Saturday, March 28, 2015

Antipasto~~~ Appetizer or Meal from my kitchen to yours!

Any day or time whether it's a large or small group of family and friends a good, healthy and colorful antipasto is enjoyable.

  You don't have to go fancy like this one was that I put together  for Christmas all you have to do is layer several deli meats, cheeses, olives and anything else you think might add food enjoyment for your guests.

  Easy and always a hit at my house an Antipasto with several good items for nibbling on or you can make it the main meal by adding tomatoes, lettuce on a side platter as well as  bread and rolls for those who want to make it their meal.  Enjoy!

Here is a last minute suggestion for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Dinner, An Antipasto.  They are a wonderful addition to your meal.  Served with some crusty bread dipped in seasoned olive oil makes this dish almost a meal. Actually it could easily be your meal.  On occasion we order one when we dine out at our favorite Italian restaurant. 

  Large or small consider one instead of a salad for your Holiday dinner.  Everyone loves to pick a little of their favorites from this platter!  Mine is usually a bit different every year. You should start with your favorite greens (lettuce) on the bottom. Deli items should be sliced thin. Cubed cheese and a variety of olives and roasted peppers a must. There really isn't a particular style to an antipasto except placing some greens on the bottom of the platter.  Make it your way! 

Note:  Drizzling a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar to it adds to the flavor.  You do have the option of serving the dressing on the side.

I make some seasoned dipping oil for the bread too!

  Happy Holidays! Peace, Love, Hope and Blessings to all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Red Beet Salad with honey balsamic dressing

 I love fresh beets but I don't have the time today so I'm taking the short cut and using canned beets. This dressing is amazing and I hope you decide to try it.  Whether using fresh or canned beets I think this dressing and recipe is a keeper. Enjoy!


½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup a reduction of balsamic vinegar (prepared earlier)
2 tablespoons honey
Salt to taste
A dash of freshly grated black pepper


Whisk the 1/3 cup of the balsamic vinegar reduction and honey in a medium bowl.  Gradually whisk in the extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and black pepper.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over each serving.  Enjoy!!

Note: Toss with arugula, sliced onions, pecans and raisins in a large bowl.  Place the beets around the arugula leaves
Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the salad.

Directions on how to make a balsamic vinegar reduction:

Empty a bottle of balsamic vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium and keep it until it has the consistency of honey or thin maple syrup or until the syrup is reduced by half.  Keep an eye on your vinegar while simmering (the vinegar can easily burn towards the end of the simmering process).  Set aside to cool down.  Use the desired amount to make the dressing and store the rest in a small glass bottle in the fridge for a later use.

If using fresh beets:

Place the beets in a large saucepan and pour in enough water to cover the beets.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover up and let it simmer for 11/2 hours. Drain and set aside to cool down.
Peel the beets and slice into medium slices.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I'm talking Turkey!!!! Make it stress free

 I know everyone doesn't make Ham for Easter and some make a Turkey or when I was growing up Dad insisted on pasta so Mom did both, a turkey for us kids and a huge bowl of pasta and guess what we ate both!

So I'm re-posting this turkey blog post for those who like turkey anytime of the year including Easter.

Helpful Thanksgiving Tips ( Thanksgiving is 1 week away.)

Reposting these to make Thanksgiving stress free!!!!

Link to Cranberry Orange apple relish ;

It doesn't seem to matter if I cook or go to my daughter's for Thanksgiving there are some things from year to year that never change. Today I am sharing some of my thoughts on making your turkey day a pleasant one.

First decide what time is dinner.  Early or mid to late day..1, 3 or 5 decide..
Who's coming?  How many?  You have to plan on what size bird to buy.. Plan on 1 1/2 lb. of turkey per person allowing for leftovers or a hungry group.


Who's bringing a side or dessert? (If you don't get any offers, make sides and dessert simple.You want to enjoy the day!!!!!

Stuffing the Bird:  We use our traditional stuffing and if we stuff the bird we stuff it right before we put it in the oven, and don't pack it too tightly.  We don't want any problems!  Also, I might suggest to make at least one baking pan of extra stuffing..You must allow for leftovers or those who enjoy a lot of stuffing.  Make sure you coat pan with lots of butter or margarine..It really brings out the flavor.

Now on to cleaning and cooking the turkey..Most turkey's have instructions on the back of the package but  I'll give you some of my suggestions..

First, if the turkey is frozen allow it to thaw in the refrigerator..Allow 1 day for every 4 or 5 lbs.  A 15 lb. turkey I would put in refrigerator on Monday to be sure it is thawed by Thursday.

Clean the turkey well making sure not to forget the neck and insides.  I have, in my earlier experiences, left the neck in..Check the turkey and wash it in cold water well. Pat it well and I put it in my roaster to drain(placing it on paper towels).   I use a large roasting pan that is not non stick..You get great drippings!!!! Cover and refrigerate.

  Baking it at 325 degrees would probably take that 15 lb. turkey approximately 3 to 4 hours to roast depending on your oven.

Now on to the GRAVY.  Remove drippings from pan, scrapping the bottom.  Add about 4 cups cold water and follow (I use Wondra flour instructions) to make a smooth gravy. Salt!! add about 1 tsp. or more...nothing is worse than bland tasting gravy.. Taste test to make sure.  Using a wire whisk so as to avoid lumps keep stirring gravy mix until smooth.

Last but not least, Test turkey for doneness.  I use a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey, taking care not to touch the bone.  The temperature reading should be 165 degrees.  Let turkey sit for 15 minutes or so(vent with aluminum foil), after removing from oven.  Then carve to your liking...

Hope these tips will be a help to you this holiday!  Why not print it  or bookmark this post...

Happy Baking and Cooking! 

Hoping you have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. 

As always,

p.s.  Some of these tips on roasting the turkey were taken from a Cook. Smart magazine..