Tag: food blogger

Chicken and Sausage Ricotta Parmesan!

Even during busy weeks I cook delicious meals for my family by keeping the ingredients simple! We have had chili the last two weeks, once per week, because it is easy and I can throw it together and let it cook while I’m working.

I always have ricotta and parmesan cheeses in my refrigerator, what a great combination. So the possibilities begin with, I can make a lasagna, manicotti… This time I wanted to try layers of our favorite flavors!


Brady wanted chicken and Bella wanted sausage. Brady has always loved Italian sausage, but since we have run out of the Signorino family sausage stash, he won’t eat the bought stuff. Spoiled?

I decided to make a layered dinner with chicken, sausage, ricotta, tomatoes, and basil. Only a salad on the side. It was delicious! I used my traditional breading, panko breadcrumbs, parmigiano reggiano, herbs, salt and pepper. Its perfect! Here is the recipe…


Chicken and Sausage Ricotta Parmesan
1-1/2 lb. thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano + fresh grated for topping
1 tbsp. basil, finely chopped or dry 1-1/2 tbsp.
1 tbsp. garlic olive oil
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh diced tomatoes, or roasted tomatoes
Parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a pie plate, mix Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, salt/pepper and chopped basil.
Rinse and dry chicken breasts.
Dip into egg, and coat with breadcrumb mixture.
Meanwhile, remove sausage from casing and brown and drain.
Using the same pan, brown breaded chicken breasts until golden and almost cooked through.
Top chicken breasts with a layer of ricotta, sausage, and tomatoes.
Bake for 6-10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees.
Remove and top with fresh grated parmesan and parsley.




I am happy to be representing Parmigiano Reggiano from Parma, Italy as their US Ambassador. Remember, Parmigiano Reggiano is the only parmesan = )

Red Wine – Braised Beef and Porcini Mushrooms over Rice Noodles

Slow braising beef gives you the opportunity to add so much flavor to the meat, not to mention the drippings that are perfect for a gravy/sauce base. This time of year, when comfort is king, the slow-braise cooking technique is used for many pulled meat dishes, short ribs, and of course hearty stews.


The top round cut, sometimes labeled London Broil, goes through an interesting process where the meat can be grilled, or quickly seared on high heat to have a rare middle. The seared beef is usually thinly sliced and served. So when the same meat is cooked longer, it goes through a period of being very tough and then the tension loosens and the meat gets tender and falls apart. I will warn you, cooking it longer will result in really dry, tough meat. Finding the meat’s sweet spot isn’t hard, it just takes some careful attention for the last hour.




This dish is an asian fusion of traditional comfort food. The rice noodles add a base for the meat to be topped, and
the dried porcini mushrooms come to life as if they were meant for the red wine, beef broth. I added sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions to finish the dish. Here is the recipe…



Red Wine-Braised Beef with Porcini Mushrooms over Rice Noodles
1 3lb. top round roast (sometimes labeled london broil)
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups beef broth
1-1/2 cups dry red wine, I used a cabernet sauvignon
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 medium onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
3 tbsp. cornstarch, for thickening sauce
14-16oz. dried rice noodles
sliced scallion
sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a pan.
Salt/pepper the meat.
Sear on all sides at high heat until browned.
Deglaze with a splash of wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.
Add the rest of the wine, broth, tomato paste, onion, garlic, and cinnamon.
Cover and cook for 1-1/2-2 hours until the roast registers 180 degrees or is at the sweet spot.
Remove and drain liquid into a stock pot, thicken with cornstarch, water method.
Add mushrooms and cook for 20 minutes until rehydrated.
Place roast on a cutting board and slice, it will basically fall apart.
Add boiling water to the rice noodles, according to package.
Strain and serve on a plate, topped with the meat, sliced scallions, and sesame seeds.


Enjoy! Ciao!

Spicy Roasted Eggplant Linguini!

I always make Eggplant Parmesan when I have an eggplant. Lately, I have been roasting eggplant and squash in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper, it is delicious!


These roasted vegetables can be ingredients or stand alone as a side dish! In this pasta dish, the roasted eggplant is garnished with red pepper flakes, oregano and Basil, fresh tomatoes, and of course the fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano.



Adding the red pepper flakes to the pasta dish adds a new layer of flavor without being overwhelmingly spicy. Here is the recipe…




Spicy Roasted Eggplant Linguini
(Serves 4)
1 large Eggplant
2 tbsp. Olive oil +1/4 cup
1 tsp. Oregano
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, wedged
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. Fresh basil, finely chopped plus some for topping
1 lb. linguini, fresh or dry
Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh grated

Preheat oven 425degrees.
Slice Eggplant and place in a single layer on an inset cookie sheet.
Salt/pepper and let sit for 20 minutes.
Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes until softened and starts to brown.
Meanwhile, sautéed garlic and onion in a pan with olive oil.
Add tomatoes, Basil, pepper flakes and oregano. Let it bubble until it thickens.
Remove Eggplant and continue to simmer 10 minutes.
Being a pot of water to boil, cook pastas until al dente and drain.
Add 1/4c cup pasta water and incorporate pasta into pan with the sauce.
Top with red pepper flakes, Basil, parsley, and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano.



Remember, always use fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, the only real Parmesan cheese from Parma, Italy.

Parmesan Princess is a proud US Ambassador Parmigiano Reggiano.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Chili Garlic Dip !

Sometimes the naming game is half the battle. Take this dish for example. Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Chili Garlic Dip was the final decision, but really the shrimp are chili, too. How much of the ingredients of a dish should be in the title? Is it going to be a surprise that I also roasted corn off of the cob and served it all over rice? With over two years of blogging recipes, there is still so much more to learn!



Shrimp have been on my brain all week! I wanted to do shrimp tacos for taco tuesday, but the kids wanted “meat” tacos so we did steak. And today, as the ruler of my castle, decided to tell my kids they are eating what I make. I should mention now they ate it all… and seconds. #Winning!


I love to do a citrus flavor and it always ends up with a cumin, chili powder, garlic salt blast on something. You know, because logically those three ingredients totally complement lime. Just something I’ve picked up with my obsession with these spices.





It is easy to overcook the shrimp in this dish because they are coated. Look for the pink and meat to turn white instead of translucent. There is nothing worse than a succulent shrimp dish that lost all of its succulency….Well, you know what I mean.

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Can we talk about this dip? Chili Garlic Dip from Oil & Vinegar is actually the finest form of a Thai Chili Sauce I have ever had! Try it, Buy it, it is amazing. Last night I made bacon wrapped chicken and we also dressed those with this delicious sauce. The cooking TV show I co-host Between The Eats partners with Oil & Vinegar, check out some other fun products we have used in fabulous dishes!

Here it is…

Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Garlic Chili Sauce

2 lbs. unpeeled, raw shrimp
6 cups of your favorite rice, prepared or uncooked
3 ears corn on the cob, cut off the cob
2 tbsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt
black pepper
2 limes
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 Jar Chili Garlic Dip, or your favorite spicy dipping sauce


Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact.
In a small mixing bowl, blend chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, and pepper together.
Place shrimp in a large bowl and coat with spice mixture.
Begin cooking rice according to package.
Heat olive oil in a large pan.
Add 1/2 shrimp, be sure not to overcrowd or overlap. I did 2 batches.
Squeeze 1/2 lime over shrimp.
Cook 3-4 minutes and flip for 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and start to curl up.
Remove from heat and add second batch. Squeeze other 1/2 lime. Repeat cook. Place shrimp on a plate.
Meanwhile, add corn to the pan with all of the seasoning drippings and goodness in the bottom of the pan.
Roast until slightly browned and softened. Try one, should have a pop but be tender.
Remove corn from the pan and place into a bowl.
Add rice to pan, top with shrimp, 3/4 chopped cilantro and 1/2 lime juice.
Serve with corn and a scoop of chili garlic dip!

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Quick and Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls!

Cinnamon Rolls just look like they are hard to make. Their perfect cinnamon swirl twisting evenly inside the layers. Their golden brown finish teetering on the line of over and undercooked.


The best is the sweet cinnamon aroma that fills the house for days. Baking bonus!



I have mentioned many times, I am not a baker but I am always upping my baking game. This recipe uses a simple, no yeast sweet dough recipe that yields the most quick and easy homemade cinnamon rolls you’ve ever made.


There has to be a trick? Make sure your knife is sharp when you slice the rolls. Isabella used a kids butter knife on her batch and they smushed into cinnamon roll globs.


Here is the recipe…


Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups flour
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. butter
1/2-1 cup milk

1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. pecans, crushed
4 tbsp. butter


In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, and baking soda and set aside.
Mix in butter and then milk with hands until incorporated and a dough forms.
Flour and roll out into a rectangle or oblong shape.
Spread filling onto the dough.
Roll the dough and cut into slices with a share knife.
Add rolled dough slices to a greased pan.
Bake 325 degrees 17-20 minutes or until golden brown.





Fig Recipes!

‘Tis the season!  

Fresh figs are out in full force in Pittsburgh.  A little early this year -usually they are peaking around mid-September. My favorite annual fig recipe is no recipe at all just fresh figs halved and drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar.  With this year’s batch, I made a few quick and easy recipes that anyone can enjoy!


Fig & Prosciutto Salad with Aged Gouda and a Garlic Honey Vinaigrette

3 cups baby greens /arugula mix, or your favorite salad base
6 slices prosciutto
2 Fresh Figs, sliced
2 tbsp. Beemster XO cheese ribbons, or grated

For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup olive oil

Vinaigrette Directions:
Combine all in a sealable container, shake until well blended.

For the salad, build with greens base.
I like to roll the prosciutto (it kind of looks like flowers!) and place into the greens.
Add cheese ribbons and fig slices.
Drizzle with vinaigrette.



Spiced Fig French Toast
8 thick slices Italian bread
4 eggs
1/4 cup heavy creme
3 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tbsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
butter to coat the pan
fig spread or fig jam
maple syrup

Mix eggs and cream until pale yellow.
Add all other ingredients and mix well.
In a pie dish, soak each side of the bread.
Heat butter in your largest pan.
Add bread slices, 2-3 at a time being sure not to crowd the pan.
Flip when the side is brown.
Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon.
Smear fig spread.
Pour warm maple syrup.



Prosciutto Ricotta Flatbread with Fresh Figs

Prepared Flatbread or pizza shell
3 tbsp. Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 slices of prosciutto
1 cup ricotta
2 fresh figs sliced
1 cup arugula
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Layer starting with brushed olive oil and garlic.
Add prosciutto slices and spoon ricotta.
Top with sliced figs and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake 425 degrees on a pizza stone until shell is golden and cheeses are melted.
Finish by sprinkling arugula and more fresh grated Parmesan cheese.



Toasted Pecan Honey Figs over Ice Cream
1 fig sliced
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Sugar
2 tbsp. Fig spread
2 tbsp. Honey
Few pecans
Vanilla ice cream

On a parchment covered cookie sheet, place fig slices and pecans in a single layer.
Warm honey and fig spread in a small saucepan.
Drizzle pecans and figs with honey mixture.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake 350 degrees until figs soften, 5-8 minutes.
Top ice cream with all, drizzle additional warmed honey.


Other recipe suggestions:
Simple Fig Toasts- fig spread, topped with your favorite cheese, meat, and sliced figs

Fig muffins/bread – sub fig for Banana or strawberries

Prosciutto Wrapped and Drizzled Figs


Sweet Peaches Pittsburgh!

Sunday Brunch has become a popular competitive sport in Pittsburgh and it is fun for the spectators, or tasters in this case. Possibly going hand in hand with Pittsburgh’s rise to the top of the “foodie” chain, brunches have popped up in restaurants like Root 174, and most recently at Market Square’s Revel and Roost. Local food critics, magazines, and bloggers are putting out their lists for “brunch picks” because it is what people want to know! Robert Miles Downtown Concierge posts his brunch picks on Twitter and here is Good Food Pittsburgh’s brunch list!

A function of supply and demand, Pittsburghers are demanding unique menu items, Bloody Mary bars, and enough Brunch options to land a reservation. Never a breakfast eater, I am now
in love with brunch so thank you Pittsburgh for opening my eyes.

Bacon Bloody Mary @ Bakn!

I ended up at the sweetest spot in Allentown, Sweet Peaches, a few Sundays ago and it was so delish I had to share!


Known for spectacular catering, Bek Hlavach’s Sweet Peaches utilizes creative takes on seasonal local ingredients to wow the city’s event goers palates. Having driven by the charming reataurant in Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood, I knew I had to visit!

I had trouble deciding…

I love a fruit plate! And the coffee though…

Of course I ordered the “Brandy Peach” French Toast! When in Rome…



Obviously I hated it 😉

Happy to have found the sweetest spot! Brunch with Sweet Peaches soon, Pittsburgh!

Sweet Peaches
639 E. Warrington Ave.
Allentown, PA
412-219-3121 https://www.facebook.com/eatsweetpeaches

Sausage Gnocchi With Arugula!

Potato pillows that melt in your mouth, homemade Italian deliciousness…yep, gnocchi.  Instead of a traditional tomato sauce, I love to try new flavor combinations with gnocchi because they are a blank slate!  There are plenty of delicious fresh gnocchi, or frozen fresh options if you don’t make your own. I like to freeze my gnocchi, ravioli, and cavatelli, for a rainy day.  It is my opinion that these types of homemade pasta cook better from frozen.  This meal took under 20 minutes!  Win!
I received the most perfect pork sausage from the meat CSA at Big Horn Ranch and tossed it with the gnocchi, spicy oregano, red pepper flakes, and the crunch bite of arugula. Dressed with olive oil, a little goes a long way, coating each bite.  The sausage had very little fat, but sorry fat haters, fat is flavor. A reasonable amount is fine! The kids loooooved this recipe and had seconds and thirds.  I happened to have arugula handy, feel free to sub kale or spinach!


Sausage Gnocchi With Arugula

1 lb. pork sausage, Italian sausage out of casing
1 lb. potato gnocchi, homemade or frozen
2 tbsp. garlic olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt/pepper to taste
2 tbsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. oregano
fresh gated parmesan cheese
Cook sausage and garlic in a large pan while chopping and crumbling with a spoon, until browned.
Drain fat. (I was lucky and had no more than 1/2 tsp. of fat so I left it in for flavor.
Meanwhile, boil a pot of water add salt and cook gnocchi until they float.
Drain, save 2 tbsp. pasta water.
Add olive oil, sausage, and arugula to the large pan and toss to coat.
Salt/pepper to taste.
Sprinkle with oregano and crushed red pepper.
Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Twice Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes!

Instead of another potato casserole on your Thanksgiving table, try these adorable twice baked potatoes. With all of the sweetness of your favorite candied potatoes, these potatoes are sooooo delicious! Top each one with marshmallows, pom arils, cherries, pecans….or any combination! Do you have a guest who doesn’t like pecans? Give him/her a special potato with double marshmallows!


Here is the recipe–>

Twice Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes
(makes 4 potatoes)

4 Whole sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 tbsp. melted butter + 4 thin pats butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar + a little to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup dark/maraschino cherries or I used pomegranate arils
1/4 cup marshmallows
Optional Pecans for topping


Bake whole sweet potatoes at 375 degrees for 1-1/2 hours until softened.

Slice the top of the potatoes and scoop out potato.


Put all potato in a large mixing bowl and add melted butter, cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar.

Spoon potato mixture back into skins.


Top with butter pat, sprinkle brown sugar, and add toppings- cherries, pomegranate arils, marshmallows, pecans.


Bake another 15-18 minutes until marshmallows start to brown.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Potato Soup!

I am convinced that sometimes we want things only because we can’t have them! I made this creamy and delicious soup last week for Meatless Monday, and all I could think about was adding bacon. Crispy delicious totally crunchy bacon bits were on my mind. Hearty, creamy, and full of your favorite vegetables, this soup is a meal! Think loaded baked potato and add some fun toppings like chives, shredded cheese, sour cream, even chili. Serve with your favorite crusty bread and Enjoy!



Potato Soup
makes approx. 2 quarts

4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable stock
4 tbsp. Butter, sliced into tbsp.
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp. Flour
1 cup heavy cream
Salt/pepper to taste
(Optional- 1/2 lb. bacon/pancetta, finely chopped and cooked until crunchy)

In a large stock pot, add potatoes, carrots, and celery. Fill 4 cups water or to top of vegetables and heat.
Cook in water until tender.
Remove vegetables and set aside.
Add onion and butter to pot and cook until the onions are translucent, add stock.
Stir in flour and Parmesan cheese.
Add heavy cream, little by little, while stirring.
Bring to a boil to thicken, and add vegetables.
Add more vegetable stock until desired consistency.
Salt/pepper to taste

Top with bacon, shredded cheese, any of your favorite baked potato topping would be delicious!