Weekend Fun

Healthy Puttanesca Pasta Dinner

April 5, 2013

Healthy Puttanesca Pasta DinnerHealthy Puttanesca Pasta Dinner 2

This classic spicy Italian sauce satisfies with plenty of flavor without the oil or anchovies.  If you want to make this pasta dish extra healthy then used whole wheat pasta.


1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth

1 Cup Diced Onion

5 Minced Garlic Cloves

1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

6 Cups Diced Plum Tomatoes

1/4 Cup Chopped Kalamata Olives

3 Tablespoons Capers

3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley

3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil

3 Tablespoons Fresh Minced Oregano

16 Ounces Cooked Pasta

In a large size skillet heat the broth for 1 minute over a medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, olives and capers.  Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, basil and oregano.  Serve over cooked pasta.  Serves 6

Easy Tiramisu

April 4, 2013

Easy TiramisuEasy Tiramisu

I swear there is no easier Tiramisu recipe than this recipe.  You just need a little planning ahead for refrigeration time.  If you don’t have espresso don’t worry just use very strong coffee.


8 Ounces Room Temperature Cream Cheese

1/3 Cup Sugar

6 Tablespoons Amaretto Liqueur

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 Cups Whipped Cream

24 Ladyfingers

3/4 Cup Espresso

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

In a medium size bowl beat together the cream cheese and sugar for 4 minutes until light and creamy.  Beat in the Amaretto and vanilla extract.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Arrange half of the ladyfingers in a dish that is large enough to hold them in one layer.  A 9×9 inch casserole dish is a good dish to use.  Sprinkle with half of the espresso.  Top with half of the cream cheese mixture.  Spread until smooth.  Sprinkle with half of the cocoa.  Arrange the remaining ladyfingers over the cocoa.  Sprinkle with the remaining coffee.  Top with the remaining cream cheese mixture, smoothing the top.  Sprinkle with the remaining cocoa.  Cover and place in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight is even better.  Serves 10

Mafaldine Pasta With Sausage & Roasted Peppers

April 3, 2013

MafaldineMafaldine Pasta With Sausage & Roasted Peppers

Easy & delicious!  Enough said!


1 Pound Sweet Italian Sausage

6 Chopped Garlic Cloves

12 Ounces Roasted Peppers (Drained, Rinsed & Chopped)

2 Cups Chicken Broth

28 Ounces Crushed Tomatoes

1 Pound Mafaldine Pasta

3/4 Cup Chopped Green Olives

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Grated Romano Cheese

In a large size skillet sauté the sausage for 5 minutes, over a medium heat, until browned on the outside.  Remove the sausage from the skillet and place onto a cutting board.  Slice into 1/4 inch pieces.  Return the sausage to the skillet and add the garlic. Sauté the sausage and garlic for 5 minutes.  Add the roasted peppers and chicken broth.  Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Add the tomatoes.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium low.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.  In the meantime cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, but don’t rinse it.  Remove the skillet from the heat and add the drained pasta, green olives, olive oil and cheese to the sausage & garlic.  Mix thoroughly and transfer to a large pasta bowl.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6



Southern Italian Pasta Fagioli

April 1, 2013

Southern Style Pasts FagioliSouthern Italian Pasta Fagioli

I love this lovely Italian soup because it’s hearty, but not too heavy.


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Chopped Carrot

1/2 Cup Chopped Celery

1/2 Cup Chopped Onion

4 Minced Garlic Cloves

5 Cups Water

4 Beef Bouillon Cubes

15 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes With Juice

3 Teaspoons Basil

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Cup Uncooked Ditalini Pasta

20 Ounce Can Undrained Kidney Beans

Extra Olive Oil For Garnish

1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Add the olive oil to a large size soup pot and heat over a medium heat for 1 minute.  Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic.  Cook for 12 minutes making sure to stir occasionally.  Add the water, beef bouillon, tomatoes (with juice), basil and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the pasta and turn the heat up to a medium high.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Stir frequently to ensure that your soup doesn’t stick.  Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and ladle into individual bowls.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.  Serves 6

Lamb With Apricots

March 30, 2013


“Easter Without Lamb Is A Thing That Cannot Be.” – Macedonia Proverb


3 Teaspoons Olive Oil

3 Pounds Boneless Leg of Lamb

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

3 Sliced Onions

1 1/4 Cups Red Wine

1 1/2 Cups Beef Broth

1 Cup Sliced Dried Apricots

Heat the olive oil in a large size Dutch oven over a medium high heat.  Sprinkle the lamb with the kosher salt and pepper.  Add the lamb to the pot and cook for 10 minutes until browned on all sides.  Remove the lamb from the pot and place onto a plate.  Add the onions to the pot and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add the wine, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the onions for 15 minutes.  Add the broth and then return the lamb to the pot.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours.  Add the sliced apricots and turn the lamb.  Place the lid back on and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from the Dutch oven and transfer the lamb to a platter.  Cover and keep warm.  Simmer the sauce until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups.  Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt or pepper if desired.  Slice the lamb, pour the sauce over the lamb and serve.  Serves 6

Caramel & Chocolate Pecan Bars

March 28, 2013

Caramel & Choc Bars 2Caramel & Chocolate Pecan Bars

Brown sugar, butter, pecans, coconut and chocolate are all baked into these unbelievably delicious bars!  They are great for holidays as well as every day.  If you are not a fan of coconut then feel free to leave the coconut layer out of this recipe.



2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

1 Cup Chopped Pecans

Caramel Layer:

2/3Cup Butter

1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar


1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut


2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 350º.  In a large size bowl combine the flour, brown sugar and softened butter for the crust.  Beat on a medium speed, with an electric mixer, until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.  Transfer to the bottom of a parchment paper lined 13×9 inch baking pan.  Press evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the unbaked crust.  Sprinkle the 1 cup of coconut evenly over the pecans.  Set aside.  In a medium size saucepan combine the 2/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Cook over a medium heat and bring to a boil.  Continue to cook for 1 more minute after bringing to a boil.  Make sure to stir constantly.  Remove from the heat and pour the caramel mixture evenly over the pecans, coconut and crust.  Place into the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.  Remember that every oven heats differently so make sure to check at 20 minutes.  The entire caramel layer should be bubbly, but make sure not to overbake.  Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.  Allow to slightly melt and then spread the melted chips over the bars.  Cook completely and then cut into bars.  Makes about 36 bars (depending on how large or small you cut the bars).

Apricot Pork Tenderloin

March 27, 2013

Apricot Pork TenderloinApricot Pork Tenderloin

Some people like to cook lamb for Easter and some people like to cook ham or pork tenderloin.  Here is such an easy recipe for pork tenderloin. The key to this dish is to brine the pork tenderloin before cooking.  It makes all of the difference in the world.


2 Large Pork Tenderloins

1 1/2 Cup Apricot Preserves

6 Minced Garlic Cloves

4 Teaspoons Of Either Ground Ginger Or Freshly Grated Ginger

3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Hot Water



8 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/4 Cup Kosher Salt


Remove the pork tenderloins from their packages and rinse.  Place into a large size, but shallow bowl. Pour the brine over the tenderloins and cover with plastic wrap.  Place into the fridge for 3 or more hours.  When you are ready to cook remove from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels.  Set aside.  Make the apricot sauce by combining the apricot preserves, minced garlic cloves, ginger, soy sauce and hot water into a medium size bowl.  Mix well with an electric mixer.  Place the tenderloins into a large parchment paper lined baking dish.  Preheat your oven to 400º F.  Pour the apricot sauce over the tenderloins and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Check for doneness at 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes.  Slice and transfer to a serving platter.  Serve warm.  Serves 6


NOTE:  Make sure the sugar and salt are well dissolved when making the brine.

Victoria’s Slow Roasted Salmon With Herb Oil

March 25, 2013

SalmonVictoria's Slow Roasted Salmon With Herb Oil

If you don’t want to make traditional gefilte fish then salmon is an excellent substitute and also delicious served at room temperature. I always try to purchase wild salmon at my local fishmonger.  During the week I buy my fish at Pescatore Seafood (Grand Central Market) in New York and Superior Seafood in Westport, CT when I am at my Connecticut house on the weekends.  This is truly an effortless dish that can be made for Passover or any day of the year for that matter.


Herb Oil:

1 Cup Fresh Snipped Cut Chives

1/4 Cup Snipped Fresh Dill

1/2 Cup Grapeseed Oil Plus 2 Tablespoons

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Jarred White Horseradish


1 Large Sliced Onion

2 Pounds Fresh Salmon Fillet

1/4 Cup Olive Oil Plus 3 Tablespoons

2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/2 Cup Fresh Dill Leaves

Preheat your oven to 250º F.  To make the herb oil combine the chives, dill, kosher salt and oil in a food processor or blender.  Process on high until roughly pureed.  Add two more tablespoons of the oil and process until nice and smooth.  Transfer into a medium size bowl and then stir in the horseradish.  Set aside.

Cut the salmon crosswise into 8 equal pieces.  Bring the salmon to room temperature.  Leave the skin on and remove any bones with a tweezer.  Grease a large, but shallow roasting pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Coat both sides of the salmon with 1/4 cup olive oil.  Coat well.  In a small size bowl combine the paprika, kosher salt and pepper.  Massage the spices into the fish.  Place the sliced onion pieces on the bottom of the roasting pan.  Place the salmon, skin side down, in the pan and scatter the fresh dill leaves on top.  Place the salmon into the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Depending on how done you like your salmon you can adjust cooking time to be shorter or longer.    Remove from the oven and remove the salmon skin.  Throw away the onion slices and dill.  Place the salmon pieces onto a serving platter and drizzle with some of the herb oil.  Place the leftover herb oil on the table for guests to add more if they like.  Serves 4



Sunday Morning Cinnamon Waffles

March 24, 2013

Sunday Morning Cinnamon Waffles

Spring is “officially” here and what better way to begin a beautiful Sunday morning than with my delicious Sunday Morning Cinnamon Waffles! Serve with butter & syrup.


1 3/4 Cup Unbleached Flour

5 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Eggs

1 3/4 Cups Milk

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

In a medium size bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and kosher salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.  In a separate medium sized bowl beat the eggs and then stir in the milk, oil and vanilla.  Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir just until moist.  Do not over mix.  The batter should be lumpy.  Pour some of the batter to a preheated and lightly greased waffle iron.  Close the lid quickly and do not open until done.  Read your waffle iron’s instruction booklet. When done remove with a fork and transfer to a serving platter.  Repeat with the remaining batter.  Serve warm.  Make 12 to 16 waffles

Corned Beef

March 17, 2013

Corned Beef

Growing up I adored Corned Beef & Cabbage and I still do today.  I don’t have a drop of Irish in me, but who cares!  Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day! You just may want to put your cardiologist on speed dial this weekend.


1 Three Pound Corned Beef

1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro

1 1/2 Cups Orange Marmalade

1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

Cabbage, Carrots, Turnips and Potatoes (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Put the corned beef into a large size soup pot and fill with water.  Place the bunch of cilantro into a large piece of cheesecloth.  Tie the cheesecloth with string and place the cilantro bundle into the water with the corned beef.  This keeps the cilantro from going all over the place. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to low.  Cover the pot with the lid halfway on the pot.  Simmer for 3 1/2 hours.  The corned beef should be fork tender.  In a small size bowl mix together the marmalade, mustard and sugar.  When the corned beef is finished cooking take it out of the pot.  If you are going to save the water for cooking the root vegetables then leave the cilantro bundle in the water. In a large size glass baking pan place the corned beef and pour the marmalade mixture all over it.  Make sure to coat completely.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes until the marmalade glaze is crisp and browned.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the vegetables of your choice.  Serves 6


Tip: If you are boiling carrots, potatoes, turnips and cabbage make sure to add the cabbage at the very end of cooking the other root vegetables.  Cabbage takes a lot less time to cook and you don’t want to end up with mushy cabbage. 

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