Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Simply Squash

I realized that I haven’t given you very many vegetable dishes. Today, I am going to begin to correct that oversight. Squash is plentiful this time of year and I think it is best served with as little interference as possible.

Simply Squash

Servings: 4-6
Hardware: Measuring spoons, cutting board and knives, a skillet with a lid, a wooden spoon
Time: Prep: 5 minutes, Cook: 30 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound zucchini
  • ½ pound summer squash
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  1. Wash and slice the squash. Cut the squash into medallions or coins, discarding the ends. Try to make the cuts the same size.
  2. Heat the oil on medium high.
  3. Add everything but the oregano. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until the squash begins to get soft. Stir often.
  4. Reduce the heat and cover placing the lid at a tilt to allow steam to escape. Cook until the squash are completely tender and beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Stir occasionally. This should take about 30 minutes.
  5. About 10 minutes before the squash is finished, chop the oregano and stir into the dish.
Serve right away.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Red Sauce with Meat

Italian-Americans call this gravy. Once upon a time on Sundays, an Italian-American mama would start working on this dish early, right after Mass. The house would fill with the aroma of pungent garlic and sweet basil. In the evening, her whole family would gather at the table and talk and shout and laugh. And eat. This ritual bound them to one another like a sacrament.

Next Sunday, gather your family together and spend sometime reconnecting. And mangia!

Servings: 6-8
Hardware: A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a large Dutch oven (or other big pot with a heavy bottom), a wooden spoon, a can opener
Time: Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 2 hours (or more)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onions diced (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 medium green pepper (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled, diced
  • 8 oz portabello mushrooms
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 3 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – do not drain
  • 1-14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1-15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  1. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven on medium.
  2. Remove the sausage from the casing.  Cook and crumble the sausage and beef, until they are no longer pink. (About 7 minutes)
  3. While the meat is cooking prep the veggies. Dice the onion, pepper, and garlic. Wash and slice the mushrooms.
  4. Drain most of the fat from the pot. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms to the Dutch oven.
  5. Stir and allow the onions, etc to sweat for 4-5 minutes. The onions should be bubbling, but not browning. Stir occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent.
  6. Add the Italian seasoning. Add the beef stock, wine, and tomatoes. Allow the sauce to come to a boil and then turn down to low.
  7. Simmer the sauce, uncovered for about 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
  8. 15 minutes before serving stir in the basil and oregano.
Serve over spaghetti with toast. Offer your family shredded Parmesan and a nice glass of Chianti.
This freezes nicely.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Meatballs don't need a great deal of discussion.  Yum!

Servings: 25 meatballs

Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, a mixing bowl, un-powdered latex gloves, a large heavy pan, a fork
Time: Prep: 10 minutes Cooking: 1 hour

  • 1 ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Braising liquid (stock, sauce, wine, soup, whatever strikes your fancy)
  1. Put on latex gloves. Combine all the ingredients (except the oil and the braising liquid) in the bowl and mix with your hands. Make golf ball sized meat balls.
  2. Heat the oil on medium. Brown the meatballs on all sides for about 8 minutes. Turn them ¼ time every 2 minutes.
  3. Drain the fat from the pan.
  4. Add enough liquid to the pan to cover the meatballs about 2/3 of the way. Simmer them for about 45 minutes, turning them over at the 20 minute mark. Check the largest meatball to see if it is done.
You can also drop the meatballs in sauce or soup and cook them that way.   You can serve these as an appetizer, on a sandwich, cut them in half and put them on a pizza, drop them in red sauce, or serve them over noodles with a white sauce.

You can cook the meatballs, allow them to cool, and place them in a single layer on a plate. Freeze them for about an hour and then freeze them for long term storage with a food saver system.  Whenever I have free time, I make two batches of them and freeze them for later.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Apple Crisp

This week America celebrates her Independence. Apple Pie has always been seen as the quintessential American dessert. But pie crusts are hard to make and in another great American tradition, I’m taking the easy way out and making Apple Crisp instead. Believe it or not, because I don’t add sugar to the apples and only to the crisp this has less than 300 calories per serving. Also very American to eat Apple Crisp and claim to be dieting. God bless the USA.

Servings: 6
Time: Prep: 15 minutes, cooking: 45 minutes
Hardware: Measuring cups and spoons, peeler, knives, cutting board, wooden spoon, 2 small bowls, large mixing bowl, and 8”x 8” glass dish

  • 6 medium tart apples~ about 2 pounds (I like Granny Smiths)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon + ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 6 tablespoons of sweet butter, melted
  • Cooking spray
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  3. Peel, core and chop the apples. Toss them in the lemon juice.
  4. In the mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, pumpkin spice, flour, and oats.
  5. Pour the butter over the oats mixture and blend until the mixture is crumbly.
  6. Spray the glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the apples in the baking dish then sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon.
  7. Sprinkle the oat crumbs over the apples
  8. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until apples are soft and the crisp is crispy.
 Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra decedent dessert.