Nutella-Banana Mini-Muffin Bites


Chocolate-hazelnut spread is an Italian staple - store bought or homemade. Swirled into banana batter (here) makes one heavenly mini muffin. I just tried a new Italian flour, coming off 22 months gluten free (to calm my asthma and my husband's back inflammation issues; it helped). Long story short, I came across this new flour while researching gluten. Comments claiming no gluten reactions were by the dozen - while traveling and eating pastries, breads, pastas, etc. in parts of Europe. Pesticide...

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Chopped Salad…fit for a crowd


I believe the reason why people don't eat more salad is because they get bored, and don't want to think up other ways to make it interesting and delicious - beyond changing up the dressing. Sometimes all you have to do is raid the pantry and the fridge and start chopping, which is what I did here! It's a simple way to feed a bunch, and not fussy if you have assorted veggie staples in your fridge - plus a can of black olives and artichoke hearts in the pantry. A lot of chopping and a good amount...

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Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

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It's grilling season again. That's not to say we don't grill year round in California, because many of us do, weather permitting (or not). In this recipe I used my friend Cathy's Hawaiian Chicken recipe - filed away in my extensive notebook collection. I took some liberties with the marinade ingredients  and then converted it to kabobs. Easy to make, and tasty for sure. Some of the marinade is set aside for basting, and is best when made a day ahead and refrigerated (overnight) to allow the ing...

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

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Cinco de Mayo came and went. In addition to my Frozen Margherita, I also made tomatillo salsa. Perhaps the easiest salsa I've ever made, and every bit as delicious and versatile as its counterpart - red salsa! Some make it raw, but I prefer roasted for the smoky flavor it brings. Tomatillo salsa pairs really well with grilled meats, and can brighten up just about anything else from quesadillas to eggs. Just roast the veggies and pop in a food processor and blender with cilantro, cumin and lime j...

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Frozen Margherita


It's hard to turn down a frozen margherita, especially on Cinco de Mayo or in the summertime, with Mexican or BBQ! Most everyone I know uses a mix, triple sec, frozen limeade etc. But fresh and simple appeals to and works for me - it couldn't be easier or quicker to make. Just squeeze a fresh lime or two and make a bit of Simple Syrup. Use a high quality silver tequila and a favorite orange liqueur. You should keep in mind this recipe gives you wiggle room to customize the flavor and strength; i...

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Pico de Gallo…another version


I always bypass Pico de Gallo in Mexican restaurants; way too much raw onion for me, just can't do it. Which doesn't mean I can't make it at home - with some heat, more crunch, and lots of flavor. I use it as a condiment and not just a salsa. I enjoy it with tacos, tostadas, quesadillas and chips, scrambled eggs etc! Fresh tomatoes are a must, and scallions tone down, replacing white or red onion. There's cucumber, yellow bell pepper and cilantro, in addition to traditional lime zest and juice, ...

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Loaded Salad


  Loaded and layered makes this salad more interesting than the standard everyday dinner salad. It's like a meal-in-one - from raiding the fridge and pantry, and sometimes the freezer, and using leftovers such as ham and chicken. The vinaigrette dressing is a staple I keep on hand, to compliment this overloaded salad and keep things light, refreshing and flavorful. Make it as small or large as you like, and get chopping, dicing and slicing! Romaine, spring mix and cabbage are the foun...

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Pork Loin Roast – With Potatoes, Peppers and Onions


That other white meat by itself is neutral and plain. You got to perk it up! I insert garlic and swab with olive oil and herbs for flavor. Then I go with one of my favorite rustic Italian veggie accompaniments - caramelized peppers, onions and potatoes. A meat thermometer is a must here, because pork cooks fast and begs to remain moist; dry is no good. The veggies are precooked and then the roast is added - when the roast reaches the correct temp., I remove it, cover and let rest -  while the v...

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Irish Cream Gelato


I'm a little late with my St. Paddy's Day recipe, but as I always say, gelato is great anytime, no special occasion needed. We loved this one. It's a bit different than other gelatos I've made, in that I used 1/2-cup of Irish cream, which meant it would be difficult to freeze. Alcohol doesn't freeze well at all, so I used a mere 1/4 teaspoon of powdered guar gum to help it along. You must have a home ice cream maker machine to make gelato. This is a pictorial (step by step) to explain the gelat...

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Swiss Steak…Italian Style


This was one of my mom’s wintertime dishes. A large pot of braised round steak, flavored with garlic, onions, oregano and crushed tomatoes - served with steamed greens and mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles. By the way, the title Swiss (in Swiss Steak) is derived from the term "swissing", which means to pound/tenderize (the round steak in this recipe). I skipped that step because I used grass fed beef, which is adequately tender. I'm also using a slow cooker to make things easier, cooking...

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