Saturday, November 25, 2017

Zia Delfina's Biscotti al Cioccolato e Cocco

Thanksgiving is the beginning of the joyous and oh so jolly (yay it's Christmas everywhere!!!) season of the year.

I remember when I was a little girl, my Zia Delfina would fill her cucina with all different types of Italian sweets and treats. She would have me help her dip chocolate and coconut on these cookies, and somehow I fell in love with the whole process of making them.   

Now every time I go back to Italy, I relive these sweet memories and make them all over again at our family parties with her.

I made this batch with my Mom for our Thanksgiving family feast. They are simple, sweet, and are sure to be a hit at your next gathering. Buon Appetito! 


2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 lemon
3/4 stick of butter
2 tsp. baking powder
 3 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk
1 large bag of coconut flakes

let's make it

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 by 18 baking sheet. 

2. In a bowl, mix together eggs and sugar.

3. Add lemon zest and melted butter into the mixture. 

4. Use a tablespoon to add flour slowly to the mixture. 

5. Finally, add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to the mix.

6. Place the mixture onto the baking sheet, mold it into a rectangle.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until it has a touch of color. The cake should be a little soft, leave out to cool. 

 8. In a pan, heat the 3 cups of chocolate chips over the stove. Add milk slowly, continually stirring chocolate.  

9. Once the cake is cooled, cut it into little squares. Then begin to first dip the pieces one by one in the melted chocolate, followed by the coconut flakes. 

10. Place the finished cookies on a plate and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tres Leches Cake

When the holidays come around I love to be in the kitchen, crank up the radio with Christmas tunes, and cook/ bake up delicious recipes for my family and friends. 

It really is the best time of the year, and for some reason gets me in the spirit to cook and bake even more. This Tres Leches recipe I've been making since I first tried it in high school. It literally means three milks, since it consists of three different types of milk in the recipe. 

I make it when my family comes over or gathering together at a friend's home. It's super sweet, but the perfect ending to a great meal. Family, friends, and little brother approved ;) Buon Appetito! 


  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs (separated)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 can 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 can 12 oz. evaporated milk 

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup white sugar 
1 tsp. vanilla extract

let's make it

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour one 9x13 in. baking pan. 

2. In a bowl, sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. 

3. In another bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar together until fluffy. Separate the eggs, add the egg yolks in butter mixture. Beat egg whites on the side and then add it in the butter mixture. 

4. Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract to butter mixture. 
5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared greased pan. 

6. Bake at 350° F for 30-45 minutes. Once baked, pierce the cake several times using a for.

7. For the filling, combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Once the cake is cooled, pour the mixture onto the cake. Let the cake absorb all of the milk.

8. For the topping, whip the heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract together until thick and fluffy. Spread topping over the cake. Keep cake refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Chicken Scarpariello

I love chicken. In my opinion, (just like potatoes) it's one of those meats that no matter how you make it, tastes really good. 

I recently heard about this dish and found a recipe for it, but then made it my own. 

The original dish calls for sausage, but I just kept it simple.  

I made it the other night, and it's a hearty dish perfect for those cold nights coming soon. Buon Appetito!


  6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 chicken breast pieces
Flour (for chicken to be dipped in)
1 lb. potatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion, diced
10 cloves garlic
4 red bell peppers 
1 cup white wine
1 cup hot water
fresh basil, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
red pepper flakes
black pepper

let's make it
1. In a 10-12 inch pan, heat ollive oil. Wash the chicken pieces and dip them in flour. Once the olive oil is hot, place the chicken pieces and cook both sides until golden. 

2. Transfer chicken pieces unto plate, set aside. 

3. Chop potatoes and add them to the same pan. Cook them until brown and set aside by the chicken. Drain the fat from the pan. 
4. Chop onion, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, and sauté them until golden. Add and stir in black pepper, wine, hot water and bring to a boil. 
5. Return the chicken pieces and potatoes to the pan, reduce the heat. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Add more water to keep from getting dry. Sprinkle on parsley and basil. 

6. Once cooked, transfer chicken to plates with vegetables.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pomodori Season 2017

Every year around my birthday, my family and I buy around 2 crates of tomatoes and get to work washing, cutting, and filling jars. 

It's a long process that ends up taking the entire day, but they usually last us the entire year.

It's a tradition that is mandatory we've been doing ever since I was a little girl. No doubt I want to continue when I have my own home.

How can we possibly eat around 50 jars of tomatoes in one year you say?

Well we don't just use it for pasta dishes but also in soups, with rice, (we love to cook Spanish dishes as well like Ropa Vieja and Arroz con Pollo!) other meals throughout the year. 

One thing is for sure: Tomato Sauce is life. ;)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spaghetti with Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce

Proverbio Italiano of the day
 "Fà bbene e scuordate; fà male e piensece."

Meaning: Do bad and think about it, do good and forget about it. It's a good reminder to always do the right thing in life regardless of what was done to you. Be the bigger person, do the right things and then forget about it and let things be, as opposed to doing bad things and then having them on your conscience.

I recently found this recipe online but of course tweaked it a bit to my liking. 

I really love cooking with shrimp and linguine type pasta in the summertime, it's a delicious and light combination. Buon Appetito!

serves 4   

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound shrimp without shells
crushed red pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves, minced
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1 package or half cube chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz spaghetti

let's make it
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook about 1 minute.
2. Add crushed red pepper, paprika and salt. 
3. Remove shrimp once cooked and set on a plate aside.
4. Using the same skillet, add chopped onion and garlic, cook on medium heat olive oil until onions soften.  
5. Dissolve chicken stock in 1/4 cup boiling water. Add to skillet, as well as crushed tomatoes. 
6. Add basil, oregano and simmer in mixture for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure all of the tomatoes are crushed into small pieces.
7. Add heavy cream, mix well. Boil pasta in another pot according to directions on box. 
8. Once pasta is cooked add it to the skillet along with shrimp. Mix all together. Add more salt and pepper if you like. 
9. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil and crushed red pepper, serve hot.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Linguine with Shrimp and Mushrooms

Proverbio Italiano of the day

 "Chi tira troppo a cordo a spezza."

Meaning: Who pulls the rope too much, eventually will break it. Which really means when you overwork something or try to push something beyond its limit, eventually it will reach a breaking point. 

I took this recipe out of a cookbook I recently bought. I love pasta with creams such as penne alla vodka or fettuccine alfredo

So I decided to try this one, but changed it a bit to suit my family's tastes more. Everyone really loved it, including my dad who is a restaurant owner and quite a food critic... so I know it must be delicious!  

This is perfect for hosting dinner. It's simple and doesn't take too much time or ingredients. Not to mention looks bellissimo too. Buon Appetito!


serves 4   

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8-12 fresh raw jumbo shrimp, peeled
7 oz button mushrooms, finely sliced
31/2 oz ham, finely sliced
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
14 oz linguine
salt and ground black pepper
fresh parsley

let's make it

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, and cook the garlic for a few minutes, until it starts to soften. 

2. Add the washed and peeled shrimp to the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms and ham.

3. Pour the white wine and reduce the heat. 

4. Next, pour the vegetable stock and continue cooking for 10 minutes. 

5. Add the heavy cream and stir. 

6. In another pot, cook the linguine, slightly salted until al dente

7. Drain the linguine, and add it to the shrimp and mushrooms.

8. Mix well and cook for a few more minutes. Add a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and serve hot.    

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Carne alla Pizzaiola

Proverbio Italiano of the day:

"Meglio da solo... che male accompagnato."

Meaning: Better alone, than with bad company. Ain't that the truth?

We've been making this recipe at home for as long as I can remember. It's simple, quick, and delicious.

It only requires a few ingredients, and you can easily serve it with a simple tossed salad. It would also be the perfect secondo, second plate after the main dish. Buon Appetito!


serves 2-4

2 tbsp. olive oil
tomatoes (from jar, or freshly chopped)
a few cloves chopped garlic
2-4 thin sirloin steaks
salt to taste
dried or fresh oregano
fresh mozzarella sliced (optional)

let's make it

1. Over low heat, sauté some chopped up garlic cloves in olive oil. 

2. Take tomatoes from the jar or freshly chopped, and mash them so the juice comes out. 

3. Add the tomatoes, salt and oregano to the hot sauteed garlic and oil in the pan. 

4. Take thin sirloin meat slices (the thinner the better), and lightly rinse them under water. Take a paper towel to dry them and then place them in pan, one by one. 

5. Place lid over pan, and have the sirloin steaks cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. They cook very quickly because the are thin. 

6. When steaks are done cooked, add fresh sliced mozzarella over each piece and place lid back on top for about 1 minute.

7. Be sure to eat the Pizzaiola hot. Can be served with a fresh side salad.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Zia Giovannina's Chicken & Rice

Proverbio Italiano of the day:

"Ogni cosa a suo tempo."

Meaning: everything at it's proper time. We say this all of the time at our house, to remind us that eventually all things happen in God's perfect timing.

This Riso e Pollo dinner brings back memories of my sweet great Aunt, Zia Giovannina. 

Everytime we would visit her house, she would make this chicken and rice dish, and would serve it in these brown glass dishes. She would recount stories, and she'd hold my cheek between her two fingers as she'd smile and tell me how big I'd gotten. 

I remember Zia Giovannina turning on her Cappuccino/Espresso machine, and the room would fill with this delightful coffee bean aroma. I see her smile and sweet laugh every time we make this dish at home. I hope you enjoy. 


2 pieces chicken breast cubed
2 cups yellow grain rice
4 cups water
1 onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt to taste
1 cube/bag chicken base
1 cup tomato paste or sauce (whichever you prefer)
1/4 cup white cooking wine

let's make it

1. Cut up onion and sauté it in olive oil in high pot over medium heat.
2. Chop up chicken breasts into cubes. Place them in pan to begin cooking.
3. Place 1 cup tomato paste/sauce and mix with chicken pieces. 
4. Add white wine and rice. 

5. In another pot, add 4 cups of water and chicken base and bring to boil. 

6. With a small ladle, pour scoops of hot chicken base mixture into other rice mixture. Mix all together.

7. Place lid over pot and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

I wanted to make an easy appetizer dish the other day, and stumbled upon an easy recipe of Mozzarella Sticks. I mean who doesn't love mozzarella sticks right?! These are wayyy better than any you may buy at the frozen section at your local super market. Buon Appetito!


8 oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
hot pepper flakes (if you like)
salt to taste
Parmesan cheese 
vegetable oil for frying

let's make it

1. Begin by slicing the mozzarella cheese into long thin pieces. Place on side. 

2. Pour the flour into a dish, and take mozzarella pieces one by one and dredge them into flour.

3. Then mozzarella pieces into beaten eggs, and roll into breadcrumbs. 

4. Place mozzarella sticks on a wire rack as you finish all of the pieces. 

5. This part is VERY important: freeze the mozzarella sticks for about 30 minutes. I didn't the first time because I think I'm a rebel... and the cheese fell out during the frying. 

6. Heat up oil in a deep pan, about 3 inches. 

7. Once oil is hot, begin frying mozzarella sticks until golden brown. 

8. Drain on paper towel. Serve with Marinara Sauce, or ketchup if you prefer. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Italy I know

My first language was Italian. My Mamma moved here to the United States with my father when they got married, and so the only language that was spoken at home was Italian.

Every few years or so, my family would pack up their bags and fly to a little town hidden on top of mountains in southern Italy.
The twists and turns, up and down the narrow roads meant we were getting closer.  

The road becomes more bumpy and then finally you could see the old church on the right... a slight turn and the main piazza was in view. 

The view. 

If only I could bottle up just how insanely beautiful it is. 

Right before everyone begins to wake up, the sun is already risen and shining, and all is quiet.

As soon as we arrive, I do the one thing I've done ever since I was a little girl. I run back to my Nonno and Nonna's living room, open the balcony doors and step out.

And I just stand there for a few moments. The smell of burnt wood and trees... I can almost hear the whispers of past times replaying in my mind. 

It never changes. It's almost as if time stands still in this little town.

That's why I love it so much. No matter how different or old I am, it sweeps you right back to how you last left it. 

Memorizing the roads from my mamma's parents home to my father's parents home became second nature over the years.

"Just walk past the little white house, past the giant bend in the road, past the vineyard until you reach a slight turn. Then just when you can the sun behind the mountain, go all the way down and you'll see Zio's pink house on the left. Keep going past so and so's house... and then you'll be right in front of Nonna and Nonno's house."

I can actually see that road in my mind right now.  

Along with my sister and cousin, I would go for long walks through the town, and we became accustomed to a distant Zio and Zia waving to us proclaiming we were the daughter of so and so from America

Sometimes we stop and our cheeks are pinched to say how much we've grown or how much we look like our mother and father. 

It's this Italy that is home to me.

Sometimes we would complain there wasn't much to do growing up in a small town, but as I've grown up I've realized what a blessing it is to know this Italy... one that not many get to see.

I suppose to anyone else, it would just be another little town.
But to me, the beauty of it all is how many stories are tied up in this little place. The people, my family that grew up here, the tales of past times... make it magical.

I can't wait to return and relive all of these memories again.