Archive for » January, 2010 «

I  have tried at least 6 versions of Italian wedding soup. All were similar but all had a few variations. Here is a version of this traditional Italian staple that was compiled from all of those efforts.

Italian Meat Balls
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Italian Romano cheese
1/4 cup Italian Parmigiano cheese
1/2 cup homemade Italian bread crumbs
3-4 T fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup whole milk or non-fat half and half
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground lamb or pork

Spice mix:

1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T ground allspice
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1 T sea salt

Mix everything in a bowl just like you would with meat loaf.

Roll into 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls, should make 25-30.

Sauté in olive oil until just brown on the outside.

Remove form heat and set aside.

Ingredients for the soup:
1-2 T e. v. olive oil
3/4 cup carrots, chopped (an Italian wedding soup staple)
3/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T dry sherry, Madeira, or Marsala wine
1 cup diced, smoked ham or Canadian Bacon, or 10 oz. of canned ham, broken up with a fork (not in some Italian wedding soup recipes but the ham adds a lot in our humble opinions). 5-6 cups chicken stock

More Soup Ingredients:
1 cup round pasta, such as shell. (One Italian wedding soup recipe I tried  to use a regular can of white beans instead of pasta. Another Italian wedding soup recipe used orzo. Try it each way ~ It’s ALL good!)
1 T dried oregano
5-6 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
3 cups arugula or baby spinach I like arugula best, with its peppery taste)
3-4 T chopped Italian Parsley (for final garnish)
1/2 cup shredded Italian Parmigiano-reggiano (sprinkle before serving)

Soup Preparation:
Sauté onions, celery and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes

Add garlic and sauté 2 more minutes.

Add the ham, then the balsamic vinegar and let it be absorbed.

Add sherry and let it reduce (This seems kind of like a lot of steps, we know, but they all build layers of flavor that will set your creation apart from most. This is the type of technique a Professional Chef would use to create a dish that people rave about, and unfortunately, pay through the nose for. Unfortunately, that is, unless you own the restaurant!)

When sherry is almost evaporated, add the chicken stock, pasta, meat balls and oregano. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is soft.

Add the chopped basil and the whole arugula leaves, and simmer 1 more minute and remove from heat.

Add Italian parsley and Parmigiano-reggiano to complete this wonderful, Italian soup recipe that will have your friends calling you “Gourmet Extraordinaire”.

I do not know the origin of Italian wedding soup, nor how it got its unusual but romantic name. Maybe there is not that much of a story here, really. Could be, it is just a traditional soup served at weddings in a particular region of the country.

Buon appetito always!!

This is a easy variation of a old time favorite. The original recipe does not call for cream cheese,  it calls for SOUR CREAM,but I didn’t have it one time when I made it so I added cream cheese and we ended up liking the taste better. Serve over some egg noodles or rice.
What You Need!!!

1 pound cubed beef stew meat
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed golden
mushroom soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
Make It!!!!

In a slow cooker, combine the meat, soup,onion, Worcestershire sauce , salt, pepper, garlic and water.
Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Add the cream cheese just before serving. If you just happen to have some soup cream you can also add a dollop just before serving to give it that “Tangy” taste!
Note: You can leave out the onion soup mix and the mushrooms~ it is all personal taste!

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
4 ounces cream cheese
1 beef bullion cube
1/2 packet dry Onion Soup Mix
8 oz. mushrooms~ Sauteed

This recipe actually calls for key line juice and zest, but I didn’t have that on hand so I used lemon juice and lemon zest, and they are SO good. Like having a party in your palete. The recipe is quick and easy!

What You Need!!!!

Cookie crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch kosher salt

Lime OR Lemon topping:

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or bottled key lime juice)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Make It!!!!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.

To make the crust, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt, and mix another minute until well combined *Note: The cookie crust dough can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, then wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake the bars, simply bring the dough to room temperature and pat out as described above.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, and pat out to an even thickness over the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, and cook on a baking rack.

To make the topping, whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, and whisk until just combined, then whisk in the lime juice and zest. Pour the lime topping over the cooled crust, then bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Allow the bars to cool completely. Generously dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares.  Note: For the neatest presentation, use a metal spatula or a butcher’s scraper to remove the bars from the pan. Leftovers will keep for 2 or 3 days at room temperature, or for up to a week in the refrigerator.


You should know by now…..Mangia! 🙂

This is a  is classic stew, served in France made with beef, vegetables and red wine would be known as a daube. Slow-cooking the surprisingly lean beef shanks melts and softens the connective tissue, producing succulent results. If you prefer, use nonalcoholic wine. Serve with a crusty bread such a french 🙂 to soak up the yummy sauce!!!

What You Need!!!

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (2 medium)
  • 1/2 cups diced celery (1 stalk)
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 cup(s) dry red wine, such as Merlot or Zinfandel
  • 1 teaspoon(s) fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 orange zest
  • 3 1/2 pound(s) sliced beef shank, trimmed
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup(s) chopped watercress, or parsley

 Make It!

  1.  Cook Bacon, stirring often, until lightly browned. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook, stirring often, until the  vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth, wine, thyme, bay leaves,  orange zest ,and oil. Bring to a boil.
  2. Rinse beef with cool water to remove any bone bits. Place the beef in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker and turn heat to high. Carefully pour the hot vegetable mixture over the beef. Put the lid on and cook until the beef is falling-apart tender when prodded with a fork, 6 to 7 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beef to a bowl. Lift out the bones. Scoop marrow out and add to the meat, if desired; discard bones. Break the meat into 2- to 3-inch chunks with a spoon. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Discard the bay leaves and orange zest from the sauce; skim fat. Pour the sauce into a large skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, skimming froth from time to time, for about 20 minutes, to intensify flavors and thicken slightly. Season with pepper. Add the beef and heat through. To serve, ladle the stew into bowls and sprinkle with watercress (or parsley).
  5. Baked Beef Stew variation: Preheat oven to 350°F. In Step 1, use only 1 1/2 cups broth and 1 1/2 cups red wine. In Step 2, place beef and vegetables in a Dutch oven, cover and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Skim fat. Discard the bay leaves and orange zest. Lift out the bones, scoop marrow and add, if desired; discard the bones. Break the meat into chunks. Blend 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup water; stir into the stew. Return the pan to the oven and bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes


Baby It’s COLD outside!!! Brrrrr~ I love this recipe – it’s so easy to make, takes 5 minutes to throw everything together in a crock pot and you can adjust the ingredients based on your family’s taste and what you have in the pantry

What You Need!!!

  • 2 pounds ground beef ,turkey OR Chicken
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can  kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Corn chips, for serving
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish
  • Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Make It!!!

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Can we say Yummm~O Mangia! 🙂

Wow~ I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted any recipes since the last of November. The holidays were busy but GOOD! Lot’s of family and friends, lots of cooking and baking!

It is so cold here, and I have been wanting nothing BUT warm comfort food, so I promise to be sharing some good ones!


Have a blessed and Happy New Year!



This recipe for Texas Tortilla Soup belongs in everyone’s kitchen.  It is so unique, so different, and so good.  It seems like it would be difficult to make but it is not.   Trust me~ You will LOVE this one!

What You Need

1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 small can green chilies, drained

2 15-ounce cans chicken broth
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch,
1/4 cup cold water

10 corn tortillas

vegetable oil
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, diced

Grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
Sour cream

Make It!!

  1. Puree the cilantro, garlic, onion, chilies, and tomatoes in a blender or food processor.  Pour the pureed mixture into a heavy saucepan. 
  2. Add the cumin, salt, and broth to the puree and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer slowly for about one hour.
  3. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water.  Stir dissolved cornstarch into soup.  Add the chicken and bring back to a simmer.
  4. Cut tortillas into 1/2-inch wide strips and fry in hot oil until crisp.  Drain the fired chips on paper towels
  5. To serve, garnish the soup with shredded cheese, sour cream, onions, and salsa.

Note: If you don’t want to go through the trouble of doing the corn tortillas, you can use just tortilla chips, It is STILL good this way!!

 This makes about 10 cups.

Mangia~ as Always!