Posts Tagged ‘savory’


December 16, 2017

So with working full time my dinner mojo is often missing. It seems our weekly menu consist of the same types of items – burger night, pasta night, protein night, taco night, pizza night and more of the same. I wanted to freshen things up and keep my passion for cooking alive, so I found a remedy. I look at my Food Network magazine’s “weeknight dinners” every week to add a new recipe to the mix. I am really enjoying this inspiration. I look forward to a new issue each month. In the past I have struck out with new recipes but lately I have been on a roll. I have made four new dinners, one each week, that have been home runs. It spices up our weeks as it adds something new to the mix. Each of these four recipes were a huge hit with my family. They were all easy to make and quick after a long day. I hope you try them and make your families tummies happy!

Chicken with gnocchi

This recipe was so delectable and using store bought gnocchi on a work night made my life easy. It had the perfect balance of protein and veggies. I made this with the perfect side -homemade Olive Garden breadsticks which were so fluffy and better than the real thing.

Tortellini Stroganoff

All the great flavors of stroganoff were there and this was simple to make. I added some stir fry beef for protein.

Orzo with mushroom

My family was skeptical with the spinach and leeks, but they tore it up, due to the creamy sauce and the chicken breast I added. Campy said: “it was on point!”

Flank and mac

As you can see a theme here, protein, carb, and veggie. I try not to make carb heavy dinners but this trifecta pleases the little people. Flank steak was too pricey so I used another affordable cut. The idea here is the flavors, add your own twists.

That’s what I love about these Food Network recipes, you can add your own ideas. Also if the magazine subscription is too much, get your issues from the library like me, and then google the recipe name and they come up on their website. Also these are all great vegetarian recipes too. Manga!


Margie’s Marinated Mushrooms

August 5, 2015


If you get to attend one of my Italian Sunday Suppers you know I am going to put out my favorite hand painted Antipasto set. In that set are little dishes for all sorts of goodies. Even if you don’t have a special antipasto dish you can still put out an easy to assemble antipasto that will impress your guests. My go to ingredients are: stuffed olives, roasted peppers or pepperocini, salame, prosciutto, marinated mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and a center plate with caprese salad. For my caprese I use sliced campari tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil and I drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and cracked pepper. If you don’t do the caprese you can always cut up some sharp provolone or even make bruschetta. Sometimes I use all of the above and sometimes I mix it up. Once I even made my caprese salad with grilled zuccini instead of the usual tomatoes. Antipasto is Italian for “before the meal” and it is a lighter appetizer than most heavy american dishes.

When we lived in Sicily the antipasto was my favorite course. I can still remember the fragrant flavors and the cured meats combined with the sweet homemade ricotta and salty veggies marinated in oil and spices. I recently hosted a Sunday supper and when I was picking up all my ingredients, I saw marinated mushrooms at the deli. They were very pricey and I thought, why not just make them for way less. In my treasured recipe box that my mom gave to me filled with all of her famous dishes I had her homemade marinated mushroom recipe. I have made it before and it is very simple and always a hit. Mushroom is translated to “Funghi” in Italian and there are a variety of different varieties with so many flavors. But for my recipe I just use basic button mushrooms. So here is a great addition to your antipasto spread or an easy appetizer for a party:

Mahgie’s Marinated Mushrooms


3/4 cup of good olive oil

1/3 cup of red wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp of dried basil or a few fresh leaves

1 bay leaf

1 garlic clove, quartered

8 peppercorns

1 1/2 lbs of mushrooms, rinsed, halved or quartered if large

  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, heat all ingredients to boiling, except mushrooms.
  2. Simmer over low heat, covered, 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in mushrooms until coated, cook 5-10 minutes or until fork tender. Refrigerate covered. Manga!

Lemony Terrific Chicken

November 11, 2014


I have always been a fan of cutlet themed dinners. From Marsala to Parm to Milanese, a cutlet dinner can be satisfying and simple. I usually make my Aunt’s go to Lemon Chicken recipe loaded with heavenly mushrooms. Recently I decided to change it up after seeing the Barefoot Contessa make her version. Ina is a talented chef and I have tried many of her recipes before. Yes she is a bit fancy pants but that doesn’t deter me from trying her decadent takes on dishes. Lemoore is nothing like the Hamptons, believe me, but making her recipes takes me outside of my little world. This lemon chicken was amazingly juicy and delicious. The combination of olive oil and wine with just the right herbs and fresh lemon made chicken sing with flavor. So if you want to make a simple dish that makes you feel fancy for a moment, check out this version of Lemon Chicken and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Lemon Chicken

1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

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Who’s coming to Sunday Dinner?

June 10, 2013

I love trying new recipes, especially when I don’t plan to. I asked my hubby to pick up a pot roast at the grocery store, if you haven’t checked it out yet, try my amazing pot roast recipe I posted on here. I am very thankful when he does the grocery shopping for me so I don’t complain when he doesn’t get the exact item on my list. He brought home a beef bottom round roast so I typed that into google and viola, I found a Sunday roast beef dinner. I had always wanted to make a Sunday roast and never knew what cut of meat you needed to do that, I assumed it was some pricey sort of prime rib or something, but the bottom round roast was just as affordable as the pot roast I had put on the list. By the way, for pot roast you usually use a chuck roast. I was pretty sure the leaner and tougher bottom round roast would not turn into a tender pot roast, so I am glad I found the recipe below. My Sunday roast turned out amazing, as did my gravy, which I have never had success with before. The marinating before baking with the worcestershire sauce and also the rub really made the flavors sing. Also I made it with some homemade whipped mashed potatoes, the perfect accompaniment. So if you are planning a tasty Sunday dinner, check out my recipe and enjoy!

Sunday Roast Beef with Pan Gravy

Roast Beef:

  • 1 (4-to-5-pound) Boneless Beef Bottom Round Roast Or Rump Roast
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Powdered Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon(s) (plus 1/4 teaspoon) Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon(s) Coarse Salt

Pan Gravy:

  • 3 tablespoon(s) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cup(s) Beef Broth


  1. Prepare the Roast: Adjust the rack to the bottom of the oven and heat to 425 degrees F. Blot any excess moisture from the roast, rub the Worcestershire sauce over the entire roast, and allow to marinate for 30 minutes, turning it twice.
  2. Combine the powdered garlic, onion powder, paprika, and 1 tablespoon coarse-ground pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the roast, pressing it, and let the roast stand for 20 to 30 minutes. Rub the meat with 2 teaspoons salt, place fat side up in a shallow roasting pan, and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and continue to roast until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F — about 2 hours. Let the roast stand for 20 minutes before slicing.
  4. Prepare the Gravy: Skim any fat from the liquid that remains in the roasting pan. Whisk the flour and 1/2 cup water together to a paste; set aside.
  5. Scrape the drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan, add the beef broth, and stir over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer. While continuously whisking, add the flour paste and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. If needed, add a little water to thin the gravy. Add remaining salt and pepper; serve warm.


Chicken Biscuit Pot Pie

March 27, 2013


I have never been a fan of chicken pot pie, something about the soupiness of it and the pie crust just didn’t equal delicious to me. But both my dad and hubby love pot pie. After a recent trip out to eat where Campy had a KW version of pot pie that was actually pretty scrumptious I was inspired to overcome my aversion.

Well whose recipes usually convert me over to a believer? That would be my lovah, Alton Brown. Hold up, Alton Brown you say? Ok so he may not been oozing with dancing with the stars sexiness but his recipes are technical and my perfect go to for any accurate version of your favorite dish. I found his chicken pot pie and of course he one upped it by not making a pie crust, but using biscuits! Think what it would be like if chicken and dumplings and chicken pot pie had a baby.

To me this was the perfect compromise, as I love biscuits and even though I am not a casserole fan, the biscuits distracted me enough to indlulge. Even my picky kiddos dug right in. Some tips: the cheese in the biscuits made them even more tasty and the shredded rotisserie chicken was nice and tender, instead of the usual dry chicken pot pie meat. My mom wasn’t a fan of the chicken sausage, next time I would probably use just regular sausage. Are you wondering why I put sausage in a “pot pie” – well, think biscuits and gravy, mmmm! So if you want to make a relatively simple version of chicken pot pie even more delicious you should check this recipe out – click the link or see below

Chicken Biscuit Pot Pie – Courtesy of Alton Brown & FN

1 pound bulk-style chicken sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 pounds shredded, cooked chicken, about 5 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Biscuit Topping:
12 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 ounces extra-sharp white Cheddar
4 ounces unsalted butter, frozen
7 ounces low-fat buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the filling: Set a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Crumble the chicken sausage in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Add the butter and melt, stirring to coat the sausage. Sprinkle the flour onto the sausage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the milk and chicken broth and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, salt, sage, and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside while preparing the biscuits.

For the biscuits: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, thyme, sage, and cayenne pepper in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Grate the cheese and butter using the large shredding disk of a food processor or the large side of a box grater. Immediately add the cheese and butter to the flour mixture. Stir to combine. Pour in the buttermilk and stir just to combine. Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and start folding the dough over on itself, gently kneading for 30 seconds, or until the dough is soft and smooth. Press the dough into a 1/2-inch thick round. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out the biscuits, being sure to push the cutter straight down through the dough to the work surface. Make your cuts as close together as possible to limit waste. Gather together any remaining dough, pat out again, and cut out as many biscuits as you can in order to get 9 total.

To build the pie: Set the biscuits on top of the filling, placing 8 around the edge of the pan and 1 in the middle. Bake until the biscuits are tall and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: I did not have a large enough skillet so I used a 9×13 pan and I just used scraps of biscuit dough to fill in spaces between round biscuits

Gnocchi Alfredo Amore

March 2, 2013


I have posted my gnocchi adventures before but this time I used a new technique, using the back of a fork to hand press your gnocchi shape. (See video update below) It is not a requirement to roll it like this, as you can just simply hand cut your gnocchi and be done, but the fork tines do make a nice traditional gnocchi indentation.

Making gnocchi is hard work but it is well worth the delicious result, especially paired with my pistachio alfredo concoction. Pistachio alfredo is a yummy treat we ate when we lived in Sicily, they used what they grew around them at the little farm agiturismos we went to, so pistachio was a plentiful ingredient in many dishes. Something about the rich soil from the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Etna made the vegetation grow like crazy in Sicily. I usually double the gnocchi recipe to feed my family of four, the gnocchi is not a large serving even with it doubled, but it is very rich and filling so you don’t eat a giant bowl.

Update: here is my video of my technique to hand roll your own gnocchi:


  • 1 pound baking potatoes, preferably Russet
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of nutmeg


  • 2 T of butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pecorino Romano, or more if you like
  • 1 cup of shelled pistachios grinded to powder in a spice grinder or nutribullet
  • freshly cracked black pepper


1) To make the gnocchi: Bake or microwave the potatoes until soft (do not boil as the potatoes absorb too much water). Peel the warm potatoes and press them through a ricer, or mash them; measure out 1 ¼ cups potato; enjoy the rest as you see fit.

2) Mix the baking powder with the flour, and sprinkle over the potatoes.

3) Add the cheese, yolks, salt, and nutmeg, mixing just until everything comes together in a smooth ball.

4) Place the dough on a floured work surface, cover, and let it rest for 30 minutes.

5) Take about a third of the dough, and roll it into a rope about the thickness of a finger.

6) Cut ¾”-long pieces. Using a gnocchi board, or the back of a fork, roll the individual gnocchi to create ridges on one side, and a little space in the middle.

7) Place the gnocchi on a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted with flour, cover lightly, and chill until ready to cook. Gnocchi may be stored in the refrigerator up to a day, and in the freezer for several months.

8) To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow boil, and add the gnocchi.

9) Once gnocchi float to the surface, cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain cooked gnocchi, and toss with sauce.

10) For the Alfredo,  melt butter and add minced garlic, then add cream over medium heat until it starts to slowly bubble and thicken. Then stir and keep simmering until the sauce is reduced in volume by about a a third. Add the cheese and stir until all the cheese melts and the sauce becomes smooth, add salt and pepper to taste (I don’t need salt usually because butter and cheese have salt) then add ground up pistachios and stir it in to thicken sauce.

12) Toss with pasta and sprinkle servings with pepper and more cheese if you like.

Yield: 4 appetizer portions, 2 main course portions. Double gnocchi recipe to feed family of 4, sauce makes enough in one batch…

Polenta Virgin

January 21, 2012

So I am a polenta virgin. I am not ashamed to admit it. I just have never tried it, for some reason it has never appealed to me. Polenta is a very finely ground version of corn grits and if you cook it very slowly to get it creamy. It is often served with tomato and mozzarella or even chilled and sliced into circles for fancy appetizers. I see it on all different calibers of cooking shows and I am usually the first to try to make something if it is more challenging, but yet I have not tried it.

The other day on The Chew, Mario made Polenta with shrimp (shrimp are gamberoni in Italian) and he enticed me. So I bought some polenta and shrimp and I was ready to try it out. Following Mario’s directions were easy and the step by step video helped make my first time making polenta easier. I had seen other chefs use fresh herbs as skewers before in other recipes so I was excited to try this with the shrimp. Remember it has to marinate for 3 hours so plan ahead. Grilling the shrimp on the rosemary skewer really adds delicious flavor, I might use this idea for summer cookouts. Make sure not to grill it too long, you don’t want your shrimp tough, but tender and succulent.

When I made the polenta I made sure to pour it slowly and whisk as pouring, to me it was just like making cream of wheat, which I make often for breakfast, so it was easier than I expected. I got it to be just the right texture and then I scooped it out and served the freshly grilled shrimp on top. It was amazing! I am really glad I took the plunge. I can’t wait to try it chilled as a sort of cracker to serve a yummy appetizer on. I also am excited to try some other recipes, my friend said that she had polenta fries with gorgonzola dip at a restaurant, I want to find the recipe to make that too. So if you have not tried polenta but are feeling the urge, don’t be scared and you won’t be disappointed! Oh and please excuse the photo I snagged from the Chew site, I gobbled up my dinner so fast and forgot to snap a pic for my fans…

Gnocchi UFC Battle

January 16, 2012

Ok so because I am a perfectionist and I love to cook I had to attempt the gnocchi again. I just wasn’t happy with how it came out. My mom had given me a different recipe to try and so I decided to try it. This gnocchi recipe from King Arthur Flour’s website just sounded more delicious to begin with. I didn’t make the gorgonzola sauce but I have made that before for fresh fettuicine and it was to die for. In this recipe, I liked how you microwave the potatoes, rather than boiling them forever, as it instructed in my previous gnocchi post. Also by adding grated cheese to the dough it gave it such a yummy smell, along with the nutmeg (which thanks to my MIL, I had fresh nutmeg to grate). So the dough already seemed to have a big advantage with these additions.

This dough was a bit easier to work with and also cut and roll with a fork, but I still might getting the $5 gnocchi board at the King Arthur Flour store to make it easier, or maybe my handy hubby will make me one. Of course making them by hand gives them a slightly irregular shape but that did not affect the taste at all, we didn’t have a single gnocchi left!

I made sure to gently lower them into the water with the slotted spoon and then used the same spoon to strain them, as last time I dumped them in the collander and killed them. Then I tossed them with some olive oil before topping with my cacciatore sauce and pecorino romano. Then we devoured them!

So if you liked my last post or you like gnocchi, you have to give this version a try and you too will think this version wins the ultimate gnocchi championship! Oh and it made just enough for me and my 2 girls, but I would have to double the recipe if my hubby were home or we had guests, FYI.

Terrific Tuna Vermicelli

July 26, 2011

I know many people cringe at the the word tuna, thinking of the canned variety with the happy little fish on the can, especially when I mention it in the same sentence as pasta. But this tried and true recipe has been my “go-to what the heck” can I make last minute recipe for years. The combination of the tuna along with the tomato and balsalmic vinegar just sings with deliciousness. When we lived in Italy I often saw Tonno or tuna in many dishes, even on pizza with hard boiled eggs! My mom taught me to make Tara’s tuna vermicelli at a very  young age and I would often make it afterschool to have dinner ready when she got home for work. I have fond memories of this recipe as I think along with my mom’s greek chicken one, it is one of the first things I really cooked on my own. Initially I made it with a can of tuna and then the vacuum sealed pack but lately I have been using one fresh tuna steak to make it.

Tara’s tuna vermicelli


2T olive oil

1 small chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic minced

1(14 oz) can of whole tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp dry basil or few leaves of fresh

2tsp parsley

1/4 tsp S&P

1T balsalmic vinegar – or more if you like

4 oz fresh mushrooms

1 can/vac pack of tuna or small tuna steak

8-12 oz vermicelli

First saute one small onion that is chopped up in olive oil, add garlic. Add fresh mushrooms to the onions to cook for a bit, if I have them I add artichokes to add more veggies. After the onion is cooked through and translucent add tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Let this simmer for a bit and add Balsalmic vinegar (I have to admit I am a huge fan so I often add quite a bit more and I don’t measure). Then add the pack of tuna or if you are using a fresh tuna steak add that (I usually cook it in a separate fry pan to get it medium). Let the sauce simmer for about 5 mins so the flavors come together. While your sauce is cooking get your pasta ready. You can use vermicelli or any pasta. I like to scoop the pasta out of the hot water and add it directly to the sauce for maximum flavor and also some of the pasta water adds nice flavor to the sauce. Top with grated Romano cheese and cracked fresh black pepper and enjoy. Yes it is a sin in Italy to put cheese on seafood (I know Scott Conant is gonna get me) but I like to live on the edge! Just wait until your taste buds get a sample of this incredible dish, you won’t be disappointed!