened pork tenderloin
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • kitchen twine
  1. Follow directions in the post for removing the silver skin, opening up the pork tenderloin like a book and pounding it flat.
  2. Drain the olive salad well into a mesh strainer, then place into a small bowl.
  3. Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes, garlic and parsley, mix together.
  4. Onto the flattened, open pork, season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Layer your sliced provolone all around.
  6. Spread the olive mixture all over on top of the cheese.
  7. Roll up tight and secure with kitchen twine.
  8. Rub all sides with olive oil, now ready for the grill.
  9. Place rolls directly on heat to sear but sides with grill marks then turn down to indirect heat. to finish cooking, keeping it around 375 degrees.
  10. After 20- 25 minutes check temp with an instant read thermometer. Temp should be between 140 to 145 internal, anything after the meat will start to dry out and be overcooked.
  11. Let it rest a bit, remove the twine and cut into slices.



Cedar Planked Eggplant Parmigiana

planked eggplant

Here’s a fun and unique twist on the classic way you prepare eggplant parmigiana. First the eggplant slices are grilled then layered and stacked together with the sauce and cheese and placed onto a smoky charred cedar plank.

It’s not fried in the traditional way so it’s less messy and not so heavy, preparing it this way is cleaner and lighter for hot summer days plus it’s a fun presentation.

grilled vegetables

The eggplant is brushed on both sides with olive oil cooking them slightly firm but still soft when grilling. I never waste grill space when I’m out there, I like to take whatever veggies I have on hand and cook them up all at once.

Another fun way to present vegetables is my cedar planked portobellos stuffed with summer veggies.

oil drizzle

Using cedar planks that you slightly char on both sides beforehand infuses the eggplant stacks with a light smokiness.

grilled eggplant

This technique was developed by Steven Raichlen with my version being slightly adapted. He used a smoked tomato sauce, I used a thick marinara. You can also sub out the cheese of your choice. I used fresh mozzarella but in the original recipe burrata was used.

The crunch on top was done with a small amount of breadcrumbs mixed with olive oil and grated parmigiano cheese, which I think gave it a nice finishing touch, but if you want it low carb just eliminate it.

For all you eggplant parmigiana lovers, here’s your new summer version!

Cedar Planked Eggplant Parmigiana
A unique and tasty twist on traditional eggplant parmigiana
  • 1 large eggplant, you'll need 12 slices to serve 4
  • fresh mozzarella, 8 slices
  • 2 cups or so of chunky marinara, homemade or store bought
  • ¾ cup of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • ¾ cup homemade bread crumbs or panko
  • fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • cedar planks
  1. Soak your cedar planks for 1 hour then pat dry and set aside.
  2. Then char the planks on one side for about 2 minutes on direct grilling long enough to darken and smoke but not burn, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, trim the top and bottom off the eggplant, then with a vegetable peeler, remove every other strip lengthwise.
  4. Cut the eggplant crosswise ¼ inch thick.
  5. Brush olive oil on each side then season with salt and pepper then grill until slightly firm but softened.
  6. Transfer the grilled eggplant slices to a rimmed sheet pan and let cool.
  7. Now assemble the parmigiana onto the smoky planks.
  8. Layer like this... 1 slice eggplant then sauce spread on top, next 1 slice of fresh mozzarella, a sprinkling of the grated cheese and a few basil leaves.
  9. Repeat the second layer ending with an eggplant slice on the top, a dollop of sauce and topped off with the breadcrumbs then more grated cheese and a good drizzle of olive oil.
  10. Place the planked stacks of parmigana onto the grill using indirect heat until the cheese melts nice and gooey and the tops are browned, 10 or 15 minutes.
  11. Serve on their planks.



Side Dish Ideas For Summertime Cookouts

caprese and avocado

Every cookout needs a fabulous spread of side dishes to go with it, it’s not just about the main course.  Here are a few of my favorite go-to sides.

For the most part, I’ll just briefly explain how I put them together, you don’t need an exact recipe it’s all about tossing the components together using as much as you want of each, and hopefully the photos will give you a good visual to make it your own.

You can’t go wrong with a caprese salad which I’m sure many of you have made, I layered the tomato and mozzarella on top of a bed of arugula, added some chopped avocado around the center then drizzled it all with olive oil, balsamic glaze and plenty of chopped basil.

tomato cucumber and mozzarella balls

This is another version of a caprese salad using sliced colorful cherry tomatoes and small bocconcini balls, chopped cucumber, plenty of basil and a generous amount of olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

italian pasta salad

A pasta salad is always welcome at a cookout and because it doesn’t have a mayonnaise base it’s safe to keep out for a while.

I also like changing up different pasta shapes, so feel free to use your favorite, just cook it ahead of time.

pasta salad ingredients

My pasta salads consist of chopped cucumbers, red onion, some type of colored peppers, sliced cherry tomatoes, olives and  arugula.

Sometimes I add chopped Genoa salami and sometimes not. I also like to add a sharp cheese like provolone, fontinella or asiago which I cube up.

Toss everything together with your pre-cooked pasta and use a homemade Italian dressing to bring it all together.

I like to whisk together 3 parts olive oil to 1 part white balsamic vinegar add in some granulated garlic, a splash of lemon, oregano, salt and pepper. If you want to thicken it a bit add a dollop of Dijon.

pasta salad

Same pasta salad as above with the dressing and all, minus the salami which I replaced with fresh corn kernels.

fish salad

If you like doing seafood on the grill this is a nice salad to put together. Here I used pre-cooked octopus that I cut up along with calamari and shrimp, everything was tossed in olive oil, lemon rind, oregano, salt and pepper beforehand, I would also add chopped parsley, which I didn’t have that day. Stick it on a grill pan and grill altogether.

Layer the seafood on a platter with an arugula base, some tomato wedges, kalamata olives and oregano with a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing.


italian potato salad

Here’s a potato salad minus the mayo that can be prepped ahead of time, cut the potatoes in half and roast them til golden and blanch up your green beans.

Then toss them all together with red onion, fresh parsley, oregano, slices of those tiny colored peppers, a sprinkling of grated pecorino with a dressing of fresh lemon and olive oil.

italian romaine salad

A tossed Italian salad with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, radishes, olives, red onion, cucumber, provolone cheese and pepperoncini tossed together with an Italian vinaigrette of your choice, always a great side.

grilled artichokes

We’re big on artichokes in my family and grilled artichokes are a delicious side and labor of love,  here’s the link.

grilled vegetables

Any combination of grilled veggies is always a welcome so colorful healthy and delicious!


Adding some fruit into the mix with balls of cantaloupe and bocconcini drizzled with a light touch of olive oil whisked with a little fresh orange juice.

Watermelon and feta

Wedges of watermelon with feta, blueberries and pistachios drizzled with a balsamic glaze is always fun, and who doesn’t like watermelon.

grape salad

And last but not least the famous grape salad that was all the rage a couple of years ago. A combination of green and red grapes tossed into a creamy mix of half softened cream cheese and half sour cream but I like to lighten mine up a bit with some Greek yogurt.

Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar and walnuts or pecans, always a hit at a party

Just like Thanksgiving the sides are where it’s at, enjoy!



Spring Asparagus Tart For Mother’s Day Brunch

asparagus tart

This simple elegant tart is perfect for a special occasion brunch such as Mother’s Day which happens to be right around the corner. Start the day spoiling mom or those that are mother-figures in your life with this springtime tart and mimosa in hand!

ingredients for tart

The ingredients in this tart is what makes it so special, fresh spring asparagus, eggs, Parmigiano Reggiano and two types of cheese, Boursin which is a soft cheese filled with garlic and herbs, it really gives the tart a unique and delicious flavor. The other is a hard cheese which is a mix of cheddar and parmesan, although you can change it up with a gruyere or grated mozzarella if you can’t find it.

tart pan with phyllo dough

Another feature of this tart is the use of phyllo pastry for the crust, in my opinion it really makes it. The phyllo pastry serves as a crunchy base for the creamy filling.

If you ever were afraid to use phyllo, don’t be, it’s so forgiving! The key thing to remember is once you open up the package and lay the sheets out be sure to cover them with a damp cloth because they can dry out fast. If the sheets rip while you’re layering them no worries, just cover with another one, you won’t even see any flaws in the finished product.

asparagus tart

Phyllo gives the tart a rustic yet elegant look, here’s another springtime tart I made using phyllo with ricotta as the base.

savory asparagus tart

So golden brown and crispy!

slices of tart

A nice slice of this delicious tart alongside a fresh salad is the way to go.

arugula salad

I like to serve this arugula, avocado and cucumber salad with shaved parmigiano and a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing, it’s the perfect accompaniment.

plated asparagus tart

Serve warm or at room temperature, either way you’re in for a treat!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spring Asparagus Tart For Mother's Day Brunch
A simple, elegant tart perfect for a special occasion
  • Tart pan with removable bottom, I used a 12x8 pan
  • 1 lb. or bunch of fresh asparagus, preferably not thick ones, cleaned and trimmed
  • 7-8 sheets of phyllo pastry, be sure to cover the sheets with a damp cloth while in use
  • 1 stick of melted butter, unsalted
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 package of Boursin cheese, garlic and fine herbs, 5.2 oz
  • 1 very heaping cup of shredded cheese such as the cheddar parmesan mix I had or gruyere or mozzarella ( not fresh)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus extra for sprinkling between. sheets
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. Place the asparagus single layer on a sheet pan and into the oven for 5 minutes just to soften slightly.
  3. Smash the room temperature Boursin cheese in a medium bowl to get most of the lumps out.
  4. Add the six eggs into the bowl and whisk together along with the heavy cream, zest, Parmigiano, thyme, and then fold in the shredded cheese, set aside.
  5. Put the tart pan on a rimmed sheet pan for easy in and out of the oven.
  6. Butter the tart pan sides and bottom with the melted butter.
  7. Then 1 x 1 layer a sheet of phyllo, overlapping sides then brush all over quickly with melted butter.
  8. On each sheet you can sprinkle a little Parmigiano and some black pepper.
  9. Repeat on each layer brushing the butter on top and sides adding a little Parmigiano and black pepper or you can do every other layer if you wish.
  10. When you reach the top fold in the sides to make a nice crust all the way around, don't worry if it doesn't look perfect, remember phyllo is forgiving.
  11. Butter the top crust all around the edge.
  12. Pour in all the creamy filling over the pastry crust.
  13. Arrange the asparagus stalks in a nice pattern on top of the cheese mixture.
  14. Bake at 375F 35- 40 minutes and it reaches a nice deep golden color.
  15. Cool it down before removing the sides of the pan then slide it onto a platter without the bottom which should slide off easily.
  16. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Citrus Vanilla Biscotti With Pistachio

spring biscotti

These citrus and vanilla biscotti have just the right amount of sweetness with lots of crunch, a nice treat when you want a little something with your coffee or tea.

They’re light and satisfying, a nice seasonal change with the citrus and you can eat them plain, drizzle with a lemon glaze ( which is really good) or if you want to fancy them up, dip the ends in white chocolate and add some sprinkles for a nice colorful spring treat.

sliced up biscotti

You can also switch up the nuts that you use, I chose pistachios but slivered almonds would work as well, or just eliminate them if you’re not a nut lover.

cut biscotti

If you’re a dunker leave them plain like this and dunk away! I on the other hand am not a dunker, I prefer some crunch and frills.

decorated biscotti

Biscotti are sturdy, they pack well and stay fresh for a long time so they’re also great for gift giving too.

platted biscotti

Who wouldn’t enjoy this for an afternoon treat?

citrus vanilla biscotti

Get the coffee going!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Citrus Vanilla Biscotti With Pistachio
Spring and summer Citrus vanilla biscotti, you'll want to keep a stash of these!
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon each of lemon, orange and vanilla extract
  • zest of.1 orange and 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup of pistachios or slivered almonds (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350º Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs, extracts and zest.
  3. In a small bowl whisk the flour, salt and baking powder, then incorporate that to the wet ingredients.
  4. Fold in the nuts if using.
  5. Form two logs right on the parchment around 3x12 then pat them down to ¾ of an inch thick.
  6. Place into the oven for 25 minutes, then remove and let them cool completely.
  7. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  8. Then make slices with a serrated knife and stand them straight up on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake an additional 30 - 35 minutes according to your liking.
  10. You can eat them plain like that, or dip the ends in melted white chocolate, adding sprinkles, or finish them with a drizzle of lemon glaze made with 1 cup of powdered sugar and the juice of fresh lemons to reach the right consistency.



Baked White Fish With Vegetable Salsa

veggie salsa on baked fish

Here’s a quick, easy, go-to meal you can make mid week or anytime. Baked white fish topped with a delicious and super flavorful vegetable salsa.

After you’ve chopped up your veggies for the salsa you’ll have dinner on the table in minutes!

flounder filets

I used flounder in this recipe because I came across some nice fresh filets, flounder is a delicate fish with tender flakes, but honestly any white fish will do.

Cod is a wonderful substitution as well as grouper, halibut and sole to name a few.  If the fish is more thick and dense your going to have to adjust the cooking time a little, but other than that the delicious results will be the same.

vegetable salsa

The vegetable salsa is the shining star of this dish, the bright colors and vibrant flavors make whatever fish you use really shine.

uncooked fish

fish ready for the oven

Just generously cover the uncooked filets all over with the salsa and then let the oven do it’s magic.

baked fish

The flavors will all meld together in great harmony.

baked whitefish

Such a light, healthy, colorful and good for you meal, enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked White Fish With Vegetable Salsa
A quick, colorful and intensely flavorful fish dish.
  • 1½ lbs. white fish filets of your choice such as cod, flounder, sole, grouper
  • 1 small zucchini, diced small
  • ½ red onion, diced small
  • ½ each of a yellow and orange pepper, diced small
  • a good handful of pitted mixed olives, slightly chopped
  • a good handful of sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • a handful chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • paprika
  • lemon wedges
  1. Place all your chopped vegetables into a bowl, add the parsley, garlic, everything for the salsa, then drizzle in enough olive oil to make it a loose consistency, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place your filets into a glass baking dish that has been drizzled with olive oil.
  3. Salt and pepper the filets and give them a light sprinkle of paprika.
  4. Generously top the filets with the vegetable salsa, covering the fish all over, add in a few lemon wedges.
  5. Place into a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 15-18 minutes.
  6. NOTE: I used flounder which is more delicate and less dense, but if using a thicker fish adjust the time accordingly.



Shrimp Oreganata With Homemade Breadcrumbs

stuffed shrimp

Shrimp Oreganata is a super flavorful, Italian American baked seafood dish. What’s nice about this dish is that it can be prepared ahead of time and it only takes a few minutes to bake. It’s perfect for a party, midweek meal or just a great seafood option when you need one.

Shrimp oreganata can be the ultimate appetizer or served as a main along with a salad or vegetables of your choice or just pair it with some pasta, you can’t go wrong.


What I feel takes this recipe to another level is making your own breadcrumbs by using up leftover chunks of bread you might have around.  In my house it most certainly is a baguette, crusty Italian bread, ciabatta, or I’ve even used sourdough, good bread really makes a difference here it’s so much better than store bought which is too finely ground with no flavor.

It’s a simple procedure to make your own, take your chunks of bread and whirl it in a food processor into small chunks, then spread it onto a baking sheet single layer, bake til light golden at 350 degrees F. tossing and checking them and making sure they’ve also dried out.

After they’ve cooled down you can either place them back into the food processor and whirl to your desired crumb size, or put them into a zip lock bag and tap the bag a little with a rolling pin to get your desired size, that’s what I did.

breadcrumb mix

The breadcrumbs are then seasoned well and drizzled with olive oil which will eventually create a delicious golden and crunchy crust on top of the shrimp.

butterflied shrimp

Speaking of shrimp, don’t waste your time using small shrimp, only large or jumbo will do. I used the large size for this and I prefer buying deveined with the easy peel so I can leave the tail on. Side note: I usually buy mine at Whole Foods.

It’s also important to butterfly the shrimp because as you can see above it leaves you with a nice flat area to pack on your seasoned oreganata breadcrumbs.

To butterfly shrimp, make sure they’re cleaned and deveined, take off the shell up to the tail but leave the tails on. Use a knife and slice along the back curve starting from the head area but don’t cut all the way through, then open it up like a book.

stuffed butterflied shrimp

Bake them on a foil or parchment lined sheet pan drizzled with olive oil, then drizzle a little more on each stuffed shrimp before placing them into a pre-heated 425 degrees F. oven for maybe 10 minutes or so depending on the size of the shrimp.

platter of shrimpshrimp oreganato

Serve immediately and enjoy every bite!

Shrimp Oreganata With Homemade Breadcrumbs
  • 1 dozen large or jumbo shrimp, in the shell
  • 2 cups homemade breadcrumbs (as stated in post)
  • 2 Tablespoons of very soft, room temp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup, chopped parsley, (more for garnish)
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons, grated cheese
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, (optional)
  • oregano or Italian seasonings
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges and parsley for garnish
  1. Peel, devein and butterfly the shrimp leaving the tails on, then pat them down of any moisture, (directions are in the post).
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil on the shrimp along with a small sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl add the bread crumbs, butter, garlic, zest, parsley, red pepper flakes and grated cheese, mix well.
  4. Drizzle olive oil into the mixture until you see a wet sand look, then taste for seasoning to your liking.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. then line a sheet pan with foil or parchment, drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  6. Top each shrimp with a good amount of the seasoned breadcrumbs.
  7. Place shrimp on sheet pan, drizzle them with a little olive oil and bake around ten minutes or so more or less according to your oven and size of shrimp.
  8. Don't overcook them, place on a platter garnished with lemon wedges and parsley and serve immediately.