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.
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. 😋❤
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
Preheat oven to 350°F
In a large bowl combine, cauliflower, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and curry powder. Mix well.
Place in a casserole dish and bake 20 minutes until almost done.
Sprinkle pignolis and grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top of cauliflower.
Place casserole back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes until starting to turn golden brown.
If you stayed away from making your own empanadas because you were intimated to make your own dough, DON’Tbe 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
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
parchment lined baking sheet
1 ½ tsp of your favorite herb (i.e. thyme, oregano, cumin, etc. More or less to taste.)
Combine flour, sugar, herbs & salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse for 20 seconds, or until combined.
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.
Divide the pastry ball in half.
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).
Remove from refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes before rolling out.
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.
Using a 4″ to 4½” round cookie cutter or bowl, cut 12 rounds, rolling & cutting the scraps as needed. ( Keep scraps covered while working).
Place 2 level Tablespoons of filling on the bottom half of each pastry round.
Brush the edges with egg wash & fold over to form a half moon.
Seal the edges of the empanada with your finger using your thumb or forefinger to look somewhat scalloped.
Transfer the empanadas to the baking sheet & chill uncovered 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400º F, brush the empanada tops with egg wash.
Bake 12-15 minutes until golden, halfway through baking rotate the baking sheet to ensure even baking.
Remove from oven when done & let rest 3-5 minutes before serving. Best served warm.
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)
Sauté onion & garlic in EVOO on medium-low until soft & lightly golden, 5-10 minutes. Add oregano & cumin. Stir another minute.
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.
Put bulk sausage in skillet, Cook and brown while breaking up into smaller pieces until done.
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.
Add flour to the skillet and whisk the milk gradually until mixture is smooth.
Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
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.
Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Chop the cooled spinach, onion & garlic mixture. Add into the cheese sauce along with well-drained sausage.
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.
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.
If you love ravioli or lasagna and want to cut down on carbs this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for! Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s so easy to make. Zucchini makes a great substitute for the traditional lasagna noodle or ravioli while delivering that classic Italian flavor. It can be layered like lasagna or folded into a ravioli style. Trust us…you will not be disappointed.
2 cups ricotta, whole milk
4 medium zucchini ( if making lasagna, add more zucchini for more than 2 layers)
When Barbara was raising her family this was one of their favorite pasta dishes. Her youngest son always requests this delicious meal every time he visits from California and even asks her to cook this dish while visiting him. It’s a quick and easy meal.
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into 1″ pieces
16-ounce bag frozen broccoli florets
1/4 cup chicken broth to cook broccoli
1/2 cup chicken broth,
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons Oregano, dried
6 Tablespoons butter, divided into thirds
2 Tablespoons EVOO + additional as needed
2 garlic cloves, minced or frozen cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 box Pasta ( we used Farfalle, use any pasta of your choice)
reserve 1/2 cup cooked pasta water
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated for topping
In a large pot bring salted water to a boil to cook pasta.
When water boils lower heat just to keep water hot until ready to add the pasta.
Cook broccoli in chicken broth in a covered microwave-safe dish 6-7 minutes in a microwave. (make sure covering is vented).
In a large skillet or flat-bottomed wok add 1/3 the butter & EVOO until heated. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and softened, Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
Remove onion mixture and set aside.
Add additional 1/3 butter and EVOO to skillet. On med-high heat add chicken pieces & lightly brown quickly on both sides, being careful not to overcook.
Bring pasta water back to a boil and cook according to package directions.
Reduce skillet heat and add onion mixture back to the skillet, sprinkle the dried oregano onto the chicken and onions, continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
Add the cooked broccoli and chicken broth to skillet and stir well.
Add salt and pepper to taste, simmer another 3 minutes add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter to melt into the mixture.
Add cooked pasta to chicken mixture and toss well. If needed add reserved pasta water a little at a time until the desired consistency.
Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.
Note: Sauté mushrooms in butter for a variation as shown in the last photo below.
Heavenly is the only way to describe this fabulous, hearty corn & crab chowder. My good friend, Nancy Baker, cooked this today for our bridge club gathering. Everyone loved it and Nancy was kind enough to share her recipe with me for our blog. Thank you, Nancy! ❤
1 Tablespoon EVOO
2 Tablespoons butter
2 potatoes, peeled & diced (red potatoes hold their shape best for this)
2 cups shrimp/lobster seafood broth (homemade) or chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted)
1-quart whole milk (2% or unsweetened almond milk can be used in place of whole milk)
3 cups corn kernels, drained well or frozen can be used
8 oz. lump crab meat, uncooked
gluten-free crackers (oyster crackers if gluten-free not needed)
sliced scallions for garnish
hot pepper sauce (optional)
Chop vegetables and set aside.
Add EVOO & butter into a large deep pot over medium heat.
Add the vegetables & bay leaf.
Add salt, pepper & Old Bay® Seasoning.
Sauté vegetables 5 -7 minutes, then sprinkle in flour a little at a time. For a thicker chowder add more flour. Cook mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in cold broth until the mixture stops thickening.
Stir in milk a little at a time & combine. You may not use the whole quart and that’s ok.
Bring soup to a boil, add corn & crab meat. Lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove bay leaf.
Taste. Add additional salt, pepper or Old Bay if needed. Let sit covered about 30 minutes or longer to meld all the flavors.
Ladle into soup bowls and top with gluten-free crackers, hot sauce & sliced scallions.
If serving buffet style, keep chowder warm in a crockpot on the warmest setting.
Notes: To make homemade shrimp or lobster broth use any cooked or raw shells from shrimp or the cooked shells from lobsters. These can be frozen until you have a bag full to make a wonderful seafood broth. Fill a pot with the shells and just enough water to cover them for about an hour. Bring to a boil & immediately lower to a low simmer, uncovered. When done, discard the shells and let the broth cool off. Pour into 1 cup food storage bags and freeze until needed. Never throw away your shells again!
Our beautiful Grandma Florence DeBlasi. She cooked wonderful Neopolitan cuisine which was learned from her native home in Naples, Italy. She was a master seamstress and made many of our childhood clothing and costumes. How lucky we were! ❤
Would you like to make dinner in one roasting pan and have an easy cleanup?
This simple recipe comes from our maternal grandmother Florence. Our family has been enjoying this dinner for as long as we can remember. We regret not having a written record of her wonderful meals but we’re on a journey to recreate them to share with you. Some crusty Italian bread to soak up the juice is a great way to enjoy this meal.
4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick connected), skin on
2 sweet onions, sliced
2 cans Le Sueur® very young sweet peas in their liquid
4 russet potatoes, cut in quarters & quarter again
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder to sprinkle on skin of chicken
dash poultry seasoning
Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.
Place potatoes and onions in a large roasting pan (9x12x2 or larger) and drizzle a little EVOO then add garlic.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper, mix well.
Place in the oven for 15 minutes, stir 2 or 3 times. (This starts softening the potatoes & onions)
Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle the skin side with salt, pepper, garlic powder & poultry seasoning.
Place the pan back in the oven and cook for 20 minutes then turn the chicken skin side up.
Continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes until skin is brown
Add the 2 cans of peas with the liquid. Stir well and cook 10 – 15 minutes longer or until chicken skin is crisp and pulls away from the bone.
FYI…We use pink Himalayan salt for its natural mineral content which is not present in regular table salt. I found I’m not sensitive to the pink salt as I am with table salt.
After our mother passed away, Dad made his own version sometimes adding mushrooms and Italian sausage. Most of the family loves Mom’s original but Dad’s is tasty too! Feel free to add your own favorite veggies.