Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Broccoli Bacon Salad
    This is one of those perfect summer time picnic side dishes. I first encountered it at a friends family's house. I fell in love. Delicious, chilled, just the right amount of sweetness, and with bacon; well bacon makes everything better. Broccoli Bacon Salad.
  • 2 lg broccoli heads
  • 12 strips bacon
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup mayo
1. Cook bacon until done. Chop up into chunks.
2.  Cut up the broccoli heads into bite size pieces.
3. Dice the onion.
4. In a large bowl combine broccoli, bacon, onion, and cheddar.
5. In a separate bowl combine mayo, vinegar, and sugar.
6. Pour mayo mixture over the broccoli mixture and stir to incorporate. Cover and set in fridge till
ready to serve. (Best overnight)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Just bacon
Serves: 5+

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Greens and Beans


     Here is another great side dish that can go with any dinner entrĂ©e. This dish is extremely healthy for you and packed  with good proteins and vitamins. It is a dish that brings back many memories for me. My grandmother used to make it all the time. You can choose your choice of greens but I highly recommend escarole. Greens and Beans.


  • 1 large head of escarole
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Swig of olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

1. Chop up and wash the escarole. Pat dry with paper towel.

2. Drain and rinse the can of cannellini beans.

3. In a medium saute skillet drizzle some olive oil.

4. Saute the chopped escarole until wilted.

5. Add in chopped garlic and the cannellini beans. Bring to a simmer.

6. Cover and saute until beans are tender and ready to serve.

Simple, quick, easy, and delicious. Give it a try!

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

     What is Sticky Toffee Pudding? Well it is a classic British dessert perfect for your afternoon tea or dinner party with friends. I first discovered this dessert as a child when the neighbor kids mother used to make it all the time. I completely forgot about this cake until I went searching for what exactly it was. This delicious dessert has been enjoyed by people for ages. Give it a try! Trust me you will love it. Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dates chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs


  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the chopped dates, water, and baking soda in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling. Remove and set aside.

3. Combine flour and salt in one bowl and whisk together.

4. Combine butter and brown sugar in another bowl and beat with a mixer until the mixture is smooth.

5. Add in vanilla and eggs one at a time and mix well.

6. Stir in the date mixture and then the flour until well incorporated.

7. In another saucepan bring some water to a boil.

8. Pour the cake mixture into the coated pan. Sit the pan in another larger baking pan and pour the boiling water around to create a water bath. (Be careful).

9. Place in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the center is cooked through.

10. Meanwhile in another saucepan on the stove over medium high heat melt the butter, brown sugar,
and vanilla just until the mixture starts to simmer and bubble.

11. Slowly add in the cream and stir until the mixture becomes thick and doubles in volume.

12. Slice cake into individual pieces and pour the toffee sauce over. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

This dessert will definitely become a favorite.

Prep Time: 5 minutes.
Cook Time: 60+
Serves: 5+

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pasta Alla Norma


     Situated on the east coast of this beautiful island along the blue waters of the Ionian sea sits a city that has a rocky past; Catania. Glooming high above behind the city sits the great Mount Etna that has destroyed this lovely dwelling many times with its explosive volcanic eruptions. Like the High Priestess of the Druids, Norma, protecting her two offspring from death as a sacrifice to the Gods to rid the city of the Romans, the depth and love of this city is exemplified in the destruction of its streets by Etna as well as the song and performance of the "bel canto" in the opera about the priestess Norma. This traditional Sicilian pasta dish named in honor of her is a perfect example of said depth and love of this culture. Pasta Alla Norma. A delicious grilled eggplant in tomato sauce pasta. Top with some basil and fresh shaved ricotta.
     As the little story above states, Pasta Alla Norma is a true Sicilian dish apparently  created in honor of the Opera Norma. I discovered this dish by watching the show Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. I had never heard of it before and thought it looked amazing. This dish was fantastic. Quick, simple, and full of flavor. Pasta Alla Norma.
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • Ricotta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
1. Sliced eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick cuts.
2. On a grill or grill pan over high heat grill the eggplant slices until no longer green and grill marks show.
3. Salt and pepper to taste. Lay aside till ready to place into sauce.
4. Meanwhile in a large skillet drizzle some olive oil and saute diced onion until translucent.
5. Toss in diced garlic and saute until fragrant.
6. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, chopped up fresh basil, and chili flakes.
7. Chop up the eggplant slices into bite size chunks. Place into skillet. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over small rigatoni pasta with some fresh basil and ricotta shavings.
     This was such a fresh and delicious meal that I am glad I discovered this Sicilian meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4+

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Green Beans and Tomatoes

Green  Beans and Tomatoes
     Looking for a perfect side dish for your next dinner meal? This traditional, (in the sense of my family), possibly Italian side dish is delicious. Quick, easy, and full of flavor. We always have this as a side dish to big family meals. One of my favorites growing up. Green Beans and Tomatoes.
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 1 can whole stewed tomatoes, (of course fresh tomatoes are better)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper
1. Prep the green beans by pinching off the ends and halving.
2. In a large pot with water boil the green beans to soften them up a bit for roughly 30 minutes.
3. Drain water.
4. In a bowl pour the whole tomatoes and crush with hands or cut into chunks with scissors.
5. In same pot over medium heat toss the green beans with the tomatoes. Pour in some olive oil and diced garlic and simmer for about 10 minutes.
     This side dish is such a great accompaniment to any dinner you serve your family. Bon Appetit!
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Serves: 4+