It's all in the Dough.. Rosemary Pizza Dough!

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water, about 110 degrees
4 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for sprinkling the top of the dough before baking

1 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan brushed with 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the dough, stir together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the yeast into the water and then whisk in the oil. Use a large rubber spatula to mix the liquid into the flour. Continue stirring vigorously until the dough is fairly smooth and there are no longer any dry patches. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in bulk, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, cook the onions. 
Put the 4 tablespoons oil and onions in a wide sauté pan and place over medium heat. Season very lightly with salt (the anchovies and olives are both salty) and grind over about 5 or 6 turns of the peppermill. Once the onions start to sizzle, decrease the heat to low and cook until the onions are very soft and translucent, about 20 to 30 minutes. Scrape the onions into a bowl and set aside to cool.

When the dough has risen, scrape it into the prepared pan in one piece. Lightly oil your hands and press the dough into the pan to cover it completely. If the dough resists, wait 5 minutes, then pull the dough into the corners of the pan. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and set it aside until it puffs a little, about 20 to 30 minutes. (It does not need to double in bulk.)

As soon as you cover the dough, set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. When the dough has puffed, use a fingertip to indent it at 1 1/2-inch intervals all over the surface, pressing firmly but without piercing the dough through to the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle the topping with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with the Kosher or coarse salt.
Bake the focaccia until it is well risen and the bottom is well colored, about 30 minutes. Lift a corner of the focaccia with a large metal spatula to check that the bottom is well done.
Use a wide metal spatula to slide the focaccia from the pan to a rack to cool.


Growing up, Friday night was Pizza or Panzerotti night. As often as I can or as time permits I like to keep these traditions with my husband and our children. It is so fun to talk with my sisters and find that they also share some of the traditions from our Italian heritage that we learned from my mom and dad and our grandparents. What has blessed us even more is being able to share them with friends and church family.
This recipe doubled feeds many at a church pot-luck or at a woman’s bible study luncheon. Sharing meals with family and friends is to me one of the most intimate forms of fellowship. Good food and good company seems to invoke good and healthy conversations.
"Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who revered the Lord and thought on His name." (Malachi 3:16)

Agape′ or Love Feast
~ a religious meal shared as a sign of love and fellowship.



Dough recipe for 2 Panzerotti’s
Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)
½ cup Olive Oil
1 ½ cups Mozzarella Cheese
1 ½ cups Provolone Cheese
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
3 cups Broccoli steamed
5 links cooked Italian sausage to your liking (I use sweet Italian Turkey Sausage)
6 large fresh Basil leaves washed and dried
2 Pizza Pans or Pizza Stones

Laurie’s Pizza dough recipe

6 ½ cups of all purpose flour
2 pkgs. Yeast or 5 tsp. active dry yeast from a jar
2 cups very warm water
1/8 cup red wine
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

I use my bread machine to mix the dough and then I take it out and let it rise in a large olive oiled dish with a cloth over it for about half an hour.
Or, here are the directions for step-by-step pizza dough makings by Anna Maria Volpi. *note ~ my recipe is slightly different than hers. ☺

"Italian Pizza/Panzerotto” Sauce

1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
½ cup Chianti (Red Wine)
¼ cup Olive oil
½ tsp. salt (to taste)
* water if needed
** 1/4 tsp. Sugar if needed

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until golden and caramelized.
Add remainder of ingredients, starting with sauce and paste; partially cover with lid and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
*If sauce is too thick add a small amount of water. Sauce should be thicker than pasta sauce.
**If sauce tastes bitter, add 1/4 tsp. sugar.
Cool before using. Makes sauce for 2 large Panzerotto’s.

Make dough. Set aside.
Make tomato sauce. Set aside.
Cook sausage until browned and no pink is showing on the inside.
Slice diagonally ½ an inch thick and around three inches long. Set aside.
Grate mozzarella and provolone cheese. Set aside.
Steam broccoli so that it is tender enough to pierce with a fork but still firm.
Thinly julienne the fresh basil, set aside.

Assemble Panzerotto

Preheat oven to 375°
This is where the fun begins!
Divide all of your ingredients for two Panzerotto’s.
Roll out dough for two Panzerotto’s on a well floured surface to a ¼ inch thickness and to a 16” diameter.
Place dough on pre-pared pizza pan. (spray with non-stick spray)
Spread olive oil on dough surface, sprinkle all over with parmesan.
On ½ of the side of dough spread a thick amount of sauce leaving about ¼ of an inch free for sealing. Layout divided portions of sausage and broccoli. Drizzle with more sauce. Layer top with lots of cheese and basil.
Gently fold remainder of dough over ingredients and pinch to seal.
Repeat process with remainder dough and ingredients.
Put into a preheated oven on middle rack. Cook for approximately 20-30 minutes.
Dough should be golden on bottom and top.

As you get more comfortable with your preparations you will enjoy making modifications to your Panzerotto with ingredients pleasing to your personal palette.
We eat a lot of veggies and I quite often make a vegetarian Panzzi for my hubby and myself.
Explore and enjoy!

Blessings from our home to yours,

Fourth of July & Apple Pie

I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day! We enjoyed beautiful weather with cool breezes down by the San Diego shoreline of La Jolla. La Jolla's meaning “The Jewel” is so befitting for this glorious town. Only a forty-five minute drive from Temecula, the crystal aqua ocean is so dazzling, like a clear and perfect gem with coves cut out so perfectly along the coastline and the quaint backdrop of shops, restaurants and homes.

We shopped a little and walked around town being serenaded by reggae music coming from a second story café and watched the hustle and bustle of tourists while we ourselves enjoyed art galleries and chic Armani Exchange, one of the few clothing stores open for the day.

That evening we headed back home for our own festival of sorts with an all American dinner and dessert, ending the evening with a view of Temecula’s own fireworks extravaganza.

And without further ado.. a showstopper in it's own right!

Apple Pie

This is a simple pie with my favorite pastry dough recipe from Dorie Greenspan. I really think the two crusts that I continually use are Dorie’s and Nick Malgierri’s. I always have perfect results with these two recipes!

Dorie Greenspan's Pie Crust
Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Crust Preparation
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse until coarse meal forms. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.

Apple Pie Filling
8 Red Apples (I used Mac Intosh)
3 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
¾ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup Mighty Mango Naked Juice (you can sub with juice of your choice)
½ stick butter
Bowl of cold water with a few tablespoon lemon juice;
I egg yolk and 1/8 cup cream for brushing dough.

Make crust and set aside in the refrigerator till your ready to fill. Keep remaining scraps to make dough strips for the top of your pie.

Peel and core apples. Keep in bowl of lemon doused water till time to slice.
Slice apples1/8 of an inch thick. In large mixing bowl add apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and mango juice. Stir to coat apples well. Fill pastry shell with apples. Cut slices of butter and dot apple pie filling.

Use extra dough to make strips for lattice. If you don’t want to do this you can roll out another sheet of pastry to cover the pie filling. Brush outer dough with egg yolk mixture. Place either strips or another sheet of dough cut to fit over pie filling. Pinch to seal edges. If you completely covered the pie make some vents on top of the dough to release steam while baking. Brush the top of the pastry dough with remaining egg mixture and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

I cover the top of my pie with foil for the first 15 minutes so it doesn’t get too brown. I would rather the apples cook all the way through on a lower temperature and longer cook time. Uncover the pie for the last 40 to 45 minutes.

Bake at 400° for 50 minutes to an hour.
Check periodically.
Serve warm with ice cream!

Buon Appetito!

Raspberry Sherry Almond
Coffee Cake

I have had so much fun working on this video.
I do have to say, there were a lot of cuts.. and second, third and fourth takes, but for now I'm happy with the outcome and look forward to future "DMC Video Productions!

I haven't learned yet how to fade out the music.. so it just cuts off at the end of the video, but my husband and I loved the music choice for this recipe and laughed a lot at some of the words. Cake, and sweets in general create a "love hate" relationship with me.. am I the only one? :)

So I hope you enjoy my first video, but more than that enjoy a yummy slice of cake with a cup of your favorite beverage.

Raspberry Sherry Almond Coffee Cake
Recipe adapted from Ina Gartens Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ok, can anyone relate!! I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you.. my love affair with desserts waivers. Yes, I fall in and out of love with you. Why oh why do they cause so much joy.. but so much pain at the same time?? 
Hope you enjoy the video and the music accompaniment. xo Laurie

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cream sherry
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4-teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 ½ cups cleaned and dried raspberries

Sherry Sugar Syrup
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons cream sherry

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bunt or tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sherry and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the almonds and then gently fold in raspberries so not to crush them.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a spatula. Spread streusel. over batter. Spoon the rest of the batter to cover streusel in the pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Syrup Preparation
Meanwhile heat sugars, water and sherry in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium high heat till sugar dissolves. Lower heat to a simmer and cook till syrup thickens, around 15 minutes. Consistency should be thinner than honey, syrup will continue to thicken as it cools. Take off heat and transfer to a porcelain or glass container to cool off.

When cake comes out of the oven, let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake onto a serving plate.

You can drizzle syrup over the coffee cake or have it on the side to allow for individual preference.

Ciao and Buon Appetito!

Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad
in a Choux Pastry Shell

Weekends are so precious to me! I live in anticipation of my husband arriving home after a long work week and being able to relax with him, catch up on the news, play family games and take leisurely Sunday drives... We try to fill our weekends with as much R & R as we can. In having weekends like this to play, cooking large meals often times takes second place, so I either prepare meals ahead on Thursdays and Fridays, or create simple finger foods that are healthy and boast a good protein source to keep us energized.

This simple meal eats like a snack but has all the nutrients needed to be a well balanced meal. Chicken, cranberries, almonds, finely minced onions, shredded carrots, chopped celery and minced dill. Its so simple and keeps well refrigerated till you want to fill a pastry puff. I love the beauty of Choux Pastry, it makes a wonderful casing for the chicken salad and it looks so elegant. We make these often for wedding and baby shower luncheons. If you don't want to make the pastry, this salad also tastes wonderful on squaw bread, my second favorite bread next to sour dough! I hope you try this, it's definitely yummy!

4 cups diced chicken
1 ½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
½ cup cranberries or chopped apples
½ cup Sweet Vidalia onions finely chopped
½ cup shredded carrots
1 rib celery, finely diced
½ cup slivered almonds
½ teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground pepper
2 Tsp. Dill finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dozen Choux Pastry Puffs or Squaw Bread

Combine all ingredients for chicken salad, refrigerate till ready to use.

Choux Pastry Puffs

1-cup water
1/2-cup butter (no substitutes)
1-cup all-purpose flour
1/4-teaspoon salt
4 eggs

In a saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Add flour and salt all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove puffs to wire racks. Immediately cut a slit in each for steam to escape. Cool. Split puffs and remove soft dough.

"Blueberry Peach Galette" a la mode
with a
"Blueberry Sherry Sauce"
and a trip to the
Temecula Berry Company

Last year here on DMC I wrote a review of the most beautiful blueberry fields I came across tucked away in the quiet estates and rolling plains of the Temecula Valley. I could have easily missed out on Temecula Berry Companies pristinely kept and magnificently grown farm and the only blueberry field in the county that I know about if I hadn't been taking a leisurely drive while waiting to pick up my kids from a birthday party in the area.

Unfortunately when I wrote the article last year it was at the end of the growing season and my local readers weren't able to experience the fun and excitement of hand picking their own blueberries. Well to my delight last week on Thursday the farm opened for business and my husband, little children and I headed over on the Memorial Day weekend and filled our buckets with beautiful, plump and ready to be picked berries.

The farm was just as I had remembered. The weather was a bit more accommodating for us being that it is still Spring time and the temperature was still a cool 79. The grounds are so beautiful, so clean, so well kept. I really am yearning to have a garden of blueberries, grape vines, avocado's and citrus. Living in such a community as Temecula, we have access to such a variety of produce fields, like the grape vineyards, orange groves, blueberry fields, olive tree's, and even dairy farms producing cheese like the Winchester Cheese Company's famous sharp gouda which won the bronze medal at the prestigous World Cheese Awards in London, England in 2006. And locally.. farms who's produce give the famed Temecula Farmers Market their fill of beautiful fruits, leafy greens and vegetables.

You have to look closely, lifting branches to reveal the bluberries on the undergrowth of the bushes. Our youngest daughter picked the most. It could be that she was the lowest to the ground and her eye caught all the ripe berries that were on the lower branches.

The colors are spectacular in the fields.

At the beginning of our hunt.

Ripe, plump and large berries for the picking!

I think naturally peaches pair perfectly with Blueberries. When I visit Sprouts Markets I always purchase a peach berry smoothie. Oh so delicious!

I love a Galette. They are simple to prepare and I love the freestyle form that they lend. And delicious.. you bet!

For the crust I used Dorrie Greenspans Pastry Dough recipe.

Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chilled nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Crust Preparation
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse until coarse meal forms. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.

For the filling I used peaches and berries. Using a typical apple pie filling recipe just subbing the fruit. I kept the skin on my peaches, I like the extra texture and the skins were pretty thin.

Fruit Filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups thinly sliced peaches (about 3 large)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg white
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
To make the fruit filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. (This will prevent too much juice from leaking out while the Galette bakes.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15-inch wide circle. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add the fruit mixture to the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the filling, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.

Lightly whisk the egg white and milk in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. (Cutting it too quickly will cause the dough to crack). It's best served at room temperature or slightly warm.

Blueberry Sherry Topping
2 Cups fresh cleaned and dried blueberries
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cream sherry

Add berries, sugar and sherry to a sauce pot. Cook on medium low. Watch pot so the berries do not scorch. When berries begin to break down and thicken lower heat to a low simmer. To prevent sugar from scorching the sides of the pan, have a cup of cold water and a pastry brush ready. Periodically brush the sides of the pan with water. This is a tip when making sugar syrups as well as caramels and candies.

Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream and a dollop of fresh whipped cream!
Buon Appetitio!

Mildly Hot, Sweet & Spicy
"Mango, Plum, Mint & Jalapeno Salsa"
plus a "Roasted Baja Style Salsa"

Perfect weather, perfect fruit and perfect veggies went into this weekend of grillin and chillin with some Mango Mint Plum and a Roasted Baja Style Salsa to compliment some chili lime chips for dipping.

For the Mango, Plum, Mint, Jalapeno salsa I began by pulsing onions, garlic, mint and parsley in the food processor till minced.

I added two mango's cubed and four plums cut into small pieces. With two of the plums I left the skin to add color and texture. Add the fruit to the onion, mint and parsley mix.

Take a quarter of a jalapeno with the seeds removed and finely dice. Add to the salsa mix. Spritz with the juice of one lime.

Refrigerate till ready to serve with chips and avocado dip.
*My note; this salsa tasted so much better served on top of guacamole. I didn't make it the first night, but the next day I made guacamole and served it with the Mango Plum salsa and it took it up two notches in the flavor category!


I have been trying to hunt down this recipe for quite a long time now. There is a chain restaurant we enjoy going to called Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. I love their tacos simply prepared with grilled chicken, or beef, topped with cilantro, avocado, lime and salsa. But not just any salsa, my favorite salsa is their dark brown Baja Fresh salsa that I had never understood how they got that rich brown color. I asked around and finally received an answer from Heather over at Girlichef. Heather told me most likely the color was achieved by roasting till black all the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno and garlic. So I took her advise and blackened on my grill all the vegetables, popped them into the blender and pulverized them into a wonderful salsa. I also added cilantro, lime and salt to taste.

While my husband and kids loved the salsa, I came away learning a few things. Seed the jalapeno first.. it was eye popping hot for me, although my daughter and husband liked it just fine. Also, I went overboard with the garlic, I always do that! :) I used almost the whole head of garlic when really only a few cloves will suffice. I don't have exact measurements down yet. I will have to make it again before I post quantities. But as far as an ingredient list goes. Tomatoes, onion, Jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime and salt.

Thank you Heather!! Ciao and hugs. :)

Dry Spice Rubbed Steak Kabobs
& Hummus with
Whole Wheat Pita Bread

There is a restaurant in town that we frequent called Daphne's Greek Cafe. It's the only place we have found locally where we can get fresh carved Gyros, Falafel's, Hummus, Pita, Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce.

My husband and I came to enjoy Greek and Mediterranean food around 22 years ago while Honeymooning in Monterey, California. We stayed at this beautiful B & B called the Gosby House Inn in the enchanted village of Pacific Grove. I remember it was a very foggy evening and we didn't feel like driving far so we walked across the street and found this little restaurant called Petra. It was charming as well as inviting with the aroma's and ambiance welcoming us in from the cold. You know how there are moments in your life that leave an etching on your mind.. well that evening as well as the week in Santa Barbara, was one of those moments I'll remember forever. If you have never traveled up the Pacific Coast through Santa Barbara, Cambria, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel and San Francisco, put these on your list as places to visit. Gorgeous coastlines as well as the famed Cypress trees bejewel the shores and play out like an old Hollywood or Disney film. Yes.. I am a romantic and will look for every opportunity to daydream when possible!

I think it was Jenn from The Left Over Queen who got me thinking that it would be much easier to just make home made hummus so we could have it frequently as well as it being easy and yummy with grilled steak and chicken kabobs. My husband loves Pita bread so I try to have it on hand regularly. We love the whole wheat pockets as well as the white flour version. In my opinion they don't taste all that different from each other when dry heated on the griddle. A little healthier for your digestive system is whole grain flours, if you can tolerate gluten in your diet. Which, I can eat either white or wheat but we want to introduce our kids to whole grains while they are still young enough to not toss it off as healthy and nutritious. :)

A few months back, when I received a few bottles of Country Bob's Sauces to try, I realized how much I enjoyed steak and barbecue sauces. After I ran out of the sauce I decided to try my hand at my own ingredient concoctions to replicate a barbecue style rub. I think I succeeded but the problem is that I never wrote down the ingredients. I made enough to last me a good six months and I haven't as yet tried to remake it. I remember though that I used brown sugar, dried molasses, a variety of dried and ground peppers, salts, garlic powder, dried lemon peel, cumin, celery salt.. and that is where I completely blank as to the rest of the ingredients. I will do another dry rub run and when I get the ingredients down I'll add them to this post. In the mean time, I am sure there are some great recipes out there.. I would encourage you to make your own and keep it on hand. Besides myself, I catch my son using my dry spices when he fry's chicken. Home made.. you gotta love it!

A wonderful family style meal of dry spice rubbed steak kabobs, fresh homemade hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and Kalamata olives on top, and whole wheat pita pockets. We also had a salad with tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese and thin slices of cucumber. Yes.. similar to a Greek salad excluding the thin slices of red onion and oregano infused salad dressing. Very yummy! :)

I don't really have a recipe I follow for the hummus. I keep Tahini paste on hand, as well as canned garbanzo beans, a staple in the Italian cupboard, Olive oil, lemon, fresh garlic, salt and paprika as well as Kalamata olives for an embellishment.

Here is a pretty typical Hummus recipe.

For the meat use your favorite, cubed and rubbed with your favorite spices. Maybe you'll try your hand at creating your own dry rub. Let me know if you do!

Ciao and Buon Appetito!

Country Chicken Patties

You know something’s wrong with a mom of four children when I berate myself for making “simple” dinners. At least that’s what I call this. Chopped chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs and aromatics.. That’s simple to me! But to my kids and company they thought it was kinda snobbish of me when I made excuses for serving them something so quick and easily prepared. Now, if I had substituted the chicken with crab, there would have been no excuses spilling from my lips! ☺

I have to admit though.. I love eating these. They’re better then chicken strips and nuggets, they are much more tender and less dry because of the ingredient mix, and you can make lots and keep them for after school or midnight snacking. You can dip them in a variety of sauces and add peas and corn if your kids don’t object. And better yet, they’re simple enough to have the kids prepare themselves. So moms, with Mother’s Day this weekend, take a break from the kitchen, leave the recipe on the counter and the ingredients in the fridge and enjoy the weekend with your meticulously polished and pedicured feet kicked up on the chaise lounge!

Basic Ingredients
4 large boneless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/2 c. or more if needed of mayonnaise
2 dashes of hot sauce like Tapatia
1 tsp. crushed garlic
½ onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. fresh or dry chopped parsley
2 tsp. fresh or dry thyme
2 scallions thinly sliced
1½ cups breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste

*Optional Ingredients
Sometimes I add peas or corn as well as cheese like cheddar or Parmesan depending on the kind of dipping sauce I’m making.

Boil chicken. When cool enough to handle shred or finely chop. Add the rest of ingredients and mix until well blended. If you need to, adjust bread crumbs or mayonnaise. Form into patties. Fry in oil and 1 tsp. butter on both sides until golden brown.
Dipping Idea’s
Honey Mustard Sauce
Barbecue Sauce
Ranch Dressing
Garlic Aioli

Rum & Ricotta Gelato

The use of ricotta cheese is very common in gelato. There are different curd textures of ricotta ranging from large to smooth, the latter the most common texture used in desserts such as cannoli, ricotta cheese cake, filled cookies and gelato, such as the recipe I have here. The creamy texture makes for a beautiful, thick and rich Gelato.

I had around half a tub of Polly'O Ricotta Cheese left after making filled cookies, (post to come) and also had some left over syrups, nutella and cherries left from other desserts that I wanted to use up, so every one got their choice of topppings that all went so well with the rum flavoring in the Gelato.

The cherries have an added flavor of Marsala wine splashed in, the Nutella I lightly warmed enough so that it would easily drizzle over the Gelato, and the rum syrup is the syrup I used for the Pistachio Genoise Trifle.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in my moms file, but I modified it slightly by using brown sugar instead of white sugar. With rum I really like the molasses flavor of brown sugar and opted to go that route. I also upped the amount of rum by a tablespoon or soand a drizzle to compensate for the thicker texture of the brown sugar!

Rum and Ricotta Gelato

½ cup brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons Rum warmed
1 pound whole milk ricotta
½ cup whipping cream

IN A LARGE BOWL, stir sugar and warmed Rum together until sugar dissolves. Push ricotta through a sieve into the mixture and stir well. Chill thoroughly. When ready to proceed, whip cream into soft peaks. Fold it into the ricotta mixture. Transfer to ice cream machine and freeze according to machine's directions. Makes 1 Quart

Buon Appetito,