Kudos to Natalie!

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Hi Everyone,

One of our members, Natalie Ciaccio sent me this lovely note.

“Diane, I made your chicken cacciatore tonight, it was THE BOMB!! Thank you”.

She sent her comment along with photos of the chicken cacciatore she made for her family. I am so proud of her…..Below is photos of her beautiful masterpiece.

Kudos to Natalie!

I love when members try the recipes I post, and they love them. She made my day.

(original recipe posted 10/9/19)

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you.

 

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

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Chicken Cacciatore

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Hi Everyone, 

I hope you are all well.

I am back. I had a little bit of a setback in my heart transplant healing with a very strong virus and I ended up spending 12 days in the hospital. The virus is under control but I had to come home with a PICC line in my arm so I can continue IV medication at home.

I have been home for a week and needless to say, there hasn’t been much cooking going on here. When I first got home Bob and I were eating the meals that I had frozen from previous dinners.

It seems that it is still “a blessing” that after seven years that my son hasn’t lived home, I still can’t cook for two people and I use my mother’s recipes that serve 4-6. This allows us to package individual meals and use the food saver to freeze meals for a later date and they came in handy this week. I usually use the frozen dinners for days I am too tired to cook or have a full day of doctor appointments.

The other day I had a bit more energy and I was in the mood for Mom’s Chicken Cacciatore over egg noodles. I made the dish and posted it to some of my Facebook food groups and were asked by so many for the recipe that I thought I would post it to the blog to share with all my members.

I hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

Photo Sep 16, 9 40 31 PM CHICKEN CACCIATORE

Chicken Cacciatore aka Hunter’s Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, bone-in, skin-on and each breast cut in half for smaller pieces….(I use thighs and drumsticks, but use whatever pieces you like)
  • 10 oz. mushrooms, (I use a combo of white button and cremini)
  • 1 onion, diced medium
  • 1 small yellow and 1 small red pepper, diced medium
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and shaved
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 diced Roma tomatoes (I use 1 pint of grape tomatoes –cut in half.)
  • Assorted herbs, parsley, basil, oregano and thyme to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: pitted kalamata olives, a large handful

Instructions:

  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and sprinkled oregano.
  2. Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet, drizzled with olive oil.
  3. Place chicken skin side down and do not move it until it reaches a deep golden brown and it’s easy to turn, brown the other side for a few minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
  4. Add vegetables, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, a few sprigs of thyme (tie the thyme with kitchen cooking twine to make it easier to pull the stems out), sauté for 5 minutes.
  5. Add wine and let it reduce.
  6. Add chicken broth and tomatoes.
  7. Toss in 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and chopped fresh basil.
  8. Place the chicken back into the pan and sink into the juices.
  9. Simmer on LOW uncovered on the stovetop, for a couple of hours or until chicken falls off the bone.
  10. Garnish with fresh parsley and remove thyme stems.
  11. Serve with cooked pasta, egg noodles, polenta or warm crusty bread

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you. 

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

 

Spinach Quiche- my go to meal…

2019-08-22 23.04.53 SPINACH QUICHE

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Hi Everyone,

How are you? I hope you enjoy your upcoming weekend.

I just wanted to share a recipe that I have been making for years and years and has become my “go-to meal” for many occasions.

Such as the nights you don’t want to make a big meal, an addition to a Sunday brunch, lunch with the girls and the list goes on….. You get the idea, an easy meal.

Let me tell you what I love about this dish. Not many ingredients, easy to put together and it cooks for one hour that gives you enough time to make a side salad and set a table.

I don’t even remember where I got this recipe from, a friend, relative, cookbook, newspaper. That is how long I have had it.

I have it written on an index card and kept it in my kitchen cutlery drawer and there it has lived for years.

Tonight I made this quiche and served it with a new recipe for me, Peach & Tomato Caprese salad (delicious) with lemon oil & balsamic glaze served with English cucumber bites with red pepper hummus and sun-dried tomatoes.

Bob loved the meal and I loved the taste and the ease at which to prepare it.

You can also use the basic recipe with roasted veggies and I have included that recipe as well.

So let’s start with the recipes…

Photo Aug 23, 6 48 26 PM SPINACH QUICHE & SALAD

SPINACH QUICHE 

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ½ cup real mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/3 cup minced onions or shallots (I prefer the milder taste of a shallot)
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 8 ounces shredded, sharp or mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell or 2 regular pie shells

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish piecrust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown.

6-8 servings

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ROASTED VEGGIE QUICHE

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 5 eggs (depending on the number of veggies)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ½ cup real mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/3 cup minced onions or shallots
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 8 ounces shredded, sharp or mild cheddar, swiss, or mozzarella cheese
  • Leftover veggies – roasted for 45 min at 400 degrees tossed with a little bit of olive oil and salt.
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

After the veggies come out of the oven, I usually drain them in a colander for 20 minutes to make sure the excess oil drains from the veggies and doesn’t make your crust soggy.

In addition, I like to use a thin layer of very fine breadcrumbs on the bottom of the crust to keep the crust from getting soggy as well. The breadcrumbs will soak up any oil.

Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish piecrust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown.

6-8 servings

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PEACH & TOMATO CAPRESE SALAD

For this salad, the quantity of the ingredients depends on the number of people you are serving.

This is the quantity I used for 2 servings and I did have salad leftover.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe peach – (cut into sections)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (or heirloom tomatoes) sliced and halved
  • 10 grape tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 4 round slices of mozzarella (diced)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • A few leaves of fresh basil
  • Lemon oil (or any oil you choose)
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Red onion – thinly sliced (optional)

Directions:

I added the peaches, tomatoes, mozzarella, salt & pepper to a bowl with a tablespoon of lemon oil and set aside for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, I added the fresh basil leaves and drizzled the salad with balsamic glaze.

COOKS NOTE: Don’t forget the ciabatta bread to soak up all the juices from the salad.

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ENGLISH CUCUMBERS WITH RED PEPPER HUMMUS AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO BITES

This has to be the easiest side to put together and also looks nice on a brunch buffet tray…

Ingredients:

  • 1 English cucumber (partially peeled)
  • Jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • Red pepper hummus- (store-bought or homemade)

Directions:

  • Wash and partially peel the cucumbers so the skin has stripes.
  • Cut the cucumbers into bite-size pieces and add a small dollop of hummus and add a small piece of sun-dried tomato as a garnish.

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Do you see what I mean about an easy meal to pull together? I hope this post gave you some inspiration for some new additions to your dinner menu. Ciao!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you. 

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

 

Fun & Fattening Food Day Celebration!

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Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well. I want to start out and thank those who are still sending me get well messages. I truly appreciate your care, concern, and prayers. You all mean the world to me.

I have the best members.

I am happy to say that I am at 6-months post-heart-transplant and feeling as if I am a human again. I cannot believe that I am halfway through recovery and then I will be able to start posting tablescapes again.

I am walking on my own unassisted (and not out of breath-yeah!). That alone is a miracle. I used to have to stop every few minutes to catch my breath and hold on to Bob for balance and never last more than 10 minutes before I had to be taken home to rest.

Now Bob and I go for our nightly walk along the boardwalk at the beach and I can walk for 30 minutes with no breaks. It is as if the world opened up for me.

Lesson learned don’t take anything for granted, even something as simple as taking a walk with your honey.

I was even given the okay from my transplant team to go food shopping, as long as it wasn’t on the weekend and not at a peak time and I have to wear my protective gear (mask & gloves) and carry Purell.

You would think I won the lottery, I was so happy to get out and see people after being in the house for so many months. 

I was never so happy to food shop.

The photo is of me making my great escape to Whole Foods wearing all my gear.

Photo Jun 23, 6 48 57 PM WF shopping

My checkups and biopsies have been good, and both the doctors and I are happy with the direction I am going in, so………….I decided to toss all my dietary guidelines to the wind and have a day of “Fun & Fattening Foods” to celebrate my “6 months post-heart transplant”.

I am sure my doctors wouldn’t be thrilled if they knew, but one day should do no harm. I only celebrated for one day, satisfied my cravings and then went right back to my doctor’s guidelines and restrictions.

I had to use the food saver & shrink wrap & freeze most of the celebratory meals (so I wasn’t tempted to cheat again) and save it for my son to take home on his next visit.

On the menu:

• Homemade pizza with spinach and ricotta
• Rice balls
• Pigs in a blanket

 

Let’s start the celebration…

Homemade Pizza with Spinach and Ricotta.

This was a very easy pie and I will take you through the simple steps.

Makes one 12-inch pie crust or 2 thin crusts.

2019-07-28 23.32.55 PIZZA RICOTTA AND SPINACH SLICE

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pizza dough (either store-bought or homemade)* recipe for homemade below.
  • 1 (10 oz.) box of frozen chopped spinach – thawed and drained well (get all the water out so the pie isn’t watery)
  • 1 small container (15 oz) of whole milk ricotta
  • 1 (8 oz) package shredded mozzarella
  • 2 fresh thoroughly washed Roma tomatoes- sliced
  • Pre-cooked pizza sauce (jarred or homemade)
  • Grated cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • fine breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:

  • Put a little flour on your hands and pat the dough out to fill a greased pizza pan, OR roll dough to a 12-inch circle and transfer to a greased pizza pan or ungreased pizza stone.
  • I top the dough with fine breadcrumbs when I make a pizza with this many toppings so the pizza dough doesn’t get soggy.
  • Next, top the dough with pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, drained spinach, dollops of ricotta, sliced tomatoes, grated cheese, and garlic powder – red pepper (optional)
  • Bake on the bottom oven rack for 12-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.
  • Top with fresh basil when you remove the pizza from the oven

Ready for the oven …

Photo Jul 28, 7 46 06 PM PIZZA -READY FOR THE OVEN

COOKS NOTE– I always use Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast when I make a homemade pizza because there is NO dough rising time.

Look for this in your supermarket…..

Photo Feb 13, 6 55 06 PM

Pizza Dough Recipe

(from Fleischmann’s Yeast package)

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet Fleischmann’s pizza crust yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup very warm water (120 to 130 degrees)
  • 3 tbsp. oil (I use olive oil)
  • Pizza sauce and toppings

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • I use the stand mixer ……
  • COMBINE 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Mix and then add water and oil
  • MIX until well blended, about 1 minute
  • ADD gradually, enough remaining flour until a soft dough ball is formed. The dough will be slightly sticky.
  • KNEAD on a floured surface adding additional flour if needed until smooth and elastic: about 4 minutes
  • With floured hands, pat dough out to fill a greased pizza pan, OR roll out dough to a 12-inch circle and transfer either to a greased pizza pan or a pizza stone
  • TOP as desired with sauce and toppings and cheese
  • BAKE on the bottom oven rack for 12-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.

Also, visit www.breadworld.com/pizza  for more recipes

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Next up …… Rice Balls

Photo Jul 31, 8 01 10 PM RICE BALL 2

If you have been following DishingwithDiane, you would have seen the post for Rice Balls before and hopefully by now would have tried them.

Here is the link to my original post with step by step instructions along with photos. Click and open.

https://dishingwithdiane.com/2015/12/13/arancini-rice-balls/

2019-07-31 20.01.49 RICE BALLS 1

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Now, the Pigs in a Blanket ……

A while back I bought the cutest silicone “pig” mold. When I bought it, I wasn’t sure what I was going to use it for but I was in a “pigs are the cutest” phase of my life. I bought the mold along with a rubber pig-shaped spatula that had an untimely death with a hot burner.

I was originally thinking brownies or candy and then I read an article on Pinterest that had a new recipe for pigs in a blanket using pancake batter and a very similar mold. So, I went out to buy pancake batter and the rest is history as they say.

This brought out the little boy in Bob because he was fascinated when I brought this tray to the table. 

They are so cute and a very good conversation starter at your next get together. I served them with deli mustard. The mold makes 12 at a time.

I think the next time I make them I am going to try a thin cornbread batter instead of the pancake batter to make a corn dog and see which combination I like better.

2019-07-28 18.42.10 PIGS IN A BLANKET

So this is the mold I bought, BPA free and oven safe.

2019-08-20 00.46.13 PIG MOLD

And here are the directions ……

Ingredients:

  • Cocktail franks (mini hot dogs)
  • Pancake batter
  • Vegetable oil spray

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Lightly spray the mold with vegetable oil
  • Place on a cookie sheet or tray
  • Pour pancake batter halfway into molds (remember the batter will rise).
  • Gently press a cocktail frank into the batter
  • Bake for approx. 20 minutes
  • Enjoy! Serve with deli mustard

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All in all, it was a very enjoyable celebration for a day and then I went right back on track with all my doctor’s orders.

Now I have to plan something for my one year anniversary of the transplant.

********************************************************

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and JOIN DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I love hearing from you. 

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Favorite Summer Sandwich

 

Photo Jul 27, 2 07 28 PM CAPRESE SANDWICH

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Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well.

The other day in the 100 degree heat, it was too hot to cook so I made a classic Italian sandwich for lunch that my mother made for us all the time during the hot summer months. I posted it on my personal Facebook page and received so many comments that it brought back childhood memories for so many.

I wanted to share this recipe so you too, can enjoy this sandwich and possibly have it bring back some memories or just need an easy no cook option- best part, very few ingredients.

My mother would make her own bread and grow her own vegetables for this sandwich. She was the best!

This year I wasn’t allowed (doctors orders) to have a garden and it was too hot to bake bread so all ingredients came from Whole Foods.

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Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella on Grilled Ciabatta Bread

Ingredients:

ciabatta bread – (the best is when it is grilled lightly)

2-3 Heirloom tomatoes (I try and mix the colors)

slice of mozzarella cheese

dash of good Italian oregano

fresh basil leaf (optional)

Choice of either : extra virgin olive oil for the bread or pesto.

  • I prefer pesto for this sandwich and I always keep small bags of homemade pesto in the freezer. You can buy pesto in a jar and keep it in your refrigerator if you don’t make your own.
  • Whenever I find gorgeous basil leaves I make pesto, so I have it for sandwiches, pasta and breads. Recipe at the end of the post.

Directions:

The directions for this sandwich are beyond simple. Grill the bread, spread the pesto on the bread slices and a little on the mozzarella slice, layer the tomatoes, dash of oregano, basil leaf and you are done- Enjoy!

___________________________________________________________________________________

Pesto Recipe

Using a food processor is the best way to make pesto unless you have a mortar and pestle and a lot of time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of peeled garlic (you can add more if you prefer a strong garlic taste)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (can be substituted with walnuts or almonds if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (I use locatelli)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

  • Remove the basil leaves from the stem, and wash and dry the basil. 

Cooks Note: Since my transplant I follow doctors orders to wash all produce in a bowl of cold water with 1 tbsp of baking soda and let it soak for 10 minutes, then rinse with cold water and dry. This has been know to take off the most pesticides).

  • Add the basil to the food processor bowl along with 2 peeled garlic cloves, pine nuts, cheese, salt & pepper and give it a few pulses.
  • While the food processor is running, stream the olive oil into the basil mixture.
  • I usually taste for seasoning and if all is to your liking your pesto is ready.

Cooks Note: If you are not using the pesto immediately, you can store the pesto in a bowl with plastic wrap in the refrigerator but make sure the plastic touches the pesto to prevent it from turning brown. Also, you can add pesto to plastic freezer bags, squeeze the air out and store in the freezer 

Pesto will last 1 week stored in the refrigerator and 3-4 months stored in the freezer.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emailsI Love hearing from you. 

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Chicken and Waffles, Diane’s way…

Photo May 05, 8 12 50 PM CHICKEN AND WAFFLES 2

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Hi Everyone, 

Hope this post finds you well.

I promised more recipes during my recovery and I have another recipe to share that I posted a few weeks back on Facebook. I think you will like this one. Ciao!

___________________________________

I am getting around a little bit more, so Bob and I have been taking it slow and cleaning the garage and preparing donation boxes. When I get tired, Bob continues on his own. You could say I am a little late on my Spring cleaning….

Bob was cleaning the garage mezzanine and came in the house with a box and said, “Look what I found?” These four words always get me excited because I have collected so much stuff over 31 years of marriage, that I never know what I might stumble upon and most definitely I forgot about it tucked away in the attic or basement or garage. 

Well, this was the case with the mystery box. I peaked inside and a flood of memories came back to me.

It was a waffle boat maker.

I know that doesn’t sound that memorable, but when my son was little we would eat ice cream in waffle boats with sprinkles and whipped cream on the patio after soccer practice and just talk about anything and everything.

It was a great one on one time with my son.

Bob asked if we should keep the waffle maker or donate it and then the bell in my head went off with an idea.

One of my favorite meals to order at brunch is “Chicken and Waffles”.  

What if I prepared fried chicken wings in waffle boats? And at that moment, I knew what we were having for dinner. Bob went out to Whole Foods to buy waffle mix and a few packages of chicken wings and when he got back, I got to work.

My favorite recipe for fried chicken is a recipe from Ina Garten for oven fried chicken – easy preparation and it starts off in the frying pan for three minutes and finishes baking in the oven. Of course I had to tweak the recipe a bit see cooks notes.

Very easy, and the chicken is always crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Her recipe calls for marinating the chicken overnight in buttermilk, but in this case I only marinated the chicken for two hours because I couldn’t wait.

Cooks Note: To the buttermilk, I added  1- 1/2 tsps. of dried tarragon and a splash of sriracha sauce.

(I will share the recipe at the end of the post).

Now, what to serve with this and the first request Bob had was French fries so that was an easy decision. Cole slaw or mashed potatoes with gravy would be nice also.

I am serving the chicken with three condiments- maple syrup, honey and hot sauce. (I love Mike’s Hot Honey on chicken- unfortunately for me, I can no longer have raw honey so I have to settle for the pasteurized “honey in the plastic bear bottle”. 

Making the waffle boats were a snap with the mix and dinner was ready in no time. For the full experience with this meal, Bob and I had ice cream for dessert.

BTW this is the waffle boat maker that I used. I have had it so long it is considered a “collectible” online. How is that for making someone feel old? A collectible appliance.

It can be found on Amazon from various sellers- price varies from $147 to $300.

VillaWare 2007 UNO Series Waffle Boat Maker

VillaWare 2007 UNO Series Waffle Boat Maker

It was a great dinner with lots of memories and one I am sure any child (that is children of all ages) would love to have fried chicken wings in a waffle boat. 

Photo May 05, 8 11 47 PM WAFFLE BOATS

Oven- Fried Chicken

recipe courtesy of Ina Garten and Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in eight serving pieces
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening

COOKS NOTES:

FOR  MY ADD ON… tarragon & hot sauce

Adjust the buttermilk amount according to chicken quantity…

Directions:

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1 inch and heat to 360 degrees on a thermometer.

Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don’t crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

__________________________________________

I hope you have a chance to try this recipe.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you.

 

 

 

My 4th of July Favorites-pizza & potato salad…

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe that the 4th of July is this Thursday- Wow!

I am not having a big get together this year, it will be just me and Bob. I am still not allowed to have visitors. I am keeping it very mellow and Bob will be grilling for the two of us and I will be making my traditional 4th of July potato salad.

I am re-posting two of my recipes that I made last year to give you some ideas for this 4th of July.

My Flag pizza (big hit) and my most requested potato salad. Enjoy!

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July with family and friends and be mindful of your pets and fireworks.

Click on the photo to enlarge, and the back arrow to return to original size.

Flag Pizza

Photo Jul 04, 12 48 00 PM FLAG PIZZA

I saw this recipe on one of Giada’s shows and I just had to make some pizzas, they were too cute.

I brought them to a friends house last 4th of July, along with my potato salad- big hit.

This year I have added a few substitutions for some of the ingredients if you want to change things up a bit….

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

FOR THE SPINACH

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

5 ounces baby spinach, chopped *

1-2 teaspoon kosher salt

TO ASSEMBLE

2 tablespoons flour

1-pound pizza dough

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 cup pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon ricotta cheese**

28 slices pepperoni***

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned. Add the spinach and the salt and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the spinach in a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour on a clean work surface. Place the dough on top and sprinkle it with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Roll the dough out to a 15 X 10-inch rectangle. Drizzle the oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it evenly using a pastry brush. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.

Spread the sauce over the entire crust. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, creating a 5 X 4-inch rectangle in the upper left corner with slightly less cheese. Squeeze the liquid from the spinach and spread evenly over the upper left corner. Dot small clumps of ricotta cheese over the spinach to form the “stars. ” Arrange the pepperoni over the remaining surface of the pizza in horizontal rows, slightly overlapping the slices to form the stripes.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cooked through and the cheese is bubbly.

* you can substitute 4 small purple potatoes for the spinach- sliced thin with a mandolin and sautéed in olive oil until crispy- approx. 7 minutes

**- you can substitute mozzarella pearls for the ricotta

*** – you can substitute grape tomatoes cut in half OR strips of bacon for the pepperoni

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Now for the potato salad…

Photo Jul 22, 12 44 32 PM potato salad

 Whenever I am invited to a barbecue, everyone asks me to bring the same thing- my potato salad.

This has to be the easiest recipe around and it is always a crowd pleaser, so I wanted to share this with all of my members.

I have been making this potato salad over 20 years and I don’t remember where I got the original recipe from. Of course, I have tweaked it a little here and there over the years (I couldn’t help myself).

In my house, we have made it a tradition that this potato salad does not make an appearance until the 4th of July. After that, I make it the rest of the summer.

The recipe calls for 1 dz. hard boiled eggs, so make sure you check your eggs for freshness.

Check your eggs for signs of cracks. Since fresh eggs are harder to peel it is best if you purchase your eggs a week prior to boiling.

You can test the freshness of the eggs by placing them into a glass of water. The freshest eggs will lie on the bottom of the water on its side. As an egg ages the air pocket inside grows so your egg will start to stand up on end. An egg that floats to the top should be discarded.

If you try this recipe, PLEASE let me know what you think.

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DIANE’S POTATO SALAD

PREP TIME : approx. 2 hours

Ingredients:

5 lb. bag of red potatoes -NOT PEELED -boil whole until fork can pierce skin but not mushy/ DRAIN

2 ½ C         Hellmanns mayo –not light

5 TBSP      Red Wine Vinegar

3 ¾ tsp       Kosher salt

2 ½ tsp       Sugar

¾ tsp          Pepper

2 ½ C         Celery (chopped)

1 ½ C         Red onion (diced)

1 dz            Hard boiled eggs

Directions:

Mix mayo and vinegar together—Add salt, pepper, and sugar and mix thoroughly.

Add celery and onions—Next add potatoes WARM  (cut into bite size pieces)

Add eggs (sliced) and fold all ingredients together.

(Best when chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours).

ENJOY!

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

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