Valerie’s Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pignolis

 

Valerie's Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pignolis

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy

Today my dear friend Valerie Kachura served this delicious cauliflower side dish while hosting our weekly social bridge group.  Now, I'm not the biggest fan of cauliflower but I know it has many health benefits so when I saw our good friend Roz's face light up with delight, I knew I had to try it! It was delicious! I think this will be my new favorite side-dish.  Thank you, Valerie, for feeding our group so well, and graciously letting me share your recipe.  😋❤

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, rinsed and separated by large florets
  • 1/4 cup pignolis
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground curry powder
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 tsp. pink  Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp.  black pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large bowl combine, cauliflower, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and curry powder. Mix well.
  3. Place in a casserole dish and bake 20 minutes until almost done.
  4. Sprinkle pignolis and grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top of cauliflower.
  5. Place casserole back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes until starting to turn golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and serve.

Notes: This is a naturally gluten-free side dish

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Stuffed Mushrooms Alla Grandma Florence, Gluten-Free

 

Stuffed Mushrooms Alla Grandma Florence, Gluten-Free

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy

One of the dishes we missed most at the holidays was Grandma Florence's stuffed mushrooms. Wow were they delizioso! 😋 We are excited we nailed it as they taste just like Grandma's did. We're happy to share it with you and hope you enjoy them as much as our family does. These can be served as appetizers, a side dish to a roast, chicken, veal or pasta or a main dish if using large Portobello mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 28 Baby Bella Mushrooms (1 – 1/2 inches wide)
  • 10 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup  Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup  4C Gluten-Free Seasoned Bread Crumbs (may substitute with regular Italian seasoned bread crumbs if gluten not an issue)
  • 6 Tablespoons salted butter, melted to combine with bread crumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter to sauté mushroom stems

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Wash & clean all the mushrooms, gently removing the stems. Set stems aside to chop.
  3. Dry mushrooms well with paper towels.
  4. Line a baking pan with tin foil and drizzle EVOO just to coat the pan.
  5. Place the mushrooms on the baking pan.
  6. In a small skillet on high heat, sauté the mushroom stems with 1 Tablespoon of butter, about 5 minutes until butter is absorbed.
  7. In a medium size bowl, add the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, oregano, parsley, melted butter, and minced garlic.  Mix well then add the sautéed mushroom stems. Combine well.
  8. Using a small spoon, spoon mixture into each mushroom cap (about 2 spoonfuls for each)
  9. Place into preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or just until golden.
  10. Remove from oven. Let sit about 5 minutes then serve.

 

Notes: We also made a batch of large Portobello mushrooms that were a meal in themselves with a side salad!

 

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Twiins Style Rustic Cornbread – Gluten-Free

 

Twiins Style Rustic Cornbread - Gluten-Free

  • Servings: 24 squares
  • Difficulty: Easy

We have been experimenting with cornbread for a while now. Not only did it have to taste good but we wanted to make it gluten-free as always for Teresa's husband. We don't want to leave him out of our recipes because anyone that knows Jack, knows he loves to eat!!! Traditionally northern style cornbread is sweet while southern style is savory with no sweetness. To us the perfect combination would be both slightly sweet & savory. After may experiments we finally agreed we really liked this one; you won't know it's gluten-free. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sugar (use 1/2 cup for sweeter cornbread)
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk, shake well before measuring
  • 1  20-ounce package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
  • 1  11-ounce can sweet corn, drained
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • additional melted butter to baste top of batter in the pan before baking

    Directions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 375ºF. Generously grease with butter a 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and 1/2 cup melted butter together.
    3. Add eggs and whisk to combine.
    4. Whisk in the shaken buttermilk. Add the drained corn and stir.
    5. Add the cornbread mix and stir until few lumps remain. Don’t over mix.
    6. Spoon into prepared pan and spread evenly. Take additional melted butter and generously baste the top before placing in the oven. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until a toothpick in center comes out clean.
    7. When done, remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack for 15 minutes.
    8. Remove from pan and continue to cool on a rack.
    9. When cooled, cut into squares and serve with Chili – Award Winning Twiins Style, Gluten-Free or enjoy with your favorite beverage.

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    Cranberry, Orange & Apple Relish

     

    Cranberry, Orange & Apple Relish

    • Servings: 8-10
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Many years ago while hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner I was looking for something different to serve in place of the traditional cranberry sauce. I don't remember if I found this recipe in the food section of a local newspaper or a magazine but it quickly became a family favorite. I took oranges and cut them in half, scooped out the insides, cut a zig zag pattern around the rims then put the relish recipe below into each orange cup. I then placed them all around the turkey on a large platter. It makes a beautiful presentation for special dinners.

    Ingredients

    • 2 apples, chopped (put in lemon juice to preserve color then drain)
    • 2 navel oranges, cut into small pieces
    • 2 can Ocean Spray Whole Cranberry Sauce
    • 3 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 tsp of Cinnamon (more or less to taste)
    • dash of nutmeg
    • drop of vanilla extract (may be omitted)

    Directions

    • Combine all ingredients into a medium size bowl, mix well. & cover.
    • Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.


    Note: Cranberry, Orange & Apple relish makes a great fruit dessert anytime of the year. Serve by itself or over a nice pound cake topped with whipped cream. Compliments poultry, & pork main dishes.

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    Marinated Asparagus & Cheese

     

    Marinated Asparagus

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Fresh asparagus marinated in olive oil & garlic are combined for some heavenly flavors on this light side dish. Top it with crumbled blue cheese (our husbands favorite, Boursin garlic & herb (Barbara's favorite) feta or Parmesan. Whatever cheese you choose, you will love these asparagus! 😋

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
    • 1/4 cup EVOO
    • 4 green onions, sliced thin
    • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1/2 cup crumbled cheese of your choice (we used blue cheese and Boursin garlic & herb)
    • ice water in a large bowl (have ready while asparagus are cooking)

    Directions

    1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the asparagus & cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus & put them into a bowl of ice water. Drain well & pat dry with paper towel.
    2. In a large plastic resealable bag, combine oil, vinegar, garlic, green onions, salt & pepper. Add asparagus; seal the bag and turn several times to coat well. Refrigerate a minimum of 1 hour.
    3. After an hour, remove from refrigerator and drain asparagus. (Discard remainder of marinade if not using for salad dressing or a rice dish)
    4. Place the asparagus on a serving platter and sprinkle with your favorite cheese.


    Note:  Left over marinade can be used to season rice or as a salad dressing. It’s really good and why waste all those great flavors!

     

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    Broccoli Patties

     

    Broccoli Patties

    • Servings: 9 patties
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Don't know what to do with those leftover veggies? Why not turn them into a delicious side or appetizer that is sure to please kids & adults! We often have leftover broccoli or zucchini as it's our husband's favorite vegetables. We were inspired to make these patties as a result of all the leftover breadcrumbs & egg while making breaded chicken cutlets. Our Mom taught us to not waste so she would mix these leftover ingredients together and form patties to fry with the chicken cutlets. As kids we loved them more than the chicken cutlets! 😋

    Ingredients

    • 12-ounces chopped broccoli florets, cooked
    • 1¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs (we used Progresso, not gluten-free)
    • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    • 3/4 shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/8 tsp salt (omit if salt sensitive)
    • dash of pepper to taste
    • Cooking Spray to coat baking sheet
    • 1  3½” lid (we used the lid from a 16-ounce Argo cornstarch container. Any size lid of your preference will work but the Argo lid was the perfect width & thickness of our patties)
    • plastic wrap

    Directions

    1. In a large bowl combine beaten eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, cheddar cheese, oregano, cooked chopped broccoli, onions, garlic, salt & pepper, mixing well. Add the breadcrumbs mix together with a fork then mix by hand as you would making meatballs or meatloaf. Must be a thick, pasty texture.
    2. Preheat oven to 400ºF and spray baking pan with cooking spray.
    3. Place the plastic wrap over the lid, overhanging 3-inches in all directions. Fill with mixture slightly mounded, press down with your fingers, flip the patties over onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining mixture.
    4. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until bottom is golden brown.
    5. Flip patties and continue baking another 7-10 minutes.
    6. Remove from oven  let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
    7. Can be dipped into your favorite dipping sauce i.e. ranch dressing, blue cheese, or tzatziki sauce.

    Note: This is a great way to make use of any leftover vegetables and makes a great grab-n-go snack.

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    Easy Empanada Flaky Dough

     

    If you stayed away from making your own empanadas because you were intimated to make your own dough, DON’T be afraid! After trial and error & almost giving in to prepackaged pie crust, we found a great recipe from a book titled Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America. Not only is this dough flaky and delicious, but it also compliments any filling. The next time you’re having a small gathering of friends or family, give these a try. They make a great appetizer, side or snack for any occasion. 😋

    An added bonus of this recipe is that it can be made gluten-free and tastes just as terrific!  

    Servings: about 12 discs using a 4½” round cookie cutter

    Ingredients

    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • pinch of fine sea salt
    • 8 ounces regular cream cheese, cubed & chilled
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed & chilled
    • 1 egg beaten with a Tablespoon of water for egg wash
    • food processor
    • parchment lined baking sheet
    • 1 ½ tsp of your favorite herb (i.e. thyme, oregano, cumin, etc. More or less to taste.)

    Instructions

    1. Combine flour, sugar, herbs & salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse for 20 seconds, or until combined.
    2. Add the cream cheese and butter and pulse until the mixture comes together and forms a ball, about 2 minutes. Remove the pastry from the food processor.
    3. Divide the pastry ball in half.
    4. Shape each half into a flat disc on plastic wrap, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. ( Can be refrigerated up to 48 hours before rolling out).
    5. Remove from refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes before rolling out. 
    6.  Using a well-floured pastry mat or surface and a well floured rolling pin, roll out the pastry to about 1/8″ thickness. Keep your surface & rolling pin lightly floured to prevent sticking & tears in the dough.
    7. Using a 4″ to 4½” round cookie cutter or bowl, cut  12 rounds, rolling & cutting the scraps as needed. ( Keep scraps covered while working).
    8. Place 2 level Tablespoons of filling on the bottom half of each pastry round. 
    9. Brush the edges with egg wash & fold over to form a half moon.
    10. Seal the edges of the empanada with your finger using your thumb or forefinger to look somewhat scalloped.
    11. Transfer the empanadas to the baking sheet & chill uncovered 20 minutes.
    12. Preheat oven to 400º F, brush the empanada tops with egg wash.
    13. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden, halfway through baking rotate the baking sheet to ensure even baking.
    14. Remove from oven when done & let rest 3-5 minutes before serving. Best served warm.

     

     

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    Mom’s Spinach & Broccoli Pies

     

     

    Our beautiful Mom (Eleanor DeBlasi Caronia) loved being surrounded by family. She would cook Sunday dinners that could feed an army and loved having our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins over to join us. We know how proud she would be to see us share our family recipes and finally have a collection for all our family and friends to share.❤

    Spinach & broccoli pies are a family favorite; which Mom always made for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners when the entire family would gather at our parents home. Many friends asked for this recipe over the years and we’re so happy to share it with you. Enjoy!

    Servings: 8-10

    Ingredients

    • 2  12-ounce bags of either frozen chopped spinach or baby broccoli† florets (cooked and drained very well, additional chopping until fine texture.)
    • 7 level Tablespoons finely chopped onion
    • 3 Tablespoons French’s® yellow mustard 
    • 12-ounces shredded Swiss cheese
    • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese
    • 1 package Grands Pillsbury® Crescent Roll
    • 9″ pie pan

    Instructions

    • Cook the frozen spinach or broccoli florets and drain well. When cooled chop fine and use paper towels to squeeze any excess liquid through a strainer.
    • In a large bowl mix onion, spinach or broccoli, shredded Swiss cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, and mustard. 
    • Separate crescent rolls.
    • Place crescent rolls into pie pan, wide side down.  Points hanging over the pie pan. 
    • Lay the mixture in a circle like a wreath leaving the center of pan open.
    • Fold pointed end of crescent rolls over mixture towards the center, tucking point in and leaving a small opening.
    • Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown (check after 20 minutes).

    †  We use 2 – 12oz. bags of frozen baby broccoli florets that we finely chop after cooking & squeezing out all excess liquid. If you use frozen chopped broccoli in a bag, you get too too many stems; which will change the texture.

     

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    Empanadas for Valentine’s Day ❤️

     

    Empanadas are little hand-held pies that can be served as an appetizer, lunch or dessert depending on the size and filling. Traditional empanadas are shaped like half moons.  We were inspired by the upcoming celebration of Valentine’s Day so we shaped ours into hearts that you can enjoy with your special someone. ❤

    These empanadas smelled so good while they were baking, for a moment we thought we were walking down a street in Argentina!  We could hardly wait to eat them. They are filled with a delicious combination of meat, vegetable & cheese.

    Servings: 6-8 (depending on the size of your cookie cutter. We used a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped)

    Ingredients

    • 1 Easy Empanada Flaky Dough Recipe
    • 3 Tablespoons EVOO
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or frozen cubes)
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 3 Tablespoons salted butter
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese (cheddar or any cheese of your choice)
    • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan Reggiano
    • 2 lbs bulk hot country sausage, no casings  (we use Neese’s)
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1½ tsp ground cumin
    • salt & pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. Prepare the Easy Empanada Flaky Dough 
    2. Preheat oven to 400° F.
    3. Sauté onion & garlic in EVOO on medium-low until soft & lightly golden, 5-10 minutes. Add oregano & cumin. Stir another minute.
    4. Turn heat up to medium and add spinach, cook, stirring until spinach is wilted & soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat & let cool. Season with salt & pepper.
    5. Put bulk sausage in skillet, Cook and brown while breaking up into smaller pieces until done.
    6. Remove from heat and spoon sausage meat onto paper towels removing as much fat/grease as possible. Do not clean skillet at this time, keep sausage fat in skillet.
    7. Add flour to the skillet and whisk the milk gradually until mixture is smooth.
    8. Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
    9. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs. Return to heat and cook, stirring until mixture comes to another boil and thickens, the sauce will be a paste consistency.
    10. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
    11. Chop the cooled spinach, onion & garlic mixture. Add into the cheese sauce along with well-drained sausage.
    12. Roll out the empanada dough to 1/8″ thickness. Cut 2 hearts with a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped cookie cutter. Brush the edges of 1 heart lightly with egg wash.
    13. Place 2 Tablespoons of filling in center of the heart, cover with another heart-shaped cutout. Press edges together firmly all around with thumb or forefinger forming a sort of scalloped edge. Brush with egg wash then bake about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm.

     

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    Grandma Tessie’s Cauliflower Frittata

     

    grandma tessie

    Whenever we visited our beautiful, tiny,  Grandma Tessie, we always looked forward to her cauliflower frittata (“cauliflower pie” as she called it). Although she never learned how to cook before getting married, it wasn’t long before she became a wonderful cook. Unfortunately, she never wrote down any of her recipes which have led us to weeks of trial & error to recreate. We’re happy to say we finally got it!❤️

    Ingredients

      • 1/4 cup chicken broth or stock
      • 1 head cauliflower, florets only (16-ounce frozen cauliflower florets may be substituted)
      • 1 clove garlic, minced
      • 1 large onion, chopped
      • 8 eggs, beaten
      • 1 Tablespoon light or heavy cream
      • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
      • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoned bread crumbs (for Gluten-free either omit breadcrumbs or replace with 4C® Gluten-free seasoned breadcrumbs)
      • 4 Tablespoons EVOO
      • Salt & Pepper to taste
      • Frittata Pan ( a large skillet with a cover can be used in place of a frittata pan)

    Instructions

    1. Cook fresh cauliflower florets in a large pot with chicken broth and salted water. If using frozen cauliflower florets add chicken broth to cauliflower and microwave on high 8 minutes…either method, cook until soft but firm, not mushy.
    2. Drain the cauliflower and set aside in a medium bowl to cool. Once cooled, chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces
    3. Spray skillet with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
    4. On med-high heat add 4 Tablespoons EVOO and heat until hot.
    5. Add onions and cook on med-high until golden brown & caramelized.
    6. Add garlic, cook an additional 1 minute. Add chopped cauliflower, sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes, meanwhile…prepare egg mixture
    7. After beating the eggs add cream, Pecorino Romano cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper, mix well.
    8. Lower heat to med-low and pour the egg mixture into the skillet and stir to mix then cover. Cook until eggs set about 5-6 minutes. Watch closely that it doesn’t burn.
    9. Using a large plate, cover the top of the skillet so you can flip the pan over and back into the skillet for an additional 5 minutes. Make sure you use oven mitts to protect your hands from getting burned while flipping.
    10. If using a frittata pan, simply flip the pan over to other pan side and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
    11. Insert a toothpick into the center to test for doneness. If still clinging to toothpick cook additional time until toothpick comes out clean.
    12. Slide frittata onto a serving dish and garnish with parsley sprigs and grated cheese (optional).

    Frittatas can be served warm or room temperature and make a great brunch item or side dish for any meal.

    For a variation try using your favorite vegetables in place of cauliflower.

     

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