Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Riomaggiore Lasagne


     This dish was inspired by the great seafood lasagne my brother had and I sampled while vacationing in Riomaggiore, Italy a few years back. There was just something about this pasta dish that was amazing. First off, it was the first time we had seen a lasagne that wasn't the typical layered dish we are use to in America. Even being first generation in America, our grandmother always made the layered baked version. It was just the lasagna noodle tossed and thrown on the plate. Second, this dish was light and had a distinct flavor of something you wouldn't expect from a pasta dish. It had that tomato flavor but there was just something else. Delving farther into this dish you find that those small hidden flavors are the simplest of additions. The coast of Italy is famous for it's use of bountiful basil and lemon. Chop up some fresh basil leaves and add a few zests of hearty lemons and viola, a simple yet delicious seafood lasagne packed full of flavor. This was amazing. Riomaggiore Lasagne.



  • Fresh lasagne noodles
  • 2 filets of white fish (any kind you like) cubed
  • 10 shrimp
  • 6 anchovy filets (they are also famous on the coast)
  • 1 large shallot diced
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • A handful fresh basil chopped
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • Salt/pepper

1. In a large skillet over medium heat drizzle some olive oil and saute diced shallots.

2. Next toss in the anchovy filets and saute. (They will begin to melt away).

3. Stir in chopped garlic until fragrant.

4. Stir in the white wine and reduce.

5. Now pour in the tomato puree, chopped basil, and lemon zest. Stir to incorporate.

6. Stir in the cubed white fish and fresh shrimp.

7. Mix in the cream, turn heat down to low, and simmer for roughly 5 minutes until the fish is tender
and the shrimp cooked through.

8. Toss on a plate with the fresh lasagne noodles.

This dish, according to my brother now, tasted just like the original he had sitting on the little patio facing the ocean that warm evening in Riomaggiore.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2-4



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Salmon Cakes With A Wasabi Mayo


      I was craving some type of fish dish this week and since it is Lent and as a good Catholic I must abide by eating no meat on Friday's, I chose to make a simple salmon cake entrée. I have posted this simple salmon cake before, however it was in a sandwich. So today I am re-posting the actual recipe along with a simple yet flavorful sauce to accompany these delicious easy patties.  Salmon Cakes With Wasabi Mayo.

  • 16 oz can pink salmon
  • 3 tbs pimentos
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbs wasabi paste
  • 4 tbs mayo
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • Zest from half lemon
  • Butter
1. Combine the salmon, pimentos, diced onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, and egg in a large bowl and mix with your hands. Form into patties.

2. In a large saute pan fry the salmon cakes in some butter for roughly 2 minutes each side.

3. Combine the mayo, lemon juice, zest, and wasabi paste in another bowl until able to drizzle over each cake.
Easy, quick, full of flavor, and delicious. Perfect for any good Catholic or anyone at all. (insert laugh from a fallen away Catholic)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 3+

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

BEANS and Cornbread: A Country Staple


     I have published the cornbread recipe on here before and briefly explained how to make the soup beans.  Since I was craving this dish again this winter I decided to give you one of the ways to make the beans for this dish.  Whether using a stockpot or crockpot, this dish cannot be any easier. Soup Beans

  • 2 cups Northern White Beans
  • 1/4 white onion diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • Some ham or hamhock
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Salt/pepper
1. Place beans in the crockpot and soak in water overnight.
2. Rinse and remove water from night before.
3. Dice up the onion, pepper, and ham and throw in the crockpot.
4. Cover with enough water to be about an inch above the bean mixture.
5. Turn on to low and let cook for up to 8 hours.

I like to once the mixture is done, take a masher and mash up some of the beans in order to make a thicker souper mixture.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 6-8 hours
Cook Time: 7-8 hours
Serves: 4+

This is one of those simple, yet delicious country staples for any family. You will love it.

You can find the cornbread recipe here: http://recipesiliveby.blogspot.com/search/label/Cornbread

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chicken Mushroom Vol Au Vent

    Vol Au Vent means "windblown" in French and is typically served as an appetizer in French cuisine. It is also found in Belgium and can be served as an entrée and is usually filled with chicken or other meat products. I came across this dish playing around online one evening and decided to try my hand at it. It was extremely quick, simple, and very delicious. Also the presentation made this such an elegant looking dish that you would swear I went to culinary school. Give it a try for your next dinner party and impress your friends or loved ones. Chicken Mushroom Vol Au Vent.
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Handful chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 3 sheets puff pastry
  • Egg wash
1. I bought pre-made puff pastry that comes in 3 sheets. Cut each on in half and score out of one side a square hole. Take some egg wash and line the bottom one and place the holed out one on top. With a fork poke holes in the bottom layer. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until puffed and brown.
2. Meanwhile in a large skillet drizzle some olive oil. Cut chicken into strips and saute until golden brown.

3. Toss in diced up shallot and mushrooms.

4. Pour in white wine to deglaze the pan.

5. Toss in the tablespoon of butter and flour and stir to incorporate.

6. Pour in the cream. Stir in the parsley and dill and bring to a slow simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

7. Now for the fun part, take one of the pastry "baskets" and fill with the chicken/mushroom filling and serve.
This dish was delicious and very elegant in its presentation.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 combined
Serves: 3


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stuffed Peppers


    Stuffed Peppers has to be one of my ultimate favorite meals of all time. It is just one of those comfort foods that I remember growing up as a kid. You own little meal placed nicely in a pocket of sorts and served hot. No need for any other items on your plate, this was a full meal in one. This recipe is exactly how my mother makes it. No subsitutions, no changes, no nothing. Just plain, delicious and simple. Stuffed Peppers.

  • 4 Green Bell Peppers
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 slices white bread torn into chunks
  • Parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup uncooked minute rice
  • Salt/pepper
  • Marinara

1. Slice the tops off of the peppers and remove the inner veins and seeds. Shock in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the beef, diced up onion, parsley, egg, salt/pepper, rice, and bread into a bowl.

3. Place each pepper bottom side down into a baking dish. Take a tablespoon of marinara and dollup into the bottom of each pepper. Pour about a cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish surrounding the peppers.

4. Take some of the beef mixture and stuff it into each pepper.

5. Top with another spoonfull of marinara.

6. Place in 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour 15 minutes.

You can at just 15 minutes left to cooking spoon some more marinara over top of each pepper.

These are perfectly tender, juicy, and full of flavor. It will easily become one of your favorites.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 2-4

Saturday, February 4, 2017

S.O.S., (or in a more polite term), Chipped Beef On Toast



     Surprisingly a vast number of people my age have never heard the term, S.O.S., for this dish. Some haven't even heard of the dish itself. The initials stand for the slang term of; Shit On a Shingle. Sounds appetizing doesn't it? I'm not quite sure of its origins, however I have been told it comes from the Military. A dish served to the soldiers. Now which branch, or which war, I'm still unclear, however growing up in WV we had this dish all the time. It became one of those staples that every country family seemed to serve. Quick, simple, and actually a great meal to have. My mother always made it for us for a quick dinner. She usually accompanied it with scrambled eggs as well. The terminology for this dish doesn't make it appealing, however once you taste it you will love it. Just in under 5 minutes is all it takes. Chipped Beef On Toast.


  • 1 2oz package of dried beef
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Salt/pepper
  • Toast

1. Remove beef from package and dice up.

2. In a large skillet melt butter and whisk in flour.

3. Slowly pour in milk and cream and whisk to make a thick sauce. Thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

4. Stir in the beef and let simmer for roughly 5 minutes.

5. Salt and pepper to taste and ladle over some fresh toast.

     That's it! Simple, quick, easy, and you will definitely make this again. The perfect "go-to" meal for any bachelor. To this day, even though my mother and myself can make just about any 5 star kind of meal, this is always going to be one of those favorites that I can never let go.

Prep Time: 1 min.
Cook Time: 5-6 mins.
Serves: 2


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Paramount Potato Soup

     I was never a fan of potato soup. Not sure why, just didn't like it very much. Well that all changed a few years ago. My cousin made me try this recipe she discovered. I was in awe. I loved it. Creamy, delicious, and full of flavor. This is a spin on her recipe as I added a few things myself. Although not the most healthiest meal out there it is truly amazing. Paramount Potato Soup.
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3/4 lb small redskin potatoes
  • 1 can cream of celery
  • 1 can cream chicken
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups milk
  • 5 oz spinach or kale
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • Water
  • Salt/pepper

1. Take bacon and cut into bite size pieces. In a medium soup pot brown bacon over high heat.

2. Add in chopped onion and saute.

3. Add in spinach or kale and wilt. Remove whole mixture.

4. In same pot, chop up the potatoes and just cover with enough water. Bring to boil and cook uncovered for roughly 20 minutes. At this point there will be only about 1/2 cup water left in there.

5. In a large bowl whisk together the cream of celery, cream of chicken, sour cream, and milk. Pour into pot with potatoes.

6. Bring to low simmer and toss in the cheddar cheese. Simmer for roughly 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
You will love this soup. Trust me.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 +

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Split Pea Soup


     So I received a fantastic Irish Pub cookbook for Christmas and decided to try my hand at a simple yet delicious soup. Split Pea soup is so simple but yet full of flavor. I had never had it before, not even on my trip to Ireland, or from my families recipes, but thought I should give it a try. I took the original recipe and cut it into half afraid I may not like it. So here goes; Split Pea Soup.

  • 1 cup split peas
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 white onion diced
  • 1 small carrot chopped
  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • 2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cubed ham
  • Pinch thyme
  • Pinch marjoram
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • Salt/pepper to taste

1. Rinse the peas under cold running water. Place in medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes skimming off foam on the surface. Drain.

2. In same sauce pan drizzle olive oil and saute the onion until tender.

3. Add in carrot and celery and continue to cook.

4. Add back in the peas, chicken stock, and water.

5. Bring to a boil, add in ham, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaf. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.

     This soup was so full of flavor. Wasn't just like eating a plate of peas. The ham, the herbs, and the heartiness of it all was fantastic. Served with a fresh slice of warm soda bread and butter and this meal was fulfilling.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Grandma Binns' Black Currant Shortbread Cookies


   My grandmother Binns was an awesome little woman. As I've mentioned before she was Irish and a lot of her cooking had Irish influences as well as other British Isle ideas and traditions. These little traditional cookies are in honor of her. She loved currants and the addition of black berries just adds that extra little burst of flavor to these simple sweet little cookies. If you have ever had shortbread cookies, they are simply just butter cookies with light sweetness to them. Enjoy these Black Currant Shortbread Cookies.


  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 cup chopped black berries
  • Sugar

1. Mix together the flour and salt in a bowl

2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar together. Add in the vanilla.

3. Add in the flour mixture until the dough becomes firm and starts to form lumps.

4. Mix in the currants and black berries.

5. On a large sheet of plastic wrap form the dough into a log shape and press well. Wrap up and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

6. Remove from refrigerator  and slice into 1/3 inch slices. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each one. Place on baking sheet and bake in 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until edges start to become golden brown.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Inactive: 2 hours
Serves: Many

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chicken Spinach Stuffed Shells


     Although this dish takes some time to prepare for, the results are totally worth the wait. Comforting, warming, creamy, full of flavor, and will definitely be the hit of your family, or if you are like me, perfect for that special date night. Chicken Spinach Stuffed Shells.

  • 1 large boneless chicken breast
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz ricotta
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 egg
  • Handful baby spinach
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 2/3 cup cream
  • Handful chopped basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese
  • Salt/pepper
  • 12+ pasta shells
  • Mozzarella cheese

1. In a large pot of water cook the pasta shells according to box, however stop about 2 minutes short of fully cooked.

2. In another smaller pot of boiling water, cook the chicken breast until done.

3. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine the softened cream cheese, ricotta, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, and spinach.

4. Once chicken has cooled, shred it up with a fork and combine it into the cheese mixture.

5. In a large skillet drizzle some olive oil and saute the chopped garlic until fragrant.

6. Pour in the white wine and simmer until reduced.

7. Mix in the cream, basil, oregano, and rosemary. Bring to a low simmer.

8. Mix in the Romano cheese and stir. Salt and pepper to taste.

9. Now remove the pasta shells and let cool. Take the chicken/cheese mixture and spoon into each shell.

10. Pour some of the sauce mixture on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the stuffed shells in. Sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese and dab some more sauce over top.

11. Cover with tinfoil and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

These are so delicious and cheesy you will fall in love with them.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 2-4