Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fill your life with recipes.

When someone says "get together", I say "food".  They go hand in hand.  

Food is love.  Food is comfort.  Food IS. 

This is my binder of goodness.  It started out with JUST recipes.  

Over time, it's become a history book. 

If someone brings a dish to a party - I have to have the recipe.  I've been collecting recipes since I can remember being able to use the stove.  

My first "handwritten" recipe was my grandma Farulla's FAMOUS, CAN ONLY MAKE IT ONCE A YEAR ON CHRISTMAS EVE, ALWAYS CRACKED IN THE MIDDLE........cheesecake.  Little did we know, it was from the Argo Cornstarch box. 

Sometimes, the best recipes are from your best friends mother.......carefully written out in CURSIVE, a lost art.  (I think she wrote this out in 1990ish) 
Theresa Martorana.......mother to Teresa Morales. 
These are DELICIOUS. 

She also wrote out THIS the 80's!!  I think we made these for EVERY GET TOGETHER.  Of course, being nerds, we had a LOT of food parties in high school. 

(Teresa, remember going out to eat at the Hollow wish Dee Dee Mock?  She refused to let the waitress take her fruit cup away - every meal started with a fruit cup - and at the end of the meal asked for it "TO GO". 

She was handed her fruit a paper bag.  

Remember when people used to write out recipes on RECIPE CARDS?  And have RECIPE BOXES?  

Here is a recipe from one of the high schoolers from SSCPS.  She made it for a party at school, I loved it, she wrote it out for me.  I'll always treasure it.  

Alisha Medieros!!  

The binder also houses all of the take out menus.  We RARELY get take out.  Thus, most of these are outdated - no longer in existence, changed hands.......

Here's a gem.  A Wilton Cake decorating book from the 70's!!  

Some friends share recipes that come with a THREAT.  

I love her for giving me her famous sauce recipe.  It's the BEST I'VE EVER HAD and my kids refuse to eat ANYTHING but hers.  If I could share it, you'd know why.  Killer. 

This is a recipe from 1975ish when my sister Jeanne was in middle school.  It's when it was POLITICALLY CORRECT to still have "Home Economics" and "Shop" class.  

It's a recipe for Peanutbutter Chocolate balls.  They are still a crowd pleaser. 

STOLEN from my mother's big red cookbook.  I want to say it's Betty Crocker.  The hand written recipe my mother's famous Linzter cookies (we call them butter cookies with jam)

Sometimes you get a recipe from Archie at Stop and Shop.  

A little artwork by David.  He used to LOVE to help me in the kitchen.  Now he loves to sit at the counter and "assist" me in the taste testing area.  I'll take it. 

WARNING!!  This is a lie.  These are NOT the Best Ever Butter Cookies! 
(it reminds me of the scene in ELF when he bursts through the door of the coffee shop and says "CONGRATULATIONS!!")

From my friend "Miss Val".  We used to spend HOURS on the phone discussing recipes.  I think this is pretty precise.  SMASH CAKE!!  

I think I got this recipe from a woman Ginny Donovan from Arbella.  

I guess it's excellent.  I THINK it's chocolate sheet cake. 

From 1993.  (see?  I keep EVERYTHING!) 

Poor Paula.  She really did have the BEST recipes.  
These are DELICIOUS.  (and I don't ever eat anything pumpkin flavored - only coffee)

One of the MANY MANY DELICIOUS recipes I've gotten from Jan Wilbur.  

This is the BEST banana bread.  

(I also have the BEST blueberry bread recipe from her, and the BEST BEST BEST EVER Zucchini Bread recipe!!)

I hope we passed in the homework!!  This is a scribbled recipe for excellent little appetizer that I got from Myles Dowling's mother at a party. You mix the ingredients and put them in a mini muffin tin.  Then you bake them.  I think.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA 

I guess this is a recipe for chicken. I'm not sure what KIND of chicken, but if it's from Anne Crowley, it must be good.  

Cod Fish Cakes from Olga Frederick.  I remember being on the phone with her while she told me the directions.  (I'm not sure what the boiled eggs and bananas are for - HAHAHAHAHA) 

I guess we were HARD AT WORK at Arbella - swapping recipes!!  

This are really great.  I think we added browned sausage at one point. 

(another Anne Crowley recipe)

When Laurie DiCroce tells you to use a recipe, you use it.  

And she wasn't kidding.  It's excellent.  

I love to cook.  I love to collect recipes. I love to try new things. 

My family, however, does not like it when I try new things.  (and think the best meatballs I've ever made were the ones I poured out of the bag from the frozen food section of Stop and Shop - so what do THEY KNOW!!) 

This is my cookbook collection (well, part of it.  The rest are in a rubbermaid in the basement) 

I hardly ever open them.  But I have to have them close.  
Before the's ALL I HAD! 

I love to collect church recipe books.  I love to sit and talk about recipes.  

Have one?  Send it to me!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Using up the stock!!

I felt so guilty yesterday.....after making a trip to the market to get stuff to cook with, that I went through my fridge and pantry to see what I could get rid of....WITHOUT A TRIP TO THE STORE. 

Of course, I turn on the TV......and there is my GIRL REE.....using up stock in her fridge and pantry.  I'M CHANNELING REE!!!  Or she's channeling me....omg....she's a stalker.  I KNEW IT!  

While I was digging, I found stuff I never knew I had.  Like, 400 muffin papers - for every holiday.  Enough sprinkles to make those 400 cupcakes really shine.  56 plug-ins.  (3 dogs!!)  THE GRAVY MASTER THAT I COULDN'T FIND AT THANKSGIVING!!!!  And a new bottle of Vanilla.  A HUGE one.  Thank you BJ'S!!  

I also had a half of a leftover roasted chicken from yesterday.  It was a SIDE DISH to the excellent 4 cheese Mac and Cheese.  I'm still thinking about it.  It was REALLY GOOD.  Trust me. Make it. 

SO, I did this: 

Spicy Chicken Corn and Potato Chowdah 

I always start with the Italian staples.  Onion and garlic. 


And lots of it.  I think I used 2 medium onions and 6 cloves of garlic.  I leave the skins on the garlic, smash them under a knife with my hand, then the skin peels away easily and I just rough chop it. 

I put them in a stock pot with some oil - I don't care WHAT you use.....olive oil (I don't like EVOO - I like good old fashioned THICK AND RICH regular olive oil), vegetable oil...butter....margarine.....and when they are a little done, I tossed in about 2 tablespoons of flour. 
Stir it around, let the flour "cook" for a bit.  

I "deglazed" the pan with my good old friend, Carlo Rossi.  He's a good friend.  He comes in white and red.  And he's cheap.  

Pour in about 1/2 cup and scrape the bottom of the pot.   

Then I added in 3 cups of milk.  I only had skim - use what you have.  


Then add whatever you have!!!  

I found these in the pantry.  I ALWAYS keep Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom soup on hand.  (Mixed with some white wine and butter, you get an instant sauce for pork or chicken. )

I'm not sure WHY I have the Mexican Style Corn.  I probably couldn't see the label and just picked it up because it was in the general CORN area.  Oy.  It's really good though.  A little spicy.  But not TOO spicy.  Just-right spicy.  Enough with the spicy. 

I added one can of each. 

I also added 3 diced potatoes.  Because what can a family of 7 do with 3 potatoes?  Except for wait for them to go bad and toss them out. So, in they went. 

This was a leftover breast from the chicken. I wait until it's COMPLETELY cool to cut it off the carcass. (Carcass sounds so COUNTRY!!)  Just follow the bone.  (I also used some of the dark meat - because we all KNOW.......


The dried spice drawer.  I used to keep it super organized by sweet/savory spices.  But I found, it's like trying to keep the toilet seat down. Just does't happen. 

I added some crushed red pepper.  Some dry mustard.  Some dried thyme. 

I don't have measurements.  You only have to measure when you bake. I promise. 

And, the phone is still here.  BD says "we MIGHT need it one day".  When I try to use the same argument about my 100's of glass containers in the basement, it doesn't fly. But it's ok for the STUPID PHONE TO STAY.  Nonsense. 

I tasted it, and added a little more dried red pepper flake.  

AND, this is what it looks like UP CLOSE.  If you get close enough to the screen, you can smell it.  Go ahead.  Try. 

Waiting for the soup to be done is EXHAUSTING for some people.  

Unfortunately for him, the kids are downstairs eating the soup.  No they aren't.  They won't touch it.  I'll have to give it away.  Of course, the cookies from yesterday are most likely ALL GONE. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cookies and Cheese!'s been a while.  I'm 40 lbs heavier.....but IT'S NOT MY FAULT.  It's The Pioneer Woman's fault.  WHY??

I get up on Saturday mornings and put on the TV.  And there she is.  In all of her lodge-y, ranch-y, deep-fry-everything greatness.  Ree, the goddess of the cast iron world. If she makes it, I have to try it.  Have to. 

So, today, after a QUICK trip to the Coach store, it was a stop at the supermarket for a few items.  Because GOD FORBID I use any of the stock I have in my pantry.  I just keep buying and buying and buying.  One day, I'll find a use for the 5 lbs of almonds and 18 boxes of pudding.  (it was on sale, they practically PAID me to take it out of the store) 

First up, cookies.  Ree made some "slice and bake" cookies that had Nutella in them.  I didn't have Nutella and I wasn't going back to the store. I'm tired of catching shoplifters.  SO, I took a few different recipes, put them together and came up with this: 

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies with cinnamon chips
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies with cinnamon chips, chocolate chips and walnuts. 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (sound like a lot, but it's good!!)
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup oats (I used Foof's organic oats, it's all we had)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or reg salt, but a little less)
  • 1 bag of cinnamon chips (hard to find, but Hannaford has them!!)

This is the dough!  

I used my trusty cookie scoop 
(which the girl at Sur la Tab tried to say was an ICE CREAM SCOOP....I said "for who?  A barbie?"

Bake at 350 for about 10 min.  

After scooping out about 2 dozen, I put the bowl BACK on the mixer and added more deliciousness!! 
(see below, about 2 pictures down)

These are my fave measuring spoons.  Upside down.  And I can't rotate them.
I got them at "Spoiled Rotten" in Ogunquit, ME.

Can we PLEASE, for the love of all this is holy, THROW AWAY THE OLD PHONE?!??! 

Everyone needs a GIANT BAG of chocolate chips.  I think it's 4 lbs. 
 I added a cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the dough that was remaining. 

It got REALLY thick.  Like, my mixer now needs a muscle relaxer, thick. 

The remaining dough made 3 dozen more cookies. 

You know why I love parchment paper so much? 
(and I only buy it on sale)

Because you can WHIP it off the cookie sheet and get another batch going. 

I was like a sweatshop for cookies.  

While those were cooking, I started on THIS: 

4 Cheese - Mac and Cheese! 
(Pioneer Woman's Recipe) 

1 pound elbow macaroni


1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/2 cup grated fontina

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (chèvre)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup grated Romano

Freshly ground black pepper

Minced fresh parsley, as needed

Read more at:

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions in lightly salted water, leaning toward the al dente side. Do not overcook!

Put the cream, butter and garlic clove into a Dutch oven and heat on the stove over low heat. When the cream is hot, add the fontina, goat cheese, Parmesan and Romano.

Drain the macaroni (reserving some of the cooking water if needed) and add it to the pot. Stir gently to combine, adding hot macaroni water as needed for consistency. Don't overmix; if there are little clumps of cheese here and there, it's fine! Taste and add about 1/2 teaspoon salt if needed. Add some pepper and minced parsley and stir. Serve immediately.

I didn't take a picture of the Parm and Romano before I grated them....and if you don't know what they look like, you shouldn't be in the kitchen.  

And the entire kitchen smelled like feet.  Greg didn't believe me that it was the cheese.  He had to check for himself. 


(I wanted to SKIP the Goat Cheese, Greg said "If you're going to make it, make it the way it says to make it.  If we hate it, we'll change it for next time.  Smart little Bastid, he is.)

My helper in the kitchen, with a mouth full of whipped cream. 

Now....we will crumble them and put them in ICE CREAM SUNDAES!!  
(If there's any whipped cream left!!)