Thursday, September 1, 2011


I'm a busy woman.  I have my own photography business that has taken off like wild fire...I have 5 kids.  Yes, they are mostly grown, but they still keep me hoppin.

And I love to cook.  But I don't love to bake.  UGH.

And I love a short cut...anything that will get the dinner to the table faster. So when I make Pizza, I buy a prepared pizza crust mix.  and while I generally hate Walmart, they DO have a great pizza crust mix.  It's the Great Value brand, and it's in the aisle with the tomato sauce, pasta, Boboli pizza crusts.  It comes in a package and it cost $.47 a piece.  can't beat that!

So this is 2 packages of crust mix, with 1 cup of VERY hot water, to activate the yeast. Mix with a fork, set it out on a lightly floured surface and let it rest a minute. Then I knead it for about 2 minutes.

Stretch it out on a round pizza pan. I don't know what size pan it is...just a "normal" sized pizza pan, sprayed with a little nonstick spray.

So my first pizza is a baked potato pizza, with bacon and green onion. Yes, POTATO. Trust me, if you are a carb lover like I am, you'll love this. So I baked about 3 medium sized potatoes in the microwave, cooked up 1 lb of bacon till crisp. the REAL stuff, none of that fake turkey crap. Real bacon, If you're gonna eat it, then eat the good stuff, ya know?

So I take some ranch salad dressing as my "sauce". Spread that on the crust and add some shredded cheese. Any kind of cheese you have on hand, doesn't really matter. cheese is cheese!!!!! This was a very sharp cheddar.

slice up the potatoes and place on the crust. I like to add some salt and pepper at this time.

top with your crisp bacon and chopped green onion and bake. simple as that!

The next pizza is just a plain old veggie pizza. I used zucchini, tomatoes, purple onion, and a can of artichoke hearts. If I have some fresh mushrooms, I add those too, or even a can of mushrooms. Frozen chopped spinach is good too, thawed and all the water squeezed out.

this time my sauce is a small amount of ranch and a whole heck of a lot of bottled pesto! Classico makes a great one.

Top with some thinly sliced zucchini.

add your fresh sliced tomatoes. I slice mine and let them sit on a couple of paper towels, to help absorb the juice, so the crust doesn't get soggy. Add the chopped onion, and the drained can of artichoke hearts. YUM.

This is the baked potato pizza. believe me, this doesn't last 5 minutes in my house. we are some major carb lovers around here.

This is the veggie. Simple and easy to make and very filling. You can add a simple salad on the side, and a nice homemade Dego Red....good stuff.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chicken tortelini soup

It's been rainy today....a little chilly..(low 70"s!) so I wanted some soup, and this is what I came up with.

sorry, no pics of every step. forgot to take them!

4-5 frozen chicken thighs
1 medium vidalia onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bags of frozen tortellini (my bags were 19ozs)
4-5 carrots, chopped small
1 small bunch of kale, chopped sort of fine
2 32 oz containers of chicken broth
3 cups of water
salt and pepper

So I put the chicken thighs, chopped onion and garlic, carrots and the chicken broth in a big pot. Bring it to a boil, and cook the chicken. take the chicken out and chop it into bite sized pieces. add the frozen tortellini and the kale. simmer on a low heat until the tortellini is heated through and the kale is wilted. You don't want the tortellinis to fall apart in a rolling boil.

and that's all there is to it! Easy!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Italian Greens

Today we're making Italian Greens.

Now, it seems like every Italian has their own special way of making greens. I make mine the way my aunt Vera made hers, and her mother before her. When my Grandfather and his mother came to America, they didn't bring much with them. But Josephina DID have lots of recipes in her head and her chickens....and you can do alot with those 2 things, right?

So, of course, since it's ME cooking, we start with garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. I think this was about 6 cloves. Smashed, and minced, and then thrown into a hot skillet with some olive oil. saute till fragrant...and if you cook with garlic, you know what I mean by FRAGRANT! Again, don't burn it.

On to the Green part of the equation. Escarole. plain and simple. Lettuce. yup, lettuce. This was a HUGE head of escarole...probably 1 1/2 lbs. Put some cold water in your clean sink...chop the escarole up and throw it in the water. Swish it around a bit and let it sit. All the dirt and crud will fall to the bottom and you'll have nice clean greens. I forgot to do this one time with Kale...chopped it up, added it to my pasta and went to town eating it..only I couldn't really eat it cuz it was like someone sprinkled sand on my food instead of salt. gritty and horrible! So this is a necessary step.

So when you've sauteed your garlic for a bit...not burning it!...throw in your greens. This was a big load, so I had to add them in 2 batches, letting the first batch wilt down some. stir them around a bit...put a cover on them to help them wilt down. The water from the greens will steam them.

This is after probably 10-15 mins. sorry Im not more precise. Guess I need to learn to be that way...let them cook on a low heat till wilted and soft. I don't like my greens "slimy" or "mushy"...I like them to have some "bite" to them. I cooked these about 15 mins more while I cooked some pasta. I tasted them...added some S&P to taste...but they were a little bitter. So I added about a tablespoon of vinegar. All I had was white vinegar, so I threw that in there...stirring and letting it cook for a few minutes more. The vinegar did the trick. Some chemist could probably tell why that is...a chemist I aint. I don't know why it works,..I just know it works. Don't question it. :)

This is how I served mine today...over some hot pasta. I didn't have any Parmesan cheese...THE HORRORS OF IT ALL! I threw in a couple spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, adding the greens on top. YUM! But the way we usually eat greens? in a bowl with slices of warm Italian bread. Drizzle a little more GOOD Olive oil over the top..maybe a sprinkle of husband loves greens with hot peppers in them too, so we do that alot. But the bread is a must, to sop up all the goodness in the bottom of the bowl. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

hoppin poppin black bean salad

what do we have today? a couple cans of black beans..any brand, doesn't matter, a purple onion, a couple of jalapenos, a big bunch of fresh cilantro, and a couple of limes, and some extra virgin olive oil.

So you wanna open the beans and drain them in a colander. rinse them with real good with water. You don't want any of the "juice" that they came want nice, clean, individual beans. Throw them in a bowl.

Now in my house, we like hot and spicy. hot and spicy anything, really, so I usually put 2 jalapenos or one large jalapeno. Chop it up real fine. I use the seeds and all. If you don't like that much heat, then discard the seeds.

Do the same with the purple onion. use your own judgement on the onion too. If it's a really large onion, just use half. I don't really measure anything, as you'll soon find out! sorry. :/

mmm, cilantro. How I love you cilantro. Again, if it's a LARGE bunch of cilantro, just use half. I used half a bunch here. I tear off the tops. Yes, you still get some stems in there, but I chop those up as well. I just don't use the whole long stems. chop it up fine.

mmm, lime. I LOVE lime. wayyy more than lemon. So here I used 2 large limes, cuz I think the more lime, the better. So roll the lime first to help loosen up the juices, then cut in half and ream that sucker. I juice it right over the bowl of beans.

So you add the jalapeno, onion, cilantro and lime juice to the bowl of beans. Add some salt & pepper. Then drizzle in some olive oil...maybe 1/4 of a cup? again, no measuring. sorry!

Mix it all up together and refrigerate to help marry all the flavors. Tho to be honest, mine never really makes it to the fridge...we eat it right away!

This is the way I eat it most of the a bowl, topped with chopped avocado and some wheat crackers. But you can do lots with's great on a salsa over chicken breasts, squeezed with even more lime...the possibilities are endless!

And I need to give credit where credit is due. This original recipe came from my friend, Christo, a chef in NYC. His had red wine vinegar instead of lime, dried oregano instead of cilantro and no jalapeno. Just as good, believe me. We probably eat this at least once a week, as we're trying to cut down on our meat consumption.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bowties w/ spinach's our ingredients. a box of bowtie pasta, some garlic, and onion (we'll only use half of this big sucker), 2 containers of heavy cream, and a bag of fresh baby spinach, and 2 bags of fresh frozen shrimp.

So, put the water on to boil for the pasta. in the meantime, you chop the onion.

I make everything in my iron skillet, so add some olive oil to the skillet

add the chopped onion to the skillet.

Then we come to my favorite part...THE GARLIC!!!! I lovelovelove fresh garlic, and put garlic in almost everything I cook. so I think we have 8 cloves of garlic here. smash em with a knife to get the skins off...the chop chop chop it all up.

add the chopped garlic to the onion in the skillet, and saute till soft and the onions are translucent.

I but frozen shrimp. Not gonna get the really fresh stuff in OHIO, so we go the frozen route. I put the shrimp in a bowl of cool water to thaw out.

These still have the shells on, so pull that stuff off.

Water is boiling, so add your box of pasta. salt the water now want ocean water to cook the pasta in...its the only chance you get to really season the pasta itself.

So back to the skillet....the onions are soft and the garlic is soft...DON'T BURN THE GARLIC!!! or you'll have to throw it all out and wash the skillet and start from scratch. Add the shrimp to the onions and garlic.

Add both cartons of heavy cream to the skillet.

it doesn't take the shrimp long to cook..minutes really. Once the shrimp turn pink, they're done. But you want to bring the heavy cream to a boil to let it thicken some....

Now you can add the whole bag of fresh spinach to the skillet too. really, you should probably have TWO bags of spinach, cuz once it cooks down, there's hardly any spinach at all.

Drain the pasta when it's almost done. you want a little "bite" to the pasta, cuz it will cook a little bit more when you add the cream and shrimp.

Add all of the cream, shrimp and spinach to the pasta and stir to combine.

then you're gonna add a butt load of fresh Parmesan. This is what I think really makes the dish SING! and it helps to thicken the sauce.

dish it up, add a little more fresh parm to the top and enjoy!!!

This will feed my my husband and 3 teenage boys, with no leftovers. I could easily cook 2 lbs of pasta. This is such an easy recipe to double or triple. and it's great as leftovers too.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I made the mistake of watching Oprah.

I tried going Vegan.  and it worked for about 3 weeks. 

But I really missed cheese.  Not the meat so much, tho bacon called my name plenty of times!  But cheese?  I missed it.

So while I won't eat meat as often as I once did, I will be eating cheese.  and eggs...and cream...and milk...and all those other good melty things I love so much.

Food is coming soon.