Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Orange Basil Pound Cake


     Was watching the Foodnetwork and they were having this competition of bakers combining sweet and savory into birthday cakes. They had to use a certain herb in their concoction. So I decided to create my own version and thought what better herb to use than basil. Now I'm probably going to get some slack for this but I used a store bought pound cake box mix to start this recipe. So here goes; Orange Basil Pound Cake.

1 box store bought pound cake mix

1 bundle fresh basil
1 orange
Powdered sugar

1. Follow directions of pound cake mix box.
2. Chop up very finely all of the basil leaves with exception of 3.
3. Mix into the cake mix batter.
4. Add in zest from 1/2 orange.
5. Bake according to directions.
6. Meanwhile take 1/2 cup water and dissolve 1/2 cup sugar over medium low heat to create simple syrup.
7. Toss in the 3 left over basil leaves to infuse into the simple syrup.
8. Combine some milk and powdered sugar to create a thick icing. Mix in the other half of orange zest.
9. Once the cake is cooled take a pastry brush and spread on some of the basil syrup on top of the cake.
10. Take the powdered sugar icing and drizzle over the top. Let cool.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: according to box
Serves: 4+

This cake was a gigantic hit at my family's Easter brunch this. Some were hesitant to try a cake made with basil, however when they took their first bite they were so amused at the fantastic combination of flavors.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Italian Wedding Soup (Minestra Maritata)


     Italian Wedding Soup has nothing to do with weddings or any kind of celebration. The literal translation, Minestra Maritata, means soup that is married together. Basically it just means the ingredients "wed" well together into a delicious warming and hearty soup with the best flavors.
  • l/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or Romano
  • Salt/pepper
  • 24 oz chicken stock
  • 1/ carrot chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • 1 bunch greens, (I use escarole, kale, chard)
  • 1 cup orzo or acine di pepe
1. Combine ground beef, sausage, egg, bread crumbs, parsley, shredded cheese and salt and pepper. Form into small meatballs.
2. In 350 degree oven bake on baking sheet for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a large stock pot drizzle some olive oil and saute the onion, carrots, and celery.
4. Mix in torn greens and saute until wilted.
5. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
6. Toss in the meatballs and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.
7. 10 minutes before serving stir in the pasta of choice such as orzo or acine di pepe.
This soup's flavors are the perfect meal for not only a cold winters night but anytime of the year.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 plus 30-40
Serves: 4+

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Turkish Kafta Soup


     Another recipe in the spirit of DNA results. My first attempt at a Turkish dish. This was such a filling soup. Very similar to some Italian soups, of course with the meatballs, but you can see where Italian's were influenced by the migration of spices and people from the Turkish region. Turkish Kafta Soup.

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 white onion grated
  • Parsley
  • Chili Flakes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 potato cubed
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 32 oz beef stock
  • 16 oz water
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In large bowl combine ground lamb, grated onion, parsley, chili flakes, rice, and allspice. Roll up into large meatballs and place on baking sheet. Bake in oven for roughly 15 minutes.

3. In a large pot over medium high heat, drizzle some olive oil. Saute onion, carrots, and potato for about 5 minutes.

4. Mix in the tomato paste. Pour in the beef stock and water.

5. Stir in the oregano, chili flakes, and cumin. Bring to a simmer.

6. Remove Kafta from the oven and carefully drop into the soup pot. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
This soup was delicious. There was heat from the chili flakes. The combination of the flavors from the allspice, cumin and oregano added a special addition to this hearty soup.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40
Serves: 4+

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hand Cut Tagliatelle With Steak And Mushroom Sauce


     Was craving a new pasta creation that would knock my socks off. Came up with this one just wondering around my kitchen and rummaging through my fridge. This was an amazing fulfilling pasta dish. Tagliatelle With Steak And Mushroom Sauce.

  • 1 small beef roast cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms of choice
  • 1/2 small white onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup diced parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 tbs flour
1. Combine the eggs and flour in a large bowl and kneed into a ball. Set in refrigerator for at least an hour wrapped in foil.
2. When ready take out and place on floured surface. Cut into 2 equal parts and roll out flat to the thickness you would like your noodle to be. Carefully flour both sides of the rolled out dough. Fold up, or roll up into a log and slice your noodles off. (Refer to picture below). Sit aside to cook in boiling water.
3. Meanwhile In a large saute pan drizzle a little olive oil and brown your cut strips of beef. Remove and place on a plate.
4. In same pan, saute your mushrooms, onion and garlic until fragrant. Pour in white wine to deglaze.
5. Toss back in the beef and add in tomato paste and stir around.
6. Pour in cream and diced parsley and bring to a low simmer. Mix in the Romano cheese, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring regularly.
7. Cook pasta in boiling water and stir into beef sauce.
This was a great creation full of flavor. Give it a try!
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20
Serves: 2+

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Armenian Chicken Kebab


In the spirit of my DNA results again, I took a try at a traditional Armenian dish. Kebab! The combination of the spice flavors with the creamy yogurt and lemon juice was amazing.

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbs Olive oil
  • 1 tbs ginger powder
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 3 tbs smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 small eggplant
  • Extra olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

1. Cut chicken into bite size cubes.
2. Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, oil, ginger, salt, paprika, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne in a bowl.
3. Toss chicken in bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight.
4. When ready to cook take eggplant and cut into bite size chunks. Drizzle with some olive oil and thread onto a skewer.
5. Take chicken and do the same thing.
(Do meat and vegetable on their own skewer. It is a misconception here in the USA, that we typically see alternating vegetable and meat. This is not how it is to be done based on cooking differences.)
6. Cook over a hot grill alternating and turning to cook on all sides and get those good grill marks.
7. Serve with a side of yogurt sauce or just on their own.
This true Kebab was amazing!!! So much flavorful than anyone I have gotten in any restaurant.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: Overnight
Serves: 2+

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Moroccan Orange Cake


    In the spirit of researching my family's DNA we discovered, as most of the population of the world would too, that there are parts of our Italian/Irish DNA that can be traced back to Africa. For ours it was specifically Morocco. So in the spirit of fun and trying new things I give you my take on a traditional Moroccan Orange Cake.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbs orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a Bundt pan.
2. In a large bowl beat together to eggs and sugar until creamy.
3. Mix in oil.
4. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt in batches until smooth.
5. Mix in the orange juice, zest, and vanilla.
6. Pour into baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
7. Cool, slice, and serve with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
    This cake was amazing. It was good as a dessert, a side snack with a nice cup of hot tea, or I would even go as far as a nice little breakfast as you are running out the door. Perfectly flavored with natural orange and not too sweet. Definitely putting this on my dessert list for future events.  So easy and quick to make.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Serves: 4+

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mini Cheesburger Calzone

       This is one of the quick and easy weeknight meals you can create. Even a good one to do with the kids if you have any. All the flavors of a good cheeseburger in one little hand held pocket. No worries about drippings off the side down the cheeks or parts falling apart. With these little calzones all the good stuff stays inside. Mini Cheeseburger Calzone.


  • 1 store bought pizza dough roll
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • American Cheese
  • Ketchup
  • Egg (for wash)
  • Salt/pepper

1. Brown the beef with salt and pepper in a large skillet and sit aside.
2. Roll out the pizza dough and cut into equal size squares. Mine made roughly 12.
3. Take a piece of American cheese and lay in the center followed by some of the ground beef filling.
4. Dollop some ketchup on top. Fold over the edges to create a little round bun shaped pocket.
5. Take egg wash and brush over the tops of each one.
6. Bake in 350 degree oven for roughly 12-15 minutes or until tops are browned.

The filling possibilities are endless based on your tastes and what you want to create in these little calzones. You could do pizza, Philly style cheese and beef, etc.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4+



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gingerbread Bread Pudding

Made this fantastic dessert for Christmas dinner. This by far is now one of my favorite bread pudding recipes. The flavor of almost perfect gingerbread incorporated in the delicate and filling bread pudding is the perfect combination. I found this recipe online but altered it slightly. Top it with a vanilla sugar icing drizzle and you have yourself a little piece of heaven. Gingerbread Bread Pudding.


  • 1 loaf French bread cut into cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Milk
  • Powder sugar

1. Cut bread into cubes and let sit overnight out to harden up.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Mix together the milk, eggs, sugar, molasses, spices, and 1 tsp vanilla in a large bowel.
4. Place bread cubes in another bowel and pour the milk mixture over. Let sit for roughly 15 minutes.
5. Pour bread mixture into a 9 x 13 greased baking pan and bake in oven for 50 minutes until the center no longer jiggles.
6. Take some milk, powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla and mix together to create a smooth pourable icing.
7. Remove bread pudding from oven, slice, and serve with the vanilla icing drizzled on top.

This bread pudding was so delicious that everyone in the house loved it and asked for seconds.  Definitely give this one a try.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4+

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Chicken Bacon BBQ Pesto Pizza

     I was craving pizza so badly this weekend so decided to come up with a simple and great pizza full of flavor. I was wanting something different, something with some interesting type of BBQ flavor, so decided to combine these great flavor combinations into one. Chicken Bacon BBQ Pesto Pizza.



  • 1 Store bought crust
  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh Romano cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbs BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbs pesto
1. Either boil or grill the chicken breast and once cooled cut up into chunks.

2. Cook bacon either by frying or baking and chop up into pieces.

3. Roll out pizza dough onto a baking sheet or pizza board.

4. Over medium high heat drizzle some olive oil and saute garlic till fragrant.

5. Pour in the heavy cream and lower heat and simmer.

6. Toss in the Romano cheese and mix well. Let cool and it will thicken up.

7. Spread Romano sauce over the pizza dough.

8. Sprinkle on the chicken, bacon, and the frozen corn. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake in 500 degree oven for roughly 10-15 minutes or until crust is perfectly browned.

9. Mix together the BBQ sauce and pesto and drizzle over the pizza and serve.
This pizza combination was delicious. The heartiness from the sauce, chicken, and cheese with the addition of the bold flavors of the BBQ and pesto were the perfect combination.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2+

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Polish Sausage With Potatoes And Peppers

Decided to try my hand at a simple Polish dish. One full of flavor but so easy that even a child could make this. Polish Sausage With Potatoes And Peppers.
  • 1/2 lb Polish Sausage
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
  • Pinch Thyme
  • 1/2 cup water
1. In a large pan, drizzle some olive oil and saute sliced up sausage till browning on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.
2. In same pot, saute diced onion, diced bell pepper, and diced potato.
3. Pour in about 1/2 cup water to allow potatoes to become tender. Cover and cook for roughly 10 minutes on low heat.
4. Toss back in the sausage and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve with some good crusty bread.
This was such a simple, yet packed full of flavor dish. Perfect for those long winter nights.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2-3