Sunday, March 18, 2018


This unique recipe came from a site called Kalyn's Kitchen and Olivia made it at
Thanksgiving.  We are posting it now because it would make a great side dish for Easter if you are having ham or turkey, or anything else for that matter.  The sweetness of the sweet potatoes blends so beautifully with the creaminess of the goat cheese and the saltiness of the Parmesan cheese.  Olivia and I are both big fans of thyme.  It is a subtle herb that enhances vegetable and meat dishes alike.

The picture you see below is from Thanksgiving.  You may notice there is the canned jellied cranberry sauce that I grew up on and happen to love AND there is a delicious cranberry relish in a bowl that Olivia made.  She does not share her mother's love of the mundane canned version.  Personally I like them both and more than that, both of us love the great memories we have of holiday meals.  Olivia always makes them special because she finds new and exciting recipes to add to the family standards.  I just plain love about any holiday.  We hope you consider this recipe for your Easter table.  It is a winner.

Sweet Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese, Parmesan, and Thyme


  • 3 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes 
  • salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 8-10 oz. log soft goat cheese
  • 1 cup half and half or cream
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Take goat cheese out of the fridge and let it soften at room temperature.  Spray a 3-4 quart glass casserole with with non-stick spray or olive oil. 
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick.  (Don’t make them too thick or they will take longer to cook.)
  3. Put the softened goat cheese in a small bowl, add the half and half and the thyme, and whisk together until it’s smooth.  (You can put the package of goat cheese in the microwave and heat in 10 second intervals until it’s soft to make this easier to mix.)
  4. Layer half the sweet potatoes in the baking dish and season well with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.  Spread half the goat cheese mixture over the sweet potatoes and sprinkle on half the grated Parmesan.  Make another layer each of sweet potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper, goat cheese mixture, and Parmesan.
  5. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake 1 hour (or until the sweet potatoes are quite soft when you stick a fork in them.)  Remove foil and bake 20-30 minutes more, until the sweet potatoes are very soft and the top is nicely browned. Serve hot.
  6. This will stay good in the fridge for several days and may have reheated a little too well, if you know what I mean.  (You can assemble this the day before and bake the day you want to eat it, too!)

Sunday, March 11, 2018


There are a handful of recipes my husband holds dear from his childhood.  Many of them are tied to the holidays, but a few were everyday standards that his mother made when he was growing up.  The Zamzetti recipe is one that he talks about wistfully and remembers fondly.  I made it a few times as Olivia was growing up, but to be honest it seems overwhelmingly simple.  

Perhaps it is because the recipe recalls a time growing up when there weren't such things as microwave meals or even things like Hamburger Helper.  When my husband and I were growing up crock pots were something totally new and easy homemade recipes often involved canned goods such as soup.  That is the context in which this recipe came about.  It is simple, but wholesome and very good.  Give it a try!


Brown one pound of hamburger with one thinly sliced onion.  Cook in boiling water 1/3-1/2 bag of wide egg noodles.  Combine one can of condensed tomato soup with eight ounces of shredded cheddar cheese.

Combine drained meat and onions with the drained noodles.  Stir this mixture together with the soup and cheese mixture.  Place in a greased casserole dish and top with grated parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered for about 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve.

Sunday, March 4, 2018



saint Patrick's Day is only a few weeks away and what better way to celebrate than with a sweet tasty snack guaranteed to delight the "wee people"  and everyone else who tries it.  Olivia found this great recipe on a site called  It calls for Rice Chex but she was low on those when she made it so she used half Rice Chex and half corn flakes.  The result was a delicious treat and the corn flakes were reminiscent of gold coins one might find at the end of the rainbow!

If you just want to make it for family or maybe create small treat bags as Olivia did here to share with coworkers, the result is sure to please everyone.

We ALWAYS celebrate St. Patrick's Day at our house and have many a traditional food that day.  Maybe you can incorporate this into your celebration.  We leave you with this traditional Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.


  • 7 cups Rice Chex
  • 1 cup Lucky Charms
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1 11.4-ounce bag dark chocolate mint M&Ms
  • 1 11-ounce bag white chocolate chips 
  • ¾ cup of JUST the marshmallows from Lucky Charms box 
  1. In a large bowl combine Rice Chex, 1 cup of Lucky Charms, pretzels and M&Ms.
  2. In a heat-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power. Stir and repeat until the chips are completely melted.
  3. Pour the melted white chocolate over the cereal mixture.
  4. Stir carefully to combine, as to not crush the Rice Chex.
  5. Stir until the mixture is completely coated with the white chocolate. Sprinkle with the ¾ cup of Lucky Charms marshmallows.
  6. Pour mixture onto wax paper or parchment paper to dry and spread it out.
  7. Allow to set until white chocolate has hardened (about 45 minutes) and then break up into pieces.
  8. Store in an air-tight container.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes have always been a staple meal in our household.  I made them frequently when Olivia was growing up and I still make them occasionally for my husband and myself.  They are a great way to use ground beef. 

Olivia made this incredible version of a Sloppy Joe that makes it taste like a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.  You can't miss with the combination of onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, and of course the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to add great flavor.  The use of Provolone cheese gives the whole thing a great creamy texture you can't help but love. 

Accompanying this with chips, fries, soup, or salad would make a great quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.  If you like Sloppy Joes, I'm pretty sure you will like Olivia's version.  Enjoy!
- Nanette

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces brown mushrooms minced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 8 ounces Provolone Cheese Slices, chopped (use 6oz if you don’t want it very cheesy)
  • 6 brioche hamburger buns


  1. Add the ground beef to a large cast iron skillet (this browns very well) and brown until a deep brown crust appears before breaking the beef apart.
  2. Stir the ground beef and brown until a deep crust appears on about 50 or so percent of the beef.
  3. Remove the beef (you can leave the fat) and add the butter and the onions and bell peppers and mushrooms.
  4. Let brown for 1-2 minutes before stirring, then let brown for another 1-2 minutes before stirring again.
  5. Add the beef back into the pan.
  6. In a small cup mix the beef broth and cornstarch together
  7. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, beef broth/cornstarch mixture into the pan.
  8. Cook until the mixture is only slightly liquidy (about 75% of the mixture is above liquid), 3-5 minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat, add in the provolone cheese.
  10. Served on toasted brioche buns.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella

What a lovely recipe filled with color, texture, and flavor!  Olivia borrowed this recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  It includes a wonderful array of vegetables including rarely used parsnips.  The Italian cornbread is a flavorful deviation from traditional cornbread that includes sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.    The creaminess of the mozzarella cheese with the tartness of the red wine vinegar and spicy bite of basil makes for an excellent pairing of flavors.

The final days of winter deserve a great recipe like this one to comfort our palettes until it is time to plant our own vegetables.  We hope you enjoy this gem!

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella


Italian Cornbread:


Put the onion, yellow squash and zucchini on a baking sheet. Put the carrots, parsnips and butternut squash on another baking sheet. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Toss to coat and spread out into a single layer.
Roast the vegetables until tender and brown around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes for the onion pan and 40 to 45 minutes for the carrot pan. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, cut the Italian Cornbread into 1-inch cubes, arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake to slightly crisp the bread without toasting it, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small jar, shake together 1/4 cup olive oil, the vinegar and some salt and pepper.
Put the cooled cornbread and vegetables in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing, tossing gently to combine. Add the mozzarella balls and some salt and pepper and mix. Add the basil and toss again. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and serve.

Italian Cornbread:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir together.
Measure the buttermilk and milk into a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir. Add the Parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes and oregano and mix together. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until combined.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/4 cup shortening in the microwave. Slowly add the melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined.
In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet (the batter should sizzle) and spread to even out the surface. Cook on the stove top for 1 minute, then transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. The edges should be crispy!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Italian Grinder Casserole

Olivia and I have a friend, Deb. C. who shared this delicious recipe with us.  It is like a deconstructed grinder that not only tastes great but also makes your whole house smell amazing when it is cooking.  My husband and I were talking with Deb and her husband about this recipe and we were  brainstorming about all the ways this could be changed to make it similar but different.  We came up with the idea of a chicken, bacon, ranch version, and even a Hawaiian version that might include ham and even pineapple bits. 

Once you have tried this original version, be adventurous and try to change it up and see how it turns out.  When I made this recipe I cut back a little on the bread and increased slightly the amount of meat to trim some of the carbs.  The way the cheese melts and makes a little crust around the edge is absolute heaven.  Putting this on a lettuce bed with the Italian dressing makes it even more like a grinder.  Hope you like it!
- Nanette

1 pound of Italian bread cut into cubes
Mix the following and pour over bread cubes:
2 T. olive oil
1 T. parmesan cheese
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 egg

Pour broth and egg mixture over bread cubes and mix.

Cut up one pound of Italian meats such as salami, prosciutto, capocollo, sopresseta, and pepperoni.  Mix the meats into the cube mixture.

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Place a layer of the bread and meat mixture in the bottom, then a place a layer of sliced provolone cheese, then layer again until you use all the mixture and an entire 8 ounce package of provolone cheese. 

Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and put over the casserole. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 5-10 until the top bubbles. 

Serve over shredded lettuce tossed with a dressing made of:
1 T. mayo
2 T. olive oil
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper

Sunday, January 28, 2018

20-Clove Garlic Soup

Winter has been teasing us here in our part of the country.  One day it is 50 degrees with a faint feeling of Spring in the air.  The next day we have forecasts of snow, ice and temperatures in the teens.  It is this time of year, we enjoy soup most.  It is hearty, satisfying, and warms the body while soothing the soul.

Olivia found this incredible soup at  It is full of flavor (mostly garlic) and rich with butter, wine, and half-and-half.  If you like garlic and like a smooth, cheesy soup, I think you will enjoy this one.  When Olivia made it, she said it really tastes like garlic so know that before you make it and consider making it an appetizer instead of a large bowl main attraction.  No matter what context you wish to serve it in, it is sure to be a blast to the winter blues and a warm blanket for your taste buds.  Make a batch and enjoy!

20-Clove Garlic Soup

  • 20 garlic cloves (about 2 full heads)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1¼ cups half-and-half
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 1½ cups croutons (see below)
  • Sage oil (see below)
  • 3 slices bread
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
Sage oil
  • 6 sage leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt 

Cut off the base of 2 whole heads of garlic and leave the paper on the cloves. Pour ½ teaspoon of olive oil over each head of garlic and place in aluminum foil. Roast at 350° for 30–35 minutes, until soft. The cloves should easily squeeze out of their peel.
Place the roasted garlic cloves and butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and chicken broth, then use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to an upright blender to blend. Return to low heat and add the half-and-half. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the cayenne and Parmesan, shut off the heat and cover with a lid to let the cheese melt. Serve with croutons and a drizzle of sage oil.
Toast 3 slices of good bread and cut into 2- by 2-inch pieces, then drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 400° for 10–11 minutes.
Sage oil
Sauté the sage leaves in oil with a pinch of salt over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.