Italian Scrambled Eggs

One should eat to live, not live to eat. – Moliere

I’ve been rather absent from this blog for longer than I like to admit, but I think the above quote really provides an accurate explanation as to why. When you are trying to maintain/lose weight, cooking large Italian meals that are delicious, well…you get the point. And I like to eat, so it takes a good amount of self-control.

So, maybe I don’t post here every month or even every few months, but hopefully you are still able to visit when you need a recipe or some Kitchen Inspiration. I know I do!

Every now and then, when work isn’t too crazy and I have an hour or so to spare for lunch, I drive down the street to visit my Grandma and have lunch with her (I’m so lucky she is only a 3 minute car ride away). It’s not that I don’t get enough quality time with her on Sundays, I do, but I really enjoy our one-on-one time. And I like making her laugh – and she laughs at me a lot during our lunch dates.

One day she made me scrambled eggs for lunch, and as I watched her, I realized  I had never seen anyone make eggs that way. She was  making what I call “Italian Scrambled Eggs.” They were the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had – so I started making them that way too! It’s a nice spin on something so simple that you can throw together quickly for any meal – maybe adding in some tomatoes or peppers for a quick dinner!

Enjoy!

Italian Scrambled Eggs

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

3 Large Eggs

2 tbsp Water (milk is optional)

1/4 cup Parmesan or Roman Shredded Cheese

Parsley (optional)

In a medium-sized skillet, add about a 1/2 tbsp of olive and let it heat up on low heat.

Olive Oil

While the olive oil is heating, break the eggs into a mixing bowl and scramble with a fork or a whisk. Add a little bit of salt & pepper, water (milk is optional) and the cheese. Mix well.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

Add to the skillet and continuously mix and fold the eggs until they begin to cook. I like my eggs to be a little bit runny, but remove the eggs once they reach your desired consistency.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

Sprinkle with a little bit of Cheese and the Parsley and serve!

Scrambled Eggs

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Carmela & Gabriella’s Cream Sauce

Life is a combination of magic and pasta – Federico Fellini

When my two younger cousins, Carmela and Gabriella, asked if they could stay the night with me a few weekends ago and hang out, I couldn’t wait. I was really excited to spend some quality time with them and to learn more about their lives. It’s easy to forget what high school is really like until you have two young girls in the midst of it, telling you stories. I was glad I was able to share some insight (which did make me feel older than I would like) on boys, friends, college, etc.

Sometimes we forget how scary growing up can be, and it was nice to be able to look back on my high school and college days and confidently tell them that it really will all work out in the end…and to just have fun while you get through all the “growing up.”

After we ate the amazing Flying Cupcakes they brought over after work (oh to have the metabolism of a 15-year-old girl again…), we decided to make dinner together. Carmela’s Dad owns a pizza place here in Indy (Enzo’s Pizza) and her family is from Sicily, so she definitely likes to cook!

The girls requested a cream sauce with Tortellini, so I thought it would be fun to come up with our own version (hence the name). After picking a few key ingredients, we headed to the kitchen to have a fun little cooking adventure!

Carmela handled the chicken and mushrooms, while I taught Gabriella how to make sauce. This was Gabriella’s first time making a sauce, so I let her takeover for a little bit. I understood how to cook by watching my Mom while I was growing up, but I really learned how to cook by doing it on my own, with a little bit of guidance.

Carmela & Gabriella Cooking

Carmela & Gabriella’s Cream Sauce

with Tortellini, Chicken, Mushrooms and Peas

Tortellini

Ingredients

1-Tablespoon butter

1-Tablespoon olive oil

1-Garlic clove

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 ½ Cup heavy whipping cream

1½ Cup of chicken broth (use “better than bouillon” to make your broth)

Red Pepper, to taste

Garlic Powder, to taste

2-Tablespoons flour

1-Bag of frozen peas

1-package of baby Bella Mushrooms

3 pieces of thinly sliced chicken breast

David Page’s Special Seasoning

Boil a pot of water and add the bouillon base as directed on the package. Once the bouillon is finished, set aside.

Season chicken with David Page’s Special seasons and slice into small pieces. Heat skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and add chicken. Cook half way and add in the mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms and chicken are cooked thoroughly.

Sliced Chicken

Baby Bella Mushrooms

While you are cooking the chicken, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the garlic clove and salt and pepper. Once the butter has melted and the garlic is translucent, add 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of chicken broth.

Melting Butter

Seasoned Butter

Cream Sauce Cooking

Season with Garlic Powder, Red Pepper flakes and Parmesan Cheese to taste, and let simmer for about 15 minutes while stirring constantly. If the sauce needs to be thickened add about 1-Tablespoon of flour and some more cheese.

Bring sauce to a boil for about 5 minutes and then turn down the heat to simmer. Continue to stir for about 20 minutes (add in more cream and more chicken broth, as needed).

Cream Sauce Cooking

Everything Cooking

After about 20 minutes, add the frozen peas, mushrooms and chicken to the sauce and continue cooking until the peas are cooked and the sauce is at the desired consistency.

While your sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Once the water is at a rapid boil, add the tortellini and cook until finished (once the Tortellini all rises to the top of the pot it is cooked).

Mix the tortellini with the sauce in a serving dish, sprinkle on some Parmesan Cheese and serve!

Cream Sauce with Peas & Mushrooms

Carmela & Gabriella's Cream Sauce

I was actually surprised how delicious the sauce ended up being. I hadn’t made a cream sauce in a very , very long time (dairy is my new enemy) so I was feeling a little shaky on my delivery.

I had to add a little more flour than I would have liked because I wanted to use as little cream as possible, but in a cream sauce that is kind of difficult!

After making Pasta with Carmela, I decided we have to make Pizza together, and soon! Or Bread with my Grandma…Two of my very best friends are getting married in April and May, so I haven’t had enough time to plan our next cooking adventure with all the wedding celebrations lately. Hopefully there will be some time in early April!

Below are two pictures from my weekends in Chicago and Austin celebrating the Brides-to-Be!

Laura's Bachelorette Party
Laura’s Bachelorette Party
Maegan's Bachelorette Party
Maegan’s Bachelorette Party

Strawberry Jell-O Cake

The passion of the Italian or the Italian-American population is endless for food and love and everything about it. – Mario Batali

My last post was a little more personal and emotional than I like to be, but I thought my absence over the past year deserved a proper, and honest explanation. Luckily, it’s not my style to get all sappy and emotional on a normal basis; only when necessary. I prefer my sarcastic and witty self the majority of the time and hopefully anyone reading this does too. I chose the above quote this week because I wanted the focus here to return back to passion and food!

So last weekend as I sat at Uncle Handsome’s babysitting, I was thinking about what I wanted to make next. I decided I would bake a cake for my Grandpa’s birthday dinner that Sunday.

One of my favorite cakes growing up was my Grandma’s Jell-O cake. I had no idea it was a classic American recipe. I always thought it was this secret cake she knew how to make, kind of like magic.

I like Jell-O. I really like cake. I love Jell-O cake. Perfect addition to my recipe collection.

I went to the store and had the intention of being creative with my Jell-O flavors, and maybe mixing things up, but in the end I just wanted the classic Strawberry Jell-O cake.

Strawberry Jell-O Cake

Strawberry Jell-O Cake

1 box of Strawberry Jell-O

1 box of Betty Crocker white cake

1 container of Cool-Whip

Fresh Strawberries

4 Round Cake Pans

Jell-O Cake Ingredients

Bake cake according to the directions on the box.

(You could always make your own white cake, but I had to pick up miss Concetta who was stranded after a fun night out, so I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked).

Betty Crocker White Cake

While the cake is baking, make the Jell-O according to the directions on the package.

Strawberry Jell-O

Strawberry Jell-O

When the cakes are finished let them cool and then switch each cake to a clean plan. This is an important step – so don’t forget! If you don’t do this, you will have a really hard time getting the cake out of the pan and it will more than likely fall apart. Mine did.

(I was not aware of this step, so when I brought my Jell-O soaked cakes to my Grandma’s to ice with Cool-Whip, my Aunt Anette and Grandma had to help me salvage my cakes.)

Betty Crocker White Cake

Stab each cake all-over with a fork (I attempted to do slits to control the color and this worked fine) and then pour the Jell-O equally all over each cake.

Put in the refrigerator for at least three hours to let the Jell-O set.

(This is also an important step. I am the most impatient person, so I took them out way too early. Again, I was lucky my Aunt Annette is a genius and helped me salvage my cake!)

Once the cakes have been in the refrigerator for at least three hours, remove the first cake and place it upside down on a cake tray (rounded part on the bottom).

Ice the top with room-temperature Cool-Whip and then place the second cake, with the round part facing up, on top of the first cake.

(If you buy Cool-Whip and it’s still frozen, don’t put it in the microwave. I attempted this and was looked at as if I was a crazy person by my Grandma. Who knew you couldn’t microwave Cool-Whip?)

Ice the remainder of the cake and add sliced strawberries on the top.

Strawberry Jell-O Cake

Strawberry Jell-O Cake

Strawberry Jell-O Cake

My cake had a few issues, as I noted above, but it really ended up turning out pretty good. Most of it was in part to my Aunt who literally helped me piece my cake back together after it fell apart.

It turned out moist and had a lot of flavor. My cousin Antonia even took the leftover cake home because she thought it was so good. Turned out to be a nice little Sunday surprise!

As I told my Aunt and my Grandma while we were holding my cake together, hoping the Cool-Whip would help to bind it, “that’s why I call this blog ‘Kitchen Adventures’ – if you don’t try, you’ll never know!” Learning is always an adventure, good or bad.

Luckily this adventure turned out to be a good one!

So Happy Birthday to my wonderful and loving Grandpa! He is one of the reasons I love to cook and experiment with recipes.  I am so thankful for his influence in the kitchen and in my life.

Some of my earliest memories of being in the kitchen are with him, standing over a bowl of pancake mix and laughing while he threw random ingredients into the batter. One of my all time favorites was when he added Orange Juice.

Grandpa Page

Grandpa Page

It wouldn’t be Sunday dinner without some sort of entertainment. The only person missing in the above picture is Nick, who is typically right next to Michael standing behind Grandpa doing some sort of torment.

Until next time…

A Valentine’s Day Treat: Mini S’Mores

Obviously Valentine’s Day is long over, but for some reason life has gotten in the way of updating this post! So ignore the below ramblings…

I have always disliked Valentine’s Day. Even when I was in relationships, I thought it was a silly day and never felt like celebrating it. So when I mentioned to one of my friends that I was making dinner for Valentine’s Day, she wanted to know what I had done with her best friend. Well, I decided that instead of thinking it was a stupid day, I would change my attitude and celebrate my love for everyone in my life and make a big dinner!  I even went as far as buying Valentine’s themed plates, napkins and a Valentine’s day present for everyone that night! 

Apparently I got hit by the love bug and, I have to admit, it was so much more fun celebrating Valentine’s Day than it was despising it every year.

My sister helped out with dinner and we made stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer, spinach salad, steak, potatoes, roasted asparagus and then Mini S’Mores for dessert! I found the S’mores on Pinterest (my new obsession) and couldn’t wait to make them!

The S’Mores were so simple to make and only took about 30 minutes total (15 of which you are just letting the graham crackers set)! They were so good that my sister, who rarely eats sweets, kept going back for more, and my brother has asked me to make them almost every night since.

Our Valentine's Day Celebration
Stuffed Mushrooms from Skinny Taste
Seasoned Vegetables

Everything was so good and perfectly timed, but the S’Mores were the real hit of the party! They were so simple to make and even more delicious.

Mini S’Mores

Preheat Oven to 350º

Ingredients:

Mini Cupcake Pan

7 Whole Graham Crackers

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

6 tbsp Butter, Melted

4 Milk Chocolate Hershey Bars, divided (or chocolate chips worked perfectly for me!)

12 Large Marshmallows (halved)

**My brother Jack loves Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough/Cookies, so the next time I made them I added some cookie dough!

Place Graham Crackers into a large ziplock bag and finely crush (I used a meat tenderizer). In a small bowl, combine Graham Cracker Crumbs, Powdered Sugar and Melted Butter and mix together. Spoon one tablespoon of the mixture into each cup of the mini cupcake pan. Press crumbs with your fingers to help stick together and make shallow cups.

Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling.

Once the crust is finished, add the chocolate chips or one chocolate rectangle and a Marshmallow half on top of the chocolate and bake for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes.

Once they have cooled, carefully remove  cups from the pan and continue to let cool on a plate. While they are cooling, melt the remaining chocolate and dip the Marshmallow tops (I skipped this step). Let set for another 45 minutes to an hour. And then Enjoy!

If you want, you can add some decorations to spruce up the S’Mores if you are bringing them to a party or entertaining guests. I found these cute little “Be Mine” stickers to go along with the plates and napkins at Hobby Lobby.

It’s becoming apparent that I am busier than usual in Indianapolis than I was in Chicago, but I guess that is what happens when you have a Big Fat Italian Family to keep you busy. And that is exactly why I moved home, so no complaints here! For all of my readers, please keep my Great Aunt Nancy in your prayers. She fell and broke her Femur and will be in a Nursing Home/Rehab Facility for a while until she heals. She needs all the prayers she can get to help her rehab and get home!

Until next time…

Lucia

Nutella and Peanut Butter Cookies

If I was bad about updating this blog before I moved back to Indianapolis, I am even worse now. If that is even possible! Since moving home I’ve been pretty busy with work due to the Super Bowl and living at home has put a kink in my desire to cook for some reason. Here is another recipe that is LONG over due…Nutella and Peanut Butter Cookies. I made these and the Fried Nutella Pies right before I moved back from Chicago for my going away dinner. The cookies were ok, but I thought they were kind of dry. That may have been my fault as I didn’t follow the recipe and added peanut butter, an egg, cinnamon and vanilla.

Nutella and Peanut Butter Cookies (Adapted from A Busy Nest)

Preheat oven to 350° and bake for 10 minutes.

1 cup Nutella
1/2 cup JIFs Natural Peanut Butter (my favorite!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Add the Nutella, Peanut Butter, Sugar and Eggs to a large mixing bowl. Blend all ingredients together and slowly add the flour. Once the flour is mixed in well, add the cinnamon and vanilla.

Fold the dough until everything is mixed in. Form dough into 1-inch balls on a cookie sheet and bake!

In my rush to get ready for dinner, I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but unfortunately they didn’t look a lot different from what you see above.

Until next time….!

Fried Nutella Pies

This post is LONG overdue. I made Fried Nutella Pies on one of my last nights in Chicago, while I was sitting at home bored. I had spent the day packing and running errands, so when I was got home I didn’t have anything to do until my friends got home from work. While I was waiting on Laura to get home so we could head to my final going away party with some friends at Club Lucky (I highly recommend making a stop if you’ve never been), I decided to make these yummy looking Fried Nutella pies and Peanut Butter Nutella cookies (post to come soon)!

I had some food I needed to get rid of before the move and Nutella was one of the ingredients! I found the recipe on Our Best Bites and was excited to give it a try. I didn’t have all of the ingredients, but I had some things I thought would work as a substitute. They turned out pretty good once I got the frying thing down.

Fried Nutella Pies (adapted from Our Best Bites)

Pillsbury Pie Crust (I didn’t have wonton wrappers – but I did have pie crusts I needed to get rid of!)

Nutella

Craisins

Cinnamon and Sugar (mixed)

Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip

Coconut

frying oil

Let the pie crusts sit out until they are at room temperature. Fill a bowl with cinnamon and sugar and mix. Set aside the bowl (near the stove) for dipping the “pies” once they are fried.

Cut the pie sheets into small squares and fill them with a small bit of Nutella and any other ingredients you want. I added craisins to some, peanut butter to a few and to be honest, I can’t remember what else I used, but I know I pretty much cleaned out my pantry of sweet stuff. I just put Nutella on all of the pies and then made some with chocolate chips and peanut butter, some with just craisins, some with coconut, etc.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil, but make sure it doesn’t get too hot or the pies will burn. Remember the Kitchen Adventure I had with Caprese Wontons? Once the oil is hot enough, begin folding the pies together and adding to oil. Fry until the outsides are golden brown and then immediately add to the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

My first few attempts didn’t go over so well. The pies were falling apart and getting stuck in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. I figured out that the oil wasn’t hot enough and the pies weren’t really frying, so I turned up the heat and let the oil get hotter before I added the pies.

After a few attempts they turned out pretty good – and didn’t taste bad either! They weren’t my favorite dessert, but they were definitely something different and they were fun to make. I love anything with cinnamon and sugar on them, so they got my approval!

Up next: Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

xoxo,

Lucia

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Now that I am back in Indy I suddenly have so much time on my hands. It’s not that I was really busy in Chicago and now all of a sudden I have nothing to do, it’s just a different way to live now, I guess. I get off work at 5 instead of 7. It takes me 20 minutes to get home instead of an hour. I can still go to the gym, which takes 5 minutes there and back compared to 20 each way. It’s amazing how much more time I get to myself or to find something fun to do.

I also actually get to spend time with people when I feel like it and it doesn’t have to be a production. I can’t remember the last time I got off work in time to go to the grocery store, go to the gym, hang out and then make dinner. That is, until I moved back to Indianapolis.

Now that it’s getting colder out, all I want to eat are soups! I came across this delicious recipe on Pinterest (my new addiction) for Chicken Tortilla soup and have wanted to make it ever since.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (recipe adapted from The Review Lady)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoons olive oil

4 to 6 corn tortillas, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

White pepper to taste

6 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 can sweet corn

3 Boneless Chicken Breasts (2 cups shredded chicken)

Cheese of choice for garnish

Tortilla chips

Boil the chicken breasts until cooked and set aside. In a large pot, sauté onions in butter until transparent, add garlic and sauté until aromatic. In a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté tortillas for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and tortillas. Bring to a boil and add cumin, chili powder, garlic, pepper, and chicken stock. Return to a boil. Reduce heat. Add salt and cayenne pepper. Simmer 30 minutes.  If you prefer a non-chunky soup, remove from pot  and puree soup. (I didn’t do this, but think it’s a great idea!)

Cooking the vegetables
The Finished Product!

Shred your chicken and add to soup along with the corn. Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes and add more seasoning if necessary. Garnish with cheese and tortilla chips.

Next Up: Nutella and Peanut Butter Christmas Cookies

Pecan Pie

In order to get in the Thanksgiving spirit, I decided to bake my very first pecan pie. And to celebrate my last week of work. That’s right, I left my job. My great, amazing, big time agency dream job that I worked my butt off to get. I might be losing my mind and left reality for crazy town, but I did it. Reality has yet to set in, but I feel it will hit me sooner rather than later. I still feel as if I am on vacation, but I am hoping Indianapolis starts to feel like home again soon.

I decided that my big fat Italian life, what I write about on this blog (besides cooking adventures), is more important to me than any big city job or life. And that big fat Italian life is all in Indianapolis, not Chicago. I’m excited for this new adventure and to be able to spend more time with my family – not wishing I was with them all the time and sad every Sunday when they were all together while I was sitting alone in my kitchen eating a lean cuisine (I’m being dramatic, but you get the point).

So, to celebrate my last full day of work and Thanksgiving, I decided to bake a Pecan Pie. Baking is also what I do when I don’t feel like processing or dealing with emotions. It’s a stress relief and I am able to zone out and focus on the recipe, one line at a time.

Pecan Pie (recipe adapted from Baking)

1 pie crust sheet (I used Pilsbury)

4 tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup dark corn syrup (I opted for the water/brown sugar mix)

**If you don’t have dark corn syrup, for 1 cup dark corn syrup: 1/4 cup water and 1 cup packed brown sugar

2 extra-large eggs

1  1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup pecan nuts

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: add 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I didn’t, but want to next time!)

Preheat the oven to 400°F and remove the dough from the refrigerator until it’s room temperature. Line a 9 inch round tart pan with dough once it’s at room temperature.

Place butter, brown sugar and corn syrup (or replacement) in a pan and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and quickly beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

Chop the pecans and stir into the mixture and add in chocolate chips now, if you want.

Mix in the Pecans

Pour into the pie pan and add a layer of whole pecans to the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until filling is just set. Serve warm or cold.

Pecan Pie

Be sure to take the pie out around 35 minutes when the crust is done. I had never made Pecan Pie before and didn’t know how the inside consistency was supposed to be, so I left the pie in a few minutes too long and the crust was a little burnt on the outside.

I wanted to bring it home for Thanksgiving, but decided to have a small piece anyway! I’ve only had Pecan Pie once before, but I thought it tasted pretty good. It definitely fell apart once I put it on my plate, but the flavor was good!

It was good, I promise!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and celebrated everything they are thankful for. I am trying my best to get in the Christmas spirit now and am hoping it will happen with the first snow fall!

Up next: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Quick and Easy Homemade Pizza

Growing up, I used to eat homemade pizza at my Grandma’s house and I have always wanted to make some of my own. I’ve never made the time to get around to it and after making it the other weekend, am not sure why I thought it was such a daunting task! My Dad’s family is rather large and we used to get together every Thursday for Spaghetti dinners. My Grandma would make her homemade bread and everyone would gather round her table (which was not big enough for the 16 kids and 20 something Grandkids). After those Thursday dinners she would sometimes have leftover dough to make these amazing pizzas. Those Thursday dinners and homemade pizzas are some of my earliest, and favorite, memories from my childhood. It was a true Italian family – and you could feel the roots of our Italian culture that had been implanted in the core of our family. I felt special to have such a large family who took time out every week to stop and appreciate one another and share some laughs over homemade pasta and bread. Isn’t that what happens in Italian families and what movies are made around?

It might have been my childish sense of perfection, but those Thursday nights just seemed so joyful. Perfect, actually.  I am sure there were the fights that there are now and the bitterness you can still sometimes sense when we all gather – but that comes with a large family and it helps you to continue to bond with each other. You fight hard and love even harder. I think Caroline from the Real Housewives of New Jersey said that in an episode once, and I could not agree more.

I miss those loud, crowded, hectic and fun nights eating with the people I love, so whenever I get the chance to create a meal with my family or friends, I cherish it. Living in Chicago, I am away from my large Italian family, but I’m lucky because I have a small little family here and we often get together to make dinners and enjoy each others company. A few Sunday’s ago we  decided to grab some dough from Trader Joe’s (which is only 99 cents) and make homemade pizza! It was SO easy and some of the best pizza I’ve had. I definitely think it is worth it to do this instead of ordering pizza or getting a pizza to go.

Pepperoni Pizza

1 package Trader Joe’s pizza dough

1 package shredded mozzarella Cheese

2 cups of my quick sauce (add oregano and basil to taste while cooking)

1 package pepperoni

Parmesan Cheese

Follow the directions on the back of the Trader’s Joe dough package. Once the dough is ready and rolled out, spread the sauce from end to end (put as much as you would like). Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, add the pepperoni and put it in the oven! It is THAT simple!

Nikki rolling out the pizza dough!

Me attempting to spin the dough in the air…I failed miserably!

White Spinach Pizza

1 package Trader Joe’s pizza dough

1 package shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups white sauce

  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 carton heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Dash oregano

Spinach (however much you would like!)

Mushrooms (optional)

White Sauce:

In a medium sauce pan, heat butter and garlic until garlic is translucent. Add 4 1/2 tsp flour and mix with a whisk until well blended. Add in the heavy whipping cream and continue to whisk until sauce thickens. If it’s not thickening, add in the remaining flour and continue to whisk. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add in the parmesan (slowly), salt and pepper, to taste.

Pizza:

Follow the directions on the back of the Trader’s Joe dough package. Once the dough is ready and rolled out, spread the sauce from end to end (put as much as you would like). Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, add the spinach and mushrooms and put it in the oven! Yes, it really is that simple!

The pizzas turned out amazing! I like to make my dough homemade, when I can, but with how simple and delicious these pizzas turned out, I don’t see the point in making your own pizza dough. AND each dough package was 99 cents! So cheap and so worth it! Next time I am craving pizza, instead of ordering out or picking up a Homemade Pizza Co. pizza, I’m going to consider just making my own!

Banana Bread

Where has this summer gone? Oh yea, it just started here in Chicago! I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve still been cooking and having adventures in all kinds of kitchens! The summer started off to a great start, so I thought. I couldn’t wait to head home to Indy for the Italian festival in June. Ryguy had just gotten home from Europe so I was not only going to get to see my family, but finally spend time with him! Long story short, I got to Indianapolis and instantly felt sick. I was lucky enough to make it to the festival Friday night, but honestly, I couldn’t enjoy it because I felt so miserable. Ryguy definitely enjoyed himself though and I’m pretty sure he tested food at every booth, which is a good thing because we didn’t make it Saturday night and got stuck staying in with a no fun, sick girl watching movies! Here are a few pictures of some of the delicious food I remembered to take this year.

Breadsticks

Cheesecake

Before I left for the Italian festival I was so anxious to finally see Ryguy and get home to my family and I couldn’t sit still. Whenever I’m anxious, nervous or stressed, all I want to do is cook. For some reason, it calms my nerves and really allows me to think clearly. Maybe this is because it takes me out of my head and allows me to just be in the moment – in the food – which is what I need sometimes! So, while I was waiting for my fun-filled (or so I thought) weekend, I baked Banana Bread! I didn’t have a family recipe for this (that I know of, hint hint Mom!) so I used the cookbook, Baking, my sister gave me last year as a present for my blog! I didn’t have all of the below ingredients and kind of just went on my own with this one – and it didn’t turn out the BEST, but it was still good and I enjoyed them, but I am going to share the actual recipe below!

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

Butter, for greasing

1 cup flour

3/4 cup light brown flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 large ripe bananas, peeled

3/4 cup orange juice

2 eggs, beaten

4 tbsp canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 2-lb loaf pan. Sift the flours, sugar, salt and the spices into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with the orange juice, then stir in the eggs and oil. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour; then test to see if the loaf is cooked by inserting a skewer (I use a knife or toothpicks) into the center. If it comes out clean, the loaf is done. If not, bake for an additional 10 minutes and test again.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan. Turn the loaf out, slice and serve! This recipe serves 8.

(Sorry for the awful quality of this photo!)

The banana bread wasn’t my best, but I was glad to finally attempt making one of my favorite breads! Stay tuned for adventures of an Italian out west and one of my new favorite recipes!!