Category Archives: Vegetables

Vegetable Stew (Giambotta)

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(Click on PHOTO to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi everyone,

I am back from my holiday break. I hope 2016 is treating you well so far.

Bob and I had a wonderful three week visit from our son and we all had a terrific time together.

The weather held out on our day trip to NYC, so we were able to visit Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in all it’s splendor, the light show at Sak’s Fifth Avenue and we even had time to have Holiday Tea at The Plaza Hotel.

(Enjoy the slideshow)

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The three weeks still gave us time together to try some new restaurants near home, see some movies, spend some family time relaxing and time to celebrate Christmas and bring in the New Year.

Of course I cooked ALL my son’s favorite foods during his visit and trust me, it was a labor of love. I was so thrilled that he was home.

Now our son has gone back to school, holiday decorations are put away, life is getting back to our usual routine and the weather has changed here in the northeast to bitter cold.

Bitter cold to me is a reason for comfort food. Besides the three bean chili, mac & cheese, chicken soup and beef stew; I have another favorite comfort food. It was one of my mother’s favorites too.

It is a southern Italian vegetable stew called Giambotta.

(pronounced: jam-BAUNT)

When I was growing up, my mother made Giambotta at the end of the summer/early fall with all the remaining vegetables from the garden and then occasionally during the winter months. I just love it and make it all year.

Giambotta can be a side dish or a main course. You can add cannellini beans or chick peas too. Add your favorite vegetables and have fun experimenting with flavors.

(This is a great dish if you have guests that are vegetarians).

I usually serve Giambotta with either appetizer size sandwiches of “Mozzarella en Carozza”. Simply put, Italian fried mozzarella cheese sandwiches. 


 Polenta, either sliced into rounds or soft polenta. 

(The photo shows the homemade polenta rounds).

So let’s get started…



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3 TBSP olive oil

2 – 4 garlic cloves- minced

1 small onion-sliced

3 carrots- diced

3 stalks of celery-diced

4 small red potatoes- washed & diced

Fresh parsley (approx 2 TBSP)

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 eggplant –diced in cubes

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 chick peas or cannelini beans- rinsed and drained -optional)

(Parmesan rind- optional)

(1/2 cup white wine – optional)


  • Sauté onion in olive oil with garlic for 5 minutes, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
  • Add garlic, carrots, parsley, celery, peppers and potatoes and sauté for 10 minutes
  • Add 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, cannelini beans or chick peas (if using) and simmer on low for an additional 30 minutes
  • Remove bay leaf and Parmesan rind before serving

Sprinkle with grated cheese. 

Cooks Note: if the giambotta looks too soupy for you, add half the can of beans to the giambotta and mash the other half of the beans before adding to the giambotta to make the stew thicker.


Mozzarella en Carozza

My family usually made this dish for an easy lunch or antipasto with a green salad and fruit; but I love it with Giambotta.

You must serve it immediately because the cheese will harden. It is very easy but messy and you have to be very careful when turning the sandwiches in the oil to keep the sandwiches together.

Don’t over stuff the sandwiches with cheese. Leave some room around the edges so the cheese doesn’t ooze out.

If you use fresh mozzarella and not slices, let it drain for a few minutes to get rid of some of the liquid.

I watched my mother make this sandwich and never had a written recipe, so to give you an idea of measurements, I am posting the recipe from the cookbook,

“Extra Virgin – Recipes and Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen”.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar, Extra Virgin, 2011

Total Time: 20 min    
Prep: 10 minutes   Cook: 10 minutes  Level: easy
Yield: 4 sandwiches


  • 12 ounces mozzarella di bufala
  • 8 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil

Slice the mozzarella and divide among 4 slices of bread. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread.

Whisk the eggs with the milk in a small casserole dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add the flour to a casserole dish. Dust the sandwiches in the flour, and then dip into the egg mixture.

Heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick pan. Add the sandwiches to the pan and fry on both sizes until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. The mozzarella should be completely melted and very “stringy” when the sandwich is eaten. Slice the sandwiches in half to make 2 triangles.



Use instant polenta, otherwise you will be at the stove for 45 minutes stirring old style polenta. 


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


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

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

Or serve polenta rounds…homemade or store bought.

For homemade: Spread the soft polenta onto parchment paper in a jelly roll pan. Spread the polenta out as flat as possible. Once the polenta has hardened, cut rounds out (with a wine glass or cookie cutter).  

You can either serve as is, fry the polenta slices in a 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large skillet on both sides until golden (then drain on paper towels), or broil for 3 minutes on both sides.

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

Store bought…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.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


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

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




Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

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Hi everyone,

I have been getting a few requests to post the recipe for

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, so here it is.

I honestly don’t remember where I got the original recipe from and I have just been tweaking it over the years. I can’t take all the credit, but I can tell you it is delicious.

I hope you like the recipe enough to try it; and please send me your comments if you do.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

Have fun cooking!


(Click photos to enlarge)

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Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, slice
2-3 orange, red, green or yellow bell peppers, sliced
4 peeled carrots- sliced
6 cloves of garlic, leave the skins on for roasting
1 green zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced

Broccoli florets & part of the stalks diced into coins

(Eggplant, optional)

1 – 2 (10 oz. pkg. ) chopped spinach,  sauteed with garlic & drained. This isn’t added to the veggies to roast, this is used to assemble the lasagna.

Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

(ALL vegetables can be increased or decreased to taste)

Ricotta mixture Ingredients:

1-16 oz. container of ricotta cheese- (if you use fresh ricotta, must be drained to remove liquid)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 cup Locatelli cheese, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Dash of nutmeg

Other ingredients:

Lasagna noodles (I used no cook noodles- I found the Delallo imported Italian brand to be the best) 

2-(8 oz. pkgs.) Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Locatelli cheese, grated
Fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper (for quick and easy clean up) then coat the lined baking sheet with olive oil or olive oil cooking spray.

Clean and slice the veggies and layer all but the zucchini and yellow squash on the sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, season with kosher salt, cracked pepper, basil, garlic powder and oregano to taste. Toss to coat all the veggies and place in the oven for 20 minutes. (After the 1st 10 minutes, I toss the veggies once again).

After 20 minutes, add the zucchini and yellow squash to the roasted veggies, toss and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven. I put the veggies in a colander over a bowl for 5 minutes before I start to assemble the lasagna and let any extra oil drip out so the lasagna is not too wet.

Once the garlic cloves cool down, carefully peel the skin off and slice. Add sliced garlic back in with the rest of the veggies. Add fresh basil and toss.

For the ricotta mixture: Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste and re-season if needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a large 9 X 13 glass-baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.

  • Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish then place a few lasagna noodles down to completely cover the bottom of pan.
  • Add half of the ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the noodles.
  • Next add half of the roasted veggie mixture, half of the sautéed spinach and sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese and mozzarella.
  • Cover the veggies with lasagna noodles then sauce. Add the last of the ricotta mixture then the remaining veggies, spinach and sprinkle with Locatelli cheese and mozzarella
  • Cover with lasagna noodles, more sauce then sprinkle the top with mozzarella, Locatelli cheese and dried basil.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes remove the cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy


Recipes – Lime Chicken & Potato, String Bean and Onion Salad

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Well, I am here with two more quick Summer recipe from my files. 

The first recipe is for those of you who love chicken but want a new way to prepare it.

Lime Chicken 

A slight hint of lime and nice crispy skin.

Serve this dish with a salad, a few wedges of lime and you are all set.

The second recipe is for a cold Potato, String Bean and Red Onion salad. This is great for outdoor barbecues when you don’t want a salad with mayonnaise. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.

I hope you try both recipes this summer.


Lime Chicken


  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (approx.. 3 small limes) & the lime zest
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or more to your liking)
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. compound butter – any flavor

2 lbs of chicken WITH skin and bones (either 4 chicken breasts or 8 thighs)


In a large bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano and put all ingredients in a Ziploc bag.

Add cleaned chicken (WITH THE SKIN ON), seal the bag and turn to coat all the pieces.

Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator, turning once or twice for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Remove chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Arrange chicken pieces, skin side up (try not to crowd the pieces), on a broiler pan so the fat drips away from the chicken. If you don’t have a broiler pan a shallow baking pan can be used.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and roast in the upper third of the oven until just cooked through, 30 minutes.

Change the oven setting to broil and broil the chicken about 2 inches from the heat until the skin is crisp- approx. 2-3 minutes – Watch carefully so the chicken doesn’t burn.

In the meantime, melt 2 tbsp. of compound finishing butter and when the chicken comes out of the oven, glaze each piece.

*I buy finishing butter in “chipolte lime” flavor for a little spice but you can buy or make your own finishing butter in whatever flavor you prefer.

Adapted from Epicurious

Potato, String Bean and Onion Salad


6-8 red bliss potatoes (depending on size)

1 lb. of string beans, trimmed (if the beans are long, halve them crosswise)

4 tablespoons of olive oil

4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Squirt of fresh lemon juice


I steam my potatoes instead of boiling for 5 – 7 minutes and then add the string beans to the same steamer- just keep your eye on them and remove from the steamer as soon as they are tender.

(You can also boil the potatoes if you prefer in 2 quarts of salted water for 20 minutes. Add the beans and boil for 7 minutes longer, until the beans and potatoes are tender)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the onion, and the warm potatoes and string beans. Toss very gently to dress all the ingredients without breaking the potatoes. Add a squirt of lemon before serving. Adjust all the seasonings to your liking.

Have fun cooking this Summer!

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

And send me your comments, I love hearing from you.