Sunday, October 25, 2015

Frisco Rice

Makes 4-6 servings

This is a homemade version of that San Francisco treat Rice-a-Roni®. An exotic combination of rice, pasta, and Italian spices that will have your guests asking for seconds and your kids for thirds.

Ingredients *
2 TBS Butter
1/3 C Vermicelli (broken into 2 inch lengths)
1 C Long Grain Rice
2 Cloves Garlic (minced) *
2 ½ C Water
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1 ½ tsp Dried Parsley
5 grinds Pepper
You will only need a small amount of vermicelli for this recipe (~1/8 lb.).  Break up the vermicelli into 2 inch lengths until you have 1/3 C.

In a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter over medium high heat until it just starts to bubble.  Add the rice and vermicelli to the hot butter until it starts to turn a pale brown color (see photo). Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. 

Add the water, bouillon cubes and parsley.  Bring up to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is soft and tender.

* Pronto Substitutes
Chicken Bouillon Cubes – Use Beef or Vegetable Bouillon in place of the Chicken Bouillon Cubes.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Frisco Rice.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Italian White Chili

Makes 6 one-cup servings

This is an Italian version of a classic southwestern recipe that will challenge your taste buds while bringing back fond memories at the same time.  Serve with a loaf of crusty Italian bread and you have a meal that the whole family will enjoy, especially on a cool fall evening.


2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 tsp (2 cloves) minced Garlic
1 lb. boneless Chicken Breasts
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1/8 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar *
2 15 oz. cans Cannellini Beans, undrained *
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (4 oz.) chopped Green Chilies, undrained
1 tsp. ground Cumin
1-1/2 cups Italian Cheese Blend
2 Tbsp. fresh Cilantro or Italian Parsley (chopped)
1 Loaf of crusty Italian Bread (optional)


1. Dice the onion and cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Heat the olive oil in large pot on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute, then add the chicken, and garlic; cook 6 additional minutes or until chicken is cooked through (smash a big piece in the pot and make sure it is no longer pink on the inside), stirring frequently.
2. Add the dried parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, vinegar, beans (do not drain, this will help thicken the chili), chicken broth, chopped chilies and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 min., stirring occasionally.

3. Serve in bowls with some crusty Italian bread and top it with the Italian cheese blend and either fresh cilantro or Italian parsley.

* Pronto Substitutes

White Balsamic Vinegar – Use White Vinegar in place of the White Balsamic Vinegar.  Do not use classic balsamic vinegar, ehe dark caramel color will adversely affect the color of the dish and impart too strong a flavor.

Cannellini Beans – Replace with Great Northern Beans

White Balsamic Vinegar is made in Italy in the same manner as classic Balsamic Vinegar: The grapes are cooked under pressure which prevents the vinegar from caramelizing and taking on the dark rich color of a traditional balsamic. The vinegar is then aged only one year in barrels that are not charred, so that the white color of the grape remains. It has a lighter, distinctive flavor than traditional balsamic vinegar.  White balsamic vinegar is used for aesthetic reasons, so as not to color sauces/dressings. It’s primarily used in salads and perfect for pasta salads.  

To print a copy of this recipe go to Italian White Chili.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spaghetti Squash ala Romano

Makes 8 side servings

Did you ever want to try a new vegetable but you were afraid to try.  Spaghetti squash has the ability to make a vegetable lover of anyone that likes traditional spaghetti – even your kids!

1 Lg Spaghetti Squash

Sauce *
1 tsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
1 tsp dried Parsley or I TBS Fresh Parsley
½ tsp Dried Oregano or I tsp Fresh Oregano
5 grinds of Black pepper
½ tsp Kosher Salt or ¼ tsp Table Salt
¼ C Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and place the cut sides down in a glass baking dish with 1 inch of water and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the microwave and cook on high for 12-15 minutes or until a knife can be effortlessly inserted into the squash. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes.

Carefully remove the squash and place it on a cutting board face up. Remove the seeds just as you would with a pumpkin. Scrape the surface of the squash with a fork and it should start to come off in spaghetti like strands.  If it will not shred into strands put it back into the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Remove all the squash and throw out the skin.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot.  Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. Add the diced tomatoes though the salt and bring up to a light simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti squash and the grated cheese and heat through. 

* Pronto Substitute
Sauce – Substitute any jarred tomato sauce

To print a copy of this recipe go to Spaghetti Squash ala Romano

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Cake / Muffins

It’s the end of summer and you don’t know what to do with all that zucchini. Here’s a way to sneak zucchini into your kids diet without them knowing it. They will think they are eating just an ordinary chocolate cake and you will both enjoy it.

Cooking Spray           
1 pkg Devil’s food cake mix 
1/3 C Vegetable Oil
1 C Water
3 Lg Eggs
2 C Grated Zucchini (2 small zucchini)

Preheat the oven to 350°. 

Spray two 8 or 9 inch cake pans or 1 bunt pan with cooking spray and coat each with 1 TBS of cake mix. Alternatively you can make cupcakes using cupcake liners or just coating the cups with cooking spray—no cake mix is needed. 

Grate zucchini and set aside.

Place the cake mix in a large bowl and add the eggs, water and oil and mix well.  Add the zucchini and fold it in.  Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and spread the batter evenly with a rubber spatula or pour into an 18 cup muffin pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (no wetness). See cooking times below. Let the cake sit on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. 
Eat your cake and have your veggies at the same time.

Cooking Times
2 - 8” Cake Pans
26-31 Minutes
2 – 9” Cake Pans
24-29 Minutes
1 – Bunt Ban
33-36 Minutes
6 C Cup Cake Pan in a Toaster Oven
15 Minutes
Cup Cake Pan in Conventional Oven
18-20 Minutes

Optionally you can ice the cake with your favorite chocolate frosting or just dust it with some powered sugar.
For other Italian recipes go to

To print a copy of this recipe go to Chocolate Zucchini Cake / Muffins.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tomato & Watermelon Salad

As summer winds down, I try to hang on to the fruits and vegetables that make summer great – fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and sweet watermelon. This salad is summer on a bowl.  The sweetness of the watermelon balances the acidity of the tomatoes contrasts with the pungent gorgonzola cheese. It’s refreshing and it excites all of your taste buds at the same time.
3 C Watermelon (1” cubes)
2 Ripe Tomatoes (diced)
½ C Crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese

2 TBS Champaigne or Cider Vinegar
Pinch Salt
3 grinds Fresh Black Pepper
1 TBS Fresh Mint (minced)
1 small Shallot (diced fine)
¼ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Place the cubed watermelon, diced tomatoes, and gorgonzola cheese in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, mint, and diced shallot. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.

Pour the vinaigrette over the watermelon and tomatoes and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Serve with a burger or a steak and enjoy the end of summer.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Tomato & Watermellon Salad.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quick Pork & Eggplant Stew

Makes 4 servings


1 Medium Purple Eggplant (peel & dice 1” squares)
1 lb. Pork (diced ½” squares) 
 2 TBS Olive Oil
½ tsp Kosher Salt – divided ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp
2 Cloves Garlic (minced large)
1 Pint Grape Tomatoes (halved)
1 C White Wine
1 C Marinara
½ C Grated Fontina Cheese 
2 TBS Grated Parmesan
1½ tsp Fresh Thyme (minced)
1 TBS Fresh Basil (minced)


Cover a large microwave safe plate with a paper towel. Spread the diced eggplant on the towel, sprinkle ¼ tsp kosher salt over the eggplant, and cover with another paper towel. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Dice the pork into ½” cubes trimming any excess fat. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt on the cubed pork.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add the diced pork and sauté until all sides of the pork are light brown. Do not overcook.  Using a slotted spoon remove the cooked pork and put it in a bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon to the frying pan and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the eggplant and tomatoes until the eggplant is softened. Add 1 cup white wine and reduce the wine by half.

Add the marinara, Fontina, Parmesan, thyme, and basil. Cover and simmer on low heat for ten minutes. Stir frequently.

Serve immediately with some crusty Italian bread and a glass of white wine. This stew also freezes well.

* Pronto Substitutes
Pork – you can use a variety of pork including pork chops, tenderloin or pork roast.
Fontina – Substitute any mild melting cheese such as mozzarella

To print a copy of this recipe go to Quick Pork & Eggplant Stew.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fried Daylily Flowers with Ricotta

Fried zucchini flowers are a classic Italian dish. However I do not have space to grow zucchini so I used daylily flowers instead.
1 C Whole Milk Ricotta (drained)
1 Large Egg
½ C Fresh Chives (thinly sliced)
¼ C Grated Parmesan
¼ tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
12 Daylily Flowers (stamens removed)
1 lb Fresh Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
½ C + 2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 Leaves Basil (sliced in strips)
1 tsp Salt


Place the Ricotta in a strained over a bowl in the refrigerator. Drain for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, chives, grated parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Using a teaspoon, stuff each daylily blossom with 1 ½ teaspoons of filling and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the diced tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.

In a skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil over high heat until just smoking. Carefully place 2-3 flowers at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Be careful, the oil may splatter. Sprinkle lightly with salt after they are fried.

Serve the fried blossoms topped with the tomatoes.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Fried Daylily Flowers with Ricotta.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pulled Pork, Egg and Waffles

Makes 2 servings.

I was in a quandary, I had leftover pulled pork and I wanted to try using it in a different way – then inspiration struck when I saw my waffle maker. What I came up with was a cross between breakfast and dinner. I first made a Belgian waffle, covered it with Dr. Pepper® Pulled Pork smothered in Peach Balsamic BBQ sauce then topped with two over easy fried eggs. When you cut into it the yolks creamy flavor balanced out the tartness of the pulled pork and the crisp waffle held it all together. 


2 Belgian waffles (don’t make them too crispy)
2 C Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce*
1 TBS Salted Butter
4 Large Eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare 2 Belgian waffles according to your favorite recipe or buy frozen and prepare according to package directions. I used Bisquick® and the recipe on the box for my waffles.

Reheat the pulled pork. Make sure it has BBQ sauce on it and is “wet”. Spread 1 cup of pulled pork on each waffle.

Heat the butter in a large non-stick skillet and fry the eggs over easy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place 2 fried eggs on top of the pulled pork.  Serve immediately.

*Pronto Substitute

Pulled Pork – You can substitute any pulled pork as long as it has a BBQ sauce on it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Baked Beans

Baked Beans.jpgAt your next barbecue kick up the beans a notch. This recipe will help you transform an ordinary can of baked beans into a dish that your guests will ask for the recipe. It has a rich, sweet, salty and savory taste that will make everyone smile.You'll never eat beans straight from the can again.

5 Slices of Bacon or 1/3 lb Pancetta
¼ C Green Pepper (diced very small)
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
¼ C Onion (minced)
½ C Light Brown Sugar (packed)
½ C Barbecue Sauce or Ketchup
1 ½ tsp Yellow or Brown Mustard
2 16 oz Cans of Baked Beans
Cut the bacon or pancetta (if you use pancetta add 1 TBS olive oil to the pan) into small strips and fry in a large skillet for 3-4 minutes.  Add the diced pepper, and chopped onion.  Continue stirring until the pepper is tender and the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, then add the brown sugar, barbecue sauce or ketchup, and mustard.  Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.  Add the beans and stir carefully.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

To print a copy of the recipe go to Baked Beans.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Grilled Florentine Steak Salad

This is grilling Tuscan style. Florence is famous for their steaks. They use locally raised, grass fed cows that are tender and flavorful. It’s easy to duplicate this fantastic dish on your own home grill. Use a good quality steak and coat it in olive oil and garlic before grilling. You will love the results.

Makes 2 Servings

1 Large Clove Garlic *
¼ tsp Kosher Salt
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary (Minced Finely)
1 8oz. New York Strip Steak
2 C Mixed Greens

1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar *
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper


Press the garlic clove through a garlic press or mince finely. Mix together the minced garlic, salt, olive oil, and rosemary. Coat the strip steak with the mixture and grill over a hot heat until it has an internal temperature of 130F. Remove from the grill and tent with foil for 5 minutes before slicing.

While the steak is grilling whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and mix with the greens. Place half the dressed greens on each plate. Slice the steak and place it on top of the greens. Serve immediately.

* Pronto Substitutes
Garlic Clove – for a sweeter flavor substitute 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic.
Balsamic Vinegar – Use apple cider vinegar

To print a copy of this recipe go to Grilled Florentine Steak Salad.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake

It’s strawberry season again and what better way to enjoy sweet berries is to marry them with cheese. This easy to make cheesecake is sweet creamy and melts in your mouth.

Servings 8 pieces

1 ¼ C Ricotta Cheese
¼ C Honey
¼ C Flour
4 Large Eggs
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
7 to 8 Strawberries (sliced in thirds) *
Shortening or Butter (to grease the pan)
1 TBS Sugar (to sprinkle on top)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 in springform pan.

Wash and hull the strawberries then cut each one in three slices.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg whites until stiff and reserve.
Beat the ricotta together with the honey. Add the yolks, the lemon zest, the vanilla and the flour and mix well. Gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites. Fold in the remaining egg whites and mix with care. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and place the strawberries slices on top. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the strawberries

Bake for 40/45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let it rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes and run a knife around the outside of the pan before opening the springform pan.

Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Almond Meringue Cookies

Almond Meringue Cookies.JPG
Servings: 24-36 cookies

These delicious morsels are packed with almonds, lemon rind and cinnamon. Then they are drizzled with chocolate. They are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

11 oz. Slivered Almonds (toasted and ground)
3 Egg Whites
1 C Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp Grated Lemon Zest
3/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 oz. Semisweet Chocolate


Preheat oven to 350F.

Spread the slivered almonds in a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 minutes stirring them halfway through. They should be a light golden brown. Let them cool completely to room temperature.

Grind the almonds in a food processor until fine but not powdery.

Lower the oven temperature to 325F.

Grease and lightly flour 2 large cookie sheets (if you use a silpat you do not have to grease or flour).

In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the egg whites on low for two minutes, raise the speed to medium and whip for an additional 2 minutes. Finally raise the speed to high for an additional 1-2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Return the mixer to low and gradually add in the confectioners sugar until mixed.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest, cinnamon and almonds until just mixed.

Drop the tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until golden at the edges.

Let the cookies sheets rest on wire racks for 5 minutes, then remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

When the cookies have completely cooled, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Place the chocolate into a piping bag with a fine tip and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Allow the chocolate to completely harden then store for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Almond Meringue Cookies.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash Fra Diavolo

I’ve always loved Shrimp Fra Diavolo but I have been trying to reduce the amount of carbohydrates I eat. I’ve reinvented Shrimp fra Diavolo as a gluten free dish by substituting spaghetti squash for pasta – and it’s just as good! Just imagine sweet shrimp bathed in a spicy marinara, wrapped in spaghetti squash. It’s an easy dish that even the carb lovers in your house will enjoy.

Makes 4 servings with a salad

1 Lg Spaghetti Squash
1 Lb 31-40 ct Shrimp (peeled & deveined)
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
¼ tsp Table Salt
1 Qt Marinara Sauce
¼ -½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
¼ C Grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pike several holes in the top of the spaghetti squash, place it on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 20-30 minutes. You will know when it is done when a knife is easily inserted into the squash. Let cool on the counter for 10 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, place the peeled and deveined shrimp, olive oil, minced garlic, and table salt in a small bowl and mix to coat. Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place into the preheated oven for 2 ½ minutes. Flip all of the shrimp and cook for an additional 2 ½ minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp immediately to a small bowl.

When the squash is cooked and has had time to cool cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Take a fork and scrape the flesh. It will form spaghetti like strands.

In a large frying pan, heat the marinara, then add the grated parmesan, crushed red pepper, cooked shrimp and cooked spaghetti squash. Bring to a simmer and mix thoroughly, heating until everything has warmed.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Shrimp & Spaghetti Squash Fra Diavolo.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Prosciutto & Romano Popcorn

As many of my frends know, I’m addicted to ground locatelli romano cheese. It is similar in taste to parmesan but with a stronger flavor. I put it in my frittatas, pasta and now on my popcorn. Combine the salty cheese with the savory proscuitto and the crunch of the popcorn and you are in movie heaven - you will not be able to stop eating it.

Makes 3-4 Servings

1 + 2 TBS Canola Oil (divided)
2 oz Prosciutto (diced small) *
1/3 C Popping Corn Kernels
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1 TBS Melted Butter
½ C Grated Romano Cheese *


Heat 1 tablespoon of Canola oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the diced prosciutto and fry until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

In a mini processor blend the kosher salt and brown sugar until it becomes a fine powder. If you do not have a mini processor, substitute 1 teaspoon of popcorn salt (it’s already ground fine) and just mix it with the brown sugar.

In a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil with three kernels of popcorn until the kernels pop. Add the remaining popcorn and shake the pot to coat the kernels until they start to pop. Stop shaking and cook until the popping stops, about 5 minutes.

Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and add the melted butter, salt and sugar mixture, cooked prosciutto, and the grated cheese. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

* Pronto Substitutes
Proscuitto – Use bacon or pancetta but eliminate the oil for frying
Romano – Substitute Po Popcorn.armesan Cheese

To print a copy of this recipe go to Proscuitto & Roman