Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Peppermint Fudge

        Remember when you were in grade school and time went by so slowly? Christmas break and summer vacation seemed to go on forever!  Well, not anymore, folks!  Christmas is almost here!!!  I can hardly believe there's only about a week left until the big day!

    The tree is up and the house is decorated, but the real baking has yet to begin.  I've just started with a couple of candy treats.  My well-loved, Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, have already made their way back home with our oldest son, visiting from Seattle.  More are to be made and, hopefully, sent off to another son in Sarasota.

    Now, I've shared with you my family's love of anything containing peanut butter and chocolate, but ........have I mentioned that I also have a bit of "a thing" for the combination of chocolate and mint??  So, you'll understand my desire to share this rich and yummy Holiday Peppermint Fudge!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

    Ok......back from a little vacation in Florida.......just in time to share a side dish with you that is worthy of your Thanksgiving table!  Who doesn't love twice-baked potatoes?? But, have you ever tried the idea with sweet potatoes?  Delicious!!  This is a simple variation of a recipe in Ina Garten's newest cookbook "Make It Ahead".  The Fontina cheese is my yummy twist.....next time, I think I'll sprinkle on some crispy, sauteed pancetta!  You have to try this recipe!  ( And, I'd love to hear your feedback!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Meatloaf Brasciole

    O.k..........it's been a long time since I've posted a meat recipe on the blog and I'm just a little excited to share this one.  It's definitely not your typical, boring meatloaf recipe!  "Brasciole" are, basically, thin slices of meat rolled around a filling and cooked with or without tomato sauce/wine. There can be many different variations, and you may sometimes see them referred to as "Involtini".

    As a child, I loved my gramma's version!  She baked hers on skewers and served them along with tomato sauce, but not in the sauce; they were delicious!!  My kids grew up enjoying the same recipe! (Note to self.....share gramma's brasciole recipe on the blog in the future!)  I've  made variations that are also delicious.

    So, what is "Meatloaf Brasciole", you ask?  Well, you mix several yummy ingredients together to make the meatloaf base and, then, you layer on a few more yummy ingredients, roll the whole thing up into this delicious loaf and, there you have it........meatloaf, all dressed up, Italian-style!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Parmigiana Bianca ("White" Parmigiana)

    I think I've shared my love of eggplant before.  Besides being hearty and delicious, you can do so many different things with it!  And....because I love it, it makes a pretty regular appearance on our dinner table in various forms.  Two of my favorites are Eggplant Parmesan Stacks and Caponata.  You definitely will want to give those recipes a try!

    All over southern Italy, the name "parmigiana" refers to a dish of vegetables layered with tomato sauce and cheese and baked in the oven.  Now, for those of you who have an aversion to the "red sauce", typically used in these dishes, this is the recipe for you!  It has no tomatoes, but all the meaty eggplant and gooey cheese you'd expect from an eggplant parmesan! Serve it with a nice salad and a crusty loaf of bread and you've got a great dinner!  Or, it would also make a nice vegetable side dish to serve alongside some grilled meat.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Peas and Prosciutto

    Here's a simple and delicious side dish to add to your recipe box.  AND........you can have it ready in about 15-20 minutes!  The saltiness of the prosciutto adds a nice contrast to the otherwise mellow peas.  This dish is great to add to a mid-week meal, when you might not have a lot of time, but  goes equally well on a holiday table with all of the other "special" foods.

Friday, September 26, 2014

White Chocolate and Banana Cake w/ White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    Is it just me, or does banana eating go in spurts?  It seems that, when I only buy a few of them, they're gone in a day or two and everybody's looking for more.  I can't seem to keep them in the house.  Then, all of a sudden, just when I think I've got a handle on the whole "supply and demand" thing, I have bananas turning speckled and black left and right!  What is going on?  

    I recently found myself in this predicament and decided to use it to my advantage.  Banana cake it would be.  But, not just any banana cake.  A White Chocolate Banana Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Celery and Chickpea Salad w/ Dried Cranberries, Roasted Almonds, and Parmesan Dressing

    O.k....so summer is gone, the kids are back in school, and fall is just about upon us.  Let's enjoy a light and delicious salad before we start to think about all those warm and comforting, cold weather dishes, shall we?

     I really do love salads. I mean.....a salad can be anything you want it to be!   There are soooo many options!  

Monday, July 14, 2014

This Italian is "On Hold"!

    Hi there, friends and subscribers!  After my last post, explaining my computer dilemma, this is very disappointing for me.  The bad news....... my computer issues are continuing, with no quick fix in sight. It seems that the laptop I have is just too old to really handle Windows anymore, so we had to install a different operating system.  But the editing program that I use with my camera was not able to be installed either.   The whole set-up for storing and editing pictures is totally different and unfamiliar to me, and just not the easiest to use.  (Remember, I'm not exactly a computer whiz!)  It doesn't seem to have the same features and abilities that my camera's editing program had, which is very disappointing.

    Anyway.......to shorten my long and sad story......."The Italian Next Door" will have to be "on hold" until we can figure something out.  I mean......pictures mean so much on a food blog, right?  And,  I had so many great recipes that I wanted to share with you, but I know you want to see all this delicious food....not just read about it!

    So, for now, I'm just waiting....waiting until I can figure out a way to store and edit my blog pictures sufficiently or, until I can afford a new laptop that can handle everything I need, to do justice to my blog.  Please don't forget about me and please don't deactivate your subscription!  Be patient and hopefully, when the time is right, "The Italian Next Door" will be up and running again.  A chi vuole, non mancano modi.  (Where there's a will, there's a way.)

                                                         Until then.......enjoy your family and friends and eat well!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wine Taralli

    First of all, in case any of you were wondering if I'd fallen off the face of the earth recently....no, I'm still here.  But, it's been a very interesting few weeks.  My laptop crashed.....AGAIN !!  It's now up and running and hopefully will keep on working for me without too many more interruptions.

    I've also been in the middle of working on a project that is pretty much consuming my thoughts lately.  It's something I'm excited about doing, but it's also pushing me a bit out of my comfort zone, into some new territory, which means a little added stress for yours-truly.  After I'm finished I'll try and share with you the details, but......for now.......

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Swiss Chard and Sweet Pea Manicotti

    One of my hubby's favorite meals is a nice plate of manicotti with a delicious tomato sauce and lots of gooey cheese.  So, when I saw this recipe, I just had to try it!  Now, granted, it doesn't include a tomato sauce, but there definitely is no lack of gooey cheese!  And if you're trying to get the kids to eat some more green veggies.......this will work!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Brussels Sprouts, Pasta, and Bean Soup

    I know what you're thinking......"What's the girl (who isn't that "into" soup) doing, sharing another soup recipe?"  Well, what can I say?  It's been cold around here!!  And, when you're feeling chilled, there's just nothing better than a nice, steaming hot bowl of soup to help warm you up!

    I've been making this recipe for years, but I honestly couldn't tell you where it originated.  It's just a recipe I have written out on a card in my recipe box.  It's a great mix of vegetables, with the addition of red kidney beans, for a little protein, and some ditalini pasta.  There's something about it that really brings me back to my grandmother's kitchen.  I think it's the ditalini.  My gramma used it quite a bit.  I've shared a recipe for Pasta and Peas, in honor of her, in another post.  I recommend you check it out!

    Back to today's recipe........this soup is so comforting, so good for you, and so delicious!!  I think I may have to go have another bowl right now!  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Skillet Cauliflower Torrisi

    Does anyone agree with me that cauliflower tends to get a bad rap?  Now, admittedly, it's not my favorite vegetable, but saute it in garlic and olive oil, top it with a cheesy breadcrumb topping, and I'm all over it!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cake

    So, have I ever mentioned my slight obsession with anything chocolate and mint??  Well........I have a  slight obsession with anything chocolate and mint.  There, I said it.  I feel better.  Now, let me tell you what I decided to do for my birthday this year.  I decided to bake myself a birthday cake!  But, not just any birthday cake.....a Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cake!!  This delicious dessert has a layer of scrumptious peppermint cheesecake, sandwiched between two layers of dark chocolate cake.  And to top it all off...a generous coating of peppermint  frosting!!  I had seen this recipe on another food blog called Shugary Sweets. (With that name, you know I had to check it out....and Aimee, the writer of that blog, did not disappoint.)  I had every intention of making it over the Christmas holiday, but I just never got to it.  I still had some Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses and a couple of the bars in my cupboard, just waiting to be eaten, so...... the choice was clear!  After a couple adjustments, this would become the cake for my special day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Grapefruit Cake with Grapefruit-Cream Cheese Frosting

    Let me start today by asking a question.  How many grapefruit lovers do we have out there? Are there really some of you who just can't get your day started until you've had your morning grapefruit?  Be honest! Well, I have to admit that my hand is not raised.  I think I've pretty well established that I have a big sweet tooth, so grapefruit is not exactly one of my favorite go-to foods.  That being said, a nice, ripe grapefruit can be very juicy and actually a little sweet.  One day, maybe I'll share with you a recipe for Grapefruit Zabaglione that is so delicious....almost addicting!

    So.....what's a girl who doesn't love grapefruit do when her husband (who, by the way, cannot say no to any young child selling whatever to raise money to help his or her school, soccer team, or sick puppy) brings home a huge bag of them?  Well, after some initial juicing events, this girl makes cake!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cream of Broccoli and Zucchini Soup w/ Cheesy Garlic Bread

    So, I've said before that I'm not really a big soup person, but the frigid temperatures we've had lately have definitely helped to change my mind!  A delicious soup is just the thing to warm you up when it's freezing outside.  And, speaking of frigid temperatures.... none of us want our children to be outside waiting for the school bus, etc. when it's dangerously cold, but is it my imagination or have my kids  been home on vacation since before Christmas??  It seems that school has become a bit of a distant memory!

    Anyway, today I thought I'd share two really simple recipes with you that might just make you glad it's chilly outside!  A delicious Cream of Broccoli and Zucchini Soup and some yummy Cheesy Garlic Bread!!