If you're a lobster & seafood lover, this chowder is a must-try. It's filled with lobster, jumbo lump crab meat, shrimp, corn kernels, all delivered in a silky, creamy texture that's loaded with seafood flavor. (When we made this batch we were out of carrots so you won't see any in the photo. We never missed them; however, they do add a pleasant sweetness when included). One spoonful and you'll be transported to the waterfronts of Maine or Cape Cod.
2 -3 Tablespoons butter
4 celery stalks, cut into 1/4″ slices
3 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ slices
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1½ Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2” cubes.
One of our very fondest childhood memories was of our Mom & Grandma Florence bringing us a bowl of their homemade chicken soup. It was the most comforting, get-well soup that we looked forward to whenever we caught a cold or were feeling a little under the weather. Today, there is still a nostalgic sense of well being whenever we make this soup. With every spoonful, we still feel the love and caring that went into every batch of this delicious soup from Mom and Grandma. You don't need to feel under the weather to enjoy this hearty flavorful soup. It's perfect on cold winter days to take away the chill.
4 chicken thighs with bone & skin
2 Tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large celery stalks, large dice
4 large carrots, large dice
3 large garlic cloves, minced (approximately 2 Tablespoons. Add more or less to suit your taste.
1 Tablespoon EVOO
1 tsp dried thyme
1 large bay leaf
1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh & chopped)
salt & pepper to taste
8 ounces Ditalini (small round hollow tubes) or Orzo (cook separately) or rice
4 cups chicken broth
Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the butter. When melted & hot add the bay leaf & chicken thighs, skin-side down first until browned. Flip and brown the other side. When fully cooked, remove to plate & set aside, discard bay leaf.
In the same pot, add the EVOO, onion, celery, & carrots making sure to scrape all browned bits (fond) from the cooked chicken. Saute for about 5-7 minutes until softened.
Add garlic, thyme & parsley & cook for another minute.
Add the broth & combine.
Remove the chicken skin then shred the chicken. Add to broth and low simmer for 20 minutes.
While simmering, prepare the pasta of your choice while the broth is simmering.
Ladle the chicken soup into bowls, add some cooked pasta or rice and garnish with Locatelli cheese and some fresh parsley if desired. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!
Note: You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta or rice before freezing.
To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth & GF pasta.
Teresa made a delicious beef stew the other night and we all enjoyed it. There were about 2 cups of leftovers so we decided to stretch it into a second dinner by adding some mushrooms, red wine, Kalamata olives, leftover green beans, a cup of cherry tomatoes (halved) and 8 oz of uncooked ziti.
No measurements are really needed. Just sauté the mushrooms in a little EVOO or butter, add the wine then leftover stew, simmer about 10-15 minutes. Add the olives & cherry tomatoes. We mixed the cooked & drained ziti with a ladle full of the stew mixture to coat the pasta then put the pasta on individual plates topped with stew mixture & garnished with fresh basil & Locatelli grated cheese.
You could add feta cheese instead of Locatelli if you prefer. Any leftover vegetables will also work well.
Ranch dressing is delicious on salads, cooked vegetables, chicken tenders, and as a dip for fresh vegetables. When my grandsons were little boys ranch dressing was the perfect way to get them to eat fresh vegetables. They couldn't get enough. Actually, this dressing is good on everything!!! Our homemade Balsamic Ranch dressing is so good and easy to make you will never buy store-bought again! 😋❤️
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve remove from refrigerator and pour over salad greens or vegetables. Enjoy !
Notes: Try adding blue cheese crumbles and bacon crumbles on top for an added touch…Delicious!
Adapting our family favorite recipes into healthier versions has been a goal of ours this year. We never thought our beloved shrimp scampi could ever be healthy and still taste great. It was a challenge however, we succeeded to reduce the fat by 75% and keep all the flavor! This lighter version tastes just as good as the original with a few minor tweaks. Our family enjoyed it and didn’t miss the fat. If you’re looking for a healthier, quick weeknight dinner, give this a try.😋 😋
2 lbs large raw shrimp (*to make your own homemade shrimp broth buy fresh large shrimp with the heads still attached – see recipe link below)
4 Tablespoons salted butter
1 tsp salt
8 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (divided)
3/4 cup homemade shrimp broth (clam juice or chicken broth can be substituted)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
lemon slices for garnish (may be omitted)
1 lb Barilla Linguine
reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water after cooking to add to the garlic lemon juice before serving.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bring pasta water to a boil then add salt to the boiling water. Cover and lower flame to keep hot while prepping shrimp.
Remove shells from shrimp, leaving the shell on the tail section only if preferred.
Devein & wash under cold running water, then drain well on paper towels.
Melt butter in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan in the oven.
Once melted, add the salt, garlic, 1/2 the shrimp broth, and 1/2 the chopped parsley; mix well.
Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in the baking pan.
Bake uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. (keep your eye on them)
Turn the shrimp over, sprinkle with lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining shrimp broth, and remaining parsley.
Bake 2-3 minutes, or just until tender & opaque. Do Not overcook shrimp or they will be tough. (If using smaller shrimp, cut down on the cooking time)
Remove the shrimp, toss some linguine in the pan with the garlic lemon juice. Place a portion of pasta on a plate. Pour a little additional juice on pasta and top with shrimp.
Sprinkle your desired amount of Pecorino Romano cheese and garnish with lemon slices if desired.
2 1/4 lbs fresh large shrimp with heads attached.
Add 2 carrots, cut in half
Add 2 stalks of celery, cut in half
Add 1 large onion, quartered (red or yellow)
3 large bay leaves
Enough water to just cover all ingredients
Remove the heads by twisting downward and off. Place in an 8 quart stockpot.
Remove all the legs and shells from the shrimp and place them in the stockpot.
Set shrimp aside for scampi
Add the vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves and enough water just to cover the shells and vegetables.
Bring to a slow simmer and simmer for about 2 hours. The liquid should reduce by 1/3 and turn a beautiful shrimp color.
Never let the heat get to a boil. Keep on a slow simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.
Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
Strain all ingredients and discard everything but the broth.
Using cheesecloth, strain again to remove all sediment.
You are now ready to use for scampi or freeze for later use. It’s worth making…
Single-layer the shrimp
Cook additional 2-3 minutes until shrimp are tender, pink & opaque
Turkey is a great alternative to beef as it reduces the amount of unhealthy fat in our daily consumption. Our turkey meatball recipe is easy & healthier alternative to beef meatballs. These meatballs add low-fat protein to homemade soups or broths like in our homemade Italian Wedding Soup (see link below). They are also perfect for an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce or a perfect complement to your favorite pasta dish, just choose the size you want to make. Not only are these meatballs packed with flavor, but they are also gluten-free. To get our mini meatballs uniform in size, we used the 1-inch side of a melon baller, which is the perfect size for adding to our Italian Wedding Soup. Any size you make them will be delicious!
20.8 oz (1.3 lbs) ground turkey
1/2 large onion, finely minced
3-4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (see note for dried amounts)
3 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (see note for dried amounts)
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (see note for dried amounts)
salt & pepper to taste
1 large egg
1/2 cup 4C Gluten-Free Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated (Locatelli)
In a medium bowl, combine the ground turkey with all the ingredients.
Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Spray lightly with cooking spray.
Wearing food-grade gloves, put a dab of EVOO on one glove, and rub your hands together. This prevents the meat mixture from sticking to your hands while forming into round balls.
Using a 1-inch melon baller, scoop enough meat mixture to fill the baller. Shake into your hand and roll into a ball. Place each meatball onto the prepared baking sheet in even rows.
Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes on the upper rack. of your oven. After 10-12 minutes put on broil for 2 minutes to lightly crisp the meatballs.
Remove from oven and immediately remove to paper towels to drain. When completely cooled, place in plastic food storage bags and freeze. If using immediately, drop into your favorite broth or soup. Italian Wedding Soup
Melon Baller – use the smaller 1″ size baller
Large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil
Bake 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes
Drain on paper towels
Gluten-Free Turkey Mini Meatballs
Note: When using dried herbs in place of fresh, use the standard ratio of 1 tsp dried herbs for every 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs.
We're keeping things simple for Thanksgiving this year so we will forgo the traditional apple pie & pumpkin cheesecake for our (OH so simple & delicious) gluten-free apple crisp. Not having to make pie crust saves a lot of time in the kitchen with better than pie results! We use Gala apples for this recipe as they are juicy, sweet, and hold their shape well. It’s a big hit with our family by itself or topped with a little vanilla ice cream or a Klondike Heath Bar divided (pictured below).
cast-iron skillet (10-inch preferred but 12-inch will do)
5-7 large Gala apples (approximately 1200 g), peeled, cored & cut into wedges
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 Tablespoons salted butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup gluten-free flour (we use Bob’s Redmill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour)
2½ Tablespoons brown sugar
2½ Tablespoons white sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) salted melted butter
3/4 oats (regular old fashioned or Quaker 1 minute)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
In a large bowl place the apples, lemon juice, white sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Toss until all apples are well coated and combined. Set aside.
Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a heated cast-iron skillet.
Add the 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Stir to combine well.
Add the apple mixture to the skillet, mix well. On medium-low heat keep a simmer while preparing the topping.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, 2½ Tablespoons of brown sugar, 2½ Tablespoons of white sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Once combined, add the 8 Tablespoons of melted butter. Stir well to combine.
Add the oats and chopped pecans.
Stir the apples in the skillet, liquid should start to thicken. Add 1/4 cup of water over the apples and combine. It will create a syrupy mixture when done.
Remove skillet from the heat and sprinkle the crispy topping mixture evenly over the top.
Place the entire cast-iron skillet in a pre-heated 375º F over and bake for 35 minutes until the crispy top is golden brown edges are bubbling.
Best served while hot but delicious cold or at room temperature too. Top with vanilla ice cream for an added treat!
Note: To cut your total prep time in half, peel, core & slice your apples ahead of time. Sprinkle some lemon juice on them to prevent apples from turning brown then cover & refrigerate until you start the mixing portion of ingredients.
There was a time when our favorite go-to soup came in a can, Progresso Italian Wedding Soup. Something about the little meatballs and tiny pasta is so comforting on cold, dreary days. In our quest for healthier eating, we offer you this recipe which is so easy & quick to make using all fresh ingredients. You'll never buy canned anymore! It can be made on the stove, crockpot, or even an Instapot and can be frozen so you might want to double the batch! Meatballs can be made ahead of time using leftover meatball mixture and made into small 1/2 to 3/4 inch rounds. Store-bought meatballs can also be used, just cut to mini size. The featured picture in this post was using leftover frozen, cooked meatballs that were cut into quarters. Last week we were making meatballs so we kept some of the mixture and made mini's that we froze in the picture below. With just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, you can whip up this delicious, hearty soup for any weeknight meal served with crusty bread.
1 Tablespoon EVOO
1 large onion, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
2 large carrots, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced (approximately 2 Tablespoons. Add more or less to suit your taste.
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh & chopped)
salt & pepper to taste
8 ounces Ditalini (small round hollow tubes) or Acini de Pepe Pasta (tiny round pasta) or Orzo (cook separately)
8-10 ounces fresh baby spinach, torn into pieces (escarole or endive can be substituted)
8 cups chicken broth (We used a combination of chicken, beef, and vegetable broth but anyone broth is fine.)
1/2 to 3/4-inch pre-made meatballs (use leftover meatball mixture or meatloaf mixture to make ahead or you can substitute with store-bought meatballs i.e. Costco)
Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli) or Parmigiano Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the EVOO.
Once the pot is hot enough, add the onion, celery, & carrots & saute for about 5-7 minutes to soften.
Add garlic, oregano, and basil. Saute another minute longer.
Add torn spinach. Season with salt & pepper.
Add the broth/broths.
Bring to a boil.
Add the cooked or raw meatballs.
Lower heat and simmer an additional 8-10 minutes, until meatballs are heated thoroughly if pre-cooked or a little longer if cooking raw in the soup.
Ladle hot soup into your favorite bowl, add the pasta and top with grated cheese.
Add torn spinach to celery, onion and carrots
Add broth to pot and bring to a boil. Add meatballs and simmer 8-10 minutes.
Frozen mini meatballs for future use.
Enjoy with a piece of crusty bread.
Note: To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth, GF pasta, and & GF bread or breadcrumbs in your meatball mixture.
Meatballs can be fried in oil or baked in the oven, whichever you prefer.
It's our favorite time of year again as we start our holiday baking together. It doesn't matter if the holiday is Thanksgiving or Christmas, we have been baking together for over 40 years, a holiday tradition we love. Christmas music is playing in the background while we reminisce about our childhood & Christmas's of long ago. One of our family's favorite holiday cookie is the Italian Rainbow cookie that you see in every Italian bakery all year round. We also make this recipe Gluten-Free by substituting Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour for the all-purpose flour! They are the first to disappear from the holiday cookie tray...you, your family & friends will love them. ❤️❤️
1 jar apricot preserves (12-16 ounces)
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 12-ounce can of Solo almond paste
1 tsp almond extract
2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (for a gluten-free substitute use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
1 cup sugar
Food Coloring, red & green (if you want a more yellow layer, add yellow coloring to the 3rd bowl)
3 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, separate yolks and whites
chocolate sprinkles (optional)
3 9×12 baking pans
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
Grease all three baking pans heavily with butter then line each pan with parchment paper or wax paper, leaving enough overhang to lift and slide out of the pan after baking. Grease heavily again.
In a large mixing bowl, break up the almond paste, butter, sugar, almond extract, sugar, and egg yolks. Beat until light & fluffy, about 10 minutes on a medium speed stand mixer.
Beat in flour & salt.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. With a wooden spoon, fold in egg whites to the almond mixture until you no longer see the whites.
Divide the mixture equally into 3 bowls. (To be accurate, weigh each mixture on a digital scale)
Add food coloring to each bowl, leaving the 3rd bowl plain, or add yellow coloring if you prefer a more yellow layer. Mix color in well.
Spoon each color into separate prepared baking sheets. Spread evenly then bake at 350º pre-heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not let the edges brown.
Layers are done when you can gently touch the center and it bounces back. Remove from oven and place on cake racks for 5 minutes to cool.
Holding the overhang ends of the parchment paper, carefully lift and slide the layer, supporting underneath, onto a flat surface (countertop).
Use a large cookie sheet and invert the first layer (red) onto the cookie sheet. Carefully remove parchment paper.
Heat the preserves until it bubbles. Using a fork mix well to loosen some of the chunks. Remove from heat and using a spatula, spread enough preserve to evenly cover the entire layer. Don’t worry if it drips down the sides.
Repeat for the middle layer (plain or yellow).
After inverting the last layer (green, do not spread with preserves). Cover with parchment paper and place a baking sheet on top. Weigh it down with some heavy books or cans for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator when ready to add the chocolate layer.
Trim all edges to be uniformed with a very sharp knife. (Don’t throw out the trimming…they are great to taste).
Melt chocolate in the microwave* a little at a time until melted through.
Spread melted chocolate over the top layer and down the sides. Add optional chocolate sprinkles while chocolate is still warm. Refrigerate uncovered for at least one hour then cut into 6 or 7 even rows & bite-size pieces of your choice when ready to serve.
Line an airtight container with parchment or wax paper and store layers in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Should last about 10 days if kept in the refrigerator.
Mix food coloring in separate bowls
Spread batter evenly in pan
Remove before edges brown
Add apricot preserves between first 2 layers
Cut into 6 rows
Spread melted chocolate on top and sides
Note: It has been our experience that Nestlé’s chocolate chips will seize if melted using the double boiler method. Nestlé’s appears to have changed their formula as we used to use the double boiler method up until last year. We recommend using the microwave for best results.