Friday, May 30, 2014

“Brownie Strawberry Shortcake” & “Strawberry-Coconut Daiquiri Cocktail”

As May comes to a close there still is one more honor that we have to salute to and that is the “Strawberry.” The month of May is “National Strawberry Month.” This is when we can celebrate the love of strawberries, and be aware of the value this small sweet fruit has to offer. We also have to give a big shout out to our local farmers markets. They bring us their very best, fresh, safe, sweet fruits and vegetables that are grown here within our local neighborhoods. 

It is so important to buy local every season. The local greenhouses, farm fields and vineyards are what make our neighborhoods so special. We have to invest into our own community which is vital for each of our regions to thrive. There are 5 reasons to buy at your local farmers markets:

1. Know that your food comes from a safe environment. Strict polices and regulations are put into place to keep our food safe and free of all pesticides, so buy organic as well.

2. Growers often come from generations of farmers who lived and worked in local communities for many years. They are small farms and are family owned.

3. Taking care of the land and protecting the environment by helping to develop new ways to reduce our carbon footprints, water usage, recycling, and be active environmentalists.

4. Good for economic reasons, which create sales tax, income tax, and real estate tax. Businesses add a lot of tax for each state.

5. Jobs and employment helps support hundreds outside those on the farm. Machine manufactures, equipment, dealers, suppliers, and produce distributors. 

Now, let’s get back to one of my favorite berries, which is the strawberry. The Garden Strawberries is the most common name known and was first bred in France in the year of 1750. This fruit is known for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and its sweetness. It can be either eaten fresh or frozen, as preserves, in pies, ice cream, milk shakes, and yogurt. Strawberries are also known as the romantic picnic foods. They can be added to cream, also dipped in chocolate, and use them for cake decorations. The strawberry is an excellent source of vitamin C and 1 cup equals 45 calories. Strawberries are an easy plant to grow, and can be grown almost anywhere in the world. The best time to plant strawberries are in the middle of spring. Strawberries can also be grown as a potted plant, and will still produce fruit. Some farmer’s markets or farms stands will allow you to pick your own strawberries. Harvesting your own food is not only a family affair but also connects you with where your food comes from, the Earth.

I remember a story when I was about 20 years old; I had some relatives that lived upstate on a farm. We had a fun summer that year with the family and the air just seemed to be fresher. One day my uncle took us to go strawberry picking at the local farms. I was so excited. Remember I lived in Queens, NY and I had never been berry picking or even knew anything about farms. As we were in the car and riding along to the farm, I thought I saw some strawberries in the trees. Here I am looking in the trees and not having any idea of how they grew. Needless to say that this “city girl” was laughed at by the family the whole trip. But I had no idea that they grew low to the ground. But it was one of the best days in my life, getting that close to nature and spending time with my family. (Besides eating strawberries)

So in honor of the Strawberry and farmers markets, I want to share 2 recipes with you this week, a “Brownie Strawberry Shortcake” and a “Strawberry-Coconut Daiquiri Cocktail.” These are easy and delicious recipes for dessert as you enjoy your spring and summer. Hope that you have fun, and always treasure your family time. If you want to try these delicious recipes, see below…….

Brownie Strawberry Shortcake

Brownies- Prepare a batch of brownies using your favorite box mix (for an 8″x8″ pan). Allow the brownies to fully cool, then cut into small (about 3/4 inch) squares.

Whipped Cream- Using 1 cup of cold heavy cream (often labeled heavy whipping cream), whip until it begins to thicken. While mixing, add 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Continue to beat until desired consistency is reached. Be carefully not to over-beat.

Strawberries- Dice 1 pint of fresh strawberries into bite size pieces.

Assembly- Layer brownie bites, strawberries, and whipped cream in individual dishes. I used small glasses. Individual trifle dishes would work great as well. The ingredient quantities above will produce 6 small desserts. (With brownie left over) Feel free to adjust the quantities as needed. If desired, Cool Whip may be substituted for the whipped cream.


“Strawberry-Coconut Daiquiri Cocktail”

To keep it cool in warmer weather, freeze fresh berries for 30 minutes before blending. Variation: for a non-alcoholic version, omit the Rum and add 1/2 cup additional strawberries.

Yield: 6 servings about 3/4 cup each
Total Time: 10 minutes

2 1/2 cups (about 12 ounces) chopped fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups of ice cubes
3/4 cups coconut-flavored Rum, such as Malibu

Combine strawberries, sugar, and lime juice together in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and Rum, now blend until frothy. Transfer mixture to a pitcher and serve. Add strawberry to top of glass for presentation. Enjoy! 

Please drink responsibly!

Till Next Time………..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

“Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells” For "Wordless Tuesday"

Ciao, welcome to “Wordless Tuesday!” Where there are no more words, just a mouth watering recipe which I know you have been waiting for…..


These stuffed shells are filled with spinach, sautéed onions, and part-skim ricotta topped with marinara sauce. Plus we can’t forget the sprinkled grated cheese to give it that special taste. The shells hold and reheat well, which makes them great for entertaining. Mangia!

“Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells”

Makes: 6 servings


24 jumbo pasta shells, (8 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2--10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry

2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
2/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cups marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook shells in a large pot of boiling water, stirring often, (carefully not to break the shells) until just tender, about 15 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the thawed spinach to the onions and toss to mix well. Set aside.

Combine ricotta, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese and nutmeg in a bowl, mix well. Add the reserved spinach and egg, and then season with salt and pepper. 

Stuff each of the reserved shells with a generous 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the stuffed shells in a single layer. Top with the remaining 2 cups of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese. Bake until the top is golden and the shells are heated through, about 30 minutes. (If the top browns too quickly, tent loosely with foil.) Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*******Great wine pairings: would be an American Riesling,
 Italian Pinot Grigioor a Vernaccia Di San Gimignano.

(Recipe modified from Eating Well: January/February 1997)

Till Next Time………………………………..........................................................

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 23, 2014

“Beef Patties With Bacon And Guacamole Topping” For Memorial Day

Well, its here, Memorial Day weekend! The unofficial start of the summer season. The last Monday in May is celebrated as a federal holiday in the United States since 1971. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and then changed in 1882 to Memorial Day. A day that we commemorate all American soldiers who died in military service. Memorial Day is an occasion for expressions of memory, to remember the people who served for our country, living or deceased. As time marches on it now has become a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, BBQs, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.
My grandfather Louis A. Fiore

My grandfather Louis Fiore served in the Army. He was a corporal in the 9th US Infantry and was in Company A. When he was 17 he in-listed. (which he was under age) My grandfather fought in WWI and was wounded, (shot in the leg) in the battle at Chateau-Thierry, in France. He received a Purple Heart for his bravery and other medals as well. After his leg healed, he chose to go to Germany and joined the Army of Occupation with his old unit. When he passed on he was buried in the Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY. I am so proud to have a grandfather who loved his country to defend it for our freedom. So today I honor him on this Memorial Day weekend.  

For Italian Americans it is especially important to remember that more that 1.5 million Italian Americans served in World War II – thousands of them died to liberate Italy. All Italians and Italian Americans have much to be grateful for today on this Memorial Day. Memorial Day is also a time to celebrate peace and sacrifice. There are many popular activities that some may enjoy such as, Memorial Day parades that take place in your local towns or cities.

One way to kick off the summer is with a family barbeque. Did you know that May is National BBQ month? What better way to celebrate than cooking outside on a grill. As you and your family reminisce about loved ones in the service there are so many quick and easy ideas for a very tasty BBQ. Some options are fresh corn on the cob roasted on the grill, enjoy the flavor of  fruit pies, lemonade, and you can’t forget, the gooey barbeque sauce or glaze to coat on your favorite meat, seafood or fresh vegetables…… yum, finger lick’ in good. 

My dad is our “Grill Master” in my family. When we were young kids he would use charcoal but as the years went on he used the gas BBQ. He would even go outside in the rain with an umbrella or in the winter when it was snowing and start up the BBQ for our dinner. He puts on his apron with his tools and cooks for the family, his famous steak, ribs, or burgers. Thanks dad for delicious meals and memories that will last forever! However you celebrate your Memorial Day remember to incorporate your holiday traditions with your family and no matter where you are, take time to be thankful for our freedom.

This weekend’s recipe is called “Beef Patties with Bacon and Guacamole Topping.” My family loves these spruced up hamburgers. Bacon flavors the meat and the guacamole sauce adds a tasty twist.

Beef Patties with Bacon and Guacamole Topping

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded white cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground turkey or beef
10 bacon strips (cooked & set aside)
10 hamburger buns split, optional

Directions for burgers:
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble ground turkey/beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into ten 3/4-in.-thick patties. Grill bacon and put on the side. Grill patties, uncovered, over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160°F. Serve on buns with the bacon, and the Guacamole topping.

Guacamole Topping:
2 large avocados (about 1 lb) pitted, peeled, and cubed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons diced tomato
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients together with a Mortar & Pestle or a flat spoon until it is creamy & spreadable.  Add as topping to burgers. So, enjoy your holiday weekend, be safe, and 'Tutti, Mangia”

Till Next Time…………………….

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

“Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms” For Wordless Tuesday

Welcome to “Wordless Tuesday!” Where there are no more words, just a mouth watering recipe which I know you have been waiting for…..

Today’s recipe is “Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms” Chicken Marsala is a popular dish. It is a cinch to make if you have all the ingredients on hand. I always buy boneless chicken breasts and keep them in the freezer because there are so many ways to use them from stir frying to stuffing them. When I make this recipe, I cut the breasts while partially frozen because it is easier to make thin slices. 

“Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms”

Serves: 4


6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb sliced button mushrooms
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper
3 boneless chicken breasts;

(about 1 1/2 pounds total) sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup dry/sweet Marsala wine
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup of Capers (optional)


Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large 12 to 14 inch sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until they give off their liquid and the pan is dry. Salt and pepper them to taste and transfer to a bowl.

On a plastic cutting board remove any visible fat from the chicken breasts and use a meat pounder to thin them to even thickness of 1/8 inch or ask your butcher to do this for you.

Place 1/2 cup of flour in a large dish add salt and pepper to taste. Dredge each cutlet in the flour mixture coating them well and shaking off the excess. Place them on a clean flat dish. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter in the same sauté pan used to cook the mushrooms. Over medium high heat, brown the cutlets in batches on both sides. Transfer them as they brown to a dish.

If the pan seems dry add a little more butter. Raise the heat to high and pour in the Marsala wine. Stir, scrapping up any bits in the pan and reduce the wine to 1/2 its volume. Stir in the lemon juice. Return the chicken and any collected juices to the pan along with the mushrooms. Put in capers if you choose to use them-(optional) Heat until hot, add the parsley and serve immediately. Can be served with a vegetable or a green salad, and a chunk of Italian bread to soak up all the juices.


This recipe is adapted from “Ciao Italia.”

Till Next Time…………………………

Copyright © 2014  “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 16, 2014

It's Salad Daze...Recipe is “Fennel and Orange Salad” Delicious!!

As you participate in activities outside, with the warm weather, you will want to prepare quick and nutritious meals for your family. Well not to worry, because May is “National Salad Month." Who knew that a whole month was allocated to celebrate and enjoy the “salad?” What can be more simple and easy so you are not stuck in the kitchen cooking all day by a stove or oven? So, let’s make a tasty salad!

Salads can be served as an appetizer to stimulate your appetite, a side dish that will accompany your main course, or for your entrée which would include your protein. (beef, pork, chicken, or fish) Desserts can also be called salads if you add gelatin and whipped cream for a delicious sweet treat or fruits for an Ambrosia salad. The salad can be made from many different ingredients, not just lettuce such as, vegetables, legumes, eggs, cheese, and pasta. They may be served either cold or hot, often raw vegetables are added and many sweet fruits. 

The word “salad” comes from the French “salade” which has the same meaning. The first appearance of the word “salad” was in the 14th century. Salt is also associated with salad because the vegetables were seasoned with a brine or a type of vinegar dressing. The “Salad Bar” term first appeared in American English in 1976. Many food historians say that the Romans ate mixed greens and dressing over two thousand years ago. In the United States the “salad” became very popular in the late 19th century. Throughout the second half of the 20th century salads have been sold in supermarkets, at restaurants, (salad bars) and even fast food chains that appeal to the health conscious customer.

A simple “green salad” or “garden salad” is the most common to be consumed. It is composed of leafy vegetables such as lettuce varieties, spinach, and arugula cut into bite sized pieces. Due to their low caloric intake, salads are a common diet food.  Other vegetables can be added to your “tossed salad” which could include; cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, carrots, nuts, and so many others too numerous to mention. That is what is so wonderful about a salad; you can make it your own by adding whatever you would like. There is no right or wrong, no special recipe, and you can use what is in season. 

Sauces for salads are often called “dressings”. In our Western culture, there are three basic types of salad dressing; the first is called the Vinaigrette, which is an emulsion of salad oil mixed with vinegar, spices and herbs, plus salt and pepper. The second one is Creamy Dressings; usually a mayonnaise based, but may contain yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk. The last is the Cooked Dressings, which resemble creamy, but are usually thickened by adding egg yolks with a gentle heating. In North America, mayonnaise based Ranch dressing is most popular, with vinaigrettes and Caesar-style follows close behind. Some other popular dressings are Italian, Blue Cheese, Russian, French, and Honey Dijon Mustard.

In my Italian family, there was never a dinner without a huge bowl of salad. My family would always say, that there was, “always room for salad“. Served along side our entrée or at the end of our meal, was mostly a green tossed salad with all the trimmings. An Italian vinaigrette dressing which consisted of the finest olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, and spices which were drizzled on top of the salad. It was so tangy and sweet at the same time. Preparing any kind of salad is easy especially now you can purchase pre-washed salad greens at the supermarket or by supporting your local farmer’s market. So, no matter what type of salad you make for lunch, brunch or dinner, remember enjoy, and make family memories together.

My recipe this week is called, “Fennel and Orange Salad.” One night I was watching “Ciao Italia” with Mary Ann Esposito. I saw her make this recipe. It looked so colorful and delicious that I had to try it. I have adapted this recipe to my families’ likings. It's a lovely Italian salad (Sicilian in origin, apparently), where fennel provides a lovely and slightly aniseedy crunch, the orange provides the necessary sweetness, the onion the sharpness, and the nuts will add texture. The taste is sweet and the red onion adds a twist to its flavor. 

The fennel (also called finocchina) is known since ancient times for its aromatic properties, its horticultural crop dates back to 1500. It is a diuretic, antispasmodic, and an anti-inflammatory. It is known that "anfrom," the seeds of this plant is very effective in the treatment of abdominal digestive problems. In the kitchen you can use all parts of the fennel. The white heart can be eaten raw in salads. It can also be boiled, broiled, and can be added to stews. Finocchio stems from the Italian region of Sicily. The so-called "seeds" are mainly used for flavoring Taralli (Apulia), donuts, and other baked sweets. So enjoy your salad and be creative with your ingredients. Let your imagination soar!

“Fennel and Orange Salad”

1 medium blood orange, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium navel orange, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium fennel trimmed and thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced 
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
A mixture of salad leaves Endive, Arugula, Baby Spinach, etc. A handful of walnut halves, toasted (almonds would be fine as well)

Peel the oranges (remove as much of the white pith as possible) and cut crosswise into thin slices. Remove the hard bottom part of the fennel bulbs and discard, cut the fennel into thin slices. Peel the red onion, cut into thin slices. Place orange juice, orange, fennel, and onion slices into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Next drizzle with olive oil. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours at room temperature, mixing couple of times. To serve: place on top of salad leaves, including any juices. Garnish with toasted chopped walnuts or almonds.

*******Optional: you may want to add to your salad 1/2 cup whole, pitted Kalamata olives. If you can’t find Blood Oranges, Naval Oranges will do. 

Till Next Time……

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Apple-Pear Galette" For "National Apple Pie Day"

Welcome to “Wordless Tuesday!” Where there are no more words, just a mouth watering recipe which I know you have been waiting for….. 

May 13, celebrates the Apple Pie, known as “America’s favorite dessert” and it is "National Apple Pie Day." So instead of an Apple Pie, my recipe is an:

Apple-Pear Galette


2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour, plus more for the surface
2- 9-inch refrigerated pie crusts
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
3 Empire, Gala, or Cortland apples, peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 Bartlett pears, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten


Heat oven to 350° F. On a lightly floured surface, place one pie crust on top of the other and roll the stack into one 16-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup of the preserves on the crust, leaving a 2-inch border.In a large bowl, toss the apples, pears, flour, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Transfer to the crust, leaving the border clear. Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit mixture. Brush the egg on the crust and sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is tender, 50 to 60 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of preserves and 1 tablespoon water over medium heat until liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush on the fruit. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

***Tips: The Galette can be made one day ahead; just cover it tightly with plastic wrap. To prevent it from sliding around on the serving plate, dab some preserves in the center of the plate before placing the Galette on top.

Till Next Time………………………………................

Copyright © 2014  “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Mother's Day 'la festa della mamma' & “White Clam Sauce with Pasta”

Mother’s Day is an annual holiday that recognizes mothers and motherhood. In the United States we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. The holiday was created by Anna Jarvis who lived in West Virginia. The year was 1908 and she wanted to accomplish a dream her mother had, which was to have a celebration for all mothers. She kept promoting the idea and even enlisted John Wanamaker, a wealthy businessman from Philadelphia. Her persistent promoting finally paid off, because President Woodrow Wilson made it an official holiday in 1914. Eventually, the holiday became so commercially publicized that Anna Jarvis ended up opposing the holiday she helped to create. When she died in 1948 she regretted that it had become a holiday in the United States. Today, Mother’s Day still remains one of the biggest days for selling flowers, greeting cards, and other gifts to celebrate mothers. It is also the biggest holiday for long -distance telephone calls. Carnations, became the traditional flower to represent the celebration of Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis, chose the carnation because it was her mothers’ favorite flower. As florist sales expanded the more types of flowers were sold. Florists promoted wearing a red carnation if your mother was living or a white one if she had passed on.

In Italy, Mother’s Day was celebrated for the first time on May 12, 1957, in the city of Assisi. Throughout Italy, it is usually celebrated on the second Sunday in May just like the United States.  Italian Mother’s Day is not as commercialized as the United States. It is a day for families and for very personal expressions of love. Italian mothers, traditionally celebrate Mother’s Day by bringing the whole family together. La Mamma is not allowed to do any housework on that special day. She will have breakfast made for her, (fresh pastries and coffee/tea.) Greeting cards are not as popular either. It is far more common for children to write their own poems or thanks for Mother’s Day than to buy a store bought card. As for Italian mothers, attending church on Mother’s Day morning is still an important part of their tradition. In Christianity, the word “mother” is referred to the mother church, the giver of spiritual life.

I remember, as a young girl many a Mother‘s Day that my brothers and I would try to make breakfast for our mom. We attempted to make eggs, toast, waffles, (toaster waffles) and if we really got creative maybe some pancakes. (with the assistance of our dad) I was the oldest, plus the only girl so I was the one who was more responsible. Our breakfast was not the best, but it really showed our mother that we loved and appreciated all that she did for us. Then after breakfast we attended Church, and back home to prepare for our family dinner celebration. Once in a while we would go out to eat with the family so my mom could enjoy her day. There was a restaurant on Long Island called Patricia Murphy’s and the whole family would gather there for a special Mother’s Day dinner. These restaurants were legendary and famous for their incredibly luscious popovers. There were waitresses dressed in gingham walking around with baskets of popovers, and you were welcomed to take all the popovers you could eat.
My mom and myself

Well, Mom here’s to you! “Auguri per la Festa della, Mamma” (Happy Mother’s Day) I just want you to know that you are very special to me and so blessed to have you in my life. Thanks for always being there for me, and I love you very much. So “Ti Viglio Bene Mamma” (I Love You, Mother) to you, enjoy and relax. It is your day to celebrate!

Here is a recipe that my mom really enjoys. She loves pasta of any kind. If she was lost on an island and could bring only one kind of food with her it would be Pasta. This is the quintessential Italian dish especially in Naples and Rome. This pasta classic is so tasty; you might think you were dining at the neighborhood Italian restaurant. You can serve this with garlic bread and a tossed salad. So this one is for you mom…Hope that you enjoy your day. Love your daughter Dottie xx

White Clam Sauce with Pasta”

8 ounces of linguini or spaghetti
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
2- 6 1/2 oz chopped clams,

(each drained and reserving liquid)
1- 8 oz. bottle of clam juice
3/4 cup of chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon of Red Pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed on package. In medium saucepan cook garlic in oil till tender. Add reserved clam liquid and remaining ingredients except clams. Bring to a boil; and reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add clams and heat thoroughly. Serve over hot pasta of your choice.

Another great addition to your White Clam Sauce with Pasta is a nice bottle of Chardonnay, Chablis, or Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious!

As I close this post for now, just a wish for all of my readers who are Mothers to have a wonderful and relaxing day. Every day should be Mother’s Day. Enjoy and make many memories with your family and friends. Auguri!

Till next time………………………………..................... 

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

“Caroline’s Golden Pennies Salad” For Wordless Tuesday......

Welcome to “Wordless Tuesday!” Where there are no more words, just a mouth 
watering recipe which I know you have been waiting for….. 

Caroline Mengert

"May" is National Vinegar Month: This cold carrot salad is very appealing and colorful. The sweet and sour flavor marries nicely together which gives it a pungent taste. This delicious side dish is what I call, “Caroline’s Golden Pennies Salad” and was taught to me by a very close friend and colleague of mine, Caroline. Sadly she is in a better place, so I would like to dedicate this recipe and blog post to her. Don’t forget to come back and visit on Friday for another mouthwatering recipe! Thanks, Enjoy!!

Caroline’s Golden Pennies Salad


2 lbs of raw carrots, sliced in rings
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 large white onion sliced in rings
1 (10.75 once) can condensed tomato soup (no water added)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3/4 cup of distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste


Bring a pot of salted water to boil, then add washed sliced carrots and cook until they are tender (not soft) approximately 10 minutes. Drain well and cool in a bowl.

Mix rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir well. Then add the carrot while liquid is hot. Mix all of the vegetables until coated. Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to marinate.

Can be served as a cold side salad dish. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, if you still have leftovers.

Till Next Time…….

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Delicious, “Easy Raisin Walnut Biscotti” For National Raisin Week

As I started to think about what I would write about this week, I took a handful of granola, and I ate a raisin.  I love raisins in anything, from breakfast cereal, to salads, to baked goods, and even in a main entrée. Ironically I realized the first week of May is “National Raisin Week.” And there it is! My post is right before my eyes. There is so much information on raisins and how good they are for you nutritionally. So come with me and let’s celebrate the Raisin!

What is a raisin? A raisin is a dried grape. I know that they are plump and sweet, some are light golden colored and some are dark colored. Then there are “currants,” and they are from dried small Black Corinth grapes. The word raisin dates back to Middle English and a word that was borrowed from Old French. 

As I contained to do my research on raisins, I was not aware that raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used, and are made in a variety of sizes and colors including green, blue, purple, and even yellow. Raisins are traditionally sun-dried, but may also be artificially dehydrated. Raisins can contain up to 72% sugars by weight, most of which is fructose and glucose. They also contain about 3% protein and 6.8% dietary fiber. Raisins, like prunes, and apricots, are also high in certain antioxidants, but have a lower vitamin C content than fresh grapes. Raisins are low in sodium and contain no cholesterol.

Raisins are actually considered nature’s healthy alternative to candies. Raisins have come to be known as a healthy snack food. So, the next time you crave for that something sweet, try eating raisins instead and take into consideration the following health benefits that they can offer:

1. Raisins increase your energy supply and help to build up your immune system.

2. Regular intake of raisins helps and aids to digestion, thus promoting a laxative effect.

3. Enhances mouth health, which provides protection against cavities and tooth decay. They also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause gingivitis and periodontal diseases.

4. Enhances bone health due to the rich source of calcium that is bountiful in raisins. Especially if you are a postmenopausal woman, eating them helps to prevent the development of osteoporosis.

5. Helps with acidity reduction due to its potassium and magnesium contents. Raisins, helps remove toxins from the body, which may cause diseases such as arthritis, gout, kidney stones and heart disease.

6. Treats Anemia, because raisins are rich in iron and copper, and are necessary in the formation of red blood cells. Raisins also help to correct iron deficiency anemia and promote blood clotting during wound healing.

7. And lastly for Cancer prevention. Antioxidants in raisins, known as catechin, provide protection against free radicals, which causes the development of tumors, specifically colon cancer.

So, just think all this fantastic information from a dried grape! Can you believe it? Mother Nature is so amazing. To celebrate and honor this small dried grape called a “raisin”, my recipe this week is a delicious Italian cookie that is called, “Easy Raisin Walnut Biscotti.” Just a perfect way to end your day, with a crunchy, tasty, and sweet, Biscotti along side a cup of coffee or tea. Ciao!  

“Easy Raisin Walnut Biscotti”

1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and cinnamon: mix well. Next stir in walnuts and raisins. Divide dough in half and shape into two long loaves, 1-1/2inches in diameter. Place on greased baking sheet; flatten slightly. Bake 18-20 minutes, until firm. With sharp knife, cut loaves diagonally into 3/4-inch thick slices. Place cut sides down on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned.

Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen, depending on the size.

Till Next Time………………………………..........
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