Category Archives: Appetizers

Crunchy Baked GF Chicken & Isaac

The path of Tropical Storm Isaac isn’t expected to impact SW Florida as was anticipated by the meteorologist’s, or the many people who were out buying up as much water, batteries and canned goods as they could. This is a good thing 🙂 well maybe not for those who will be eating soup and tuna for the next few weeks :/ but that we are no longer in the cone (or path) of Isaac. I must also add, in preparation for this storm my husband has moved all of the patio furniture to the garage, took the kids’ John boat out of the pond and secured it to a tree and trimmed all of the trees in our yard, and we have many, many trees. As you can see in the pictures below the trees, especially the palms, really were pruned! I moved all of my orchids and part of my herb garden into the outdoor bathroom [lots and lots of fun]. If nothing else this gives us (mostly Rick) a great opportunity to thoroughly clean up outside and groom all the landscaping! Yay!  We will still see plenty of wind and rain, enough to keep the children in doors all day today and tomorrow. I am trying to keep them occupied so they are not tempted to munch on junk food out of boredom. All in all I really do love this weather, it is such a nice break from the scalding heat.





When the, “Mom, when will lunch be ready?” echos started rolling in I decided to try something new (to us). I recalled reading a recipe, some time ago, that was for fresh chicken tenders breaded with crushed potato chips instead of bread crumbs.  I have one child who has to avoid gluten and this recipe seemed as if it would appeal to all four of my hungry kiddos. I didn’t try to find the recipe that sparked the idea, time didn’t allow for that. They were hungry! So, this is a recipe I threw together on a whim, and it turned out great! Often gluten-free foods aren’t quite as tasty as the gluten laden version. Especially things like chicken tenders, however, these oversized crispy chicken nuggets are an exception and they are were GOOD and they are gone

Crunchy Baked Chicken Chunks (Gluten-Free)


  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into large chunks (about 2 or 3-bites per piece)
  • 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Bisquick
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 or 2 1/2 cups of crushed Kettle Cooked Potato Chips (I used the Reduced Fat Cape Cod brand)
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (be careful with the salt, the chips provide saltiness)
  • non-stick cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Spray a wire rack with non-stick spray coating well, or rub with oil
  • Place the Bisquick in a shallow bowl
  • In a second bowl beat eggs, water, Dijon mustard, and 1T of parsley until well combined
  • In a third bowl combine crushed chips, 1T parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • Coat all of the chicken with a three-step dip/dredge: First dredge each piece in the Bisquick, next dunk in egg/mustard mixture allowing excess to drip back into bowl, third roll the chicken in the crushed potato chip mix. Be sure to coat the chicken well and press the crumbs gently into the chicken.
  • Place chicken on the wire rack placed on a cookie sheet. This allows the chicken to remain crispy on both sides.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees at the thickest part of the meat.
  • This chicken is tasty enough to eat without and dip. However, it would be great with your favorite sauce or rolled in hot sauce and served with Bleu Cheese 🙂 my combination of choice!

And on a final note. I sincerely hope and pray that everyone, who is at risk of being of being affected by Tropical Storm or Hurricane Isaac, is safe. Take care.


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Zuppa Toscana

I have missed you all! I hope that your Thanksgiving Day was spectacular, filled with delicious food, cherished moments with loved ones and football of course!

Sadly, it seems like it has been a lifetime since I have posted anything. I truly enjoy this website, it means a lot to me. However, this past month has been incredibly busy for several different reasons and despite my efforts to find the time to blog, it hasn’t happened. I had so many wonderful recipes I was excited to share for Thanksgiving 😦 which I will saved for next year…

Zuppa Toscana, is an Italian soup (which happens to be a favorite of my girls & myself) that is full of sausage, sweet onions, potatoes, and the star of the bowl, kale. This soup does have cream added to it, but it is not a heavy soup, the base is made with chicken stock with a small amount of cream added at the end. I usually would have used milk, as I commonly don’t keep heavy cream on hand, but I had some leftover from turkey day therefore I added on the richness and the calories!

I would also like to add that I have a long way to go with my photography skills, and I try my best, but I find it almost impossible to take a good (or even decent) picture of soup. Over the past six months I have probably snapped 200 shots of different soups, and not one has been even okay. But, I really wanted to jump back into my blog and this soup was what was on the menu. If any of you have any tricks or suggestions, I would love to hear it! Thanks.

Zuppa Toscana


  • 1 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage (hot sausage would be great as well)
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 12-16 ounces of chopped kale
  • 3 cans of all natural chicken broth 14.5 oz each
  • 1/2 pound bacon cook and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of heavy cream or milk
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish


  • Add vegetable oil to a hot Dutch oven or heavy pot (med-high heat) brown and crumble sausage  remove from pot
  • Dice onions and potatoes add to sausage drippings cook 10-12 minutes
  • Add garlic to potatoes and onions
  • Pour chicken stock and water into pot bring to a boil and then reduce heat
  • Add salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, parsley, bacon & sausage
  • Check the tenderness of your potatoes, when tender add cream and kale cook until thoroughly heated and slightly wilted
  • Once the cream is added do not boil, the cream will separate
  • Serve with parmesan cheese as a garnish
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Appetizers, Cheese, Chicken, Pork, Soups, Veggies


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Tomato Cobbler

Tomato Cobbler

I cannot pinpoint the exact reason it took me so long to make this savory tomato cobbler. Learn from my mistake, do not wait to make this. The biscuits are full of cheesy, hearty goodness with a crispy top and melt-in-your-mouth body. The Gruyère is the perfect accompaniment to the juicy little tomatoes (which are oh so delicious!), the caramalized onions, the garlic & rosemary all work in harmony. * The only change I made to the recipe was swapping the rosemary for thyme and only because I didn’t have thyme, and you just can’t skip on the herbs.*  I also want to point out that it calls for 3 pounds of tomatoes, not 3 cups! I misread the ingredients the first go-round. One pint of grape tomatoes weighs 10 ounces, so you will need approximately 5 pints. I know it seems like a lot of tomatoes, but it makes a massive amount of delicious food.

I love tomatoes, they are a staple in our home. It’s safe to say we eat tomatoes everyday. I cannot think of a recipe, that has cooked tomatoes in it, that is better! This one takes the cake (or should I say cobbler), it is my new favorite side!  I am anxious to make this for our Thanksgiving Day dinner. Actually, I should probably make two because I know most of us will be making a trip for seconds. This savory cobbler will undoubtedly impress your family or guests at the dinner table. It is definitely worth the time it takes to prepare it. I found that my cooking time was significantly less, by about 25 minutes. I would keep an eye on it after about the 40 minute mark. * Note to self, check the accuracy of the temp in my oven*  This dish would also be a hit at any office party or your next “bring a dish” gathering, as it reheats well. Thanks to Annie, of Annie’s-Eats  who posted this scrumptious recipe last month! I would love to hear from you, let me know what you think!

tomaot cobbler

For the filling
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium yellow
onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
3 lbs. cherry or grape tomatoes
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1½ tsp. coarse salt
Pinch of black pepper

For the biscuit topping
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1½ cups heavy cream

To prepare the filling, combine the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions
and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and caramelized, about 20-25
minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes
more.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
To make the biscuit topping, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a
medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the
mixture is crumbly and small clumps form. I used my hands, since I don’t have a pastry blender and the knife trick doesn’t work for me. Mix in the cheese.  Stir in the cream
with a fork until a sticky dough forms and the dry ingredients are

Transfer the tomato mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Using a large ice cream scoop or a ¼-cup measure, drop clumps of the biscuit dough evenly over the tomato mixture.  Sprinkle the top with
additional grated cheese.  Bake until the tomatoes are bubbling and the biscuits
are golden, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats via Martha Stewart Living July 2011 via Pink Parsley Catering


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Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese











Ricotta cheese is good. You can stuff pasta with it, bake a ricotta pie, add it to mashed potatoes, top your pizza, pair it with fresh fruit, ricotta on top of figs and drizzled it with honey is out-of-this-world, eat it right out of the container, canoli, the list could go on and on… I have always liked ricotta cheese with its mild taste and smooth texture make it easy to incorporate into many meals.

Prior to yesterday the thought of making cheese had not really crossed my mind. Cheese was one of the items you buy at the grocery store, not whip up in your kitchen. Let me tell you friends, I will never buy ricotta again! The difference in taste and texture of the homemade in comparison to store-bought is basically indescribable. The best way I can explain the difference would be like asking you if you would rather eat a hamburger steak or filet mignon! Really, it is that good. While the cheese was straining in a cheesecloth lined colander on the counter, I took a spoon and had a small sample. That was all it took, I knew I had found something good, a new favorite food (I have many favorites) I am hooked! Homemade ricotta cheese is fantastic!

One day, very soon, I will attempt to make fresh mozzarella . A while back I posted a recipe for Caprese, which is my first choice of appetizers, hands down. This was also the winning entry for September’s recipe contest at  C & L Farms, located in Alva, FL. I absolutely love this salad as it is, and I can only imagine how much better it would be with homemade cheese! I am so looking forward to this 🙂 I will definitely let you know how it turns out.

Back to the ricotta, as you will see below this recipe only calls for four (4) ingredients and it is super easy, you don’t even need a thermometer!


  • 4 cups of whole milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 generous teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3 generous Tablespoons White Wine Vinager



  • Line a sieve or colander with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth. Put the colander over a large bowl.
  • Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until is curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and the milky parts (the whey).
  • Pour mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for about 25 minutes. The longer you allow the mixture to drain, the thicker the ricotta.
  • Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and the liquid in the large bowl.
  • Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The cheese will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.


Do yourself a favor and make a batch of this deliciousness! I would love to hear what recipes you use that call for ricotta cheese.

The picture at the top and bottom of this page is:

1 baguette sliced and put under the broiler until crisped on the top, rub with a clove of mashed garlic (the garlic catches on the crispy bread) add a dollop of ricotta cheese, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste and garnish with fresh rosemary! Good Vittles friends 🙂 enjoy

This recipe has been adapted from Barefoot Contessa, 2010


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So… I had full intentions of posting two recipes tonight, neither one of them being Caprese.

I thought I would share with you my Naw’lins Shrimp Po’ Boy to represent N.O. & Crook-Neck Squash and Zuccichni Ribbons, in honor of the opening day of regular season for the NFL when Green Bay hosts New Orleans. Fortunately, my plans changed and I took my daughter Emily to a ceramic paint studio, where we had a blast! One-on-one time is a rare occurence in our little family of six so I must take advantage of every opportunity 🙂

As it turns out, I decided to share my favorite side/salad recipe. This dish is the easiest thing to make, from start to finish, you might have all of five minutes of your time invested! I serve this often, an Italian menu is not in any way required. I even make this salad into a sandwich!

I will soon share my cajun sandwich-like (po-boy) meal with you.

Laugh often & Love much!


2 vine ripe tomatoes sliced into 8 equal pieces (4 each)

1 8 oz. fresh mozzarella sliced into 8 equal pieces

8 fresh basil leaves chopped

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinager

Pinch of Sea Salt and Black Pepper


Layer Cheese and tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste! EnJoY!

You will fall in love with this!

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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Appetizers, Veggies


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Spinach, Artichoke & Bean Dip

Personally, I think it is almost impossible to pass on the spinach dip. Regardless if it is served hot or cold, with raw veggies or chips of some sort, I just can’t say no! My only issue with spinach dip it is commonly made with an abundant combination of cream, cheese, butter, sour cream, and more cheese. I am pretty sure the benefits of the spinach are zeroed out when you add in excessive amounts of the fatty creams & cheeses. This super simple recipe is loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K, iron, vitamin C, fiber, and carotenoids, thanks to the spinach and artichokes. When you add in the protein, brought to this dish by the beans, you are left with a dip that is hard to resist and not feel guilty about over-indulging in, because it is packed full of goodness!

As promised, this the first of my Favorite Football Foods! I surely will enjoy this dish on many Sunday’s this Fall.

Spinach, Artichoke & Bean Dip


1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup canola mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon each sea salt & black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 garlic cloves minced

1 (15 oz.) can of white beans (I use cannolini), drained and rinsed

1 (14 oz.) can of marinated baby artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 (9 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

1 medium sweet onion, diced

cooking spray

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

3-4 tomatoes diced or approx. 2 cups of fresh salsa


Preheat over to 350

Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions until they start to brown, about 8 minutes

Place first seven ingredients (thru the beans) into food processor or blender and process until smooth, transfer to a bowl.

Add spinach, artichokes and onion to bean mixture. Spread into a 1 quart baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Spread the shredded mozzarella on the top.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese begins to bubble and brown.

Serve warm, topped with tomatoes or salsa. Enjoy!

This recipe has been adapted from Cooking Light

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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Appetizers, Beans, Veggies


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