Category Archives: Vegetables

Italian Vegetable Stew (aka Giambotta)

Hi everyone,

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

Hope you are all well… Happy First Day of Autumn!

I am back from taking a month off for some much-needed rest and relaxation and to catch up on a few things we needed to get done around the house. I am rested and ready to cook, share recipes and prepare tablescapes…..

This time of year is bittersweet for me… Leaving the beach and the great hot summer days behind and getting prepared for cooler days, earlier sunsets, and all the fall treats and traditions.

Every year when we transition from summer to fall, I start making recipes that use the last of the summer vegetables before the pumpkins and squash arrives. Our bountiful summer gardens are coming to an end about now and we want to hold on to those summer flavors just a bit longer.

In the next few days, I will be posting a few of my favorite end-of-summer recipes. These are the recipes that have become a tradition in my Italian family.

The first recipe is a vegetable stew. My mother would always take the last of the summer harvest and make a vegetable stew with all the odds and ends that are left on the vine.

Some years yielded more zucchini than tomatoes or more eggplant than green beans -whatever the case, my mother made it work and it was always delicious. Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations.

Nice and hearty and served simply with grilled ciabatta bread rubbed with garlic or a loaf of crusty Tuscan bread. Topped with grated cheese, it is always delicious. Over the years I like to serve this with polenta* topped with grated cheese.

This recipe is called “Giambotta” and it has basic ingredients but you can add or subtract whatever ingredients you prefer. There is no right or wrong, it depends on what you grew in the garden and what you want to add.

Giambotta can be a side dish or a main course if you add some protein such as chickpeas or cannellini beans.

And a great dish if you have guests that are vegetarians.


Photo courtesy of Running to the Kitchen website


3 TBSP olive oil

2 – 4 garlic cloves- minced

1 small onion-sliced

3 carrots- peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery-diced

4 small red potatoes- washed & diced

Fresh parsley (approx 2 TBSP)

4-5 vine tomatoes diced OR 1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes

1 can (14 oz) of low sodium chicken broth

2 cups green beans – fresh and blanched is best or frozen is fine

1 medium eggplant –diced in cubes (peeling optional)

2 zucchini- diced in cubes

1 (10 oz) box or bag of frozen peas

Red & green bell pepper or 4 Italian frying peppers, sliced

1 Cup grated cheese

Salt & pepper

1 tbsp. dried oregano 

Fresh basil (approx 5 leaves-chiffonade)

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning

(1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans- rinsed and drained -optional)

(Parmesan rind- optional)

(1/2 cup white wine – optional)


  • Sauté onion in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
  • Add garlic, carrots, parsley, celery, peppers, and potatoes, and sauté for 10 minutes
  • Add fresh diced tomatoes OR 1 can of crushed tomatoes, broth, and green beans, season with oregano, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, fresh basil, and Parmesan rind & white wine (if using). 
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to cook the sauce (taste for seasoning – additional salt & pepper can be added)
  • After 30 minutes—Add eggplant, peas and zucchini, cannellini beans, or chickpeas (if using), and simmer on low for an additional 30 minutes
  • Remove bay leaf and Parmesan rind before serving

Sprinkle with grated cheese. 


This meal can be served with polenta. *Polenta is a northern Italian coarsely ground cornmeal. When freshly cooked it is soft and creamy and is a gluten-free substitute for any recipe that calls for pasta.

When polenta cools, it firms up and can be sliced and fried or layered like pasta sheets.

The old-fashioned way to cook polenta took roughly 45 minutes to cook stirring constantly but now there are many companies that sell instant polenta that cooks between 3-5 minutes. Here is an example of one brand, so you know what to look for.

Photo courtesy of Amazon


  • 1 (16 oz) box of instant polenta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (optional) OR
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)


Follow package directions. When the polenta is done, take the pot off the heat, and then add butter and cheese, AND heavy cream OR mascarpone cheese (if using).

Serve soft polenta in a shallow bowl and add Giambotta on top.


Cooks Note: when my mother made this dish, any leftover soft polenta was cooled on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread the polenta out as flat as possible. Once the polenta has hardened and cooled, cut out rounds with a wine glass or cookie cutter or cut in slices, and store in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, my mother would fry the polenta in a 1/2 cup of olive oil or butter in a large skillet on both sides until golden (then drain on paper towels), or broil for 3 minutes on both sides. Serve with scrambled or fried eggs instead of toast.

Extra rounds/slices can be wrapped in wax paper in a container in the refrigerator. You can refrigerate them for up to 5 days or store them frozen, for up to 3 months.

If you don’t want to make your homemade rounds you can buy them. I have never used this product myself, but I see the rounds in the dairy case. Pre-cooked, just slice, heat, and serve.

81QWybKPPUL._SX522SX522_SY201_CR,0,0,522,201_PIbundle-12,TopRight,0,0_SX522_SY201_CR,0,0,522,201_SH20_- polenta roll

(Photo courtesy of

I hope you have an opportunity to try these recipes and enjoy them.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,



Eggplant Two Ways

Hi everyone,

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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.


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)


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


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


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,


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

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

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

Escarole Stromboli

Hi Everyone,

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

Well, we are officially in the Lenten season and I know I am trying to find some new menu items for “No Meat” Fridays.

I know we all start out with our list of tried and true no meat meals and then we get stuck trying to think of something different to serve.

I don’t usually have trouble with dinner because it is usually some veggie and bean stew, a soup, a portion of pasta with fresh tomato sauce or a pesto sauce, pasta with a veggie, shrimp, or clams, or simply grilled fish.

It’s the lunch items that are a challenge, especially if you have limited time to prepare a meal and eat.

When I was a child, my mother and grandmother used to make a traditional Neapolitan “Escarole Pie” during Lent which was escarole, kalamata olives, anchovies, roasted pine nuts, raisins, capers, and either shaved pecorino or mozzarella cheese or both.

A top and bottom layered veggie pie in a buttery crust. I know the anchovies frighten some people but the meal does not taste fishy– it’s absolutely delicious.

Well, I decided to take all the ingredients of an escarole pie and make it a stromboli– a little easier in case you want to pack it to go.

So I made pizza dough with “Fleischmann’s instant pizza crust yeast” (truly a lifesaver because of no rising time) or you can get a ball of dough from the grocery store or pizzeria and you are on your way to stromboli.

So here is my recipe and I hope you give it a try. If you don’t care for escarole you can substitute Kale (removing the large stems and only using the leaves) or Spinach – (just make sure you use 3X the amount of spinach because it really wilts to nothing).

Escarole Stromboli


  • 1 large head of escarole (approx. 1 lb. or more), washed WELL and cut in sections.
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • ½ cup of pitted kalamata olives, rough chopped
  • ½ cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained.
  • 1-2 tbsp of capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp of Calabrian chili paste (Optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Locatelli cheese
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 egg beaten with a tsp of water for egg wash for the top of the stromboli
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Sesame seeds for the top of the stromboli (Optional)

For the homemade dough: follow package directions …

  • Pizza crust yeast
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar
  • AP flour
  • Salt
  • Warm water

To clean the escarole

  1. Trim off the root end and discard any discolored leaves. Cut the escarole into 3-4 sections.
  2. Put the escarole in a large bowl with 1 tbsp of baking soda and cold water. Swirl the leaves around.  The dirt will sink to the bottom.
  3. Scoop out the cleaned escarole and into a strainer. Rinse well under cold water and let the escarole sit to drain while you boil water in a large pot.
  4. ADD the escarole to the rapidly boiling water and when it comes to a full boil again, let the escarole cook for 2 minutes
  5. Drain the escarole well and when cool enough to handle, squeeze dry. (This will prevent a soggy stromboli and also prevent splashing when the escarole leaves hit the oil to be sauteed). You can also use a salad spinner.
  6. Rough chop and set aside


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until it starts to turn golden. ADD the garlic & Calabrian chili paste and sauté for 1 more minute.

ADD 1 tbsp tomato paste to the center of the skillet and toast it for 1 minute and then mix the onions, garlic, chili paste, and tomato paste together well.

ADD the escarole and stir to coat with the oil and sauté until the escarole cooks down for about 5 minutes.

ADD the anchovies, pine nuts, capers, and olives and saute for an additional 5 minutes stirring occasionally and making sure the anchovies melt into the olive oil. After 5 minutes, remove to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Once cooled, ADD the raisins, grated Locatelli cheese, and mozzarella cheese and mix well….

Prepare your dough…… I used Fleischmann’s instant pizza crust yeast (no rising time). Follow package directions OR purchase dough from the grocery store or pizzeria.

On a lightly floured board, knead the dough into a smooth ball and flatten.

Roll out your pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper the size to fit your sheet pan. ADD a thin layer of breadcrumbs to the dough to absorb any remaining liquid so you don’t have soggy stromboli.

Layout the escarole filling (using a slotted spoon to avoid adding any liquid collected on the bottom of the bowl) across the dough from left to right, leaving some room on the edges.

Slightly fold over the left and ride side toward the center (burrito style) and then bring the long ends over, pinching closed.

Place seam side down and place the stromboli and parchment paper onto the sheet pan. Cut three slits on top of the dough and brush with egg wash.

Now it is ready for the oven. If you are using sesame seeds add them now.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Slightly cool before serving. Can be served at room temperature. Enjoy

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.

I made a new category for Lenten Meals and I will be adding new recipes for the entire season of Lent.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


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

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

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

Roasted Cauliflower Steak & Spanakopita Melts ….

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well. I just had to pop in real quick to share a great recipe I found yesterday and I think that all of you will like this one.

Very easy, very tasty, and a nice presentation. Something that you could serve for a luncheon with a side salad or as a side dish for dinner.

I know there are times when we all feel that we cook the same food over and over again and there isn’t much variety in our meals. That is how I was starting to feel about cauliflower.

Cauliflower has made a big comeback over the past few years with cauliflower pizza crust and crackers and riced cauliflower and I have tried it all because Bob loves cauliflower.

I have made cauliflower many different ways but Bob prefers roasted cauliflower so I just had to find a new recipe.

The search ended when I found a very intriguing recipe on the EatingWell website by author Adam Dolge. This is a great site and this recipe serves 4 and combines the flavors of Greek spinach pie (spanakopita) and tops it on a roasted cauliflower steak.

Bob and I both loved it and I knew this had to be shared with all my members. So the recipe is below and please let me know if you try it and enjoy it. I served it with chicken cutlets but this dish is filling and so versatile it can even stand on its own.

Stay well, stay safe, and stay warm.

Some of my other cauliflower recipes….. type “cauliflower” in the search box to bring them up:

  • Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
  • Fusilli with Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas
  • Cauliflower Veggie Stir Fry Rice & Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
  • General Tso’s Cauliflower
  • Cauliflower Tater Tots


Roasted Cauliflower Steak & Spanakopita Melts


  • 2 medium heads cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot
  • 1 (11 ounce) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded smoked Cheddar cheese


  • Step 1

Arrange racks in the middle and upper third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil.

  • Step 2

Remove any outer leaves from cauliflower but keep stems intact. Place on a cutting board, stem-side down. Using a large chef’s knife, cut two 1-inch-thick slices from the center of each head to make 4 cauliflower “steaks.” (Reserve remaining cauliflower for another use.) Place the steaks on the prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt.

  • Step 3

Roast, turning halfway through, until the cauliflower steaks are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

  • Step 4

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 1 minute. Add spinach in batches and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in dill, parsley, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the spinach mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in ricotta and feta.

  • Step 5

Turn the broiler to high. Top each cauliflower steak with 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture and 2 tablespoons Cheddar. Broil the cauliflower until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


Serving Size – 1 melt

Nutrition Facts per serving

305 calories; protein 16.6g; carbohydrates 12.8g; dietary fiber 4.2g; sugars 3.3g; fat 21.8g; saturated fat 9.8g; cholesterol 52.2mg; vitamin a iu 5584.5IU; vitamin c 70.6mg; folate 68.3mcg; calcium 455.7mg; iron 3.3mg; magnesium 79.8mg; potassium 379.3mg; sodium 576.4mg.


2 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat, 1 high-fat protein, 1 medium-fat protein


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


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

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

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

Escarole, Beans and Pork Spareribs

Hi Everyone,

We had very odd weekend weather here in the Northeast this weekend. It was sunny and 60 degrees on Saturday and then it was 30 degrees and snowing on Sunday. It made you want to have ice cream in the park one day and then the next day crave warm comfort food.

Well, I chose one of my favorite comfort foods for Sunday and the cold weather and it was an Italian peasant dish that my mother used to make quite a lot when I was a child. It’s “escarole and beans” and you have probably tried it or have at least seen the dish on an Italian restaurant menu.

The escarole is wilted in chicken stock and garlic and cannellini beans are added with lots of grated cheese. It can be made a little spicy with the addition of red pepper. My mother used to make this dish quite often and on occasion added pork spareribs.

I found the most beautiful pork spareribs at my local butcher and this dish came to mind immediately. And the escarole I bought was beautiful and organic and I was all set. I had all the other ingredients I needed in my pantry at home.


It turned out to be a great Sunday meal and I served it with grilled olive bread (ciabatta would be perfect as well). I suggest you give this recipe a try on a cold day.

Escarole and Beans with Pork Spareribs – 4 servings


  • 1 lb. pork spareribs (St Louis or country style)
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (homemade or low sodium boxed)
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic -minced
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil– (enough to cover the bottom of the pot).
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 lbs. of escarole or 2 medium heads (it will shrink)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans of cannellini beans (I prefer low sodium) – drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste (optional)
  • Parmesan rind (optional)


In a large pot, coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and brown the spareribs.  Add chopped onions and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste plus a pinch of salt and sauté for a minute or two.

Add the tomato paste and sauté or toast it for a minute in the pan before mixing it well with the garlic.

Add the broth, cheese rind (if using), garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat (partially covered) for 45 minutes to 1 hour to braise and tenderize the spareribs.

In the meantime, thoroughly wash the escarole (it can be very dirty and I wash it twice in water and baking soda than a good rinse). Cut the escarole into large pieces.

Add the escarole to the broth and cook until the escarole wilts to your liking (some like it with a little crunch some like it completely soft- your choice). Add another pinch of salt.

Stir in the beans (1 ½ cans whole and ½ can mashed) * you can mash by hand or in the food processor.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes

If extra liquid is needed, add a little more broth and let the flavors blend for a few minutes stovetop. Adjust seasonings.

Serve with a drizzle of more olive oil over each serving, add grated cheese and more red pepper flakes (optional).

In addition, serve this with a little grated cheese and grilled ciabatta bread to dunk in the broth.

Enjoy every bite…


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


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

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

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

Roasted Eggplant Pizza

Hi Everyone,

This has been a very frigid week here in the Northeast and when it’s cold outside I get the urge to stay in and what else, cook. Cooking and creating in the kitchen brings me great joy.

This past week I have been making a variety of entrees for dinner and some were a little outside of my normal rotation. I posted the dishes to my personal Facebook page and received quite a few requests for recipes so I decided to post them on the blog to share with all of you. I hope the recipes bring you some inspiration to try something new.

The first recipe is for “Roasted Eggplant Pizza”. I purchased a few eggplants last week and made stuffed eggplant (previous post) and had one medium sized eggplant left in the refrigerator that I had no purpose for. I already made eggplant stacks and stuffed eggplant and then the idea popped into my head for the eggplant pizza.

I really didn’t have a recipe but I did have a pizza crust in the freezer, the eggplant, and an idea of what I wanted it to taste like so that is all I needed. It turned out very well and we enjoyed it immensely. I wrote down what I did and here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did…..

The next recipe for Ham, Cheese, Potato, and Kale Quiche will follow soon. Stay well.

Roasted Eggplant Pizza


1 medium eggplant (washed and sliced thin – approx. 1/8-inch slice (deli slicer works great for this)

1 premade pizza crust  

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, diced fine OR 1 tsp of jarred minced garlic

1 tsp. dried oregano (optional)

1 tsp dried basil (optional)

½ tsp salt

14 oz of pizza sauce (jarred or homemade)

6 oz of mozzarella cheese (grated or sliced)

6 tbsp of ricotta cheese

½ cup of grated cheese (I use Locatelli cheese)

½ tsp. hot chili flakes (optional)


Cooks Note: I used a premade pizza crust or you could use store bought dough or make homemade dough- recipe below)

Line a large baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.

Cut the eggplant in 1/8 inch round slices and arrange in 1 layer on the baking sheet

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, dried oregano & basil

Lightly brush this mixture on both sides of the eggplant rounds and season lightly with salt.

Roast the eggplant in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes until tender and the eggplants start to turn brown. If you want the eggplant a little crispier follow this step with 2 minutes under the broiler.

Assemble the Pizza

Cover the pizza crust with pizza sauce, sprinkle lightly with grated cheese. Arrange the eggplant slices on the pizza and then add the mozzarella cheese and a few dollops of ricotta cheese. Follow with another sprinkle of grated cheese and chili flakes

Bake in the oven as per directions for the crust or dough you are using

For example- 500-degree oven 8 minutes for a premade crust *****425-degree oven for 12- 16 minutes for homemade dough.

Below is the recipe for homemade dough if you are not using a prebaked crust…

Pizza Dough for a 12-inch pie


1 ¾ to 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

1 packet of Fleischmann Pizza Crust Yeast

1 ½ tsp sugar

¾ tsp salt

2/3 cup warm water (120- 130 degrees)

3 tbsp of oil (I use olive oil)

Preheat oven to 425


Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil. Mix until well blended about 1 minute.

Add gradually enough remaining flour until a soft dough ball is formed (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 the greased pizza pan, OR roll dough to a 12-inch circle and transfer to greased pizza pan

Top as desired and bake on the bottom oven rack for 12-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” 

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

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

Stuffed Eggplants

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well and if you are in the Northeast like me, I hope you are staying safe and warm. It is COLD here.

I am not a big fan of cold weather and that is when I stay in, hibernate and cook.

Today, I was going through the refrigerator and noticed I had all the ingredients for stuffed eggplant, so I decided to make that for lunch.

In the past, I have listed a recipe for “stuffed eggplant boats” but this is just an updated version with a twist on some of the ingredients.

I have added ground sausage meat to the ground beef and added some sundried tomato packed in oil to the mix. These additions really enhance the flavor of this dish.

Give it a try and I hope you enjoy it.

Stuffed Eggplant


2 small long eggplants

14 oz. mushrooms (I use a combination of white button, cremini, and oyster) (OPTIONAL)

2 (1 lb.) pkgs. of ground beef or ground turkey OR 1 lb of ground meat and 1 lb of sausage meat.

3-4 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped OR 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes sliced in half

3 or 4 slices of sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped

4 tbsp. grated cheese (I use Locatelli cheese)

6 basil leaves, shredded

Sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp of dried oregano (remember to rub the spice through your fingers when adding to the pan to release the oils).

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil

Mozzarella cheese, shredded for topping eggplants


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)

If usingTrim the roots from the mushrooms, wipe the dirt off with a damp cloth, and dice them lengthwise.

Add the mushrooms and 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 meats with salt and pepper. Add the ground meats (beef and sausage) to the oil and sauté until it begins to turn brown.

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

After 5 minutes, turn off the burner, 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


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” 

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

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

Eggplant Stacks with Eggplant “Meatballs” …

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have all recovered from the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and you and your families are well, staying safe and getting ready for 2022.

I know that I have posted the recipes for eggplant parmigiana and eggplant “meatballs” before, but I have to share this story with you today that involves eggplants.

Since the pandemic started, Bob and I have been ordering our groceries from either Instacart or Whole Foods and having them delivered. I am happy to say that the majority of the time the orders arrive in good shape and I am satisfied.

However, there are some orders you just shake your head and wonder how this order was filled and today was one of those days.

The first time I had to shake my head and wonder about the order was when I ordered 2 containers of Campari tomatoes (a little bigger than a grape tomato) from Costco and received ten extremely large tomatoes on the vine (bigger than the palm of my hand large) and had to make a vat of tomato soup to use them because they were too huge for my original purpose.

Well, today another incident happened that I had to shake my head at and wonder how this happened. (Keep in mind I request no substitutions). I ordered one small bag of Brussels sprouts and instead, I received 2 large eggplants.

Now other than being a vegetable, I don’t see the logic behind this substitution. It’s not that I ordered Brussels sprouts and they sent cabbage; that would seem close to the original order.

I had some frozen sauce, but I didn’t want stuffed eggplant and didn’t have the time to make a full eggplant parmigiana so I decided to use one eggplant for eggplant stacks (breaded and baked eggplant with grated cheese, mozzarella, and sauce) and the 2nd eggplant for eggplant “meatballs” which happens to be one of Bob’s favorites.


So dinner worked out in the end after a little extra planning because of this detour. I will repost the “eggplant meatball” recipe below if anyone is interested.

This just proves you just have to go with the flow some days, be grateful for what you have and keep going forward and step over the little bumps in the road.

Enjoy the remainder of the week and I will post my New Year’s Eve tablescape and dinner this weekend……

Eggplant Meatballs

(recipe courtesy of by Lynette Marie by way of Allrecipes – 2016)


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant, with peel (I peeled the eggplant)
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ cup grated cheese (recipe called for Parmesan, I used Locatelli)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (recipe called for 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup dried bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet (I used a silicone mat, parchment paper can also be used). 

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in olive oil and sauté garlic just until lightly browned.

Mix in the eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes.


Place steamed eggplant in a large bowl to cool.


Mix the cheese, parsley, eggs, and bread crumbs into the eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until ingredients are thoroughly combined and the mixture can be rolled into balls. Add more bread crumbs as needed to make the mixture workable.


Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes, then roll into balls or form into patties.

Place eggplant balls on a prepared baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.

I add the cooked eggplant balls to the remaining sauce and then serve immediately.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


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Pasta Primavera

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well and if you live in the Northeast like me, I hope you still have power after the storms and high winds we have been having the past few days.

I have been testing some new dessert recipes for Halloween and really haven’t given much thought to dinner, so I whipped something up as a last-minute meal that I wanted to share with all of you for a quick weekday meal when you don’t have much time.

I made a quick easy version of Pasta Primavera which is a simple dish of pasta and fresh vegetables in oil and garlic with your favorite herbs and spices added. It is a great way to use up leftover veggies left in the bin toward the end of the week before they spoil.

I have been taking a little shortcut the past few weeks with vegetables, by steaming some vegetables at the beginning of the week and storing them in an airtight container for easy meal prep during the week to add to salads and pasta or as a side dish to have ready in minutes.

This week I had some carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower so I incorporated these veggies and some shallots and tomatoes and made a simple garlic, olive oil, and anchovy sauce for a delicious quick meal served over tri-color spaghetti.

I read once that most people think Pasta Primavera is an Italian dish but it is an American dish created by chef Sirio Maccioni and two sous chefs and was first served in a New York City restaurant. It wasn’t until a recipe for this dish was published a few years later in the New York Times that this dish became popular.

The ingredients vary for this dish depending on what veggies you have, what pasta choice you make, and what sauce you want so I am providing a basic recipe as a guideline but please feel free to change ingredients according to what you have (steaming the vegetables ahead of time is a blessing and a timesaver). So here is the recipe. Have fun and enjoy every bite……

Pasta Primavera


  • 12 oz of pasta (suggestions: penne, spaghetti, farfalle, gemelli, cassarecce)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion or shallot, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cauliflower
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/2- 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of calabrian pepper paste (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
  2. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a 12-inch (and deep) skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add olive oil, onion or shallots and saute 2 minutes to get a slight golden color.
  4. Add garlic and anchovies (if using) and saute for 2 minutes to melt the anchovies.
  5. Add the vegetables of your choice and saute until the veggies are softened but still a little crisp.
  6. Add the Calabrian pepper paste (if using) and mix well.
  7. Add Italian seasoning and dried oregano, saute 2 minutes longer and mix well.
  8. Add drained pasta to the veggies and add the pasta water with 1/2 cup grated cheese and mix well to form a sauce. Check for seasoning and add a little more salt & pepper as needed (additional pasta water and cheese can be added to make the sauce a consistency you prefer).
  9. Toss in parsley and serve with additional grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil on top.

Cooks Note – if you want to make this a complete meal on a single plate you can also add the protein of your choice – (suggestions: shrimp, scallops, grilled chicken slices, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, or nuts).


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” 

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

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

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Hi Everyone,

I just had to share this recipe that I found the other day while looking for some new side dishes. I am always changing my recipe ingredients and experimenting with new flavors and I came across this recipe that intrigued me.

“Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites”.

I have used cauliflower to make tater tots and General Tso’s “chicken” in the past and posted it to the blog, but this was another way with cauliflower that I never tried before.

(Here is the link for my previous cauliflower recipes)

Since this recipe caught my attention, I felt it was the perfect side dish to go along with some chicken, rice and black bean enchiladas that I made for dinner last night. I absolutely loved the result.

(Sorry only one photo but I didn’t plan on making this a blog post since it is not my original recipe).

I loved the Cauliflower Buffalo Bites so much that I had to share with all of you immediately so you could try it too. And kudos to the author, Dani Spies, she is brilliant.

The recipe is easy and tasty and comes together in very little time.

The cauliflower bites were a little too spicy for Bob between the spices in the batter and the Buffalo hot wing sauce, so remember that if someone in your family is not a lover of spicy to tone it down a little.

Next time, I will have to cut the spice level down for Bob to really enjoy them, but I loved every bite with the original ingredients.

I am a lover of spicy foods and this recipe was fantastic for me.

This is a great party food for the vegetarians on your guest list that can’t have Buffalo Hot Wings and it makes a nice presentation.

Plus, it’s baked and not fried which helps with the calories and the clean up. I added some celery and carrot sticks and a little ranch dressing as another layer to our meal to complete the traditional Buffalo style.

The recipe is from “Dani Spies” and she has various you-tube videos showing her creations. I find her to be fun and entertaining and this recipe is a keeper for sure. So, thank you Dani for this fabulous recipe….


Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites-

courtesy of Dani Spies

Course: DIET, DINNER, snacks + starters

Cuisine: American, Super Bowl, vegan, vegetarian

Author: Dani Spies

Prep Time-10 mins Cook Time 30 mins -Total Time 40 mins 


  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup of white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • a few dashes of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce I used Franks
  • 1 tbsp. butter melted


  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, water, salt, garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika and stir until smooth. Add in cauliflower and stir gently until florets are evenly coated with batter.
  • Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet that has been coated with some cooking spray. Be sure the pan is not over crowded (use two pans if needed). Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  • In a separate bowl combine hot sauce and melted butter. Pour evenly over the cauliflower and gently toss until evenly coated.
  • Pop bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to crisp up. Serve with carrots, celery and blue cheese dressing.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” 

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

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