Archive for » February 19th, 2010«

After trying several Tortilla Soup recipes, I have finally found the ONE that beats all! This soup was so good, my family devoured it. I am making it for the second time in a month, and this time am going to double it. Also this is the first time I have “made” my own tortilla strips, and they are wonderful! Just as good as the restaurant kind, and they keep well and are crispy for days when kept in a ziplock bag.
What You Need!!!

(10) 6″ corn tortillas – cut into 1/4″ thick strips
1 large. onion – minced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 Tbs. vegetable oil OR olive oil
15 oz. can tomato puree
4 cups chicken broth
up to 1/2 cup hot sauce – to taste
1/2 med. green bell pepper – seeded, minced, optional
1 Tbs. minced jalapeno pepper – optional
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder – optional
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 lb. boneless, skinless cooked chicken – cubed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
8 oz. Velveeta

1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro – for garnish, optional

 Make It!!!

-Deep-fry tortilla strips in 350 degree oil OR spray with non-stick cooking spray and bake in a 400 degree oven until crisp; lightly salt if desired; set aside.
-In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic in oil until soft.
-Add the next 10 ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
-Whisk flour/water mixture into soup.
-Bring contents of pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Add chicken to pot and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Add cream, sour cream, and cheese to pot; stir until cheese has melted.
-Pour soup into bowls, pile tortilla strips into a “haystack” shape on top of the soup, garnish with cilantro.

Note: I have thrown in a tub of “El Paso Seasoned Chicken to replace the chopped chicken and hot sauce. It tasted AWESOME and was a time saver!


Buon Appetito Always~ Mangia!!!!


A simple cookie flavored with brandy and a touch of orange and vanilla. The crisp, dry yet tender texture is perfect with a cup of tea as you plan your spring garden and pour over seed catalogs. Not too sweet, you’ll find yourself thinking of your Nonna’s  Easter cookies dipped in a bit of sherry for the grownups.  This forgiving dough also lends itself to many different shapes so you can create your own traditions.

What You Need!!!

  • 4 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brandy (or apple juice)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Orange Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Vanilla glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, to form a glaze consistency


Make it!!!

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper or spritz with cooking spray.

Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds to incorporate. In a liquid measure blend the brandy (or apple juice), water, vegetable oil and Extracts. Pour the liquid ingredients onto the dry and blend on medium speed for 2 minutes or until a soft dough forms.

Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes. Break off the dough in pieces, each about the size of a large walnut. Roll each piece into a rope. From here you may form rings, or simple coils and knots.

To form a crescent horn, take two ropes and gently twist one over the other about 4-5 times to form the twist. Curve the twist until the two ends nearly meet and place on the baking sheet with about 1 inch between cookies. These do not spread much, so can be spaced fairly close together.


For the glaze, blend all ingredients in a small bowl to a medium thin consistency with no lumps. The glaze should be the consistency of heavy cream or melted ice cream.
Bake the cookies for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. The interior of the cookie should be quite dry at this point. Break open one cookie to check the interior. If the cookies still seem doughy inside, return to the oven for an additional 6-10 minutes or until done inside. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool.

When the cookies are cooled, prepare the glaze and dip the top of each cookie to coat. Sprinkle with freshly grated orange zest or candied peel if desired.


Buon Appetito Always~ Mangia!!!!