Saturday, August 7, 2010

Double Chocolate Brownies!

This is for any chocolate lover out there ~ seriously! One bit of these simple easy brownies and you'll be hooked!

And seeing how this recipe is once again super will only take a few short sentences before you are saying to yourself ~ I must make these for myself!!!!

Take your favorite brownie store purchased brownie mix and combine the ingredients according to the package...

Add a 1/4 of cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)....

Add a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of instant ground coffee...

A nice splash of whole milk...

Baked in preheat over (according to the package)...

And there you have it ~ Brownies to die for ~ seriously!!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lemon Cookie Pie with Sprinkles! (perfect kid dessert!)

As mention from the title above, this is truly the perfect dessert for any child {and grown-ups too}!

It is super simply {which you all know I am all about the simple}!

And super delicious too!!!!

All you need is...

2 bags of Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookie Mix (serving per bag is 18 cookies)

1 1/2 tablespoons of Lemon Extract

a 9" greased pie dish (I used flour based cooking spray0


colorful sprinkles (of your choice)

Preheat oven to recommend setting according to the package...

Prepare the sugar cookie mix according to the package (please remember you are using two packages so remember to 2x the ingredients)...

Add the lemon extract to the mix...

Beat until smooth (I do use my electric standing mix master)...

Place cookie batter into pie dish and top with sprinkles...

Cook on recommended oven setting for 20-22 minutes.
And there you have very large and extremely tasty sugar cookie!!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lemon Lime Giggle Pie!


This one is oh so easy...


Oh so good!

Perfect for serving on one of those clear summer evening and a day of fun in the sun!

Take 2 boxes of Lime flavored Gelatin Dessert mix...

Cook according to directions listed on the box....

Place combined mixture into a 9" glass pie dish (depending on how deep your dish is you might not fit all the gelatin mixture in ~ do worry just fill the pie dish with the mixture until full)...

Place pie dish into the refrigerator for the time stated on the box so gelatin can firm...

once the gelatin is set...

Take 6oz of diary whipped topping and 2 Tbsp of lemon zest ~ combine together....

Place flavored whipped topping on top of firm gelatin ~ covering completely over the gelatin...

Add some fresh sliced limes and lemons to garnish on top...

And there you have it!

I came up with this super east dessert one night (very recently) where we were low on cash and we were having a small dinner party! Seeing how the other served courses "ate" up most of my budget, I needed to come up with something creative and fast. Seeing how I already had all these simple ingredients already in my pantry and refrigerator, my mind started working and this was the end result! And what a hit it was!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pineapple & Flavored Whipped Topping Dessert

In the mood for a cooling dessert or a refreshing afternoon snack?

Well I got an easy answer for you!

Take a 20 oz can of pineapple chucks - drain out the liquid from can and rinse with cold water...

Place the sweet pineapples in a serving dish...

Add some fresh orange zest (using almost full orange) to 4 0z of whipped topping (like Cool Whip) and blend together well...

Top fruit with flavored diary whipped topping...

Add a bit more orange zest to garnish...

And there you have it!

This fresh, sweet, fruity, and very satisfying dessert (or afternoon snack) is perfect when enjoying a beautiful summer day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fettuccine Alfredo!

Fettuccine Alfredo! Now this is my daughter's Francesca favorite dish!

As well as another family favorite!


I do believe that this is the meal that got my husband to propose to me ~ seriously!


It was the first thing I EVER learned to make!

All you need is...

- 1 lb of your favorite Fettuccine pasta COOKED according to the package (I like using the green & white colored pasta to give the dish some extra color)

{for the sauce}

- 1 pint of heavy cream (no substitute)

- 1 stick of salted butter

- 1 tsp of ground nutmeg

- 3/4 tsp of white pepper


- grated Pecorino Romano cheese to taste

Heat the heavy cream, butter, nutmeg, and white pepper in a sauce pan and stir. Your sauce is done once butter is 100% melted. Top over cooked pasta and toss within the pasta. Add the Pecorino Romano cheese on top to taste and there you have it!

Seriously ~ it is that easy!

As I stated earlier in this post, this is the first thing I ever learned to cook home made and after seeing the recipe, you can see why ~ it is really that easy and oh so tasty! And seeing how a dish of this famous pasta out can cost an average of $14 - making this meal at home is simple, easy, and very inexpensive! for the husband has admitted to me that after having this "the only" homemade dish I could make, he truly believe that I could cook and knew right than & there that I was the gal for him. Unlucky for him, this was the only dish I knew how to make...all those years ago.

I guess you can say I have come along way since those years living in my little apartment in Old Towne Manassas many, MANY moons ago....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

{a little bit behind the scenes}

What can I say ~ except I do come from one crazy Italian family!

Are we loud? Oh ya!

Can we eat pasta every.single.night? You bet!

Do we have this passion to cook? Hell ya!

Do we enjoy a amazing glass of wine? YES! YES! YES!

Now this is not the only things that make my family what we are but when most people think of the typical Italian family...we are so it! Even with my Chinese children to add in the mix ~ we are one crazy Italian family!

To say that we are loud...that is an understatement - seriously. I could never understand why my grandmother & mother spoke so loud but after surviving some years among this family...I now know the answer to need to be loud in order to be heard. There can be several conversations going on at the same time and for everyone to be heard....voices tend to get loud! I wish I could video tape my family all making home made raviolis. It is truly "a piss your pants" funny! It wasn't until I moved away that I began to appreciate those special moments in my grandmother,s - now my mother's kitchen! While we are small in numbers, we are loud in voices.

While I do try to keep up with the wonderful Chinese traditions that is my children's heritage...I also find myself teaching my children the ins & outs to surviving my crazy Italian family! I know they say the Chinese invented the noodle, but we Italians were the ones to add that amazing sauce and really per-fect it as a meal (at least in my opinion).

I love my family ~ to pieces! And I do know I would not be where I am today without each & every one of them playing a major role in my life. I can only hope & pray that I instill within each of my children what is important in life...and in this, food, celebrating each course that is place in front you, and sharing it with your true family & friends...that is what is really important and what life is all about.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fruit Cobbler ~ oh so good and oh so simple!

My next recipe I am going to share with you all is a recipe I was given to me by another fellow adopting parent! After receiving this recipe about a year ago, it didn't take me too long to add my special touches to give this recipe a little something of my own! The best part is that once again it is very simple and very easy to make for everyone to enjoy!!!!

"Thank You Mrs.C for sharing your original recipe with me for without the basic ingredients, I would not discovered what works best for my family!"

Now without letting you wait any longer, here is the two recipes combined...

1 cup of sugar
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup of butter (melted)
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 table spoon of lemon zest or orange zest ~ depending on the fruit you use
2 cups of fresh fruit of your choice (I used only strawberries this time)

Mix fruit and zest together until well blended.


Place fruit in lightly greased baking dish. Combine sugar, flour...once mixed...sprinkle over the fruit. Pour melted butter and extra sugar on top on top. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crispy Corn Chip Chicken!

Ever get bored of the same old chicken?

Now my family & I do LOVE our chicken but it was time for a change...

And one wintry weekend where over 30" of snow dropped on our home town, I decided to remix my old {but tasty} grilled chicken with...

Crispy Corn Chip Chicken!!!!

Take 2lbs of chicken legs (about 12-14 pieces)...

After rinsing off each piece of chicken, take each piece and dip & coat into 4 beaten eggs...

Than coat each piece with a full bag of crumbled (flavored) Friots {we love using Friots Chili Cheese Flavored ones}...

Place each piece of chicken on a baking sheet...

*top with melted butter ~ optional*...

Bake in 400 degree oven for about an hour and there you have it ~ Crispy Corn Chip Chicken!

Friday, May 21, 2010

{letting you in on a little something more about me}

While I do find myself a little behind these days on so many things, the one thing I always make time for is cooking! It is not so unusual to find myself cooking most of the weekends! Whether it be cooking with at least three HUGE pots on my stove, or using my enormous crock pot, I love to cook and try new recipes...along with old family favorites!

With my family soon to be growing to the not so small number of 5 ~ I tend to prepare a lot of food for serving the same day and freezing (and yes - it is all about the freezing for me)!

You see, within the next few weeks, my family and I will be taking another amazing & blessed adoption journey to China for our son. Our two girls, our precious Francesca (who is currently 5) and our sweet & spicy Annabelle (who is currently 3), life as we know it is about to change! We are getting a son and they are getting a little brother! Both of our girls have been adopted through China's program. Francesca was adopted through China's traditional program back in 2005 while Annabelle was adopted through China's special needs program in 2008. Both of our girls have been diagnosed with mega colons and after dealing with this rare and at times dangerous condition, we were once again blessed with a little boy who also suffers from bowel issues. Our son will only be six months younger than our Annabelle so life as I know it going to become a bit more crazier ~ which I am so looking forward to!

Now don't get me wrong...this blog here is not about adoption or my family or my children's medical conditions but it is about cooking, recipes, and loving to eat! But for me I would not have any of those, recipes, and loving to eat...without my family and friends to share it with!

As you have already seen, many of my recipes already stated here are family favorites ~ traditions and some are new ones created by yours truly! For me, this blog is about the I want to keep for a life time and pass along to my children.


While I am getting very excited about our family of four traveling once again to China to become a family of five...I find myself more & more within my kitchen, cooking for my family and loving every single minute.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

another "Thinking Out Side The Box" recipe (or should I say can) Tomato Soup - My Style!

Now it really doesn't get any easier than this...really!

All you need is just three things...

Progresso's Tomato Basil Soup, a few Italian style croutons, and some fresh grated cheddar cheese...

And there you have a tasty tomato soup that can truly be served as a meal!

Because in this crazy house, I do!

By adding my recipe for "Sliced Oranges with Olive Oil"...

You can make the simplest of foods that can become an amazing meal ~ you can call all your own!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Thinking Out Side The Box" recipe ~ Corn Muffins!

OK ~ every now & than I do come up with something on my own and after years of trial and error with so many recipes, I am finally discovering what works and what doesn't.

And yes, I still make many mistakes but when something works ~ it really works!

Take a simple store-bought box of corn muffin mix...

Substitute a few ingredients, add a little bit more...

And there you have it, your own personal creation!

All you need a store bought box of your favorite Corn Muffin mix...

Where the recipe (on the box) calls for water ~ substitute it for 3/4 of the measured water with milk and 1/4 with half & half..."my chosen brand of boxed muffin mix said it would only make 5 muffins and I wanted I added a little Bisquick and a little bit more milk and half & half to the boxed contents. "

Once you divide up blended mixture (and even for simple jobs like this one I always use my Kitchen Aid Artisan) in the greased muffin pan, add a pat of butter to the top of each pre-baked muffin and also a nice drizzle of sugar.

Bake according to the directions on the box...and there you have it!

Easy corn muffins that you can call all your own!
These sweet & buttery corn muffins are sure to be a hit ~ anytime!!!!!

Sorry about the photo shown above, but my family attack them before I even had a chance to get a picture of all full dozen I made!

For me it is all about making any recipe ~ your own. And while there are days I find it hard to make everything from scratch, I do find myself trying to tweak up the simplest of prepared foods...thus calling it "Thinking Out Side The Box".

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Simple Red Sauce Recipe!

You see, I am truly all about all recipes simple! And seeing how many of these recipes come from my amazing & large Italian family ~ they too cooked with simple ingredients and used easy steps to make some wonderful dishes!

This next recipe is one that I came up with on my own (with a little advise from my mom)!

It is my Simple Red Sauce Recipe!

When I make this simple sauce, I make a ton of it for freezing to enjoy on a later date!

All you need is...

4 - 29oz cans of Hunt Sauce...

1 small can of Hunt Tomato Paste

2 lbs of green peppers (sliced)

2 large onions - chopped

3 teaspoons of Spice World minced garlic (found the the veggie section in a glass jar)


some pure olive oil.

In a large sauce pot...heat olive oil, chopped onion and garlic until onions and garlic start turning brown. Add sliced peppers into the mix and stir. Than add all four cans of Hunt Sauce and tomato paste. Stir ingredients all together. Add a little bit of water to the mixture (about 3/4 of a cup) and stir again. Let sauce cook to a boil than lower heat & simmer for about 4 hours!

It is really that easy and oh so good!!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Direct from My Grandmother's Kitchen...Roasted Tomatoes!

Sorry about the photo here but my family attacked them as soon as they came out of the oven...
Direct from my grandmother's Lena kitchen is this recipe for Roasted Tomatoes!
Can you believe that growing up I never like them? What was I thinking? Just look at them ~ sigh...

Anyway, I can remember my grandmother making these truly delicious tomatoes every summer after visiting our local farm market. As I stated earlier, I never even tried these tomatoes until I was in my twenty's and it was after that first bite, I was hooked! This was my request almost every single summer day for my grandmother to make...just for me!

As the years past and I started cooking for my own family, I had my grandmother time & time again, show me exactly how she made her roasted tomatoes ~ for there is really no recipe only ingredients used once again. As the years past and my grandmother became unable to cook, I stepped up and took her spot in making her signature roasted tomatoes!

Preheat oven to 375 degree
Using very ripe tomatoes (how many you want), clean out stem area and cut into halves...

In a glass baking dish, cover the bottom with a layer of vegetable oil. Once oil is in the dish, place the tomatoes cut side facing up.

Now comes the layering...

Sprinkle salt over each tomato...than add some minced garlic to the cut halves, layer bread crumbs, than add fresh chopped parsley, pepper and grated Italian cheese.

Drip vegetable oil over the top of each topped tomato and cover with tin foil.

Cook in heated over ~ covered ~ for 35 minutes (depending on the size and how ripe your tomatoes are) and ~ uncovered for another 35 minutes until top of tomatoes start getting brown.

Your cooking time may vary due to the size of the tomato and once again how ripe they are. My grandmother used beefsteak tomatoes while I use ripe vine tomatoes (which are a bit smaller but much more tastier).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oh So Sweet & Salty ~ Potato Chip Cookies!!!!

Finally ~ one of my favorite part of cooking well actually it is baking ~ but still it is one of my favorites!

I LOVE anything & everything sweet!

I don't pass on a dessert, cookie, donut, pie, cupcake and/or tart for nothing!

And this recipe...which I got from one of my follow workers, Miss Marie, from those long ago days when I actually worked outside the one that I relay on often!

Miss Marie's Potato Chip Cookie Recipe...

1/2 lb of butter (2 sticks soften)

1/2 cup of sugar

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of crushed potato chips (ruffled or ridge work best)


1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degree.

Mix all the listed above ingredients together to thick and well blended...

Using a teaspoon, drop mixed cookie dough onto a baking sheet (making 24 even cookies)
Cook in oven for 10 minutes ~ be sure to check them after 10 minutes ~ sometimes they need to cook longer ~ you'll know exactly when they are done because they will start turning a little brown on top.
Pull from the oven and let them cool ~ first on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes than on cooling rack.

Once completely cooled, top with powered sugar!

I have changed mine up a bit from Miss Marie's for I add more chips and a bit more vanilla extract than she does.

These cookies have become my signature cookies to bake whenever they are needed!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Super Simple Starter for Any Meal ~ Sliced Oranges with Olive Oil

Oh My Gosh! Don't these just look delicious!!!!

This SUPER SIMPLE recipe is one that I make often when serving any meal!

Who would had ever thought that some fresh orange slices, dripped olive oil, and some died oregano can make this dish truly a crowd pleaser!

(where this recipe came from...)

A few years ago, before our family started to get too big for any one house to hold everyone, we would meet at my cousins' house, Johnny & Peggy, for Christmas Eve supper. One of the many dishes that were served were these oranges! As the years past and I started hosting my own dinner parties, I needed a super simple starter. As my fingers quickly searched the Internet for something I could make, my mind reflected back on those oranges we had during our Christmas Eve feast! I quickly called my mom to see if she knew the recipe and according to her, it was really no recipe for them but just three simple ingredients...

fresh orange slices (sliced not too thick) arranged on a tray or platter...

than drip olive oil over each orange slice...

than sprinkle dried crushed oregano over the top and they are ready to serve!

It is really that easy and they are a hit whenever I serve them!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Aunt Jean's Wimpees ~ well almost!

You'll never guess how I came across this recipe ~ never!

You know how you have some people who never tell you their secrets...I mean cooking secrets? Well, my Aunt Jean is kind of that way. If you asked her how she made something, you tended to get the short verizon of the recipe...yes this is my Aunt Jean. See my Aunt Jean and I worked together at a children's day care center many years ago. She was the cook (and had been for many, many years) while I was a preschool teacher's aid. One day, my Aunt Jean needed to take the day off and guess who was going to be placed in her kitchen ~ yep ~ it was me! And seeing how I didn't know a thing about cooking let alone something Aunt Jean made on a daily basis, I had to ask her for some advise. She told me not to worry for she was leaving me her wimpee recipe! At the time, I wasn't too excited, but something inside of me told me to make a copy of that recipe which I did and still have to this day (almost 10 years later...)

So from that I give you this. A recipe that has only been slightly changed ~ by yes yours truly!


4 lbs of ground beef

2 medium onions ~ chopped

2 Tblsp of mustard

2 cups of ketcup

1 cup of water

2 bottles of Hunt's Chili Sauce


salt, pepper and onion powder to taste

In a large frying pan, cook ground meat and chopped onion while adding salt & pepper along with some onion powder to taste. Once full cooked, drain off grease and place flavored mixture in crock pot. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Cook on high for about 4 hours ~ stirring every now & than. It is truly that easy and one recipe that is easy to freeze for a later date!

Thanks Aunt jean for your amazing recipe! While adding less water, more chili sauce, a bit more mustard & onion powder, and cooking it in a crock pot ~ this recipe is mainly yours and it is a family favorite of ours!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Sister's Recipe ~ Egg Bake ~ My Way!

OK I know it sounds kind of funky but trust me, it is so good & this is one recipe that can be made ahead of time!

The very first time I ever tried this recipe was on the morning of my wedding day! The minute I got up at my mom's I just knew I wanted to be with my sister (who was at her house the next town over trying to entertain some wedding guests who were staying with her).

Even though I was so nervous I could not possible imagine myself eating BUT I did!

With a few trail & errors of my own from my sister's recipe, I finally found something that works for me! She uses sausage, I use ham. She uses less bread, I use more. I use bacon and she uses none and she cooks hers in less time while mine is in the oven much longer.

There is really no wrong or right way to make is all about what you like and how well you like it cooked!

And as you can see from the photo above, we like ours cooked very well!

So with out keeping you any longer ~ here is a combination of my sister, Lisa's recipe and mine!


1 pound of shaved/or chopped cooked deli ham (I like Boar's Head Deluxe Ham but make sure it is on sale when you get it)

7 slices of Bread (any choice of bread you prefer)

8 beaten eggs

2 1/2 cups of milk (use at least 2%)

2 Tblsp of dry mustard

3 cups of grated cheddar cheese

2oz of Hormel Real Bacon Bits

First ~ break up those 7 slices of bread into small bit size pieces and than add them to a greased a 9x13 glass baking dish (I use cooking spray to grease my pan). Add ham to dish. Beat eggs, milk & dry mustard. Once beaten add that to baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Cover in tin foil and refrigerate over night. The next day cook while still covered on 375 degree preheat oven for 35 minutes than uncover and cook another 40 minutes. Once cooked, let it stand about 5 minutes than it is ready to serve!
It is really that easy!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Mom's Sausage Sauce with a little something extra from me!

My Mom's Sausage Sauce...
with a little something extra from me!

First comes the recipe for this delicious sauce!


1 1/2 medium onion chopped

4 tsp minced garlic

pure olive oil

2 lbs of crumbled sausage

5 large cans of Hunt Sauce (29oz each)

1 large can of Hunts Paste (18oz)

1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil or parsley

2 tsp of fresh ground cinnamon (yes ~ cinnamon~)

Cook & Drain sausage. Once cooked rinsed and than crumble into small pieces. In a big pot, heat olive oil that will cover the complete bottom of pot, add in chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook until garlic starts to turn a brown. Than add sausage and cook some more (for about 5 minutes) than add cans of Hunts sauce and paste...also add a little bit of water to sauce. Bring that to a semi boil and add basil and cinnamon to sauce. Bring back to semi boil. Once semi boiling, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for 4 hours!

I bet you can guess what I added in the recipe to make this all my own. Yep you guessed it, it is the cinnamon. I LOVE the taste of cinnamon! And seeing how this small amount that I added in this sauce ~ adds just the right sweetness this sauce was screaming for!

Did I even mention I love cooking with my mom! She just has this way around the kitchen, that everything she AMAZING (well everything except her ham...don't ever come a running if she mentions she is making ham). The older I got, the more I appreciated & enjoyed just watching her cook in the kitchen. It seems that whenever I go home, that's is where we always end up. In the kitchen ~ cooking some amazing food!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kick Ass Cola!

You can always count on us! For if it is 5PM...we are having cocktails! And seeing how I just LOVE to experiment with the wide assortment of alcohol we have, I do come up with some pretty wild ones!

This one featured here is called my "Kick Ass Cola" for as you guessed, it does have cola in it!

You take...

3oz of coconut rum

3oz of cola


3oz of raspberry/cranberry juice

Stir until blended

Pour over ice

Add three red raspberries


a nice juicy slice of lime!

All I can say is YUMMO!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day Three ~ Mrs. G's sausage & peppers

OK - this is not I recipe I can take full credit for. Nope. Not one bit. For it belongs to my long time & best friend since grade school ~ Gina ~ mother-in-law, Mrs. G! These sausage & peppers have become a family favorite in our household as I find myself making them as often as I can....
(and yes this photo is from this past Christmas)

3 1/2 lbs of sausage (boil to cook about a 1/2 hour ~ drain & rinse off boiled grease)

4 large green peppers ~ seeds, core, and stem removed than sliced


One 45oz Francesca Rinaldi Jar Sauce

(trust me once this recipe is done you'll never know that you used jar sauce & it another recipe to double, even triple to freeze for another day)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large glass baking pan, add some sliced peppers, add some sauce, and than some sausage to make a layer. Repeat this order until all ingredients are used up and you have a few layers of peppers, sauce and sausage. Cover with tin foil and cook for 45 minutes. Once time is up in the oven, transfer everything from glass baking dish to crock pot. than cook on high for about 45 minutes (or until it starts to bubble) than switch the temperature to low and cook for another three hours!

Now please remember that you can NOT miss-cross over-skip-or shorten on any of the steps in this whole recipe for they will NOT taste the same if you follow the recipe exactly (your cooking time could vary when in the crock pot but it will only vary slightly). Trust me ~ this recipe will soon become a family favorite and while it does seems a bit simple, it is very time consuming and a true dedication to the chef who is preparing it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Two ~ my twisted Asian dressing

It has taken me at least twenty different recipes ~ all trail & error ~ to come up with the I think is the best recipe for an Asian Salad Dressing! With using one ingredient from each of the twenty recipes I have tried and failed to taste, I finally came up with a keeper...

You take...

1/2 cup of sugar

3/4 of vegetable cooking oil

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

and a dash of ground ginger

Place all the listed above ingredients into a saucepan. While stirring, bring the mixture to a boil making sure the sugar & ginger have dissolved completely. Let dressing cool and refrigerate over night.

The next day, stir dressing until blended well ~ almost creamy ~ and top over crisp romaine lettuce with some blanched slivered almonds!

This recipe is truly a combination of ~ as I stated early in this post ~ 20 recipes! With every recipe tried, the dressings never tasted what I felt Asian dressing should taste like...something sweet with a bit of a zing and it should be creamy & I mean creamy. I first tried out my newest creation on my mom when she came down for a visit this past March and I truly think she was taken by surprise how good it actually tasted! For she ate several bowls of lettuce that weekend...always using my dressing.

I always tend to double this recipe for it is a hit with everyone who tries it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day One ~ my mom's pizza sauce

Today I once again made my mom's fabulous home made pizza sauce {and added a little twist of my own}. This is not the first time I have tried her pizza sauce recipe but it is the first time I have made it using these ingredients...

4 - 29oz cans of Hunt's Tomato Sauce

3 - large yellow onions (diced)

Pure Olive Oil

Dry Celery Seeds to taste

In a large pot over medium high, heat olive oil (only use enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your cooking pan and to cook the onions in). Once heated, throw in your diced onions. Cook until they are golden brown but not burned. Than add your tomato sauce. *Make sure you get all of the sauce out of the can even if it means adding a little bit of water to the can and swishing the water around the can to get all of the sauce out and add the water/sauce mixture as well to the cooking onions and sauce* Than add the celery seeds to taste ~ I truly don't measure my seasonings...I just put in a little, stir it all up, than taste. If I feel it needs more, I add more but only a little bit at a time & repeat stirring ~ don't want to over whelm the sauce of celery seed taste ~ Let the whole thing come to a small boil and stir. Let it cook about another 3 minutes at a small boil and than turn off burner. Let it sit about another 3 minutes and than your pizza sauce will be ready!

Now in case you are wondering "How much pizza sauce does this recipe make?" And the answer to that question is "a lot!" But what's great about pizza sauce is that it is so easy to refrigerate and/or freeze for later date!

I first made this recipe right after my family & I moved into our new home in the beautiful suburbs of Washington DC. My mom came down for a visit the following weekend of our big move and after going out for the pizza the night before and spending $80 on two glasses of wine, one draft beer and three medium pizza at a local bistro, I knew that our days of eating pizza out here where numbered. So with my mom's help, and start of the recipe (the tomato sauce, onions, and olive oil) I added a little twist of my own and there you have it ~ my homemade pizza sauce!

My mom has had me add basil, cilantro, and even celery leaves to her recipe (in place of the celery seeds) ~ which in my opinion the celery leaves truly make one hell of a pizza sauce. I also tried on my own some green onions (seeing how I had a ton left over from some potato soup I was making) which was also very tasty, but after trying the celery seeds today (because I didn't have any celery leaves to use) I think I finally found the perfect ingredients for making pizza sauce!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How I gotten myself here....

Oh where does "this" all begin? I guess I can only say that after coming from a long line of some pretty fabulous cooks {from both sides of my LARGE Italian family tree}, being a person who truly LOVES to eat, and finally having a beautiful family of my own to cook for...I now find myself loving the many adventures of cooking!

It has taken me almost 40 years to get to this wonderful place of where I am currently at in my culinary life, for it has been for many years that I was not the "Most Likely To Succeed" in the kitchen. Lets just say that after moving out of my grandmother's/mother's house at a ripe old age of 24 {and moving a full two states away}, it was only than that I had to learn how to do my own laundry, make my own bed, and yes do my own cooking. I tried, believe me, I tried to channel the great cooks of my ancestral history but I always came up short ~ very short.

After our first daughter was placed into our arms {through the miracle of adoption back in 2005}, I knew that I must try and be the 'best mom' I could be. My grandmother & mom raised me on home cooked meals. Seriously! I had never eaten processed food or sauce from a jar in all my years of living at home. Everything was homemade and I wanted to do the same for our daughter, Francesca and my wonderful husband, Keith. I started out with easy recipes and with a lot of help from my very-talented Italian mom, Elissa. With her patience & amazing ability to make almost everything that touches your mouth delicious ~ and ~ my artistic creativity, our old family recipes started to take on a life of their own.

So it is now that I want to document many of these fabulous recipes I have made/or plan to make over the next several...days, weeks, maybe months or do I dare say it even years to share with my family and friends. I have commented myself to posting one day one recipe that I have shopped for, cooked, and eaten. Even if it is the most simplest combinations of ingredients, I will post it here.