Posts tagged ‘recipe’

January 1, 2009

Sicilian Marinara / Carrettiera Sauce


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January 1, 2009

Italian Meatballs


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January 1, 2009

Fried Ravioli

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January 1, 2009


This recipe came from a Filipino friend of our family when I was a kid. It is heavenly but extremely sweet. I have made it for gatherings mostly because it make so much and to eat more than like a 2 inch square is enough to put about fifty pounds on.


2 packages frozen shredded cassava, 16 oz each*cassava
2 cans frozen coconut milk, 16 oz each*
1 egg yolk
2 cans sweetened condensed milk, 14 oz each
1 can coconut cream, 8 oz**

*These items can be found at Oriental grocery stores if your local grocer does not carry a variety of ethnic foods.
**Coconut cream is NOT the same as coconut milk. If you cannot find this item at the grocery stores, almost all liquor stores carry this as it is used in mixed drinks.

  • Thaw cassava and coconut milk packages at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you begin.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl mix the thawed cassava with 1 1/2 packages of thawed coconut milk and 1 1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk. The mixture will be very thick and almost dough like texture. Spoon into a 9 x 13 glass dish, spreading evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until a golden brown.
  • While the base is baking, in a medium bowl, mix egg yolk, remaining coconut milk, remaining condensed milk, and coconut cream.
  • Remove base from oven when golden brown and pour milk mixture evenly over top. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until a nice medium brown.
  • Cut into 1 – 2 inch squares while still warm.

It can be served warm, but I think it is better when cooled.

January 1, 2009

Egg Noodles

My grandma used to make her own egg noodles for stews and soups and I thought they were the most heavenly tasting things I had ever tasted.  When I asked her to give me the recipe, she didn’t have one.  So I tried to watch and learn.  We laughed as I made her measure her ‘handful’ of this and that into measuring cups and I couldn’t grasp how anyone could measure like that.  It’s funny, because now so many of my own creations are a palmful of this or a handful of that.

These egg noodles are a great staple for homemade chicken noodle soup or covered with Swedish meatballs or even just buttered.

Ingredientsegg noodles

2 cups flour, unsifted

1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 egg yolks

Using a fork, in a medium bowl, mix all dry goods until well blended.

Add in yolks, using your fork to blend, pulling the fork through to blend the dry and moist well.

On a floured surface, turn out the dough mixture and quarter.

Using a well floured rolling pin, roll one quarter of the dough to no more than 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut into 1/4 inch strips.

* See below

Repeat process with reserved dough.

*If using immediately, add to large pot of boiling water.

*If you are making this for later use, lay a wooden spoon, dowel, or other wooden stick across a deep pot and drape the noodles over the rod to allow it to air dry.  You can also use a floured cheesecloth and lay the noodles out to dry, although this method takes slightly longer.  When dry, the noodles will hold their shape and have a crusty exterior.  Package in an airtight container or zip lock bag and freeze.  When ready to use, add to boiling water.

January 1, 2009

Gator Hammock Substitute

It isn’t the same but it’s fairly close:

1/8 cup garlic salt

1 package dried taco seasoning

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp cracked pepper, I use the blended type

1 Tbsp sugar

  • Mix in a plastic bottle thoroughly. It will be very coarse.
January 1, 2009

Gnocchi alla Cannella

I love the unique flavour of gnocchi, which is kind of comical because I avoided eating it for several years, mostly because someone had described it as tasting like pierogis, which I really am not a fan of.  But truth be told, the similarity stops at potatoes.  They are very light in texture, it’s difficult to put into words – but they are very tender and airy.

You can use either my recipe for homemade gnocchi, or store bought gnocchi.  Gnocchi is very light and this sauce blend is not overly sweet so it works well as a unique side dish or a dessert.  You want to make the sauce promptly before serving or it will crystallize as it cools, and gnocchi become chewy if cooked too long or reheated.  The preparation time for this is only about five minutes, so you can easily make this up while the dinner dishes are being cleared.

IngredientsGnocchi alla Cannella19

Gnocchi (either 1 package of prepared gnocchi or one single batch of my recipe)

1 stick unsalted butter (note that I didn’t say margarine)

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons sugar


  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Add cinnamon, paprika and sugar to melted butter mixture and whisk til blended.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Boil gnocchi 3 – 5 minutes, until it floats.  Remove as soon as they float to surface!
  • Drain and add sauce mixture to gnocchi.
  • Serve warm.

Gnocchi alla Cannella1Gnocchi alla Cannella6

    January 1, 2009

    Chicken Alla Cacciatora

    My daughters aren’t big on bell peppers, so my recipe is a bit different than the usual. I also do not bread the chicken breasts and I don’t use thighs.   I serve it over rotini and like the side dish of fresh green beans the best.


    4 boneless chicken breasts
    4 roma tomatoes, chopped
    1/2 white onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic
    1 Tbsp oregano
    1 Tbsp rosemary
    1 Tbsp thyme
    1 tsp ground black pepper
    1 tsp salt

    • Slice the tops of the chicken breasts across, almost all the way through, spacing each gash about half an inch apart. Lay with the unsliced part down into a skillet over medium-low heat.
    • In a medium bowl stir together chopped tomatoes and onions. Spoon equally over each chicken.
    • In a small bowl, blend oregano, rosemary, thyme, pepper and salt. Spoon evenly over the chicken breasts.
    • Using a press, press one half of a garlic clove over each breast.
    • Spoon juices over the top while cooking. Once the underside is thoroughly cooked, turn chicken over – tomato mixture should stay beneath the chicken once turned.
    January 1, 2009

    Swedish Meatballs

    This is a favourite at our house and was a family recipe that I have dressed up a little with my ‘secret’ ingredients.


    1 pound ground beef

    1/4 cup bread crumbs, seasoned

    1/8 cup crushed graham crackers

    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    1 egg

    1 teaspoon ground black pepper

    1/2 teaspoon allspice

    • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly with your hands.
    • Roll into 1 to 1.5 inch diameter balls.
    • Place in a skillet over medium heat.
    • Brown thoroughly.
    • Add in your choice of mushroom gravy.
    • Simmer over low heat.
    • Serve over homemade egg noodles, or prepared packaged noodles.


    January 1, 2009

    Cannoli Filling


    I am posting this recipe in two parts for a few reasons, primary because with the shells recipe and the filling, this becomes a grossu entry.  Also, if you are using store purchased cannoli shells, you won’t need to weed through the shell recipe to make filling.

    The filling for cannoli has a very simple base recipe that allows you to get very creative.  After you create the base, you can fold in diced dried candied fruit – such as you would use for fruit cakes, chocolate chips, shaved candy bars – I prefer Andes mint shavings, minced nuts – like pistachio, spices – like cinnamon or nutmeg, liquor – such as Kahlua or brandy or rum, citrus zest – oranges work well, marachino cherries, or you can leave it plain.  Keep in mind that a cannolo is about five inches long and so your filling is four inches long by one inch diameter – in other words, a little goes a long way.

    When filling cannoli, only do it right before serving, as the filling can make the shell soggy.  It is also best if you chill the filling in your pastry bag (or as you will see me use, a zip loc baggie) for about 20 minutes in the freezer before filling, so that it is very firm.

    Ricotta should be whole milk, not even reduced fat.  The skim or low fat ricotta tends to have more run off which will cause the filling to be more runny – not a good thing at all.

    You can dress up your serving plate with a powdered sugar dusted paper doily, drizzled melted chocolate, or powdered sugar.  I serve mine with a fork, but that is more for just scooping up any filling that falls out.  Cannoli was meant to be picked up and eaten as it is a carnival treat in Sicily.


    1     15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta

    3/4 cup powdered sugar

    • In a large mixing bowl, blend both ingredients throughly on low speed with an electric mixer.
    • Do not over beat, only beat until mixed.
    • Using a spatula, fold in any selected add ins.
    • Pack filling into an air tight container or pastry bag.
    • Chill before using to fill cannoli tubes.

    If using add ins, I have listed below the measuring amount that you want to use.  Remember for all solid add ins, to reduce the amount of each if you are adding in more than one:

    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon*
    • 1 teaspoon liquor
    • 1 tablespoon dried candied fruit, diced
    • 1 tablespoon citrus zest
    • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 tablespoon coconut, shaved
    • 1 tablespoon pistachio nuts, minced
    • 1 teaspoon ice cream sprinkles
    • 1 tablespoon chocolate candy bar, shaved or grated

    *McCormick makes a cinnamon spice with a built in grater that is awesome for grinding fresh cinnamon.  Each bottle is less than $2 and I absolutely love this!


    January 1, 2009

    Irish Stew

    We go to a Celtic Festival each year locally and I tried getting the lady at one of the vendor stations to give me her recipe for this and she flatly refused. Her husband winked and began explaining how it is made, butchering it thoroughly. She got agitated with him and began telling me the correct recipe. He gave me a wink, and she gave me the recipe and man is it delicious!  I love beef stew and this stew has such a rich flavour and is just so filling. It really is a meal unto itself and I serve it with biscuits unless the store has soda bread for once – I can’t bake bread.


    2 lb beef, cubed*
    10 large potatoes, cubed with skin on
    1 lb carrots, sliced to 1/2″ thick
    1 yellow onion, chopped
    1 bottle Guinness
    1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 cans Campbell’s beef stock

    *I usually use a roast or if there is a good deal on sirloin, I will buy steaks for this

    • Using a large skillet, place over medium to high heat for about 3 minutes. Lay beef cubes in skillet and vigourously shake the skillet to prevent them from sticking. After thirty seconds, turn them over and then drop them into the cooking pot. For the majority of this cooking, you will use a crock pot or a large pot over very low heat. If you are using a pot over direct heat, you will want to stir it occasionally.
    • Pour in the bottle of Guinness, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Allow to cook for two hours over low heat.
    • After two hours, add chopped onion and carrots to the pot and add only enough water to cover the tops of the foods in the pot. Cook for two more hours over low heat.
    • After two hours, add potatoes and add only enough water to cover the tops of the foods in the pot. Cook for two more hours over low heat.
    • Serve steaming.
    January 1, 2009


    Gnocchi is a really unique tasting Italian pasta that can be prepared in so many various ways.  You can store buy prepared gnocchi, but I just don’t think it compares.  This recipe will make enough gnocchi for about 4 servings and can be doubled or multiplied, but not really reduced.


    5 medium to large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 cup all purpose flour


    • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
    • Poke potatoes with fork and bake about 1 hour.
    • Skin potatoes and quarter.  Drop into a large bowl and mash well.
    • In separate bowl, stir yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
    • Mix in egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
    • Pour yolk mixture over potatoes and stir thoroughly.
    • Spoon in flour to form a dough texture.
    • On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out.
    • Break it into quarters.
    • Using your palms, roll the dough out gently into a rope form about 1/2 inch thick.
    • Cut into half inch pieces.
    • Use a fork to lift each piece, making gentle grooves into the dough piece with each.
    • Lay out on a floured baking sheet to air dry for about one hour.
    • Repeat with reserved dough quarters.

    When ready to prepare gnocchi, gently drop into a large pot of water at a rolling boil and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until it floats to surface.  If you allow them to boil too long they will become gummy and chewy.

    Gnocchi alla Cannella5

    The gnocchi can be frozen before cooking the dough pieces for later use.  Freeze baking sheet and then pack into airtight container or zip lock baggies for later.

    January 1, 2009


    When I was a little girl in Sicily, this was one of my favourite foods. The difficulty here is patience in making them but oh so worth the effort. These are easily reheated and are a meal on their own. I usually serve two per person.


    3 cups white rice
    3/4 lb shredded beef*
    1 jar spaghetti sauce**
    1 1/2 cup raw peeled potatoes, diced to pea size
    8 oz mozzarella cheese
    2 sticks salted butter
    2 cups peas
    4 eggs
    2 cups breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning
    4 cups cooking oil, for frying

    *I typically use deli style roast beef, broken into small half-inch pieces. I have also tried it the way my parents did with a small chunk of roast beef, cooked in advance and then pulled and shredded – but I think this recipe is time consuming enough without having to cook a roast as well.

    • In a large pot, pour 6 cups of water and a dash of salt. Bring to boil. Add rice and cover, lowering to medium-low heat. Once rice has cooked, remove heat and put both sticks of butter into the pot. Cover and let sit for ten minutes. Stir thoroughly and leave uncovered.
    • In a separate pot, pour spaghetti sauce in over medium heat. Add beef and potatoes and stir often. Potatoes should be cooked but firm, not mushy. Once done, add peas and remove from heat.
    • Spread out a large sheet of wax paper and when rice is cool to touch, begin forming it into balls about three inches in diameter. Let sit on wax paper to harden to the outside a bit. Once the outside is hardened enough to hold its form, use a finger to create a hole in it about an inch to two inches deep. Press in a decent amount of mozzarella and a heaping spoonful of the meat mixture. Tighten the form of the ball to seal the hole and set aside.
    • The balls should sit for about 3 to 4 hours.
    • After the balls have sat to harden, begin to heat the oil. My dad’s recipe says to 350 degrees, but to be honest I have always checked it the way my mom did – toss in a bread crumb and when it sizzles, the oil is ready.
    • In a medium bowl, break eggs and beat thoroughly.
    • Pour bread crumbs onto a plate.
    • Dip the balls individually into the egg batter and then roll in bread crumbs until covered completely. Using a serving spoon, lower the ball into the oil, bouncing it gently on the spoon, but do not drop it into the oil as it is very heavy and breaks apart easily.
    • When a dark golden brown, remove from oil and gingerly lay on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

    January 1, 2009

    Chicken Parmigiana

    This is an incredibly simple dish to whip up with only about an hour prep time needed, and yet it presents like you slaved for hours.  As a side note, this recipe can be likewise used for veal parmigiana, by changing the meats.

    CIMG2817 The critical part of this creation is filleting the chicken breasts to no more than 1/2 inch thickness and trim as much fat or skin as possible.  Using a fillet knife, you can shave an average 6 ounce breast into 3 – 4 fillets.  You’ll notice when working with raw meats, I typically use a synthetic cutting board as sanitation of these boards is much easier.

    I use my homemade Sicilian marinara for this recipe, but you can use your own or a jarred brand if you prefer and serve over your choice of pasta.


    2 lbs boneless chicken breasts

    1 cup bread crumbs

    1 tablespoon crushed oregano

    1 tablespoon crushed thyme

    1 tablespoon crushed rosemary

    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

    • Preheat oven to 250 F.
    • Over medium heat, pour olive oil into a skillet and allow to heat.
    • Pour spices and bread crumbs onto a flat surface or plate and stir gently with fingers.
    • Lay breast fillets gently onto the crumbs, turning until well coated.  Do not press the meat into the crumbs.
    • Gently lay fillet into skillet and cook 3 – 4 minutes each side.
    • Remove from skillet and lay into a glass 13 x 9 baking dish, or onto a metal pan lined with foil.
    • Using one cup of Parmesan, layer the chicken breasts with cheese evenly.
    • Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes and remove from heat.
    • Turning cheese side down, set over selected pasta and marinara sauce.
    • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and allow to melt slightly before serving.


    January 1, 2009

    Cassata Arance

    If you are accustomed to cream cheese based cheesecakes, this may take an adjustment for your tastebuds.  Sicilian cheesecakes, or cassatas, are made with ricotta cheese and are not as sweet and unlike American cheesecakes, they are lighter and have almost a baked custard texture.

    And as for oranges, forget Florida.  It doesn’t get any better than a Sicilian blood orange or arance.  Their centers are blood red like a pink grapefruit.  If your local grocer doesn’t carry blood oranges, which there is a good bet that they don’t, you can substitue with mandarins for this recipe.  The key is finding a sharp tart orange, the smaller the better the concentrated flavour.

    It is critical that you have a springform pan for this recipe, a round cake pan just will not suffice.  The water used in the glass dish allows for the cake to remain moist while baking.  This will reduce the chance of the cake cracking or separating.

    I hope you like this dessert as much as I do, it displays beautifully and is just so tasty!


    2 16 oz. containers of ricotta cheese (typically found near cottage cheese in the grocery)

    1/2 cup sugar

    6 large eggs

    1/3 cup flour, sifted

    2 blood oranges

    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    • Preheat oven to 275 F.
    • Grease and lightly flour springform pan.*
    • Using aluminium foil, wrap the base of the springform pan to prevent seapage.
    • Set pan in a glass baking dish, 13 x 9.
    • Fill glass dish halfway with tap water.
    • In a large mixing bowl, beat ricotta at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
    • With a whisk, stir in sugar and flour into ricotta until well blended.
    • One at a time, beat eggs into mixture.
    • Add spices and vanilla, blend thoroughly.
    • Using a zester or the rough side of a peeler, grate a few spoonfuls of orange peel into a bowl.
    • Peel oranges and segment.
    • Pour one half of batter into springform pan.
    • Gently lay orange segments onto the batter, do not stir.
    • Pour remaining batter over top.
    • Sprinkle orange peel zest over top.
    • Bake for 1 hour, or until knife comes out clean.
    • Remove springform pan from water and allow to cool for at least one hour before unhinging.
    • Serve after slightly cooled.

    *If you can find them, there are aerosol sprays that have flour and oil combined and work perfectly for this purpose.  I prefer Baker’s Joy brand.

    January 1, 2009

    Dutch Honey Syrup

    I feel almost guilty at posting this but I know now with the glorious invention called the internet that my grandmother didn’t invent this recipe.

    When I was a kid, this was our family recipe that was guarded heavily and handed down only to family members and the most trusted of friends.  The story was that my grandmother had made this concoction from left-overs and it was an immediate hit.  When my uncle married a young woman and she was brazen enough to post the recipe for her house guests to see, my grandmother lost her temper!

    This is still my favourite syrup and is perfect for the non-maple fans of the world.


    1 bottle Karo light corn syrup

    1 cup sugar

    1 cup heavy whipping cream

    1 tablespoon vanilla extract (not flavouring)

    • Bring all ingredients to boil in a heavy saucepan over low to medium heat, stirring often.
    • Once mixture becomes an even golden colour and loses its milky appearance, remove from heat.

    This can be stored in an airtight container for several months if refrigerated.  I used to keep it in the glass Karo bottles, however they have switched to plastic.  If you have a glass bottle with plastic lid that you get to make packet salad dressings, this will work well.

    January 1, 2009

    Asparagus Wraps

    These appetizers are soooo easy to make but look super schmancy! I have also served them as a side with dinner as well and they are just so tasty.  I have tried various cheeses, but I like gouda best. White cheeses look the best, display wise.

    Ingredientsasparagus and proscuitto

    24 fresh asparagus spears, uncooked
    2 cups fresh arugula
    1 lb smoked ham or prosciutto, deli style thickness
    1 lb Gouda slices

    • Fill a large saucepan half full with water and bring to boil over high heat.
    • Wash the asparagus stalks thoroughly and trim the bases.
    • Rinse arugula thoroughly and set aside in colander to drain excess water.
    • Once water is boiling, drop stalks in to water for three minutes.
    • While asparagus is boiling, lay out a large sheet of wax paper and preheat oven to 250.
    • Drain asparagus and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
    • Lay out three strips of prosciutto or ham on wax paper. Lay a couple shoots of asparagus across so that the spear tips are not covering the meat. Take a small bundle of arugula leaves and roll them between your palms and lay atop the asparagus. Top with one slice of cheese and then roll the vegetables so that the meat wraps around them.
    • Place wrap on a cookie sheet with a sheet of wax paper down.
    • Rinse repeat.
    • Place cookie sheet into oven for fifteen minutes.
    • These should be served warm.
    January 1, 2009

    Seven Layer Salad

    My mom used to make this for pot lucks and I always looked forward to it. This salad is just so crisp and full of flavour and such a welcome break from typical salads. It also displays so creatively, you will want a glass dish for it!  This can be kept overnight if covered and served the following day.

    (I haven’t made this in a long time, so my image is borrowed from the web, but I felt for this recipe a visual is necessary.)


    1 head iceburg lettuce, chopped
    1 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
    5 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
    1 bell pepper, diced
    1 medium sweet onion, diced
    1 bag frozen peas, 16 oz.
    1 lemon
    8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
    2 cup mayonnaise*
    2 Tbsp sugar

    *Duke’s or Hellman’s. Miracle Whip or salad dressing just doesn’t work.

    • Prepare all raw vegetables by rinsing individually and thoroughly. Thaw peas and set aside as well.
    • In a large glass serving dish (a large bowl works best but a large glass cake pan would work as well) layer in the following order, the first item being on the bottom:
    1. lettuce
    2. eggs
    3. peas
    4. onion
    5. bell pepper
    6. bacon
    • Halve lemon and squeeze both halves over entire salad, being careful to not drop in seeds.
    • In a small bowl, blend mayonnaise and sugar well. Spread evenly over the salad top creating the seventh layer.
    • Sprinkle with cheese.

    * As a side note, you can alternate out layers if you desire. I have seen it done with carrots, celery and tomatoes included instead. The bacon could be substituted to appease vegetarians.

    January 1, 2009

    Goldenrod Eggs

    This particular recipe has been a family favourite for Easter for generations and still to this day I only make it for that special morning.  I think it makes it even more enjoyable, the anticipation of the heavenly meal.  I can remember counting down the days to Easter, but not to hunt the eggs!  I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does.


    12 hardboiled eggs*

    1/4 c. butter

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 cup whole milk

    1/4 cup flour

    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    *We always use the Easter eggs after the kids find them

    • Remove shells from eggs.
    • Slice eggs open and remove yolk balls, set aside.
    • Dice egg whites and set aside.
    • In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to simmer, stirring often.
    • Add butter and spices, stirring thoroughly.
    • Reduce heat to low.
    • Add flour in a spoon at a time, whisking briskly to blend.
    • Add in egg whites.
    • Serve over toasted bread.
    • Using a tea strainer or garlic press, grate egg yolks over top.
    • Serve.
    January 1, 2009

    Mexican style mock Sheppard’s Pie

    mexican sheppards pie

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