" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Divertiti!

As much as we love pizza after a while it is nice to have a change.

This is a folded over version of pizza called Calzone. The deep fried version found in some restaurants is called panzarotti.
This is a fun casual dish, perfect for the weekend.
The whole family can get involved rolling out the dough and preparing the toppings.
You can use almost anything as a filling that I haven't already used here such as olives, Italian sausage, bacon, anchovies or ground beef.
This recipe makes 4 large size calzones but the dough can be broken down in even smaller balls and used as appetizers for a party instead of a meal.

So get the whole family in the kitchen and have fun making this wonderful Italian dish.




Stuffed Calzone

  • 2 balls of fresh pizza dough(white or whole wheat)
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce of choice
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 an onion chopped
  • 1 green or red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tsp each of oregano and basil or 1 tbsp Italian seasoning mix.
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup each of diced pepperoni, sliced Genoa salami, diced cherry tomatoes, diced mushrooms, prosciutto and ham.
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • tomato sauce for topping or dipping on the side
Preheat oven to 375F
Divide each ball of dough into half. Roll into 4 balls.
Dust all 4 balls and roll out to about 6 inch diameter circles.
Place on large greased cookie sheet or pizza stones.
Brush with olive oil.
In a nonstick pan cook the onion, pepper and mushrooms until softened.
Add remaining garlic, herbs, meats and vegetables.
Toss to evenly mix.

Place a large spoonful of filling on each calzone shell. Top with cheese blend.
Fold over dough and press together with fingers or a fork.
Brush with olive oil.
Place in oven and bake for 35 min until golden brown.

Meanwhile warm up some basic Italian tomato sauce. If you have any leftover meat mixture that wouldn't fit in the calzones toss it in the sauce.

Serve with sauce on the side or spooned over top.


Wine Suggestion: Red Sangiovese


Cheers!




Tears of Joy

There is nothing more comforting as a bowl of soup.

One of the most versatile types is French Onion Soup.
Elegant enough to serve as an appetizer for a large dinner or casual enough to be a simple supper on it's own with a salad and crusty bread served along side.

The secret to creating the intense flavour is to let the onions carmalize slowly for at least an hour. This draws out the sweetness of the onions and turns them a rich golden brown colour.

Trust me, this soup is worth all the tears from slicing the onions!

Best Ever French Onion Soup

  • 2 large Spanish or 5 regular cooking onions sliced
  • 2tbs butter
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • splash of white wine or Cognac (optional)
  • 1 baguette sliced and lightly toasted
  • 1 cup mixed shredded cheeses (Mozzarella, Gruyère, Parmesan and/or Swiss)
In a soup pot melt butter.
Add onions and olive oil.
sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes stirring frequently.
Add sugar and reduce heat to low.
Cook until onions are carmalized and a deep brown colour stirring occasionally. This takes 1 to 2 hours.
Add broth, Worcestershire, thyme and wine (if using).
Bring to a low boil then reduce heat and simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat broiler in the oven.
Ladle into oven proof bowls and top with bread rounds and cheese.
Place on cookie sheet and place under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Cheers!

A Thyme for Fall

There are so many things I enjoy about fall.
The produce in season now are among my favourites, especially tomatoes, squash, and apples.
We are going apple picking on the weekend so I will be posting my Apple Crisp recipe next week.

My family adores fresh apple cider. I love its versatility.

When pork is marinated in cider it takes on the apple flavour quite nicely.

This can be grilled on the barbecue or in the oven.
Acorn squash and wild rice pairs beautifully with the pork tenderloin.


Happy Fall!


Apple Cinnamon Thyme Pork Tenderloin
  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pepper
In a resealable bag combine spices and cider.
Submerge pork in marinade seal bag and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat grill or oven to 375F
Remove pork from bag and place on grill or in a shallow roasting pan in the oven.

Cook until internal temperature reaches 155F, about 25 minutes.

Bring marinade to a boil in a small saucepan for 5 minutes.
Baste tenderloin frequently during cooking.
Let stand 5 minutes then thickly slice and serve with remaining marinade poured over top.


Wine Suggestion: Riesling

Cheers!










Olé! Olé!

"One dish" meals are wonderful!

They are easy to assemble, cook unattended in the oven and allow you the freedom to tend to other things.
This is an extremely easy Mexican style chicken dish.
You can use bone in or boneless chicken pieces. I used leg quarters here as that what was on sale that day.

If you don't have cilantro on hand, just increase the oregano to 2 tsp or substitute parsley.

Anything with melted cheese on it is a sure winner in our house. I used a blend of cheddar and mozzarella. Monterey Jack would work well too.

Everyone really enjoyed this dish and the leftovers tasted amazing tucked into a flour tortilla for lunch the next day

Hmmm lets see...easy preparation, all around rave reviews at dinner and a tasty lunch.


What more could you ask for from a meal?

Olé!

Pollo Con
Queso

  • 1 package of chicken pieces of your choice
  • 1 cup of long grain rice
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup or( 1 cup of water mixed with 1 cup of milk and 1 tsp chicken bouillon concentrate.)
  • 1 soup can of water
  • 1 can of black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 green bell or red pepper diced
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 cup of salsa
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 400F
In a 9 x 12 baking dish combine peppers, rice and beans.

In a bowl combine soup, water and cilantro and pour over rice mixture.

Mix evenly.

Place chicken pieces on top.
Spoon salsa over top of chicken.

Bake for 40 minutes.
Sprinkle cheese over top bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Cheers!







So Saucy


I love everything about Italian cuisine.
The seasonings, the ingredients and the aroma that fills your kitchen .
If I had to pick one of my favorite things to cook in the entire world it would have to be Italian pasta sauce.
This recipe is an extremely versatile meat and tomato sauce. It can poured over any pasta, used as a filling in calzone or even as a pizza sauce.
I did the latter the next day for lunch and my family loved it just as much as the night before when it was served over spaghetti.


Now that's Amore!

"Salsa di Pomodori con Manzo"
Tomatoes Sauce with Beef

  • olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 red pepper diced
  • 1 tbs oregano
  • handful button mushrooms
  • 6 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 1 can of crushed plum tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in large saucepan.
Add beef and onion.
Cook until beef is brown (drain fat if necessary)

Add garlic and spices.
Cook until garlic is lightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 45 min stirring frequently.

Adjust seasonings and serve over hot pasta.

Wine Suggestion: Valpolicella

Cheers!






Chop Chop

There are some dishes that no matter how many times you make it..nobody ever tires of it .
The old standbys that you can throw together quickly when you get home and you just know it will turn out well.

This dish is one of those favorites in our house.

It is wonderful combination of sweet and savory flavors together.
You can substitute the cranberry sauce for Lingonberry sauce (from Ikea) and you can use ketchup if you don't have chili sauce on hand.
This dish goes well with sweet potatoes , acorn squash and green beans.


Cranberry Chili Pork Chops
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops
  • 1/2 can of cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
Preheat oven to 375F.
Arrange pork chops in an oiled casserole dish.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the pork chops.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove cover and bake for 10 more minutes.

Wine Suggestion: Riesling

Cheers!

Flash in the Pan

Now that everyone is back to school and work we all are all probably feeling a bit pressed for time.
This dish can be made in under 20 minutes.
Boneless chicken breasts or thighs can be used. This pairs well with lemon rice or boiled potatoes.
Elegant enough to serve guests for dinner but still kid friendly, and fast enough for weeknights.
What more could you ask for in recipe?


Skillet Rosemary and Black Olive Chicken.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless skinless thighs.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 fresh sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • handful grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • salt and pepper

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add minced garlic and saute for one minute.
Add chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook until golden (about 5 min per side)
Stir in wine and tomatoes and olives.
Cook until chicken is done about 6 to 8 more minutes (springy when pressed) and sauce is reduced.

Wine Suggestion: White Trebbiano

Cheers!



Stick to your Ribs

Every summer our city holds a Rib Festival.
As you walk through the park it is a feast for the senses as the aroma from each of the vendors rib recipes mingle together.
Some are very spicy where others are smoky and sweet.
I love to make my own ribs at home. I have many variations of sauce recipes.
This version is both sweet and spicy.
You can use side or back ribs. I usually buy whatever is on sale.
Slow roasting in the oven first ensures they are very tender. (and makes your kitchen smell wonderful!)
Finishing off on the grill seals in the juices and browns them up.

Warning:
When the aroma from the grill fills the air, your neighbors will soon be over wondering if you are having your own Rib Festival!


Slow Roasted Ribs


  • 4 racks of pork ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups of basic chicken/rib barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp hot chili flakes
  • 4 tsp cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 275F
Lay ribs in a very large roasting rib side down.

In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients.
Spread evenly all over the ribs.
cover pan tightly with foil and roast in oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove ribs from pan and place on hot barbecue.
Grill until brown basting with remaining sauce from the roasting pan.

Wine/Beer Suggestion: Honey Brown Ale

Cheers!