Superbowl Party Time!!

Well it’s finally here – Patriots vs. Giants!!! This is such a huge game – I can’t wait….for the food!!!

We have some friends coming over who are bringing some buffalo wings, pizza and some other snacks. Here’s what’s on the ‘To Cook’ menu today:

Meatball Sandwiches
Spinach Pesto Chicken Quesadillas
Potato Skins
Bacon Wrapped Artichoke Hearts
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stay tuned for the new recipes! Here are some more great ideas:

Touchdown Treats
Homemade Pita Chips
Pizza Bites
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Stuffed mushrooms
Making slider versions of the delicious cheeseburger
White Chicken Chilli

Want to dress up your party? Here are some fabulous printables from Living Locurto.

Which team are you rooting on???

Cheers,
Sabrina

Homemade Pita Chips

The Pats are going to the Superbowl – Go New England! That was one crazy play-off game, wouldn’t you say?! We went to a friend’s house to watch the game. I decided to make some snacks to bring along. I made the Buffalo Chicken Dip with homemade pita chips. They were a huge hit. I think everyone said how good it was 2-3 times. And I also made my chocolate chip cookies – another huge hit too.

Here are the super easy pita chips recipe; So easy, and so good!

Ingredients:

Pita Bread
Olive Oil
Garlic powder
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Start by cutting the pita bread into little triangles. Place them on a greased cookie sheet, with the inside of the pita facing up.

Brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Place in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for approximately 5-10 minutes. It is crucial to keep an eye on them after the 5 minute mark. They will brown extremely quickly (I threw my first batch out).

Remove from the oven and place on a plate covered with paper towels to soak up the excess oils.

The next step is very important – dip it in something delicious or eat by itself.
Savor it.

Cheers,
Sabrina

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I recently finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The plot? Gilbert writes about her life beginning when she divorces her husband and finds peace in her life by traveling to three different countries: Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and Thailand (Love). Now I won’t go into details of what I thought about the book since this is a food blog, but if you are interested, feel free to comment. I did want to go into the first part of the book though, which is Eat! The main character goes to Italy to, one, learn the beautiful language and two, to eat to her heart’s desires. I am Italian and my love for food runs deep, as does Gilbert, but she’s a writer and can express it better.

So here are some of my favorite quotes about food from the book. Enjoy!

Unsurprisingly, she knows all the best places to eat in Rome, including a gelateria that serves a frozen rice pudding (and if they don’t serve this kind of thing in heaven, then I really don’t want to go there.) She took me out to lunch the other day, and what we ate included not only lamb and truffles and carpaccio rolled around hazelnut mousse but an exotic little serving of pickled lampascione, which is –as everyone knows—the bulb of the wild hyacinth.

 

I walked home to my apartment and soft-boiled a pair of fresh brown eggs for lunch. I peeled the eggs and arranged them on a plate beside the seven stalks of asparagus (which were so slim and snappy they didn’t need to be cooked at all). I put some olives on the plate, too, and the four knobs of goat cheese I’d picked up yesterday from the formaggeria down the street, and two slices of pink, oily salmon. For dessert—a lovely peach, which the woman at the market had given to me for free and which was still warm from the Roman sunlight. For a while I couldn’t even touch the food for it was a masterpiece of lunch, a true expression of the art of making something out of nothing. Finally, when I had fully absorbed the prettiness of my meal, I went and sat in a patch of sunbeam on my clean wooden floor and at every bite of it, with my fingers, while reading my daily newspaper article in Italian. Happiness inhabited  my every molecule.

 

But he is Neapolitan, no question about it, because before I left Rome he gave me the name of a pizzeria in Naples that I had to try, because, Giovanni informed me it sold the best pizza in Naples. I found this a wildly exciting prospect, given that the best pizza in Italy is from Naples, and the best pizza in the world is from Italy, which means that this pizzeria must offer…I’m almost too superstitious to say it…the best pizza in the world? Giovanni passed along the name of the place with such seriousness and intensity, I almost felt I was being inducted into a secret society. He pressed the address into the palm of my hand and said, in gravest confidence, “Please go to this pizzeria. Order the margherita pizza with double mozzarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me later and tell me that you did.” So Sofie and I have to come to Pizzeria da Michele, and these pies we have just ordered—one for each of us—are making us lose our minds. I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair. Meanwhile, Sofie is practically in tears over hers, she’s having a metaphysical crisis about it… There’s not a menu. They have only two varieties of pizza here—regular and extra cheese. None of this new age southern California olives-and-sun-dried-tomato wannabe pizza twaddle. The dough it takes me half my meal to figure out, tastes more like Indian nan than like any pizza dough I ever tried. It’s soft and chewy and yielding, but incredibly thin. I always thought we had two choices in our lives when it came to pizza crust—thin and crispy, or thick and doughty. How was I have to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and doughy? Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings contact high of glamour to everyone around her. It’s technically impossible to eat this thing of course. You try to take a bit off your slice and the gummy crust folds, and the hot cheese runs away like topsoil in a landslides, makes a mess of you and  your surroundings, but just deal with it.

 

I tell her that I don’t need to see the menu but could she just being me the best food possible because this is my first night in Sicily. She rubs her hands together in pleasure and yells something in Sicilian dialect to her even-more –elderly mother in the kitchen, and within the space of twenty minutes I am busily eating the hands-down most amazing meal I’ve eaten yet in all of Italy. It’s pasta, but a shape of pasta I’ve never before seen- big, fresh, sheets of pasta folded ravioli-like into the shape (if not exactly the size) of the pope’s hat, stuffed with a hot, aromatic puree of crustaceans and octopus an squid, served tossed like a hot salad with fresh cockles and strips of julienned vegetables, all swimming in an olivey, oceany broth. Followed by the rabbit, stewed in thyme.

So there you have it – my favorite food quotes! Know of any other novels about food? Please share.

Cheers,

Sabrina

Cheeseburger in Paradise, er Home

There is nothing like a good, juicy burger. Nothing. They are always my go-to choice when I go to a restaurant I haven’t been to before, or even ones I have. They are usually a safe bet to not be completely disgusting. I’ve very few burgers that blew my mind though. You know what I’m talking about –ketchup and mayonnaise smeared together, crisp delicious pickles, gooey cheese, juice drippings, charred taste. Ahh that charred taste, that’s the best part. Burgers are amazing grilled, no doubt about it. But it’s just too difficult to grill in the winter obviously. So how do you still get the juicy goodness inside? With a 2 step cooking process – fry and bake. Yeah you read that right.

I interrupt this blog post for a shout out to Mr. P. for enduring my 4:30p.m. chats requesting his assistance. An example:

me:  can you get 2 potatoes (in the hall closet in the orange basket) and microwave them for like 8 minutes. poke holes in them
Mr.P:  with a fork?
me: a knife please
Mr.P:   8 min on high?
me:  yes please
Mr.P: ok cool

And now back to our recipe…

Cheeseburgers

Ingredients:
1 lb 80% lean ground beef
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Cheddar Cheese slices
And all the condiments/sides you want

Directions:

Start by blending the ground beef, garlic powder and worcestershire sauce together. To form your patty, take golf ball size pieces of meat and fit them together gently. The key is to form a nice airy burger, but firm enough so it will stay together.

Heat a skillet on medium/high heat. Spray the pan with cooking oil. Cook the burgers for 2 minutes of each side so they have a nice grilled look.

Next, place it in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (I like my burger medium rare). But always cut open a little to make sure its done all the way – not worth getting sick!

I like caramelized red onions on my burger. Simply amazing. I just chop up some red onion and throw in some brown sugar until its caramelized.

Don’t forget to top your burger with cheese!!!

So good. I served our burgers with some delicious homemade potato wedges.

What do you like on your burger?

Cheers,
Sabrina

 

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

It’s funny; I was never a big soup eater. When I heard the words ‘Tomato Soup’, the first thing that popped in my mind was the Campbell Soup can. When I think of the Campbell Soup can, I think of processed, salty, fake food people eat that can’t cook (sorry if I offend anyone!). So now that I’m on my meal planning kick and am trying to cook a batch of soup every week or every two weeks, I am trying new things – like this Tomato Basil Parmesan soup. Mr. P. exclaimed with excitement, ‘This may be my new favorite dish!” I also made this soup on Sunday night – well the first half anyways. Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Ingredients:

2 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 T fresh oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ tsp bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
salt & pepper

Directions:

Add tomatoes to a large pot. Add carrots and onions.

Stir in the chicken stock, oregano, basil, and bay leaf.


Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Then treat yourself to a little snack like I did – prosciutto and bread. Delish.

At this point, this is when I let it cool and stuck it in the refrigerator for 2 days.

When I was ready to finish cooking…
About 15 minutes before serving melt butter over low heat in a skillet Add flour slowly. Stir constantly with a whisk.

Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.

Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. 

Add all back into the large pot.

Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed.


Cover and cook on low for another 5 minutes  or until ready to serve.

Cheers,

Sabrina

Chicken Stuffed Prosciutto, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Here is one of the meals I prepared on Sunday – Chicken stuffed with prosciutto, asparagus and goat cheese. I love the fact that I could put these together easily and store them in the refrigerator for a day. I got all the messiness out of the way, and was able to easily pop these in the oven to cook for 20 minutes. Really makes my life a bit easier. I really dislike cooking during the week because I am so tired after work – like most people.

For this particular dish I decided to make chicken breast packed with asparagus, goat cheese and prosciutto. But you can be creative and stuff with many different things: roasted red pepper and provolone cheese, feta and spinach, etc.

I personally love asparagus, especially if it’s on sale. Did you know asparagus in a member of the Lily family? Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period. Read all about asparagus here – a site dedicated solely to wonderful asparagus.

Chicken Stuffed Prosciutto

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
Dijon mustard
8 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
8 asparagus stems, cut in half
Directions

Heat oven at 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Slice chicken breasts horizontally into 2 thin pieces. If necessary, pound to 1/4 inch thick. Lay breasts, smooth side down, on work surface; season with salt and pepper.

Spread each with a thing layer of Dijon mustard. Then top with 2 slices of prosciutto, a little bit of goat cheese and 2 pieces of asparagus.

Roll up the breast and place on the baking sheet seam side down.

As I said, I prepared this meal on Sunday to eat on Monday night. At this point, I just popped these babies into the refrigerator. Monday night I came home, got these out and spread them onto a cookie sheet. Then…

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

How were they? Super yummy. The prosciutto was phenomenal and the taste of the goat cheese really added to the overall flavor. Mr.P. passed on the goat cheese. How did I not know he liked it?! You learn something everyday!

Have an idea for a stuffing? Share it!

Cheers,
Sabrina