"Pistachio Turkish Delight"

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A sugary sweet treat that would go great with any of my Mediterranean dishes; such as the "Greek Bifteki Meatball Gyros" or "Oven-Roasted Chicken Schwarma"

Try it for yourself today..

"Pistachio Turkish Delights"

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups water
2 1.2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups cornstarch
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
*extra cornstarch and confectioners sugar for coating

Directions:
1. In a sauce pan mix 21/4 cups water, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl combine 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, and cream of tartar until smooth. Gradually blend the cornstarch mixture into the simmering sugar syrup while stirring with a wire whisk. It will splatter so please be careful.
3. Cook for 1 1/2 hours on medium heat stirring often so it does not burn. Cook until the mixture forms a soft ball or 234 F.
4. Keeps bubbling, then stirring, bubbling and stirring!!
5. Test the mixture by dropping a small amount of mixture into ice water. It should form a ball. When picked out of the ice water and held between two fingers you should be able to form a ball. 
6. Stop the cooking process and add the pistachios and mix well.
7. Pour onto a parchment paper or a parchment lined baking pan and let sit for at least 5 hours or overnight.
8. Combine together 1/8 cup of confectioners sugar and 1/2 cup of cornstarch. Dust the top of the Turkish delight then flip over and dust the other side.
9. Cut with a pizza wheel or a knife 1.5 squares and then toss into the confectioners and cornstarch mixture.
Eat and enjoy. Keep in a airtight box and do not keep in the refrigerator.

"Homemade Sourdough Bread & Starter"

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Sometimes you want the freshest of the freshest ingredients for a dish in your home..

An there is nothing like homemade bread to really impress your friends, family or guests when constructing anything from "Monte Cristo" or "Cubano" sandwiches, to "Challah French Toast" or my "BLT Casserole"

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This Sourdough bread and starter is a great way of adding flavor, that homemade touch and a little extra love to a dish-plus any bread you don't use for one will go great with breakfast or a lunchtime sandwich..

Me, I used this in my Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Casserole dish-so if you wanted to go that extra mile I figured why not let you try it out for yourself by adding it to the main page of "Definitely Delish"

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So once you check this out, be sure to subscribe by signing up for automatic email updates-there'll be more foodie recipes and reviews appearing here in the future..

Take care and be sure to always make it "Definitely Delish"

"Sourdough Bread"

Ingredients:
2 cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 cups Sourdough starter, recipe below
3/4 teaspoon fine Sea Salt

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Directions:
1. In an electric mixer with the dough hook, combine the flour, starter and salt, and knead until it no longer sticks to the sides or bottom of the mixing bowl..
2. Place a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle lightly with flour and knead gently, removing any large air bubbles. Knead into a small circle, then shape into a tight ball, pinching the seams together underneath. Place on a well-floured board or baking peel, seam-side down..
3. Cover with a kitchen towels and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour..

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4. Preheat a baking stone, if available, on the bottom rack of an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Form Dough into a loaf shape and make a shallow slice down the center line of the dough..
5. Spray lightly with a mister and transfer to the baking stone (or place on a heavy baking sheet lightly dusted with cornmeal) and bake until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, about 60 minutes. (Sourdough should have a darker crust than other breads, so leave in the oven 5 minutes after you think it is done.)
6. Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving..

"Basic Sourdough Starter"

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Ingredients:
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon organic sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour

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Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit until the yeast becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast does not foam, discard the mixture and begin again with a new yeast.)
2. Add the flour and stir vigorously to work air into the mixture. Cover with a towel let rest in a warm, draft-free place (an oven with its pilot light or light bulb turned on works well) for 8 to 12 hours. (The mixture should become very bubbly.) Use immediately or cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator..
3. Preserving the Starter: Each time you remove a portion of the starter for a recipe, reserve at least 1/4 cup and replace the amount you have taken out with equal amounts of flour and water..

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4. For example, if you remove 1 cup of starter, you must replace it with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk these ingredients into the starter until blended but not completely smooth, cover loosely, and return to the refrigerator..
5. Also, the starter must be maintained by feeding it every few days. Refresh by removing 1 cup of the starter (give to a friend or discard it) and adding 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk until blended but not smooth. Cover loosely and return to the refrigerator..
6. If you plan to be away longer than a week, freeze the starter in a sterilized, airtight freezer container. Thaw the starter 2 days before you plan to bake with it. Refresh as indicated above with 1 cup each of flour and warm water. Cover and leave at room temperature 12 hours or overnight before using..

CAUTION: Never keep your starter tightly closed! The gasses expelled by the yeast will build up pressure and may cause the container (such as a glass jar) to burst!

"Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten & Ginger Snap Gravy"

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Recently I went away on a much needed vacation to warm and sunny Jamaica with my Baby — then, literally a moment after returning home, I came down with a horrible case of Bronchitis..

Suffice it to say, I have not really had much energy between work and sick to do anything at all besides sleep..

 

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Today though, in anticipation of what was supposed to be another monster Nor’easter here in New York, I decided to give myself a snow day and stay out of the cold..

As I’m finally getting back into feeling healthy again (a little nasally still), I decided to try something different and delicious..

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Preparing it the night before to marinate, then searing it before placing it in the slow cooker for the day gave me a chance to get just a little more rest before returning to work on the morrow..

After simmering for hours it was time to put the finishing touches on what was my first attempt with a new recipe before serving it up for me and my Baby..

So try my recipe for “Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten” with “Ginger Snap Gravy” out for yourself..

I think you will enjoy it as much as we did, because it is oh so "Definitely Delish"

 

“Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten with Ginger Snap Gravy”

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Ingredients:
For Marinade:
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon sugar
2 carrots peeled & chopped
1 small onion halved & chopped
3 cloves garlic smashed
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon juniper or caper berries
1 3-4 pound beef roast (bottom or top round roast)

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For Cooking & Finishing:
Strained Marinade
1 cup beef stock
2 cups water
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour with water
Sea salt & black pepper
20 ginger snap cookies finely crushed

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Directions:
For Marinade:
1. Trim beef roast and place in large plastic bag with Marinade ingredients..
2. Seal and set overnight or up to 2 days in fridge to fully marinate turning occasionally..

Slow Cooking:
1. Remove from the refrigerator and set on counter for 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile set up slow cooker by adding 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup of beef stock and 2 cups of hot water on high temperature..
2. Remove beef and pat dry; then strain marinade, adding it to the slow cooker with the stock and water..
3. Heat a pan on high heat, apply salt and pepper to the beef on all sides then sear & brown the beef in the pan on all sides (approx. 4 minutes per side)
4. Add roast to crock-pot and cook on high for 60 to 90 minutes & then reduce temperature to low & continue cooking 6 to 8 hours till fork tender. (Also can cook it on high for 5 to 6 hours)
5. Remove Roast from pot when done and place covered in foil on a cutting board for 5 minutes to rest..
6. Take 4 to 6 cups of cooking liquid and add to a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of butter and 20 finely crushed ginger snap cookies..
7. Bring to a low boil; mix the flour with a little water till smooth and add to the cooking liquid in the saucepan and stir until thickened—about 3 to 4 minutes. (If some of the ground/finely crushed cookie pieces are to big and don't dissolve in the gravy then you may need to strain the gravy after cooking and before using
8. Pre-slice the roast beef and pour over with some of the ginger snap gravy and serve with some egg noodles, spaetzle or dumplings—reserve the rest of the gravy on the side for serving to your family or guests. Enjoy!

"The Holiday Brunch"

"Cooking is like love, it must be entered into with abandon or not at all."

This is one of my favorite quotes and, in a sense, encapsulates who I am as a person and a Chef..

Now I'm sure that more then a few of you could agree that each and every year sees the holiday season come quicker and quicker; so that before you know it the kids have no sooner gone back to school then a crazy headlong rush to New Years Eve has begun, with decorations for Christmas competing with Halloween and Thanksgiving from the end of August onwards..

It becomes such a mad dash, and with the commercialized bombardment of each new holiday as it nears, an almost mind numbing onslaught..

It's truly times like these that I wish I could go back to when I thought things were simpler, warmer and more heartwarming..

To those days, as I kid, when the family's would gather around each new holiday and take their time, tell stories, hold grandchildren and relax in the warm glow of the holiday spirit..

To often it becomes about the gifts and the next big thing, instead of treasuring the time we have with those we love and cherish on this earth..
 
I think as I've gained in age, if not always in wisdom, I've come to regret not always remembering what truly should have mattered to me all along..

Now, with finally coming back to a place to call home and a community to share with, I've wanted to start some new but old traditions in me and my Baby's home..
 
The first one I'd like to talk to you about is the return of the "Holiday Brunch"

To me this idea reminds of early mornings at my Granny's house with the family gathered around talking, eating and opening presents slowly all morning long..

Nothing could feel better then the idea of having a large gathering of family in the house just spending time together, it's really what the Holiday's should be about after all..

As much as I love food, cooking and photography I could go on and on about each and every dish, from the tastes and aromas all the way to the lighting and display; but for today let me just say that a brunch is one of those meals that can truly run the gamut of tastes and flavors..

Being a mix of breakfast, lunch and dessert dishes gives you the freedom to truly get creative both in your presentation and choices. For me though, for this year, I wanted some simple, easy, warm and comforting dishes to choose from..

After a couple of trips to places like Pat's Marketplace and Gemelli's I got started on what would be my food fare for the family on Christmas morning..

Remember the choice is yours on what to make and the possibilities can be truly endless..

So this year I'm bringing it back, for my family and friends, and maybe with this for a little inspiration you might do it to..

Because it is, oh so, "Definitely Delish"

"Banana French Toast Bake"
This is one of my nieces personal favorites no matter what time of year, or time of day, it is...
I love it because it can be done a day or two ahead and kept refrigerated until you're ready to cook...

Ingredients:
French Toast:
4-5 small packages King's Hawaiian Rolls
1 8 oz. package Cream Cheese
2-3 Bananas, Sliced
6 Eggs
2 cups of Milk
2 cups of Half and Half
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Maple Vanilla Sauce:
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
4 tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. Cut King's Hawaiian Rolls into 1 inch cubes and place on baking sheet..
2. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for several minutes, until buns dry and turn slightly golden
in color..
3. Place half the cubes into a Baking dish or foil wrapped spring-form pan..
4. Cut cream cheese into small cubes and place over bread in dish. Top with sliced Bananas, 
then cover with remaining bread cubes. (You can also mix in Chocolate chips if desired)

5. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, half & half, sugar, syrup and cinnamon-mix well..
6. Pour mixture over bread, cover and refrigerate 8 hours-or overnight..
7. Remove from refrigerator approximately 30 minutes before cooking and cover with foil.
8. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, then bake covered for 30 minutes..
9. Uncover and continue baking 25-30 minutes more, until a knife inserted into center comes
out clean..
10. To make the Maple Vanilla Sauce; combine all ingredients except Vanilla extract in a
saucepan and bring to a boil, lowering heat and simmering for 5 minutes. Remove from heat
and add vanilla..
11. Serve "French Toast Bake" warm with Maple Vanilla sauce drizzled over top and dusted with powdered sugar..

"No Fuss Eggs Benedict"
When cooking for a crowd it's always helpful when you can make multiple
dishes together or in the same pan. For this Brunch I did a mix of several of
these time saving techniques, such as store bought pie dough and using the
same pan for the candian bacon, bacon, sausage and chicken fried steaks.
The last trick used the pot I was cooking pasta in to help me with these
delish devils...

Ingredients:
English Muffins (as many or as few as you want to make)
Eggs (You'll need one for each Eggs Benedict)
Canadian Bacon (Again one for each sandwich)
Holandaise Sauce mix (I used Knorr's brand but any will do and home
made, time permitting, is always the best
)
1 cup of Milk
2 tablespoons unsalted Butter
Freeze dried or Fresh chopped Parsley

Other:
Pam or other Non-stick cooking spray
Plastic Wrap

Directions:
1. Mix powdered Hollandaise sauce mix with milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat stirring over medium heat. Set aside till needed (if it thickens or cools to much, add a tablespoon of water and heat till smoothand creamy)
2. Using a separate pot of water on the stove; bring it to a low boil, then go on to step 3. (I used the pot of water I was making my Pasta in for the brunch I was preparing)
3. Using a small bowl (like a ice cream cup); take a 1 foot section of plastic wrap and place over the bowl in center pushing down making and
indentation. Spray the plastic wrap with the cooking spray, then crack an
egg into the center of the bowl. Wrap the sides of plastic wrap around the
raw egg creating a bag or pouch, then set aside and repeat with the
remaining eggs you are using (as many eggs for as many Eggs Benedict you
are making
)

4. Toss the plastic wrapped egg pouches into the boiling water for 4 minutes; meanwhile slice and toast your English muffin halves, while frying the Canadian bacon in a pan..
5. Using a slotted spoon remove the eggs from the water and set aside till
cool enough to touch while you finish toasting and frying..
6. Now arrange your muffin halves on a tray; set one piece of Canadian bacon on top of each, then carefully open the plastic wrap and place one perfectly poached egg on top..
7. Now using a spoon, drizzle the hollandaise sauce over each-followed by a pinch of parsley for garnish.. 

Since learning this trick I've yet to fail in poaching an egg for just about any dish I've wanted to use one in, where as before I almost never got it cooked right..

"Vodka Sauce with Pancetta and Peas"
—I love this one for any meal, Brunch or otherwise, because it is such a
simple sauce to make but is always full of a wonderful amount of flavor. It's
definitely a recipe that's sure to please any guests.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup of Heavy Cream
1/4 cup of Vodka (I always keep a bottle of our LIV Vodka from our local Long Island distillery on hand for this recipe)
4-6 ounces thick cut chopped Pancetta
1/2 cup of Frozen Peas (more if desired)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved (extra on side for guests)
Sea Salt & Ground Pepper
2-3 Tablespoons Fresh chopped Italian Parsley
1 pound Penne Pasta

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add Penne pasta,
cooking til al dente-aproximately 11-13 minutes..
2. Meanwhile, in a large deep Skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add
Garlic and cook until golden, aproximately 2 minutes. Add Pancetta and
cook for 2 minutes more-remove to towle to drain..
3. Add Crushed Tomatoes and red pepper flakes and simmer for 5-6 minutes..
4. Stir in Heavy cream and, stirring well, for 1 minute..
5. Add Vodka and continue stirring for 2 minutes more, season with salt and pepper..
6. Toss drained pasta with sauce, pancetta, peas, parsley and cheese-mixing well..
7. Serve garnished with additional cheese and parsley on top..

"Apple Cinnamon Galette"
One of my favorite things in the world is apple pie; that is why for a Brunch (when time is limited) I love taking out this simple french pastry technique, the Galette, to wow my audience. Always looks so amazing, and the taste, it never disappoints...

Ingredients:
2 Rome, or other large Apples
1 Stick of unsalted Butter
2-3 tablespoons of Organic Sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of Nutmeg
1/4 cup of Sliced Almonds
1 package Pillsbury pre-made pie dough (You can make your own, but when creating so many dishes it can be a life saver to use pre-made)
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon Sugar (McCormick, or your preferred brand)
1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado Sugar)
1 Egg +1 teaspoon of Water (for Egg wash)

Directions:
1. Set butter in dish and allow to soften at room temperature (do not microwave), when the butter has softened enough to work with; add cinnamon, nutmeg and organic sugar then mix together well-adjust cinnamon and sugar til it reaches desired taste..
2. Then take your sliced almonds and crush them using a food processor into smaller pieces, mix the almond pieces with the cinnamon sugar spread till well combined.. 
3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees f. Now core both apples; cutting them in half from top down afterwards, leaving you with two equal halves. Preferably using a mandolin slicer (but a sharp knife and steady hand will do), slice apples creating slices about 1/8 inch or more in thickness. Set aside til ready..
4. Take out one sheet of pie dough from package; roll it out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, then spread the Cinnamon Almond Sugar Spread onto the center of the dough leaving a border about one inch from the edge clean..

5. In a circular pattern arrange apple slices; start from either the outside in or a spiral from the center out, this is more personal preference but it'll create a lovely look when baked and served..
6. Mix egg and water in a glass and using a pastry brush (basting brush), brush down the edge of pie dough-folding it over top of the edge of the apples. After working all the way around the Galette, brush down the pie dough on top and then sprinkle with the Turbinado sugar..
7. Take a few dash of cinnamon sugar and sprinkle it over the exposed apple slices; then set it in the oven to cook for approximately 60-65 minutes, the dough will turn nicely golden brown and the apples will soften when finished. (It can be made quicker at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes if made by itself-to ensure several items for the brunch were done at the same time, I adjusted accordingly)
8. Serve alone or ala mode with Ice Cream, or homemade whipped cream..

“Vegetable Frittata with Pancetta and Cheese”
If you’ve never tried a frittata before, they are this incredibly versatile dish that is more than an omelet but less than a quiche. It’ll taste as good cold or room temperature as it does fresh from the oven; and luckily, it is also a dish you can prepare ahead of time. Thus making it a perfect accompaniment to your Holiday brunch..

Ingredients: 
6 ounces diced Pancetta (you can use boars head brand diced pancetta available at Pat’s market as well as Stop and Shop’s in your neighborhood-optionally you can use 4 slices chopped cooked bacon)
1 small Vidalia onion, sliced
Several baby Bell mushrooms, sliced
7-8 Eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons Cream
2-3 tablespoons Butter, just barely melted
2 teaspoons Olive Oil, plus additional butter for sautéing vegetables
6-8 Fingerling potatoes, sliced (I used a mix of gold and purple potatoes)
Asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 2-3 inch long pieces
Grape tomatoes, a handful sliced in half (I used mini Marzano tomatoes available at Pat’s marketplace)
2-3 tablespoons Bel Gioioso Asiago, thinly shaved (though regular Asiago is also fine to use)
1-2 tablespoons Locatelli Romano (regular Romano cheese is also fine to use)
Fresh chopped Italian parsley
Sea Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Dash of Cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, wrap a tart pan (if it one with a removable base) in foil and spray with cooking spray..
2. In a separate skillet, cook diced pancetta until it begins to crisp and place on paper towels to drain..
3. In same skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat and cook the onions and mushrooms until they begin to brown, 10-20 minutes. (Add a teaspoon of butter if necessary)
4. Meanwhile slice and chop all other vegetables as needed, then crack eggs into a bowl and continue to let them reach room temperature. (cold eggs take longer to cook)

5. Remove Onion and Mushroom from skillet and set aside, then add a touch of butter to pan and cook thin sliced potatoes for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside, then finish by cooking the Asparagus in the same skillet for 5 minutes, till crisp tender..
6. Add half or more of the various vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, etc.) and pancetta to the tart pan, then sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons of the cheeses..
7. Now prepare the eggs by just barely melting the room temperature butter and adding it to the eggs along with 2-3 tablespoons of cream, salt, pepper and cayenne. Whisk gently, but be careful not to over-beat the eggs-then pour into your tart pan..
8. Finish by adding more of your cooked ingredients, as well as a few sliced tomatoes and a last sprinkling of cheese-then place into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes (or until just set, but be careful not to overcook). Let the frittata cool for a few minutes before unwrapping foil and removing it from the pan..

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy..

"Simple Homemade Coffee & Tea Gelato"

So, as is my usual, I decided to play around in the Kitchen again..

What I ended up creating, for me an my Baby, were two "Three Ingredient Gelato's

Well, truth be told, they went a little beyond three ingredients. I couldn't help it..

The First one was a scrumptiously tasty "Matcha Green Tea Gelato" followed by a delectably delicious "Chocolate Chip Espresso Gelato"

Now I know what you're going to say, there's four ingredients in Espresso Gelato-but really that's only cause I couldn't help tossing in several handfuls of mini semi sweet chips at the end, I mean could you have if you were me..

So each of these refreshing frozen treats involved Heavy Cream whipped til thick peaks formed an kept cool..

Then I mixed my other ingredient with either the home-brewed Espresso that I cooked down to thicken, or the Matcha Green Tea Powder I mixed with hot brewed Green Tea to liquify..

Folding each into its own batch of Whipped Cream, I then poured them into containers and put them into the freezer to set for a few hours..

Mmmm, they were both unbelievable..

So thick, rich and creamy tasting; and so easy to do as well..

The Espresso one was especially good; such a strong roasty smooth coffee flavor with the chips just adding that lil extra something special..

Of course I could be biased due to my love of all things coffee, think I could exist on it an nothing else some days. Lol..

But really both were excellent; have loved green tea ice cream since eating it at Bonbori's Sushi as a kid, so very much enjoyed both flavors immensely..

Definitely a Delish Dessert to make again as the warm summer days approach..

"Espresso Chip Gelato"

Ingredients:
4 cups whipping cream (3-4 tubs sugar or fat free cool whip)
Can sweetened condensed milk
6 tblspn instant coffee
3 tblsps espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract
Half cup or more mini semi sweet chocolate chips if desired

Directions:
1. Thaw Cool Whip or make homemade Whipped Cream..
2. Mix Instant Coffee with 3 tablespoons of brewed espresso or coffee..
3. Mix Sweetened Condensed milk with Espresso mixture, vanilla extract and heat in microwave for approximately 30 seconds; then stir to combine and set aside to cool..
4. Once Espresso mixture cools, fold into Whipped Cream or Cool Whip and mix lightly together until fully incorporated..
5. Finally add in mini semi sweet chocolate chips and fold together..
6. Pour into Tupperware and cover and cool in freezer at least three hours before serving. Keep in freezer to store..

"Green Matcha Tea Gelato"

Ingredients:
4 cups whipping cream (3-4 tubs cool whip)
Can sweetened condensed milk
7 tsp's green matcha powder
6 tblspns brewed green tea
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 packs stevia or 3 tblsps powder sugar
4 drops green food coloring if desired

Directions:
1. Thaw Cool Whip or make homemade Whipped Cream..
2. Mix Matcha Tea Powder with 6 tablespoons of brewed green tea..
3. Mix Sweetened Condensed milk with Matcha Tea mixture, Stevia, vanilla extract and heat in microwave for approximately 30 seconds; then stir to combine, adding green food coloring if desired and set aside to cool..
4. Once Matcha mixture cools, fold into Whipped Cream or Cool Whip and mix lightly together until fully incorporated..
5. Pour into Tupperware and cover and cool in freezer at least three hours before serving. Keep in freezer to store..

"Post Thanksgiving Hangover"

I want to say that I just love entertaining for family and friends. I mean, truly love it.
So much so that I can be a little much for my beautiful Baby to handle, because I want everything to be perfect and go exactly as I envisioned especially with how it all looks and tastes..

 

So for this past Thanksgiving holiday, here in the US, I most definitely was more then a little anxiety ridden. I say this because not only was I doing a decent amount of cooking myself, but it was also going to be one of the first Thanksgiving dinner in our new home in quite a while..

Well I have to say that things most assuredly did not go perfect (as far as my vision) but in the end were perfect despite me and my worry. (I can be more then a little silly)

 

You see, after waking early (after doing even more dessert and dinner preparation the night before) I got started on prepping my turkey for cooking—cleaning, buttering, seasoning and covering my bird with cheesecloth (I always use a cheesecloth, it traps the moisture in the breast meat and you're able to baste right through it till ready). Next I set the table with plates, bowls, napkins, utensils and decorations. (some chocolate turkeys at each place setting was a nice touch)

Finally after beginning the roasting and basting of the bird I brought out everything else I had pre-prepared all week, which included a delicious "Roasted Butternut Squash Soup" and
"Ratatouille"

The house was so cozy, warm and smelling of all these incredible aromas; and as everyone began arriving I started serving up some starters while cooking, cooking and cooking some more..                       

It was such a great day, and I loved it so much having everyone over to enjoy the various dishes and desserts I had worked so hard on...

Everything tasted so good that I can't help but share at least a few of the recipes from that day with you, my followers (here and on Facebook & Instagram), which includes one of my new favorite side dishes as well as something wonderful to help you stretch out those incredible Thanksgiving leftovers we all enjoy so much...

The first dish is an oh so yummy "Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta" followed by my "Personal Turkey Recipe" and finally the delectable dish that is an incredible alternative to the turkey sammies, which we all love, and which I'll be calling my "Thanksgiving Leftover Soup"

It's so good and so simple; and just the thought of sausage stuffing matzoh balls in soup with carrots, corn and turkey—Mmm, I can't even, I may have to make a turkey and stuffing just to make this soup again sooner rather than later...

In the end everything looked beautiful, felt wonderful and tasted great. So why not try some of these for you and your family next year or any time; because they are, oh so, "Definitely Delish"

"Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta"

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces thick cut pancetta, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Pinch of fresh Thyme and Sage, finely minced (1/4 teaspoon)

Directions:
1. Partially cook the Brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 4 minutes... (Or you can lightly steam in the microwave until slightly cooked)
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes...
3. Add the garlic and sauté until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Then add the herbs and red pepper flakes, followed by the Brussels sprouts, to the same skillet and sauté until heated through and beginning to brown—about 5 minutes...
4. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Then add the broth and cook until the broth reduces just enough to coat the Brussels sprouts, about 3 minutes...
Serve and enjoy...

“Herb-Roasted Turkey"

Ingredients:
1 fresh turkey (weight will affect cooking time)
Sea Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
4 tbs. Turkey Herb blend (see below)
1 bay leaf
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room  temperature
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
1/2 cup Madeira wine
1 cheesecloth 

Directions:
1. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour. 
2. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit..
3. Remove the giblets and neck, if included, and reserve for making gravy, if desired.
4. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard excess fat. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, and place 2 Tbs. of the herbs and the bay leaf inside the body cavity.
5. Spread 2 Tbs. of the butter over the turkey breast and evenly coat the outside of the turkey with the remaining 2 Tbs. herbs. 
6. Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Fold a 3-foot square piece of cheesecloth into quarters, dampen with water and drape it over the breast, leaving the drumsticks exposed. Transfer to the oven. 
7. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 6 Tbs. butter with the stock and Madeira. After 30 minutes of roasting, begin basting the turkey with the butter mixture through the cheesecloth.
8. Continue roasting, basting every 20 minutes, for 1 1/2 hours more.
9. Then baste every 30 minutes with the butter mixture and the pan juices until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165 degrees F—total cooking time will vary by weight...
10. Baste and gently remove cheesecloth and then baste Turkey again for a final 20 minutes in the oven to nicely brown the skin on breasts.
11. Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

"Turkey Herb Blend"

Ingredients:
1 tbs. dried sage
1 tbs. dried basil
1 tbs. dried marjoram
1 tbs. dried thyme
1 tsp. parsley flakes
Pinch of dried mint

Directions:
1. Mix together evenly (double, triple or quadruple the amounts and save excess in a tin for future use)

"Thanksgiving Leftover Soup"

Ingredients:
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 peeled Carrots, sliced
2 stalks Celery, sliced
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups leftover stuffing
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups shredded leftover turkey meat, torn or shredded
1 cup leftover corn kernels
4-6 cups of low sodium Chicken Broth

Directions:
1. In a small bowl; whisk the eggs, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper together until smooth...
2. Add the stuffing and mix until well combined—cover and reserve in the refrigerator until needed...
3. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes...
4. Add the sliced carrots and celery, thyme sprigs, and broth and bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer...
5. Cook the vegetables until just soft, about 10 minutes...
6. Roll level tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into balls with wet hands (see note) and drop into the simmering soup; cook until dumplings float, approximately 4 to 5 minutes...
7. Gently stir in the turkey meat, corn, and season with salt and pepper (to taste), and simmer until heated through. Serve immediately and enjoy..

Note: Moistness of stuffing can vary; if the dumpling dough is too soft to roll, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it is firm enough to hold its shape while rolling...
 

"Skinny Mexican Taco Lasagna"

This "Skinny Mexican Taco Lasagna" was inspired by a post a friend made on Facebook as I sat scrolling one night..

Immediately upon seeing it the light-bulb went off and I started scribbling out ideas for ingredients and options..

 

I love when a recipe comes about that way, with just the slightest nudge and prodding by my imagination..

I love it even better when it’s successful and delicious, like this fusion of Mexican & Italian inspired cuisine using low fat, low carb, high protein ingredients that still pack so much flavor that you’re kids will never know the difference..

This is one your family is sure to love, so take "Taco Tuesday" to the next level and try this one out for you and your family—because it is, oh so  "Definitely Delish"

 

"Skinny Mexican Taco Lasagna"

Ingredients:
1 pound ground Beef, 90% lean
1 pound ground Turkey, 93% lean
2 (16 oz.) jars Chunky Salsa (homemade or favorite brand choice)
1 (7 oz.) bag 2% Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 (7 oz.) bag 2% Colby Jack, shredded
1 (7 oz.) bag 2% Mexican Mix Cheese, shredded
2 (14 oz.) cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, drained
1/2  teaspoon Onion powder
1 to 2 packages of low sodium Taco seasoning mix (use more or less to taste)
2 packages "Toufayan Bakery" Lavash Flatbread, Whole Grain with Flax (low-carb)
Sea Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
1 (16 oz.) container Low fat Sour Cream
4 to 6 ounces low fat Cream Cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh chopped Cilantro, plus more for garnish
Fresh sliced Jalapeno pepper for garnish

Directions:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and take out a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or dish and grease the insides with butter or a non-stick baking spray..
2. Take ground beef and turkey and saute until browned. Season with taco mix blend, onion powder, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste, until evenly coated.. 
3. Add half a can of fire roasted tomatoes, two teaspoons of chopped parsley and a 1/2 teaspoon of cilantro. Mix together, then set aside till ready to use..
4. Next take the Lavash flatbread wraps and separate or cut them into even strips to fit your pan or baking dish (The Lavash Flatbread I buy comes in 2 serving sheets with a perforation in the center—3 servings fit my pan perfectly but you may need to cut or slice depending on brand), these will make up your "lasagna" noodle substitutes. You should end up with 9 pieces if using my brand otherwise it could range up depending on how you slice the Lavash wraps to make your noodle substitutes..
5. Now, in a bowl, mix together the 2 jars of chunky salsa with 1 1/2 cans of drained fire roasted tomatoes. In another bowl, mix the bags of low fat shredded cheese together in preparation—and finally mix 12 ounces of sour cream and 4 to 6 ounces of low fat cream cheese together until blended smooth..

6. To begin layering, start by ladling out 2/3 of a cup of salsa mix evenly into the bottom of your baking dish (I'll usually give the tray a few shakes back and forth to help spread the salsa). Then cover it with strips of the cut Lavash flax roll ups..
7. Cover the strips of Lavash flax roll ups with about 1/3 of the taco meat mixture, spreading it evenly. Follow that with some of the cream cheese and sour cream mixture. Cover that with a 2/3 of a cup of the salsa and tomatoes, then 1/4 of the total amount of shredded cheese..
8. Repeat with another layer of Lavash bread strips, taco meat, sour cream mixture, salsa and shredded cheese until only salsa and cheese remain..
9. After laying down the last Lavash flatbread strips, cover them with 2/3's of a cup of salsa and the remaining cheese-then garnish with sliced jalapeno and some of the chopped parsley and cilantro..
10. Place into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until warmed through and the cheese is melted and golden brown. Serve with low fat sour cream, avocado slices, torn cilantro leaves and additional salsa or picante sauce, if desired..

Notes:
1. The "Toufayan Bakery" Lavash Flatbread I buy comes in 2 serving sheets with a perforation in the center--3 servings fit my pan perfectly but you may need to cut or slice depending on brand..
2. I use the "Toufayan Bakery" Lavash Plus with Whole Grain & Flax for this dish because of the higher protein and fiber, with low calories. (Each serving is 80 cals, 3 g fat, 13 g carbs, 5 g fiber & 6 g protein) This helps to keep the overall fat and carbs low while raising the fiber and protein a nice amount without affecting the taste..
3. You can add a small can of sauce to the ground beef if you feel its to thick, a 6 to 8 ounce can of plain low sodium sauce is preferable..
4. You can use completely fat free cheese (though that's not my preference) or all ground turkey instead of beef & turkey mixed..
5. You could also use different Flax roll ups or wraps; Damascus Bakery makes a high protein low carb flax wrap that would work great in this dish..

 


 

"Vegetable Frittata" With "Pancetta & Cheese"

The wonders of buttered eggs. I had never thought or heard of buttered eggs until reading one I discovered, what the French have never forgotten, the joys of hot buttered eggs..

As John Masefield writes- “Time, Tide and buttered eggs wait for no man…

 

So taking this new found knowledge, on how to create the silkiest eggs you’ve ever tasted, I applied it to the creation of the most wonderful custard'y textured frittata I had ever had.

If you’ve never tried a frittata before, they are this incredibly versatile dish that is more than an omelet but less than a quiche. It’ll taste as good cold or room temperature as it does fresh from the oven; and luckily, it is also a dish you can prepare ahead of time. Thus making it a perfect accompaniment to any Holiday brunch..

 

“Vegetable Frittata with Pancetta and Cheese”

Ingredients: 
6 ounces diced Pancetta (you can use boars head brand diced pancetta available at Pat’s market as well as Stop and Shop’s in your neighborhood-optionally you can use 4 slices chopped cooked bacon)
1 small Vidalia onion, sliced
Several baby Bell mushrooms, sliced
7-8 Eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons Cream
2-3 tablespoons Butter, just barely melted
2 teaspoons Olive Oil, plus additional butter for sautéing vegetables
6-8 Fingerling potatoes, sliced (I used a mix of gold and purple potatoes)
Asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 2-3 inch long pieces
Grape tomatoes, a handful sliced in half (I used mini Marzano tomatoes available at Pat’s marketplace)
2-3 tablespoons Bel Gioioso Asiago, thinly shaved (though regular Asiago is also fine to use)
1-2 tablespoons Locatelli Romano (regular Romano cheese is also fine to use)
Fresh chopped Italian parsley
Sea Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Dash of Cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, wrap the outside of a tart pan (if it is one with a removable base) tightly in foil and spray inside with cooking spray..
2. In a separate skillet, cook diced pancetta until it begins to crisp and place on paper towels to drain..
3.
In same skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat and cook the onions and mushrooms until they begin to brown, 10-20 minutes. (Add a teaspoon of butter if necessary)
4. Meanwhile slice and chop all other vegetables as needed, then crack eggs into a bowl and continue to let them reach room temperature. (cold eggs take longer to cook and will cause the melted butter to solidify)

5. Remove Onion and Mushroom from skillet and set aside, then add a touch of butter to pan and cook thin sliced potatoes for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside, then finish by cooking the Asparagus in the same skillet for 5 minutes, till crisp tender..
6. Add half or more of the various vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, etc.) and pancetta to the tart pan, then sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons of the cheeses..
7. Now prepare the eggs by just barely melting the room temperature butter and adding it to the eggs along with 2-3 tablespoons of cream, salt, pepper and cayenne. Whisk gently, but be careful not to overbeat the eggs-then pour into your tart pan..
8. Finish by adding more of your cooked ingredients, as well as a few sliced tomatoes and a last sprinkling of cheese-then place into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes (or until just set, but be careful not to overcook). Let the frittata cool for a few minutes before unwrapping foil and removing it from the pan..

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy..

"Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes" With "Kielbasa & Apples"

Fall means busier schedules, so fast family-friendly weeknight meals like this simple Roasted Squash, Sausage and Apple One-Pan Dinner are so helpful to have on hand..

 

A mix of healthy ingredients and low calorie alternatives create a dish with an exceptionally sweet, and tasty, treat for dinner that even the young ones in your house will enjoy it..

So if you’re ready for fall colors and flavors, then throw a pan of this pumpkin spiced meal that will be sure to hit the spot..

 

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed..

 

“Roasted Butternut Squash With Apples And Turkey Kielbasa One-Pan Dinner”

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon, divided in half, apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (about 1 to 1/2 pound)
2 to 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup, or less, light butter (I use Kerrygold or Smart balance light with omega 3)
2 tablespoonfuls of “Truvia Brown Sugar Blend” (Splenda makes a lower sugar, brown sugar blend also)
1/2 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 small apples (or 2 large) cored and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (I mix green and red)
1 pre-cooked Turkey Kielbasa, sliced (I use Hillshire Farms or Johnsonville)

Directions:
1.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, positioning the rack at above the mid level of the oven. Shake 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and mustard in a small jar..
2. Meanwhile, toss squash, sweet potatoes, melted light butter (or substitute), Truvia brown sugar blend, paprika, sea salt, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, spices (cinnamon etc) and pepper in a large bowl to coat. Spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet..
3. Transfer squash to the oven and roast 10 minutes. Add apples & sliced sausage into the large bowl with melted butter and spices then toss to coat with the remaining liquid..
4. After 10 minutes remove baking sheet from oven and add the apple, sausage and any remaining liquid to the sheet. Return to the oven and roast, until the apples are softened and the squash is tender, about 18 to 22 minutes longer. Remove from the oven..
5. Drizzle the vinegar-maple-mustard mixture over the roasted mixture in the pan and toss to coat. Serve immediately..

Notes:
1. You can add other vegetables or squash types if desired. I will often add chopped carrots with the squash in step 2.
2. Some might prefer more or less of the spices, your personal preference, add more or less if desired or leave out if you don’t like a specific spice (say cloves or another)
3. Seen similar dishes which add a couple of handfuls of kale to their dishes—if you’re a Kale fanatic who loves adding the greens to a dish, then I would suggest adding it during step 4 with the apple & kielbasa..

"GK Skinny Pasta Spaghetti Pie" with "Coconut Flour Crust"

I love trying new things, especially taking a recipe that might be a little on the decadent side or that would send you into carb overload and making it healthier..

One of the things I love and almost rarely ever ate over the past several years was pasta..

Getting older isn't easy, and needing to change up your eating habits can be difficult but luckily for a lot of us there are a few companies who have heard our cry for a healthy pasta alternative that doesn't involve zucchini..

This particular brand is "GK Skinny Pasta"

Gabriella's Kitchen has been making pasta alternatives, gluten free and teff pastas for a while now, but my favorites by far are the high protein low carb pastas they've created..

An that's where this comes in..

This recipe was one I made years ago but it's so filling, and so carb and fat heavy, that I just couldn't bring myself to make it again..

Now taking my new discovery of skinny pasta, and a pie crust I've been experimenting with, I went about making a healthy version of an incredibly scrumptious dinner dish..

Using part skim, low fat, low carb ingredients with a minimum of oil and turkey sausage—I've gone about creating a meal that is anything but bad for you no matter how gluttonous you might feel enjoying it..

 

Full of tons of protein, vegetables and fiber—you'll definitely feel satiated after a piece of this..

So give it a try yourself, and give "GK Skinny Pasta" a try to—I know that you'll find them both "Definitely Delish"

 

"Baked Spaghetti Pie" with GK SkinnyPasta and "Coconut Flour Crust"

Ingredients:
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 zucchini, large dice
1 yellow Squash, large dice
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1/4 cup red wine
3 cups tomato sauce (plus 2 more cups for serving on the side
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 pound GK SkinnyPasta, Spaghetti
1 pound part skim mozzarella, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup Parmesan, Asiago & Romano cheese, shredded
1/2 cup or more part skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Fresh chopped parsley
Coconut Flour Pie Crust (see recipe below)

Directions:
1. Heat  2 tablespoons cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and toss to coat in the oil..
2. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Saute the veggies until it is lightly golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium. Add the garlic and saute until it is tender, about 2 minutes longer..
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetable mixture to a large bowl..
4. Add the sausage and wine to the same frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the wine evaporates and the sausage is brown, breaking the sausage into smaller pieces, about 8 minutes..
5. Add the sausage, parsley, tomato sauce, and crushed red pepper to the veggie mixture, and toss to combine..
6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the GK Skinny Pasta and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly..
Drain. Toss the spaghetti with the mixture. Cool completely. Add the mozzarella and shredded cheeses and toss to combine..
7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Follow the "Coconut Flour Pie Crust" directions and transfer to a 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan (I used a double recipe and 10 inch spring-form)
8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared bottom crust till full adding spoonfuls of part skim ricotta cheese here and there (more or less to preference)
9. Roll out a 10 inch circle of coconut flour pie crust on parchment paper, brush the exposed edges of the pie crust in the spring-form pan with egg wash and transfer the circle of dough on top sealing it by pressing the edges..
10. Lightly brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle a pinch or two of coarse salt on top—then cut small slots for the inside to vent..
11. Place in middle rack of the oven. Bake until the pastry is golden brown on top, about 30 minutes..
12. Use foil around the edges if they begin to darken to quickly..
13. When done let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan sides and serve with some reserved tomato sauce on the side..

Notes:
1. You can pre-bake the bottom shell of pie crust till just beginning to lightly golden, to avoid the chance of it remaining to soggy, before filling. Just be careful not to overcook..
2. You can also switch up the vegetables if you wish, I added a small amount of eggplant to mine. You can use all yellow or all green squash, all eggplant-it's personal preference really..

"Low Carb High Protein Coconut Flour Pie Crust"

Ingredients:
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
2-3 teaspoons peanut or canola oil
1 teaspoon butter extract
1/4 tsp fine Himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coconut flour (Bob's Red Mill or preferred brand)
1/4 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (24g protein per serving)
1/2 cup light butter, softened & added in spoonfuls (or cubes)

Options:
1 tsp vanilla extract (only for dessert pies)
3 teaspoons Truvia (for dessert pies)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Whisk the eggs, oil & butter (vanilla extract & Truvia added here for a dessert pie recipe) into a stand mixer..
3. In another bowl whisk the remaining ingredients together until combined..
4. Pour the dry and wet mixture into a mixer and combine on low speed..
5. Add the cubed light butter. Process until it looks like crumbles..
6. Squeeze the crumbles together with your hands until you form a ball of dough..
7. Roll out the needed dough between two pieces of parchment paper and flip over into pie plate or spring-form pan (will want to break, just use your hands to fill and form the dough inside)
8. Using a fork randomly make holes into the bottom of the crust using the tines..
9. Loosely ring the top edges of your dough with aluminum foil if you're going to do additional baking after filling..
10. Pre-Bake the crust 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden..
11. Once cooled out of the oven, add your filling. Or if you're doing additional baking, fill and add your additional layer of pie crust on top before baking again..

Notes:
1. For Gluten Free version you can try switching out the Vital Wheat gluten for unflavored brown rice protein..

2. You can also increase the sweetness of the crust by adding additional Truvia (or your preferred sugar substitute), Vanilla extract or other flavors depending on what you plan to fill the crust with. (Sweet or Savory works great with this crust)

"Kataifi - Turkish Street Food"

I've been looking to try something new for a long while, months and months back in passing I saw one of the many videos that percolate through Facebook and YouTube involving street food..

It was barely a second or two but something about one of the dishes caught my eye—an that was KataÏfi or Knafeh or really as I was to discover dozens of other names and styles..

So after procrastinating for far to long I finally set out to try to bring together a version all my own..

I then went about scouring the internet; searching YouTube videos, and food blogs, predominately from the local chefs and cooks kind enough to add English translations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Greece, Israel and the Levant when I could..

After learning as much as I could in a short while about the many different versions and styles this street food is created in throughout the region, I then finally decided upon the style I would attempt..

Taking my cues from several versions I saw, I then tweaked and touched up my version and went about trying to make it my own..

From chopping the shredded philo, to the decision to mix and match several eastern style white cheeses from the region, and finally to the small changes to my syrup..

It was surprisingly much easier to work with then I expected, especially as it was my first time working with philo dough of any kind—but I always love trying new things from around the world, it's part of the fun of cooking..

Everyone in my family loved it, as well as my Greek boss at work who took several pieces home to his family to enjoy—an I have to say I really enjoyed it myself too, was just the right mix of ingredients and the syrup was just to yummy for words on top of all that dough and cheese..

This Turkish inspired street food is much easier to make then you might expect so I encourage you to try it out at home for yourself—I know you'll find that it is oh so "Definitely Delish"

"Kataifi - Knafeh - Kunafa - Kadaïfi"

Ingredients:
Dough:
Knafeh Dough (Shredded Philo)
1 cup Unsalted Butter

Orange Blossom Syrup:
1 1/2 cups Water
2 1/2 cups Raw Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Rose Water
1-2 tsps Orange Blossom Water
1 teaspoon Orange liqueur
1 teaspoon of finely grated Orange Zest
1 1/2 tsps fine Himalayan Pink Salt

Filling:
1/2 cup of Semolina flour
Mix of White Cheeses (unsalted if possible) 4 cups, shredded & loosely packed into a large measuring cup (I used a mix of Armenian string cheese, Greek Kasseri cheese, Akkawi and frsh Mozzarella cheeses)

Extras:
Chopped & crushed Pistachios, roasted & salted

Directions:
1. To prepare the sugar syrup:
2. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat..
3. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Leave to boil then add the lemon juice and keep on medium heat for 10 min until the syrup thickens..
4. Add the orange zest, orange liqueur, orange blossom water and rose water. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl..

For the Dough:
1. Put the knafeh pastry in a large bowl. Pull out and separate the strands as much as possible with your fingers so they do not stick together..
2. Chop the kataifi/Knafeh into shorter segments to fit inside the food processor. (I chopped with my knife on a cutting board, though you can do whichever is easier for yourself) Process half or more of the dough is shredded into small, crumbly strands instead of clumped together..
3. Divide the dough in half, keep some of the longer shreds for the top in one bowl.
4. Melt your butter and then pour the melted butter over each half of dough and work it in very thoroughly with your fingers, pulling out and separating the strands and turning them over so they do not stick together and are entirely coated with butter..
5. Lightly grease the sides of a parchment lined 9 x 13 inch baking dish or 12 in round baking pan..
6. Take the finer chopped half of dough and cover the bottom of the baking dish, and press with your hands to pack it down. Press some of it up the sides of the pan as well..
7. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place your rack just above the middle of the oven..

For the Filling:
1. Add the mix of shredded cheeses together in a saucepan on medium heat..
2. Stir until some of the water oozes out. Discard the water..
3. Add in the fine semolina and 1/2 cup of the syrup and mix. When the cheese mixture melts together, remove from heat and pour over the knafeh/Kataifi dough..
4. Spread evenly and allow to cool for 5 minutes or more..

To Finish:
1. Sprinkle the other half of dough evenly over the cheese layer. Press it down softly to even the layer out..
2. Leave out for 5 more minutes before putting it into the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top of the dough is visibly lightly browned..
3. Remove Knafeh from the oven, and let cool for at least 5 minutes (see notes about flipping)
4. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 of the remaining orange blossom syrup evenly over the dessert (depending on how sweet you would like it.)
5. Top the Knafeh with chopped, crushed pistachios..
6. Serve immediately, if possible, while still hot and with extra syrup on the side.
7. Slice, drizzle with extra syrup, and enjoy!

Notes:
1. Flipping it is optional, but can make the finished dessert more visually appealing. (Though doing like I did and using parchment paper to line your dish and transferring to a plate looks as good or better to me-personal preference)
2. First, loosen the kunafa from the edges of the dish with a knife..
3. Cover the top of the baking dish with a large, flat baking sheet or other large, rectangular serving dish..
4. Flip the baking dish while it is covered by the sheet, so it will end up on the baking sheet..

5. If you're going to flip I would suggest some of the longer strands for the bottom (reverse which half of dough from the earlier steps to use for the bottom)
6. If you're not going to flip then you can line your pan with greased parchment paper—and after baking and allowing to cool for 5 minutes, lift out or lift slide out side onto plate using parchment paper..
 

 

"Roasted Butternut Squash Soup"

This soup recipe is a little time consuming just because of the cutting and pre-roasting of the squash, but once that's done it definitely speeds up..

The roasting concentrates the flavor and gives the squash this amazing taste that's well worth the wait..

I find this one of the toughest soups to photograph as there is little variation in color or texture unless you garnish it just right—still just tends to look orange but she's got it where it counts, and that's in taste..

This is one of my Baby's favorite soups that I make here at home; sweet, savory, cinnamon spicy and oh so good..

Definitely worth making at home, especially now that Summer is coming to close and Fall is fast approaching us.. 

(Just looks so pretty as a starter before thanksgiving or any dinner during those fall months)

Though in this house, regardless of the time of year, this soup is a guaranteed to be a hit..

Try it out for yourself and your family; I think you'll find that it is, without a doubt, "Definitely Delish"

"Roasted Butternut Squash Soup"

Ingredients:
4 pounds Butternut Squash Cubes
3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Green Apple
1/2 Sweet Vidalia Onion
8 fresh Sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar)
2 1/2 cups low sodium Chicken broth(see notes)
1 cup Apple Cider
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon each of Allspice and Nutmeg
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
Garnish-see Note below

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees and arrange rack in middle..
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and fill with cut squash. Then melt 2 tablespoons of butter and brush it over top the squash pieces and then sprinkle with sugar..
3. Season with sea salt and pepper, then roast till knife tender-about 50 minutes to 1 hour approximately..
4. Meanwhile; peel, core and cut the apple into a medium dice. Follow by cutting the onion half into a medium dice as well. Then melt the remaining butter on medium heat in a deep pot, or dutch oven, large enough to hold several quarts of soup..
5. Add the apple, onion, and sage to the pot and season with salt and pepper-then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. About 7 minutes..
6. Remove the pan from heat and set aside till squash is don in the oven..
7. When the squash is done, add it to the pot with the sauteed apples and onions; then add the broth, cider, cinnamon, spices and water to the pot. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat..
8. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and adjust heat if necessary..
9. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the heavy cream; now with an immersion blender, puree the soup inside of the pot. (You could also use a regular blender and puree in batches but I find the immersion blender saves on time and clean up)
10. Taste and season with salt, pepper or cinnamon as needed to achieve the desired taste..

Notes:
1. You can leave it slightly chunky if you prefer it that way. Also, you can garnish it with toasted pumpkin seeds, apple slices, dollops of goat cheese (I prefer honeyed goat cheese for this) or a few dashes of cinnamon - or even a mix of all of these..
2. Substitute the chicken broth with a light vegetable stock, Coconut cream (or cream substitute) for the heavy cream and use your preferred butter substitute (margarine, oil, etc) for butter to make this a Vegan or Vegetarian friendly dish..

"Cabbage Roll Soup"

I love good old fashioned comfort food, the kind that sticks to your ribs and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside..

A soup, a stew, a pasta; you know, something truly hearty and filling that takes you back to good ol'days of growing up and coming home to Mom cooking in the kitchen..

So after a little thought; and a lot of rummaging thru the pantry and fridge, what I ended up creating was this wonderfully fulfilling and delightfully tasteful "Cabbage Roll Soup"

I find it so tricky photographing a soup or stew like this, everything tends to mush together; but to paraphrase someone from a long long time ago..

"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts

And that's flavor..

Loved it, truly—with each and every mouthful exposing a new hint of taste; from the smoky sweet Paprika, fresh chopped Herbs and mix of delicious Cabbages all the way to the scrumptious blend of wild & brown rices with quinoa, and lean ground beef & pork browned to perfection..

Simmered all of that delectable goodness with some beef broth, vegetable juice and fire roasted diced tomatoes until finally finished—and then, when I didn't think my hunger could hold out any longer, it was time to dig in..

Yum, yum and yum is all I can really say; me and my Baby enjoyed it immensely and she feels that this is one that is definitely destined for the cookbook, for sure..

So perfectly filling and oh so—
"Definitely Delish"

"Cabbage Roll Soup"

Ingredients:
1 cup of pearl onions (you can use thawed frozen, though I prefer fresh white and gold)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef (if you want meatier, add extra beef and pork—1/4 pound of each)
1/2 pound lean ground pork
3/4 cup uncooked mix of quinoa, brown & long grain rice
1/2 cup or more of carrot bites(nibler) sliced or chopped
1/2 medium head savoy cabbage, chopped (core removed)
1/2 medium sized Cabbage (red, regular or other preferred), chopped (core removed)
3 tablespoons flour
2 (14 oz) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1½ cups V8 or other vegetable juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. In a large pot, brown pork and beef. Drain any fat..
2. Stir in Garlic, cooking for one minute; then add carrots and pearl onions, stirring for 3 minutes..
3. Stir in chopped cabbage and let cook until slightly softened (about 3 minutes).
4. Sprinkle flour into cabbage mixture and cook an additional 2 minutes.
5. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and reduced heat to medium low..
6. Cover and simmer on low until rice is fully cooked (about 25-30 minutes)
7. Remove bay leaf, add additional Salt and Pepper to taste and serve garnished with fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley..

Notes:
1. If you prefer a thinner soup, add more beef broth to reach desired consistency once rice is cooked..
2. If you enjoy spicier, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or dash of cayenne...
3. You can sub in a chopped onion for the pearl onions, as well as adding sliced scallions etc... Feel free to experiment..
4. Serve it with some nice crusty bread
(A French boule, sesame Semolina Italian, or Sourdough-all my favorites), warmed in the oven with butter on the side..

"Linguine and Clam Sauce" with "Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pepperoni"

 

It's been a very busy couple of months here at "Definitely Delish"

Not only has it been fourteen hour work days at my regular job, the travel company business, seeing my beautiful goddaughter as much as possible and birthdays..

I've also been working in the little off time I have on creating a surprise for my sweetheart at home—an outdoor spa oasis with hot tub, hanging lights, lanterns and statues..

This took quite a bit of my little free time I had left, but the finished results looks great and I'm happy with it..

 

That's not to say I haven't on occasion been cooking but it's mostly just been dishes I've done a whole lot of times before or have already blogged about, so it wouldn't do to repeat..

Now I've decided to get to you a new, long overdue recipe—an that is this delish dish..

A yummy, flavorful helping of "Linguine in White Clam Sauce" but with a kick—a extra dose of taste has been added with the addition of pepperoni and sun-dried tomatoes to the mix..

So sit back, enjoy and try it for yourself—because I think you'll find it is oh so "Definitely Delish"


"Kicked Up Linguine" with "White Clam Sauce" 

Ingredients:
1 pound linguine (I used GK-Skinny Pasta)
1/2 cup Olive Oil plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon Butter
6 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry White Wine
2-3 tablespoons dry Sherry
18 Littleneck or Chowder Clams
1/4 cup Clam Juice
1/4 cup of Chicken Bone Broth
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme
1/4 to 1/2 a cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil (depending on personal taste)
1 small Zuchinni, matchstick cut with mandolin (or use big side of cheese grater for larger matchstick pieces)
2 ounces (or less) of sliced Pepperoni, cut into quarter wedges
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian, flat leafed Parsley (plus extra for garnish)

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta, following the package instructions, until al dente..
2. Meanwhile, warm 1/2 cup of the olive oil, and tablespoon of butter, in a high-sided saucepan (big enough for your clams to rest in a single layer) set over  medium-high heat..
3. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes, until golden (Be careful not to burn)
4. Add the wine and sherry allowing it to cook away slightly, about 1 minute.. 
5. Add the clams, clam juice and chicken bone broth—an then season with sea salt and black pepper.. 

6. Add fresh thyme leaves and half the parsley—then cover pot and cook until the clams open. About 5 minutes..
7. Add drained sun-dried tomatoes (more or less depending on personal taste), pepperoni and zuchinni. Reduce heat to medium and stir to combine..
8. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining parsley..
9. Drain the pasta (reserving a 1/2 cup of cooking liquid) and toss in a serving bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil—adding reserved cooking liquid if needed..
10. Distribute the pasta evenly among six pasta bowls. Top each with equal portions of the sauce, and serve immediately garnished with parsley..

Notes:
1.
You can also toss the sauce with the pasta before distributing it to your pasta bowls..
2. Goes well with a nice light white wine, a Sauvignon Blanc or Chateu St. Michelle Reisling is nice..
3. Serve with Sesame Semolina Italian bread with butter..
4. You can also remove some of the clams from their shells, lightly chopping them and tossing with the sauce before serving..

"Cajun-Creole Jambalaya"

It's been a long break from cooking or blogging recently..

I've been away these past few weeks on a much needed vacation to New Orleans and the Mexican Riviera..

New Orleans is one of my most favorite places in all the world to be..

I love the history, the atmosphere, the sights and sounds of this Southern U.S. city—and don't even get me started on their cuisine..

I could go on forever and a day about the food—from the coffee & chicory with beignets, the étouffée's and gumbos, the seafood and the down home southern food..

There's a never ending supply of variety and an endless parade of new food experiences to explore inside Nawlin's.. 

It's because of this wonderful mix of French, Spanish, American, African, Island and Native influences thrown together with all of the new culinary discoveries and imports from around the world that makes it such a special "Foodie" city..

Now though, after thoroughly devouring the streets and food scene in the Big Easy, I'm back home..

An though sadly my journey to New Orleans is over, it didn't take long before I felt the need to do a little culinary invention of my own and get back into my favorite room in the house—the kitchen..

An what better dish to make on my return from NOLA, then my own version of a Cajun-Creole standard—"Jambalaya"

Using a mix of chicken, andouille sausage and slow cooked beef stew meat with my peppers, tomatoes, onions, herbs & spices to create this "just spicy enough" version of a tasty jambalaya was the result..

Came out perfectly and such a nice addition with the beef—was practically ready to fall apart as soon as you put it in your mouth. An the heat, just perfect—spicy enough to enjoy but not so hot as to wake the dead down in Louisiana..

Just be sure leave a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those in your home that will only settle for a "Four Alarm Fire" in their mouth and nothing else..

"Definitely Delish" an definitely a dish that you, and your family, will absolutely enjoy—trust me...

 

"Cajun-Creole Jambalaya"

Ingredients:
For Jambalaya:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless white meat Chicken cut into pieces
3/4 pound andouille, sliced or diced (pre-cooked is easier to slice)
1 medium Sweet Vidalia Onion, chopped
2 ribs Celery, chopped
2 Bell Peppers, chopped (I used a mix of yellow, orange and green for color)
1 Bay Leaf, fresh or dried
1/8 teaspoon hungarian Paprika
2 to 3 tablespoons (a handful) all-purpose Flour (plus more for coating chicken and beef)
1 (14-ounce) can diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes in juice
1 (14 ounce) can crushed San Marzano Tomotoes
2 cups low sodium Chicken Stock or Chicken Bone Broth
1 teaspoon (1/3 palmful) Cumin
1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon (1/3 palmful) Poultry Seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Coarse Sea salt and Black Pepper
Chopped Scallions(green onions), for garnish
Chopped Chives, for garnish
Chopped fresh Italian Parsley, for garnish
Fresh Thyme, chopped for garnish

For Beef:
1 pound Beef Sirloin, cut into a mix of 1 or 2 inch cubes
2 cups of Beef Broth
1/4 Red Wine
pinch of dried Thyme and Sage
enough Water to cover meat
1 tablespoon Butter & Olive Oil
2/3 cup Flour, 1 tsp. Sea Salt and Black Pepper for coating

For Risotto:
2 cups of Risotto rice
2 cups of Chicken Bone Broth or Stock
2 cups of Water
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 tablespoon of Butter

Directions:
For Beef:
1. Mix 2/3 of a cup of flour (or gluten free alternative) with a teaspoon of sea salt and black pepper. Then slice your beef sirloin into cubes of about 1 or 2 inches in size. Toss together to coat all sides of your beef with the flour mixture..
2. Add beef broth, red wine and herbs to a small pot with butter and bring to a low boil on medium heat..
3. In your main chef's pot or saute pan with deep sides, heat a tablespoon of butter and olive oil on medium high heat--then add your beef, in batches if necessary, searing/browning all sides of your beef stew meat..
4. Remove from the beef from the pan and transfer to the simmering broth and add water, if needed, to cover completely. Bring the small pot to a boil, cover and reduce temperature to simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or till almost ready to shred, then remove from heat--be sure not to over cook as we want it to retain it's shape and not have the beef falling apart..

For Risotto Rice:
1. Add two cups of risotto, 1 tablespoon of butter, 2 cups of chicken bone broth, 2 cups of water and sea salt..
2. Bring to a boil, stir and then cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook on a low boil/simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is done and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and leave covered till needed..

For Jambalaya:
1. Slice and chop your andouille sausage, chicken (small 1 to 2 inch pieces), vegetables, onions and garnish in preparation. Take several tablespoons of flour, or leftover from the beef, and toss your sliced chicken in it to coat..
2. Heat a tablespoon of butter and olive oil on medium high heat in your deep sided saute or chef's pan. Add chicken in a layer and let sit for 2 minutes before flipping to sear, cook for an additional minute to brown slightly before adding the slice sausage and cooking for 2 more minutes..
3. Add the chopped onion, celery,bell pepper, bay leaf and paprika (can sub cayenne for a spicier flavor). Saute the vegetables with meat, stirring the pan occasionally, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour over the pan and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, stirring..
4. Stir in your tomatoes and chicken bone broth(stock), then season with cumin, chili, poultry seasoning and worcestershire sauce. Bring everything to a low boil, adjusting heat if necessary..
5. Strain liquids out of the small pot of beef, then transfer beef to the main saute pan and stir to mix. Cover loosely and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 10 to 15 minutes..
6. Ladle servings into your serving bowls and using a small ice cream scoop, place a scoop or two of rice onto the center of the bowlfuls of jambalaya. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, black pepper, chopped scallions, chives, minced parsley and thyme to garnish..

Notes:
1. For thicker jambalaya you can add additional flour or "Wondra" to the pan as a thickening agent near to the end of cooking..
2. I enjoy the low sodium Chicken Bone Broth for the extra nutrients, but Chicken Broth or Stock is fine as a replacement..
3. For a spicier version use a whole teaspoon of chili powder with 1/8th of a teaspoon of cayenne instead of the paprika and smaller amount of chili powder..
4. I like the sticky, creamy texture of the risotto but you can sub in plain enriched white rice. You want it to be sticky for the effect of scooping it on top, but it's not a deal breaker if it's not..
 

"Sugar & Spice Risotto"

Someone reminded me today that it's important to count our blessings, appreciate those around us wherever they might be and to always remember that no matter how dark or stormy life is..

That joy can be found in the simplest of things or smallest of friendships..

 

So on this rainy, cold, damp April day here in New York I decided to let a little warmth & joy into my life by slowly cooking up some Risotto Rice—but not just any risotto, it's "Sugar & Spice Risotto"

Because a little "Sugar & Spice" makes everything nice to paraphrase that old rhyme—especially on a blustery wet and icky day, such as today..

 

Mmm, sounds so tasty just thinking about it—that creamy soft risotto made even thicker, sweeter and creamier..

Yum...

Now to get down to work, the fun part for me..

 

In one pot goes my mix of heavy cream, and milk, heated till nice and hot. (But not boiling or scorched, like making hot chocolate from scratch)

While next to it in my small cast iron sauce pan goes three tablespoons of butter—heated til just turning brown then tossed with a cup of Arborio rice and cooked for a few minutes, followed by a splash of dark rum..

Then, just like making risotto, cover with cream and cook stirring till it's almost completely absorbed before adding more of the cream mixture..

 

Now while that's cooking I threw together a mix of dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and allspice to add near to the end..

Continue stirring and adding cream til almost all of your cream is added and the rice has softened, then toss in your mix of "Sugar & Spice" along with the vanilla—stirring it in and adding more cream to finish..

I like to cook this rice pudding up into a looser texture by adding just a bit more milk and heavy cream, but you don't have to..

 

It’s hearty.  It's spiced..

It’s creamy and sweet.  It’s filling and it might just be the most comforting bowl of goodness I’ve ever encountered—will it be sure to add a little joy and warmth to your day..

I think so...

So try this dessert yourself on a wet cold spring day in the North East, like me, or anywhere or at any time of year—I think you'll find that it's, without a doubt, oh so "Definitely Delish

"Sugar & Spice Risotto Rice Pudding"

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon unsalted Irish Butter
1 cup Arborio Rice
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup of Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt
2 teaspoons Dark or Amber Rum
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Allspice
Pinch of fresh ground Cloves
Pinch of fresh ground Nutmeg
Pinch of powdered Ginger
1 tablespoon pure Vanilla Extract
Sprinkle of Cinnamon Sugar for garnish

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, over low heat, scald 3 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 a cup of heavy cream. 2. Bring the milk mixture to just under boiling, turn off the flame and let it rest..
3. In a large saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter. Add the rice grains and stir to coat, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Follow with the splash of rum..
4. Now add in just enough of the hot milk  mixture to cover the rice. Stir over the low flame. The rice will begin to absorb the cream. When the it is almost fully absorbed, ladle in more of the hot milk. Stir until absorbed..
5. Continue repeating this process, standing over the stove, constantly stirring the creamy rice..
6. Taste the rice as you near the end of the milk. Just like a good risotto, it's important to know how to gauge when it's ready. Check as you begin the 3rd cup of milk and keep on eye on it—you may only need 3 1/2 cups instead of 4 cups..
7. As you add the last bit of milk, also incorporate the dark brown sugar, pink or sea salt, spices, and vanilla extract..
8. Stir well to combine. It should only take around 15 to 20 minutes to finish once you're adding cream—you want the rice to still have a hint of bite to it and not be completely mushy in consistency..

Notes:
1. I like this rice pudding slightly loose.  If you want it thicker, continue to cook it for a bit longer.  Serve warm or cold, with fresh berries, cinnamon sugar or as is..
2. Risotto Rice pudding will last, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days maximum..  
 

"Fried Hot-Water Cornbread Bites"

It has been a busy few days or more of work on a cake for a baby shower along with all of the work me and my Sweetie are doing on the new Travel Business we started at "Superior Travel Destinations"

Everything has been coming along great but between the two projects, I haven't had the extra time or energy leftover after work for my regular cooking, let alone my blog..

So it's not every day that you have time to make some over intricate or "wow" meal; but sometimes, just sometimes, you get to wanting something simple and delicious..

When I think of that I think of Southern Comfort Style cuisine; ribs, pulled pork, red beans & rice, and cornbread..

Mmm, cornbread...

I don't know what it is about it but something in the taste of that buttery sweet goodness of cornbread makes it something I rarely pass up-no matter what kind of health or diet kick I might be on at the time..

It's really kind of funny if you think about it, but a boy from New York could live on southern comfort food for life-must've been New Orleans, the tastes, the sounds, the smells. I just can't get it out of my soul..

So enjoy these little bites of cornbread heaven and serve them next to your Jambalaya, Pulled Pork, Country Ribs or heat them up for breakfast with some Coffee & Chicory, Eggs and Andouille Sausage..

If you do, I'm sure that you'll find them "Definitely Delish"

 

"Fried Hot-Water Cornbread Bites"

Ingredients:
2 cups fine fresh Cornmeal
1/2 cup White Sugar
2 tablespoons of Baking Powder
1/3 cup of melted Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons of fine Sea Salt or Himilayan Salt
2 cups, or more of Boiling Hot Water (as much as is needed to reach a batter like consistency)
Vegetable Oil for cooking

Directions:
1. In a large bowl combine the corn meal, baking powder, sugar, salt and stir to combine. Add melted butter and vanilla; then add boiling water, starting with about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Carefully stirring to combine..
2. Continue adding additional boiling water until a batter like consistency is reached. It should be pour-able, like pancake batter. (Different corn meals will require different amounts of water. Start with less and add more if you need it.)
3. I used an ebeliskiver pan to make small rounded bites. Heat on medium to medium high, brush with vegetable oil and pour batter into the rounded circles, as it starts to set gently flip the individual bites and cook till done.. 4. Should only take 4 to 6 minutes cooking time total depending on stove-top. If needed start with one to test your timing to completion before making an entire batch. (See Notes for Options)

Notes:
1. If you do not own an ebelskiver pan, add approximately a 1/4 inch of vegetable oil to a pan and heat to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add about a 1/4 cup of batter to heated oil and cook till browning (3-4 minutes) then gently flip and cook and additional 3 minutes working in batches to retain oil temperature..
2. An option for the ebelskiver pan version is to cut out marble size squares of butter and freeze them for 30 minutes inside the freezer. Partially fill the ebelskiver pan with batter and as it cooks add frozen butter to center, gently pressing it into cooking batter--then covering with more batter before flipping, to add a kick of melty butter flavor to the center of each bite. (I did this myself, and it was delicious.)

"Gluten-Free Copycat Nabisco Chocolate Snaps"

Every once in a while, I'll have this—I don't know, this deep seeded sense of nostalgia..

 

It doesn't happen too much, I'm not that old yet, but when it does I can get to reminiscing about the things of my youth—when things seemed fresh, new and so much simpler by far..

Often it'll be food that gets me to dreaming about days gone by—when TV Dinners were in aluminum trays you heated in the oven, Ring Dings came in foil wrappers and Nabisco made their Snap cookies..

It was this last one that hit me recently. First, I wistfully thought of the cute little box with the tiger on the cookie and then it was trying to remember that taste—there was really no other cookie like it and I can remember eating them for years growing up..

Sadly, like so many things from my childhood, these had disappeared long ago from store shelves..

Being somewhat handy in the kitchen and after imagining the wonderful simple plain chocolate cookie taste with just the tiniest bit of snap to it—I decided I could wait no longer, so I set about attempting to discover again that sweet memory of flavor..

 

As I gathered myself to bake, and after tweaking a few ideas to fit my thought of what it would take to create this long gone snack, I decided that since I have been on such a Gluten-Free cooking kick lately—well, I would just try and continue with this recipe..

 

I'm not exactly sure why, I don't have Celiacs or a gluten intolerance, but I know some who do—so I guess I've been wanting to see what I can make for them that isn't out there like it should be..

A few ingredients, just a little bit of work and before you know it they started flying out of the oven needing a quick squish—then set aside to cool till done..

They were perfect..

Just like I remember..

Thin, chocolatey and with just a little snappy bite to them..

So if you, like me, remember that tiny rectangular box with the tiger face drawn on the cookie from the 70's and 80's then you will fall in love with these simple, plain, wafer'ish cookies—because without a doubt they are "Definitely Delish"

 

"Gluten-Free Copycat Nabisco Chocolate Snaps"

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups shortening
1 1/2 cups Light Brown Sugar
1 cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Cocoa
1/4 cup Special Dark Cocoa
1/3 cup Milk
3 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. fine Pink Himalayan Salt
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
4 cups Gluten Free Baking Flour (I use King Arthur Brand)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream 1 1/2 cup shortening, 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar. Add 2 eggs and beat..
3. Add 3/4 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup milk and 3 tsp. vanilla and beat.
4. Add remaining ingredients of 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 teaspoons of Himalayan salt, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. soda and 4 cups of gluten free baking flour..
5. Form in balls size of walnut and place about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet..
6. Bake 12 minutes. Smash flat when they come out of the oven while still warm. 
7. Repeat until all dough is used up. Makes about 100 cookies, or more, depending on how big you make them..
 

"Gluten-Free Cauliflower Crust Pizza"

 I'm always seeing all of these wonderful healthy crust pizzas, that people share, all of the time..

Makes me so hungry for something I generally don't eat anymore, but do so definitely love..

So taking a little inspiration from those who have posted before me, I decided to go all in and create a couple of "healthy" pizzas of my very own..

This first one is made up of a deliciously flavorful crust of Roasted Cauliflower, Coconut flour, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses, and some spices..

It was actually much easier to do then expected and using parchment paper to help move it on and off the Pizza stone, during cooking, made all the difference in the world..

So, literally, after 10 minutes of baking it was time to take it out and slide my other crust into the oven and decide what I should top this one with..

I made sure to have more than a few options available for me, and my Baby, and then left it up to her to decide..

 

After looking over everything, she went with the fresh mozzarella and basil..

So slathering the top with pizza sauce, placing some medallions of mozz' and scattering a couple of pinches of fresh cut basil—it was time to go back on the stone in the oven to finish cooking..

A handful of minutes later it was done and all ready to be devoured, added just a smidgen of shaved Parmesan for good measure and began cutting into this one to give it a try..

Yum, it was so good and the crust was so tasty—it even held together just enough to be picked up just like a regular slice of pizza..

So very good and so very healthy with all of those natural ingredients with the gluten free, low carb crust..

So going to make this again because it was so—"Definitely Delish"

 

 

"Gluten-Free Cauliflower Crust Pizza"

Ingredients:
1 small to medium sized head of roasted cauliflower - should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freeze-dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon freeze-dried oregano (crush it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Garlic
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup 2% mozzarella cheese
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons coconut flour
Toppings:
Pizza sauce-homemade or store bought
Cheese fresh or pre shredded mozzarella
Toppings, whatever you enjoy.....

Directions:
1. Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees..
2. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil..
3. Wash and throughly dry a small head of cauliflower..
4. Cut off the florets, you don't need much stem. Place in baking dish and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle a touch of salt..
5. Place in oven and roast for 20-30 minutes. Remove, and when cool enough to touch, place into food processor..
6. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. You should have about 2 cups of cauliflower..
7. Scoop out cauliflower and place into a dish towel or cheesecloth and squeeze. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a nice chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess.. 
8. Dump cauliflower into a bowl. Now add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freeze-dried basil (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon freeze-dried oregano (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt), minced fresh garlic and a dash of red pepper if you want..
9. I also added 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour at this time. Now add your egg and mix away. Hands tend to work best, I'll wear those throw away gloves sometimes so as to be able too have clean hands again when needed..

10. Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down throughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don't make it too thick or thin either. (I used the outer ring of a spring-form pan to ensure a nice circular crust..
11. Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8 - 11 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven... (Just eye the crust the last few minutes to ensure you don't under or over cook it)
12. Add however much sauce, cheese, and toppings you want. I'm not gonna give you measurements for this. You should know how you like your pizza - this is your personal taste that matters..
13. Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly golden....
14. Test your patience and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Probably closer to two. Then using a pizza cutter and a spatula serve up your delicious gluten-free cauliflower crust pizza!

Notes:
1. It makes a big difference oiling the parchment paper before forming the crust on it and using a pizza stone in the oven..
2. You'll want to have the oven pre-heated well ahead to allow the stone to be heated completely..
3. An average size head of cauliflower is fine, you don't want to have much more then 2 cups of processed cauliflower after roasting..
4. Can use un-roasted cauliflower as well— just rinse, remove florets, process into snow and microwave for 4 minutes on a plate before squeezing liquid out with cheese cloth..

"Gluten Free Quinoa Coconut Flour Crust Pizza"

Who doesn't love pizza, I know I do—and when I get to craving, especially now that I'm older, I try my hardest to figure out ways to enjoy it without regretting it almost immediately..

This is one of them, and one of my favorite fit and healthy alternatives to the oh so tasty pizza crust—and I think you'll find that you enjoy it to..

Deciding, though, that I missed pizza was only the first hurdle and then after seeing so many of those cauliflower, and other, crusts floating around out there —well I just had to give it a try myself..

So after messing around with a recipe or two, I decided to try a completely different take on the pizza crust myself..

 

So after a quick mixing together of all the various ingredients; I dumped it all out onto oiled parchment paper, and using the ring of the spring form pan, formed it into a circular shape..

Into the oven, for a few minutes, on the paper till just golden brown and then time to slather with sauce and cover with toppings..

I decided to go with one of my favorite pizza styles, the "Hawaiian Pizza"—fresh cut pineapple, sliced prosciutto, shredded and fresh mozzarella with a few torn fresh basil leaves..

Back in for five or so minutes more, until the cheese has melted and then it's almost time to dig in..

Just let it sit for a minute or two; sprinkle it with shaved Parmesan if desired and some extra basil, a little salt & pepper or red pepper flakes—if that's suits your tastes..

Now time to jump in and start eating; cut up a few slices for me and my Baby—then devoured this terrifically tasty treat..

So very good and healthier for you as well..

Will be playing around more with this one in the future, from toppings to sauce—you should too..

"Definitely Delish" and definitely a dish to make again and again..


"Quinoa and Coconut Flour Pizza Crust"

Ingredients:
Crust:
1/2 cup Quinoa Flakes
1/4 cup +2 tablespoons Coconut Flour
3 Eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons of Water
2/3 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2/3 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp dried Oregano and Basil, crushed between fingers
2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
2 heaping tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded 2% Mozzarella

For Toppings:
Pizza sauce, homemade or store bought
Shredded or fresh Mozzarella, or mix
2-3 fresh torn Basil leaves
Any other toppings you enjoy (I did prosciutto and pineapple with fresh basil)

Directions:
1. Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees..
2. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil..
3. Dump quinoa flakes and coconut flour into a bowl. Now add Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 2/3 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt), minced fresh garlic, baking soda, baking powder and a dash of red pepper if you want..
4. Now add your egg and mix away. Hands tend to work best, I'll wear those throw away gloves sometimes so as to be able too have clean hands again when needed..

5. Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don't make it too thick or thin either. (I used the outer ring of a spring-form pan to ensure a nice circular crust)
6. Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven... (Just eye the crust the last few minutes to ensure you don't under or over cook it)
7. Add however much sauce, cheese, and toppings you want. I'm not gonna give you measurements for this. You should know how you like your pizza - this is your personal taste that matters.!
8. Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly golden..
9. Test your patience and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Probably closer to two. Then using a pizza cutter and a spatula serve up your delicious gluten-free quinoa coconut flour crust pizza!

Notes:
1. It makes a big difference oiling the parchment paper before forming the crust on it and using a pizza stone in the oven..

2. You'll want to have the oven pre-heated well ahead to allow the stone to be heated completely..