Saturday, July 18, 2015

Italian Doughnut....Zeppole

The Italian Doughnut.....In Brooklyn, we grew up eating zeppoles. They were a main attraction at all of the Italian Feasts and Church Carnivals. My grandma, Eva, would make them during the holidays and my mom carried on the tradition. I used to make them when the kids were younger but now with all the hype about healthy eating, the tradition fell by the wayside.

The first time I went to the Monmouth County Fair in NJ, I was introduced to Funnel Cakes.... same idea, different shape. Even though, the New Jersey version are delish, I still miss the old fashion chewy Zeppole. I saw this recipe on FB and it is exactly the same as the one I have in my old recipe box. If you're in the mood for a cheat, try it.

Zeppole

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • Confectioners sugar for garnish
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  1. Pour about 2-3 inches of oil into a 3-quart pot and heat over medium-high flame.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add in eggs, vanilla and ricotta and mix well. The consistency will be like a thick batter.
  4. When oil is hot (about 375 degrees), start frying in small batches of 3 or 4 at a time using about 1 tablespoon of batter for each zeppole. The batter will puff up when dropped in the hot oil.
  5. Fry about 3 minutes or until deeply and evenly browned on all sides, flipping over about half way through.
Transfer fried zeppole to paper towels to absorb excess oil and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.  You can also use regular granulated sugar, if desired.
Serve warm.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fresh Berry Slab Pie


Saw this on FB.  What a great recipe.  This is not only easy but it's a patriotic addition to the Memorial Day or Fourth of July dessert table.  

Fresh Berry Slab Pie
  • 1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • 2 packages (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 6 cups assorted fresh berries (sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • 1 cup strawberry glaze
  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Remove pie crusts from pouches. On lightly floured surface, unroll and stack crusts one on top of the other. Roll to 17x12-inch rectangle. Fit crust into ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan, pressing onto corners. Fold extra crust even with edges of pan. Prick with fork. Crimp edges. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  2. In medium bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar and milk until smooth. Spread into crust-lined pan. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set.
  3. Gently mix berries and strawberry glaze. Spoon berry mixture on top of cream cheese-topped pie crust. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Cake Mix Chocolate Cookies

This cookie put a big smile on Tom "TheBomb" Verni's face. Try it.   You won't be disappointed.

Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookies
  • 1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mix 
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). In large bowl, mix cake mix, oil, vanilla and eggs with spoon until dough forms.
  2. Refrigerate dough 15 to 30 minutes or as needed for easier handling. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store tightly covered.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

CREAMY TOMATO BASIL SOUP

This recipe was shared by my Team Lead, Cathy Silva.  She prepared a batch for "Souper" Friday at work. I tasted it and fell in love with its creamy tomato goodness.  Can't wait to make it.  Definitely going to pair it with grilled cheese sandwiches.

CREAMY TOMATO BASIL SOUP
  • 3 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Garlic, 3-4 cloves, chopped
  • 2 cans plum tomatoes
  • 2 cartons vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch fresh basil chopped, large stems removed
  • Oregano, Parsley, Salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • ½ cup fat free half-n-half

DIRECTIONS:
In large pot, heat EVOO.
Sauté onions till translucent; about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and carrots, stir and sauté about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes (I use the can lid to chop them up a bit)
Add vegetable stock and basil
Season to taste with parsley, oregano salt & pepper
Bring to near-boil, then simmer till carrots are tender (30-40 minutes)
Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Puree soup using immersion blender (or in batches using a blender)
Return to heat and add half-n-half. Stir until blended.

SERVE AND ENJOY!

Weight Watchers: 0 PP per serving

I like to put oyster crackers on mine in the bowl!




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Flu and cold season is around the corner. The best cold remedy is Vitamin C and Chicken Soup. I found this recipe online.

 It's made with a light and refreshing chicken lemon broth, orzo pasta, and vegetables. This comforting soup is healthy and perfect for a cold day and not to mention....delicious.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • Lemon slices (thinly sliced)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery until tender, about 5 minutes. the chicken broth, lemon juice, bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until orzo is tender. Add the chicken and heat for about 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Add lemon slices. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve warm.

*Note: You can use shredded rotisserie chicken in this soup.

Grandma's Cookies

A few months back, we had a pot luck get together at Joe and Tom's house. We had a great time and even got to meet some of my future son-in-law's family members for the first time. When it was time to set up the dessert table, I spotted these great little cookies. When I tasted them, it brought me back a few decades. You just knew that every little cookie was made from scratch with patience and love. I just had to have the recipe. Tom's Aunt Kathy was kind enough to get it for me and of course they are called "Grandma's Cookies". Just have to make these for Christmas.


Grandma's Cookies
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 heaping cup of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 stick of butter (softened)
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs to sugar mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients a little at a time.  Knead after all 4 cups of flour are mixed in.  Divide dough into 2 balls.  (You can make ahead and refrigerate)

Roll dough into small pencil thin pieces.  Shape into an "S".  Place on cookie sheet and bake until golden at the bottom. (375 degrees for 15 minutes)

Note:  You can roll in sesame seeds or sprinkle with candy nonpareils and then bake.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bloomin' Baked Apple

I know that I said it before.....but I just love this time of the year. Can't you smell the scent of cinnamon and apples in the air. Here's another wonderful recipe that one of my co-workers, Gabby tried and shared. The finished product is pictured below. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side is a must for this one.


Ingredients
  • 2 Honey-crisp apples (or other crisp apples)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 caramels
  • Optional toppings: vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and cinnamon

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To get the blooming apple look, you need to cut the apples. Slice off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the apples. Scoop out the core. I don’t have an apple corer so I used my metal 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon. Then, use a thin knife to make two, deep circular cuts around the center of the apple. Next, turn the apple over and make narrow cuts all the way around the apple. Flip it back over and you can see all of the cuts.

Place the apples in an oven safe dish and put two caramels into the center of each apple.
Heat butter and brown sugar in the microwave for 30 second, stir and continue heating for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir in flour and cinnamon. Divide the mixture over the top of the two sliced apples.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. (Check apples after 25 minutes and continue cooking until tender. Some apples can take 45 min to 1 hour to soften.)
Remove from the oven and use a large spoon to move the apples into bowls.
Top with a scoop of ice cream, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with cinnamon. The ice cream will cause the caramel in the center to harden so put the ice cream scoop on the side.