Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fruit and Cheese Antipasto! A great light meal!

Who doesn't love fresh fruit?  I'm thinking of summer and wanted to share a great appetizer or light meal using fresh fruit. I used my own creation of a healthy orange/lemon drizzle to top it which worked out wonderful..The red onion compliments the fruit.. Healthy for sure!   Enjoy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We sure did!  Served with crackers or a light crispy toasted bread!

Happy Baking and Cooking from my kitchen to yours,


Orange Lemon Drizzle
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 tablespoon yogurt (low calorie)vanilla would be fine
Whisk above, drizzle over antipasto  Serves 2  Note: Drizzle can be doubled or even tripled!

Fruit Antipasto
1/2 cup fresh pineapple cut in pieces
1/2  fresh sliced peaches or nectarines
1 orange (remove skin for easier eating)
1 pear left on
1 apple sliced
1/2 sliced banana (optional)
1/4 lb. Gouda cheese( sliced thin) Note:  any light cheese will work also
 red leaf lettuce for color or Bibb lettuce broken in  pieces
1/4 sliced red onion

Arrange fruit, cheese on lettuce lined plate or platter..Top with cheese slices and red onion..Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.. Drizzle above orange/lemon dressing recipe or a light Italian...

From my kitchen to yours,



Monday, February 20, 2017

Chicken Continental

 A Family Favorite that the grandchildren never tire of.  It's yummy and easy to make. 

Fyi:  This meal can easily be made on your stovetop.


Yes this is a recipe that my mother-in-law made  It was one of my Dad's favorite meals.  My mom tried to duplicate it but he always winked when he ate hers and when he got me aside would say "I like yours better". Wow how I loved his compliments especially food related cause my Mom was a great cook and him saying that made me feel elated.  It would be one of those memories I'll keep in my heart forever.  Hope you enjoy all these recipes that are dear to my heart <3.

The recipe is below and background of why it's one of our favorites.  

My mother-in-law made this very tasty dish over thirty years ago and I see recipes today with a similar version.  I think you can do this on the stove and be just as pleased but not to change her recipe I wrote it as she had it written.  She also added grated Italian cheese to top it.  It has been my son's favorite from day one when his Nonni made it.  Fond memories of his growing up with his Italian grandmother. 

My mom is on the left holding our son and Nonni is on the right holding our daughter.

I think they only thing Italian about this recipe is the added Italian cheese! LOL

My granddaughter Zoe is visiting and she had asked what her Dad's favorite meal was and I told her.  She immediately text him (new generation) to ask him and was totally amazed how I knew he would immediately reply CHICKEN CONTINENTAL.

  She kept saying to me "I can't believe how you knew" that?  I told her mom's remember stuff like that. :).  Food memories are unforgettable.  Have a great day and make some food memories too!
I finely grated the onion and celery to cook faster.

4 to 6 boneless chicken breasts (cut in 2 inch pieces)
1 stick butter
1 stalk celery chopped fine
1 small onion grated
1 large can or two small cans cream of chicken soup
equal amounts of water
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups minute rice
2 T. grated Italian cheese(optional)
Melt butter.  Saute butter, celery and onion.  Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.

In a large skillet place butter.  Over medium heat when butter is melted add onion and celery.. Saute until tender.  Add chicken, salt and pepper and cook slowly until chicken is browned.  Remove chicken from pan. Place in a dish and cover.  To the butter, celery, onion mixture add chicken soup and equal parts of water.  Stir to combine and cook until all is smooth.  Add chicken and cook for a little while longer. 

In a large pyrex pan place chicken.  Combine 1 1/2 cups minute rice with chicken soup mixture. Pour over chicken and cover with foil.  Place in 325 degree oven and bake approx. 10 to 15 minutes. (until mixture has thickened)  Serve immediately.

If desired you can top with grated Pecorino Romano Cheese.


Friday, February 17, 2017

A tribute to my Mom

Monday February 13, 2017 I lost my mom.  She passed away peaceful but unexpectedly and my heart is heavy with hurt.

She was not ill and had showed no signs of not feeling well.  She was a strong woman. Kind, caring and generous to everyone. Although she was 93 she had a mind and memory of someone much younger.

Her body had been deteriorating slowly over the years from many years of hard work and drive but her mind was as sharp as a twenty year old.

She was a wife and mother who worked as a young woman during the war at a facility in Millersville, Pa  that helped build our airplanes during WWll.  She was from the era of the Rosie the Riveter.

She was Madeline the Riveter.

Mom was such an inspiration to my brother and myself and as we had children of our own she was their best friend. She always listened to them and in a lot of ways spoiled her grandchildren but not with money but with friendship and love. She never pushed them aside. There wasn't anything that she would not do for them.

She helped me while the children were babies.  I finished my college and then decided going to beauty school would be a better option because I could be home with my little ones.

She helped me a few days a week so I could complete that feat and I did.  She cared for my youngest for a few hours a few days a week until I finished the course. I was so fortunate to have her.

Having a business background and a artistic flair helped me run a successful hair styling salon in the basement of my home being able to not need a babysitter or daycare.

I could write for hours telling you what she did for others.   She was amazing and cared so much even to make large grocery bags with food for her family and friends without a question.

 Her and Dad were not from wealth or had wealth but they both saw the need to share with those they thought might need a little extra.

She always wanted to give to those to make sure food was on their table.  She also baked and cooked almost everyday and she shared it with all the neighbors.  Even her hairdresser she was always giving food too.  She always cooked for ten and not for there was plenty to share.

It wasn't as if she was super healthy.  Yes she had a strong heart but very bad legs and arthritis as she aged. The legs caused her the most frustration.  She eventually used a walker and then to a wheelchair and then to her favorite pair of legs, a Jazzy which was a small but efficient scooter.  Lol.

 Where she lived she managed to get around with the jazzy.  I was so grateful we could get her one.  She had hesitated being very proud but came to realize her life would be so much better with a means to get her around.

The last few months of her life were good.  She felt good, ate like a trooper. She had the best appetite and I told her that often.  Salads were her specialty and when I would talk to her each day she would be making her salad.  Yes she cut up every piece of lettuce, cucumber, onion and tomato and black olives were a must.   Every single day she had a salad.  She never missed one. I used to say to her "Mom watch the knife. I don't want you to get cut".  She assured me she knew how to use a knife and was careful.  What a lady!

I could go on and on about her.  She was absolutely amazing person as well as a great wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.  Not to forget to mention the most loyal friend.  She would often talk about all her friends in high school and that those she met along her long journey in life. 

Right until the very last day I talked to her she was talking about her dearest friend Emma.  Emma was the best! She met Emma several years ago and they were quite inseparable.

Emma would be by her side through the halls of Wesley and they were great Bingo players.  Also someone she could confide in as only a true friend could be.  I loved Emma too. You could not help love her. A great friend!

Through the years family and friends came and went and it was heartbreaking to her but she learned to accept it.  Yes, I guess that may be a gift.

I also have to mention that everyday she said a prayer book of prayers.  Over the years she prayed more and more and I would mention people to add to her list.  When I or anyone in the family or a friend wasn't feeling well she'd pray extra prayers.  She really did and would tell me I'll say some more prayers.  I told her we counted on those prayers.

I am a devote prayer person too. I have my book of prayers of which most she gave me copies of.  Now I will add hers to mine and continue to pray which I know she would have liked.

She lost her husband and son and she managed to go on.  Her mother, father, brothers and sister and dear friends but she never lost her faith. 

She had such a will to live. I can only hope I have her will, inspiration and determination. 

Missing you Mom.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mom's Favorite Cake! Chocolate Cherry Cake!

My Mom's favorite cake!!!

Every time I visited mom I made this cake.  I would bring many meals and sweets every single visit but the only request would be "would you make the chocolate cake with the cherries in it"? She absolutely enjoyed every single piece.  I made it in a bunt pan and sliced it and wrapped it individually.  It was easy to store in her freezer when she wanted something sweet.  She loved her sweets.

She had no idea it took minutes to prepare and and little effort. She never questioned me about it.  She was a from scratch baker and this is by no means a from scratch recipe.  I may mention she bragged about it and often shared a slice or two with her friends at Wesley Village where she resided. I would say I'll make two for you to share and I would do that on occasion. She loved it so much I wanted her to keep it all but she was so proud of me. What a great mom she was. 

So I'm re-posting this recipe for all the mom's who like an easy, delicious soft, moist yummy cake.

Mom passed away on February 13, 2017. 

My heart is heavy but when I start to think sad thoughts this happy face surfaces bringing a smile to my face.

For more reasons than one I will miss her but every time I make this cake I'll make sure to keep happy thoughts of the little things in life that make someone happy.

From this moment on it'll be called Mom's Favorite Cake!

Original post and recipe.
At our Cousin's party this year, we got to talking cakes and desserts...My blogging has brought attention to family recipes and also recipes our cousins faithfully say are ones they make time and time again..I have lots of chocolate cake recipes and most are more involved but this cake recipe is very easy and from what they say it is fabulous.  Today I am making it.  I found the recipe in and although they didn't have their recipe on hand when we had our cousin's dinner, this recipe seems similar in ingredients.  I'm using my Bundt pan again.  I love it!   Here is the recipe and some pictures.  Enjoy!  Happy Baking from my kitchen to yours!!

Drizzle icing over cake while warm

Note: If making this cake in a bundt pan allow for an additional 5 to 10 minutes more when baking. Test center with toothpick.

1 ( 18.25 ) pkg. devils food cake mix
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 tsp. almond extract
2 eggs

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
chopped almonds or pecans (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, cherry pie filling, almond extract, and 2 eggs by hand, stir until well blended. Pour into prepared pan.

Note:  If you do not want to see the whole cherries use an electric mixer to blend.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or depending on size of pan baking time varies. I usually use a bunt pan and it takes approximately 50 minutes to bake.

Drizzle icing

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, butter or margarine and milk.  Boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth.  Immediately pour over partially cooled cake.

Top with optional chopped pecans or almonds


Juicy Beef

Easy crockpot meal cause I am really into easy meals.

I could tell you I spend hours in my kitchen and you would probably believe me because I always say it's the most comfortable place I am and it's true but there are plenty of other days that I want to do other things especially if the weather is nice.

Cold, damp and dreary days I'm always thinking of what I can make for dinner.  I honestly have food on my mind from morning until evening because I really prefer my cooking to a fast food or an upscale restaurant and it's a lot healthier and  less expensive.

So the point I want to make with this post is if you don't want to be standing over a stove at all you should have a crockpot if you do not have one already.  It really saves a whole lot of time and you can really change up with a variety of meals.

Just about all my crockpot recipes start with searing your meat or poultry in a little oil.  I know its an extra step but the food really holds up better.  I would not kid you........Once you sear it place it in your crockpot with either broth, stock or tomatoes and you can't go wrong.

  Add your vegetable on the side or add it to the pot right before serving.  Most vegetables as in potatoes, carrots hold up well from start to finish but to be safe don't add soft veggies at the start.  Serve them on the side or right before serving.  Your meal will be much more appealing.  Complementing the dish rice or a few slices of bread always help to fill up those who are super hungry.

  If your cutting carbs then make several vegetables.  As long as you are full when you finish your meal you will be fine.  Empty stomachs with a scarce amount of food are just an accident ready to happen as you'll pick all the wrong snacks all night.  I know I've done that many times............You must eat enough and feel (you should know when to stop) satisfied..

My recipe is as follows:

2 to 3 lb. beef or chuck roast
4 T olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
garlic powder
onion powder
salt and pepper

On a large piece of wax paper place all ingredients except for the beef and vinegar.  Since my roast was around 2 1/2 lb.I didn't measure the ingredients but FYI you usually use 1 tsp. salt per lb. If your salt restrictive cut back.  IMO if you don't have enough salt you meat will be tasteless. I think salt enhances it's flavor. 

The rest of your seasonings use your judgement but don't hold back. Just a slight suggestion you can't go wrong with 1/2 tsp. each of the herbs. You do want flavor. Mix the seasoning with a fork or your hands and roll the roast back and forth over the seasoning so it will coat the entire roast.

Place olive oil in a pan. Add 1/4 cup wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Heat until it starts to sizzle.  Place coated roast in pan and sear each side until it is slightly browned on each side.  Place in crockpot.  Add a little water to pan to gather up all the little pieces that have stuck to the pan and add to your crockpot with the roast.  

Cover and cook on high for approximately 4 or 5 hours.

Note: If you want more juice add 1 can of beef broth to the crockpot too.  We like a lot of juice to keep the roast moist.

Happy Cooking from my kitchen to yours,