Growing up I spent every summer at my Nonnas house and it was the best. I have so many wonderful memories from those days. She was an amazing cook and each of my memories is always attached with what she was cooking and what we were eating.
I always loved helping her pick vegetables from her garden. She grew up on a farm in Sicily and loved to share all her knowledge in her sweet broken english way. I was very young back then, but I can still hear her telling me “eat the beets they are good for your blood”. All I know is, I ate the beets because were delicious and now I know just how good they are for you.
This recipe is how she taught me to pickle beets.
Most people boil the beets in water before pickling them, but my Nonna always roasted them. This preserves the nutrients inside the beets rather than have the nutrients go into the water.
I cut the beets in squares because they are easy to eat out of the jar (my favorite way) and to put on salads.
This delicious spinach and quinoa salad with lemon vinaigrette is the perfect weeknight side dish, or a meatless Monday dinner, it also makes a delightful vegan lunch!
I try to get as much healthy food into my family as possible and with this dish I think I have hit a home run when it comes to the healthy stuff! There is the quinoa which is known as a superfood, not to mention the spinach, also known as a super food. The cranberries add a bite and the almonds add a crunch, and the lemon vinaigrette add the perfect amount of zip!
One of my favorite things about this salad beside the nutritional value is just how easy this salad comes together. It is also very forgiving, if I don’t have cranberries I can substitute raisins or dried apricots. If I don’t have sliced almonds I can use walnuts.
For the popcorn lover it is the ultimate popcorn. Zebra popcorn is caramel popcorn that is drizzled with white and semi-sweet chocolate. It’s the perfect snack for binge watching your favorite show or to serve at game night with your friends.
It’s very addicting! I was buying it at the grocery store more times than I’d like to admit. So I’ve come up with a homemade version that tastes just like the package stuff, my family says it better!
For movie night I make a cone shape out of parchment paper for everyone and let each person fill their own cone.
It’s a great feeling knowing you are serving something to your family that is delicious and you can actually name all the ingredients.
Heat oven to 225 degrees. Place rack in the middle position.
In a large heavy bottom pot add the vegetable oil and a few corn kernels. Place burner on medium high heat. Once the first corn kernel has popped careful add the remaining corn kernels. Gently shake the pan around on the burner to avoid burning any kernels. Take the pan off the heat once the sound of the kernels popping slows way down. Transfer the popcorn (making sure there are no un-popped kernels) to a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet and place in the heated oven to keep warm.
In a saucepan add corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and the baking soda. The mixture with turn foamy as you stir, continue to stir until mixture becomes thickened.
Place warm popcorn into a large bowl. Working quickly pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn making sure all popcorn is coated, then return the popcorn back onto the heated lined baking pan.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let caramel corn cool.
Place white and semi-sweet chocolate into microwave safe separate bowls. Microwave at 30 second intervals stirring in between until both chocolates are completely melted.
Drizzle evenly over the caramel popcorn. Let chocolate dry completely prior to breaking up the popcorn into smaller pieces.
How is it that bananas can be a tiny bit green when you buy them and within a matter of a day become over ripe with dark spots? The other day I had a bunch of almost too green to eat bananas and the next time I looked at them they were overripe?
That’s exactly where banana bread comes in. It’s the perfect way to get those bananas eaten that normally my family would not touch. I hate seeing food go to waste so I either make this delicious breakfast treat or I freeze the skinned bananas for smoothies.
This time I added heavenly delicious chocolate chips to my batter and oh what a delight it was! I don’t know why I haven’t done that sooner. The semi-sweet chocolate chips added the perfect amount of sweetness.
I line my loaf pan with parchment paper so it is easy to remove from the loaf pan.
I know it’s tempting to slice the banana bread before it’s completely cool, but don’t do it! Have patients and then enjoy!
Nothing tastes better on a cold day than a bowl of steamy hot soup, like this Golden Red Lentil Soup! It keeps your insides warm and your taste buds happy. Pair the soup with crusty bread and all I can say is YUM!
Did you know that some health experts consider lentils the single most healthiest food? Some of the health benefits of the beautiful little lentil are; lowering cholesterol (and we could all use that), rich in dietary fiber, Iron for energy, and lowers blood sugar, just to name a few. It’s a super food, one that is easy to make and tastes delicious!
Lentils come in a variety of colors (Brown, Green, and Red). I haven’t noticed a difference in flavor since lentils are wonderful at taking on the flavors you add to them, but I like the red ones the best (their prettier).
The red lentils start this beautiful coral color and when cooked turn into a delicate golden color.
I remember when I was a kid my mom would make lentil soup and when she served it to me she would always say “mangiare, it’s good for you” little did I know how right she was. Now, I make lentils for my family. I still make my mom’s recipe, but I’ve also added a few more recipes that I will be sharing with you!
I’m so excited that the official start of Spring is in a matter of a couple of weeks! It’s such a special time of year, the flowers are blooming, we eat lighter, gone are the heavy meaty meals for dinner and happily replaced by salads and fresh Spring vegetables.
One of my favorite vegetables of all time is carrots. Today I’m bringing you one of the most delicious ways to eat them! These scrumptious little discs of delightfullness are glazed with maple syrup, brown sugar and butter then topped off with crispy little morsels of glorious bacon. YUMMY!
How pretty would these shiney bites of goodness look sitting on your Easter table? They are the quintensenntial Spring side dish. Plus, they don’t take up valuable oven space to make and they are so incredibly easy. Win Win Win!
I promise these carrots will be devoured like candy and all your guests will be asking for the recipe.
In a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment cream together butter and the sugar until light in color.
Add eggs, one at a time to the butter mixture, then add the cornstarch, salt, and almond extract until well combined.
Solwly add flour about ½ cup at a time on medium-low speed, just until the dough gathers on itself into a ball and removes itself from the side of the bowl cleanly.
Cut dough in half (and shape into a disk shape) and wrap each half separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Once dough is chilled roll out to a ¼ of an inch thick between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Using the larger cookie cutter cut out all the cookies, using the smaller cookie cutter cut out the middle of ½ of the cookies.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or just until the edges turn golden. Cool completely.
Sprinkle the top of the cookies with powdered sugar and set aside.
Cover the bottom portion of the cookie with raspberry jam.
Top the jam covered cookie with the powdered sugar open center cookie.
The dough is very tender and buttery, next time I will choose a smaller cookie cutter than the heart for the top layer of the cookie. I did have a problem with the dough breaking at the thinnest parts. This could have easily been avoided if I used a smaller cookie cutter.
Do you have favorite menu items at restaurants and order them time and time again? Did you know you can make most of these items at home and they will taste just as delicious, if not actually better?
That is exactly how I felt about Lemonade’s Isreali Couscous. Everytime I ate there I always ordered a serving of this scrumptious dish, I couldn’t help myself.
I knew it couldn’t be that difficult to make and luckily it’s not!
After several attempts of trial and error trying to figure out the combination of ingredients for the vinaigrette I discovered they have a cookbook where they have the exact recipe they use. Comparing mine and theirs, I have to say I like mine better.
I’m always amazed at the amount of shrinkage that happens when roasting most vegetables.
One Pot Cheesy Rice Casserole is the perfect side dish or no-meat meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes.
The other day I made this One Pot Cheesy Rice Casserole which was delicious! It was so delicious that we didn’t even have any left over’s (that almost never happens).
I came up with the recipe when I was scouring the pantry trying to figure out what to make for our no meat Wednesday dinner. I had rice, canned tomatoes, and frozen corn, but since I hadn’t been to the store in a few days I had no garlic or onions. Just then I realized I had purchased several Pop & Cook packages a while ago for exactly this reason. They are perfect to have on hand in my freezer for situations just like this.
Plus, they are great when you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table and you don’t want the hassle of washing, chopping, measuring, and cleaning up.
You don’t know what Pop & Cook is? You are totally missing out on a huge secret!
Pop & Cook are fresh frozen portion controlled garlic, onions, and herbs. At the pinnacle of ripeness the garlic, onions, and herbs are picked and flash frozen within 90 minutes of harvest. There is a freezer shelf life of 2 years! And because the garlic, onions, and herbs are pre-portioned there is nothing to do but to pop them out of the trays into your delicious cooking meal!
Pop & Cook can be found in the frozen food aisle at your local Walmart.
I like to call Pop & Cook my secret sous chef or the best kitchen hack…ever!
Pop & Cook really made this one pot rice dish delicious!
It’s officially the holiday season! I love everything about the holidays; decorating the house, baking with my girls, shopping for gifts, going to see tree lightings, and especially driving around looking at homes decorated with beautiful Christmas lights! These are just some of my favorite traditions.
There is one tradition that is my absolute favorite. During the craziness of all the hustle and bustle Handsome and I take a night just for us. No kids. No TV. Just the two of us, candlelight, good food, and great conversation. We have had this tradition since our first year of marriage. Handsome usually BBQ’s (the benefits of living in Southern California) and I’m in charge of making one of our favorite desserts, individual pudding and brownie trifles.
I have to admit we’re kind of JELL-O pudding fanatics. When we combine pudding with brownies and raspberries it becomes a fantastic dessert and one that we have often! It is also the perfect dessert to make when company is over for the holidays, I like to set out several flavors of pudding and different add-ins and let each guest make their own pudding trifle. It’s fun to see what combination everyone comes up with.
I use mason jars for the individual serving, but you can use any clear glass. The layers are so pretty it definitely is a show stopper dessert!
13 x 9 pan of brownies (prepare your favorite recipe or a box mix)
1½ cups raspberries
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Prepare JELL-O pudding according to package directions. I decided to use Cook & Serve JELL-O for mine, but you can use Instant JELL-O pudding for this, too! If using Cook & Serve let it cool in a bowl with plastic wrap over the top of the pudding so it does not form a skin. When completely cool spoon pudding into a zip top bag. Place in fridge.
Once brownies are cool cut into ½ inch square pieces.
*To Assemble Trifle
In a mason type jar
Place a layer of bownies at the bottom of the jar.
Then add a layer of raspberries.
Top raspberries with a layer of JELL-O vanilla pudding sprinkled with mini chocolate chips.
Repeat layers and top off with pudding, raspberries, and chocolate chips.