Happy 4th of July!

Hi Everyone.

Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!

Stay well,

Diane

USA Flag Pizza

Hi everyone,

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

I hope you are enjoying this long holiday weekend and getting ready for the 4th of July celebrations tomorrow.

I just wanted to re-post the recipe for the “USA Flag Pizza” in case you wanted an idea for something quick while you prep for tomorrow’s big celebration.

(There are other 4th of July recipes on the blog under the 4th of July category in the right-hand column.)

Have a safe and happy holiday and until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Flag Pizza

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentis

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 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 cup pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon ricotta cheese**

28 slices of 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 it 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

_________________________________________________________

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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

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

Chicken Parmigiana- “Pizza Style”

Hi everyone,

Welcome Summer 2022!

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

I wanted to share with you the special dinner I made Bob for Father’s Day this past weekend.

I hope all the dads, grandpa’s, godfathers, dad’s to be and pet dads had a wonderful day!

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

I knew restaurants would be crowded for Father’s Day and we would be staying home, so I was thinking about a meal that I could make for Bob that would be a surprise. Something I could make at home that wasn’t on the usual dinner rotation, and then the lightbulb went off.

A few years ago, before my heart transplant and Covid arrived, Bob and I spent many days and nights in NYC visiting restaurants, museums, Broadway plays, and yes, even tourist sights. We love NYC.

One afternoon we stopped in a restaurant near Chelsea Market that was a real old-fashioned Mom and Pop red sauce Italian restaurant (sorry I can’t remember the name) and we ordered their special of the day which was chicken parmigiana but in the style of a pizza. Ground chicken with mozzarella, red sauce, and basil- plain, simple and delicious.

Recently, I have asked around on Facebook and with friends to see if anyone knew of a restaurant closer to my home that made this dish and no one could give me an answer. So, I decided for this Father’s Day I would try and make it myself.

So I did a little research on the best way to fry the chicken in a disc and gathered my ingredients and put it all together. Bob was quite surprised and enjoyed the chicken parmigiana “pizza” style as we remembered the little restaurant where we first tasted it.

It came out great but the only thing I would change next time is the size of the pizza. I only had an 8″ cake pan and a 10″ high-sided skillet and the chicken crust came out a little thicker than I would have liked so I would prepare this again using a 10″ cake pan and fry it in a 12″ high-sided skillet next time. But we were very happy with the results and I wanted to share this recipe with you…..

Chicken Parmigiana – “Pizza Style”

Ingredients:

1 lb. of ground chicken

3-4 cups of Breadcrumbs (I made my own from Italian bread and seasoned them myself) but you could use packaged Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or panko or a combination of both breadcrumbs styles- your choice. —– Season the breadcrumbs with dried parsley and some grated cheese for extra flavor.

6 large eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper

2 cups flour, seasoned

Shredded mozzarella cheese or thin-sliced mozzarella

Additional grated cheese for serving- I use Locatelli cheese

1 cup red sauce – I used homemade sauce but you could use jarred sauce or canned pizza sauce.

6 leaves of fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp poultry seasoning

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp oregano

dried parsley

3 cups peanut oil (I use that to fry) but you could use canola or a light olive oil

COOKS NOTE: any leftover eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs can be combined and fried. My grandmother called these “egg cutlets” and they are crispy and delicious. Give them a try…

*********

Materials needed:

I prefer a 10” round cake pan (I used an 8 ” cake pan for this pizza)

12” deep-sided round skillet or saute pan

2 large metal spatulas

Wire rack

3 aluminum half-size steam table trays (for easy clean-up for the breading station).

Pizza stone or cookie sheet

Directions:

Let’s get ready to prep… this meal takes two days

In a bowl, season your ground chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and poultry seasoning

Make the crust– use a cake pan lined with plastic wrap and add the seasoned ground chicken. Mold the chicken into a thin circular disc. Then wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight.

READY FOR THE FREEZER

The next day, prepare your breading station. I used 3 aluminum half-size trays for flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs

Take the chicken out of the freezer and do not thaw

(Food saver gloves can come in handy now)

Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour until fully coated then shake off the excess.

Next drop the chicken disc into the eggs, coat fully, and shake off excess

Then into the breadcrumbs. Pat the breadcrumbs into the chicken but be gentle not to break the chicken disc. Fill all the areas on both sides until there is no more egg or chicken visible. The disc has to be fully coated in breadcrumbs.

Then wrap the disc and put it back in the freezer for another hour to firm up.

Once the hour is over, remove the chicken from the freezer and work quickly before it starts to thaw.

Heat the oil on medium in a high-sided skillet or sauté pan (approx. 1 inch of oil in the pan). When the oil is hot ADD the frozen chicken disc, it should sizzle immediately.

COOKS NOTE: you can tell when the oil is hot enough by placing a wooden spoon in the oil- when bubbles appear, the oil is hot enough to fry…

When the edges of the chicken start to look golden, with the two metal spatulas, gently lift the chicken from the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate over it and gently flip the chicken.

Now gently slide the chicken back into the oil and fry the 2nd side until fully brown.

Remove the chicken and let it dry on a wire rack.

At this point, preheat the broiler to high

Place the chicken on a pizza stone or cookie sheet pan and assemble the chicken like a pizza……. Add sauce, then grated cheese, and then shredded mozzarella.

Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Garnish with fresh torn basil.

Cut and serve as a pizza. Side dishes to complement the pizza can be salad or sauteed broccoli rabe. Enjoy!

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy every bite!

To finish our Father’s Day celebration, I bought Bob a chocolate mousse cheesecake with a thick ganache topping to complete the celebration.

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

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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

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

IT WAS A GREAT MEAL

Eggplant Two Ways

Hi everyone,

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

I just wanted to share a repost for some eggplant recipes….. I purchased 4 small eggplants this week and couldn’t decide what I wanted to use them for and it was a toss-up between eggplant stacks and eggplant boats.

Since the eggplants were small and I couldn’t decide, I prepared the eggplants as both, stacks and boats.

I made simple fried eggplant slices and stacked them with mozzarella and tomatoes (no sauce needed) and topped them with roasted peppers.

This is a simple meal similar to Eggplant Parmigiana but without the need for tomato sauce and baking.

The easy recipe for fried eggplant stacks can find a home on your Summer Barbecue Buffet Table as an appetizer or a side dish.

The second recipe is Eggplant Boats stuffed with sauteed ground beef, or sausage (out of the casing), or a combination of both mixed together, with the addition of grated cheese, tomatoes, basil, oregano, and a mozzarella topping. This makes a great entree for lunch or dinner served with a side salad.

Cooks Note: I sometimes add sauteed mushrooms to the mix, but it is great with or without.

I hope you give both recipes a try this summer when the eggplants are plentiful. The recipes are below:

___________________________________

Fried Eggplant Stacks with Tomato, Mozzarella, and Roasted Peppers.

Ingredients:

2 medium-size eggplants or 4 smaller eggplants

6 eggs, lightly beaten

Italian flavored breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs

Grated Locatelli cheese (you can also use Parmesan)

Salt and pepper

Dried oregano or parsley to taste

1 lb. thinly sliced fresh mozzarella 

4 medium fresh tomatoes (heirloom or vine)

Olive oil for frying

Fresh chopped basil (optional)

Roasted peppers (optional)

Directions:

Slice the eggplants into ¼ inch rounds.

Set up a breading station with egg and breadcrumbs

Place the beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper in a shallow bowl with a rim. Add a little water to thin out the egg.

Blend grated cheese into the breadcrumbs and add dried oregano.

Dip the eggplant slices into the eggs, then into the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a cookie sheet. Be careful not to overcrowd the cutlets on the cookie sheet; the breading could fall off the cutlet.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant in batches, turning them when the edges get brown. Transfer the cooked eggplant to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet.

Cooks Note: change the oil in the skillet when it starts to get black from all the cooked breadcrumbs that fall off. You don’t want that burnt taste on your eggplant slices.

While the eggplants are draining on paper towels – cut your mozzarella into rounds (or you could buy pre-sliced mozzarella) and cut your tomatoes into rounds- width is your choice. I also added some roasted peppers as a topping (optional).

Start your stacking- eggplant slice, mozzarella slice, tomato slice, and repeat. Top with roasted peppers if using.

______________________________________

Stuffed Eggplant Boats

Ingredients:

2 small long eggplants

(1 lb.) pkg. of ground beef or ground turkey

(1 lb.) sausage meat, out of the casing

3-4 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped, or use grape tomatoes (halved)

4 tbsp. grated cheese

6 basil leaves, shredded

Sprigs of parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil

Mozzarella cheese, shredded for topping eggplants

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Wash the eggplant, cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh. Salt the cavities, put the eggplant in a baking pan, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes (they should be soft but not mushy)

Add the flesh from the eggplant to a food processor and pulse just a few times to make small pieces to fill the eggplant.

Heat ¼ cup olive oil with the garlic. Season the ground meat and sausage with salt and pepper and add to the oil and sauté until it begins to turn brown.

Add the diced eggplant. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium flame, then increase the heat and add the tomatoes and the basil leaves.

After 5 minutes, turn off the burner, and stir in the parsley and grated cheese. Check the seasoning.

Stuff the hollowed-out eggplant with the filling, top with shredded mozzarella and heat them in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Serve them hot or warm

Cooks Note: the extra filling can be cooked in another pan or saved in the refrigerator for another meal.

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

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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

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

Welcome Summer – Favorite Burrata Salad

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all well.

Today I want to Welcome the month of June and to me, that means summer is here…

I don’t know what it is about June 1st that makes me so happy. When I was a child it was the anticipation of the end of school and summer break and I guess I never outgrew that excitement that the summer months with hot days spent at the beach, picnics, and enjoying lazy summer days with family and friends were approaching.

For the last few years, I have had my own little celebration on this day and I always make my favorite “Summer Salad” to get me in the summer mood.

The salad ingredients are tomatoes (preferable heirlooms in gorgeous colors of yellow, red, green, and amber) and burrata cheese, and peaches drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and a touch of balsamic glaze.

Sometimes I put the salad on a bed of arugula, but without any lettuce is just as good. So I wanted to share this salad with you today.

For those who are not familiar with burrata cheese, it is an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer casing is solid cheese, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture.

If you don’t have burrata, you can use mozzarella balls also known in Italian as “Ciliegine” (cherry size- see below) or mozzarella pearls (very tiny), or any soft cheese of your choice.

The company “BelGioioso” sells both burrata and mozzarella in containers in most supermarkets.

Here is a guide to Soft Italian cheese so you can choose a substitute for your salad…

For an added bonus, serve this salad with your favorite grilled or toasted bread to soak up the juices from the salad. My choice is always Madonia Bakery (Bronx, NY) fennel and golden raisin bread. Use your favorite artisan bread of choice.

I am listing the ingredients but not the amounts because that depends on how many people you are serving.

Ingredients:

  • Burrata cheese (or mozzarella balls aka in Italian “Ciliegine”)
  • Tomatoes (preferably Heirloom)
  • Fresh peaches
  • Fresh basil leaves (whole or chiffonade)
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried oregano (OPTIONAL)
  • Arugula (OPTIONAL)

Cook’s Note: serve with toasted or grilled Italian bread or artisan bread of your choice

Enjoy your salad and your summer.

**********

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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

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

Memorial Day 2022

Hi Everyone.

I just wanted to wish everyone a very safe

Memorial Day 2022!

Enjoy the beautiful weather and never forget the men and women who bravely served our country.

Bob and I started our day with USA waffles, berries, whipped cream, and maple syrup – not a bad start…

The rest of our day was going to the cemetery to bring flowers and flags to honor our dads who served in the military and home to a barbeque to celebrate our freedom.

I did find a great new condiment I wanted to share with all of you especially if you like the combination of relish & mustard on your hot dogs. It is the “dill pickle mustard” from Trader Joe’s- worth a try.

Of course, no al fresco meal is complete without dessert, and Bob and I had one of my favorites, Spumoni.

It wasn’t the original from Brooklyn but it was a great runner-up and so refreshing on an 80-degree day.

I hope you all had a wonderful day and made some beautiful memories with your friends and family.

More recipes coming this week.

**********

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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

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

Chicken Francese Meatballs

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well. Happy to say that my healing is complete with my eye surgery and I am back in business and can see clearly now to write my entry to the blog.

We had a little celebration here last night and it was our “Dating Anniversary”.

This year we celebrated the 37th year of our first date or as Bob likes to refer to it, our 13,513 days together!

My husband is the biggest romantic and very, very thoughtful and since we started dating, Bob has always celebrated and bought me a little gift for every anniversary of our first date, engagement date, and wedding date. The months have blossomed into years and he has never missed an anniversary.

Yesterday he bought flowers and an occasion cake (carrot cake, one of our favorites) and I made dinner at home this year and made Chicken Francese meatballs and served it over tri-color spaghetti.

This is the recipe I want to share with you today. So, let’s get started

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

Chicken Francese Meatballs

Serves 4- approx. 6 meatballs a serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2- 3 cloves of garlic -minced
  • 1 large egg – lightly beaten
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs – seasoned or panko, your choice
  • ½ cup grated cheese – I use Locatelli
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp Calabrian chili peppers in a jar OR crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Lemon Wine Sauce:

  • 1 shallot- diced small
  • 2 cloves of garlic- minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 2 cups no-salt chicken broth
  • 1 large lemon cut into round slices
  • ½ lemon zested and juiced
  • 2 tbsp parsley

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, set aside

Prepare a pot of water for boiling the pasta and follow the pasta package directions

In a medium-sized bowl add the ground chicken, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, crushed Calabrian chili peppers OR red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.

Mix well with your hands but DON’T OVERMIX, just combine

Shape the meatballs into balls no bigger than 1 inch – aim for 24 meatballs

Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet

READY FOR THE OVEN

Cook the meatballs for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees….. once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside

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

Once the meatballs are in the oven, make the pan sauce

In a large 12-inch skillet, add butter, shallots, and garlic with a touch of salt

Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine

Let it simmer for 2 minutes. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, sliced lemons, and the chicken stock

Simmer until the mixture has cooked down slightly, 5 minutes

Add the cooked meatballs and additional parsley and mix to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes

Add the cooked pasta, mix well and simmer for 2-3 minutes to combine the flavors and reduce the sauce a bit.

The final dish…

Cooks Note: if you don’t want the meatballs over pasta, you could serve them in sandwiches, over rice, or over a vegetable.

Cooks Note: these are the crushed Calabrian Chili Peppers

**********

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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

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

Happy Mother’s Day

Hi everyone,

Hope you are well. I took a little hiatus from the blog for a little while to have cataract surgery on both eyes and I wasn’t allowed to be on the computer while healing. During my recovery, I have been thinking about all of you and what we have in store for future posts. And I have some I think you will definitely enjoy.

I will be back next week with NEW posts and I can’t wait. I just wanted to take a few minutes to wish all the ladies a very Happy Mother’s Day… Have a special day and a special weekend. See you next week.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

AND ALSO THE GODMOTHER’S OUT THERE, CAN’T FORGET THEM….

Carrot Salad

Hi Everyone,

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

Hope all is well. On this beautiful, but cold Easter Sunday I wanted to send all of you Easter and Passover greetings once again and share with you a quick side dish that I am making today.

Sometimes we need that extra little side dish on the table and this is quick and easy- Fresh Carrot Salad…..

So, have a wonderful day and I am back to cooking. I’ll be posting soon……. I hope you try this recipe.

CARROT SALAD

2 bunches topped carrots

1-cup mayonnaise

1/2 pineapple peeled and chopped OR a 14oz can of pineapple tidbits, drained

1/2-cup raisins

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Peel the carrots and grate them in a food processor fitted with a large grating attachment. (if you lay the carrots on their sides in the feed tube, you will have nice long grated strands)

Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the mayonnaise, pineapple, raisins, salt & pepper. Toss well and season to taste. Serve chilled or at room temp.

**********

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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

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