Category Archives: Recipes

You may have had a delicious chicken soup before but this Zuppa Mariata is the most delicious and comforting soup I’ve ever had! The recipe makes 4-6 servings. The first step in making this recipe is to make the Chicken Balls. They need to have some time to chill before they can be cooked.Zuppa Mariata


Zuppa Mariata




1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

½ cup chopped onions

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp. Lemon juice

¼ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Oregano

¼ tsp. Pepper

8 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)

3 ounces egg pastina (3/4 cup)

40 chicken balls (recipe below)

2 egg yolks

1 cup light cream

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper and oregano to taste.




Before starting the soup make your chicken balls (recipe below). Then proceed with the soup recipe.


Sauté mushrooms and onions in oil in a skillet until tender. Sprinkle lemon juice, alt, oregano and pepper while cooking.


Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock to boiling. And the mushroom mixture and pastina. Boil 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken balls and continue cooking until the chicken balls are done. Turn off the heat and combine yolks, cream and cheese. Blend well and whisk into the hot soup. Season with salt, pepper and additional oregano, to taste. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped parsley if you like.Zuppa Mariata


Chicken Balls


(makes about 40)




1 cup ground, chicken (can use ground turkey as well)

2 Tbsp. Chopped parsley

2 egg whites

½ cup dry bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Pepper




Combine all ingredients and blend very well. Chill until firm enough to handle. Shape into small balls. Chill until ready to cook.


Cook the balls, either in the soup or in boiling salted water, until they float to the top, about 10 minutes. The cooked balls also freeze very well.


Seriously, this Zuppa Mariata is so delicious I think I could have eaten it all in one serving! Luckily I refrained and we had the leftovers for lunch the next day.Zuppa Mariata

At Christmas time our children got together and gave us a gift certificate to take a baking class at the King Arthur Baking School. After looking through the schedule we decided to sign up for the class called Sticky Fingers; Breakfast Buns. After reading the description we couldn’t resist. These are the old-fashioned ultimate cinnamon buns you crave. You’ll make two sweet temptations–the classic iced cinnamon buns, and sticky buns with a finger-licking gooey caramel topping! Who doesn’t want to learn how to make the Ultimate Cinnamon Buns!ultimate cinnamon buns


We’ve both taken classes at King Arthur before and you not only come home with delicious baked goods but you always learn so many useful tips. If you’ve never checked out their website before it’s worth a look. Not only does their store carry everything you could possible need for baking from flour to the perfect cookie sheet but the site has wonderful recipes as well.


We were not disappointed with the class. We made two types of ultimate cinnamon buns, the classic cinnamon bun with icing on the top and a classic quick maple sticky bun. One was made with traditional dough, which you had to let rise and the quick maple sticky bun was made with a quick bread.ultimate cinnamon buns


Both were delicious and our freezer (which I’m trying to clean out) is now filled with delicious cinnamon buns. Luckily both freeze well.


I will share the recipe for the ultimate cinnamon roll. Both recipes are can be found on the King Arthur Flour website.


Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls


Yields one 8×8 inch pan 9 cinnamon rolls




3 cups flour

2 tsp. instant yeast

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

¼ cu unsalted butter, soften

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. milk, more if needed

1 egg


Prepare a non-stick 8×8 inch pan with non-stick spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter. Stir in the milk and egg to form a dough. If the dough feels dry and stiff, add a little more milk to create a soft dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour only as needed to prevent sticking to your work surface. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover. Allow to rise until puffy, 30 minutes to an hour.ultimate cinnamon buns


While the dough is rising prepare your filling.


Filling Ingredients:


Water to coat

½ cup brown sugar

2 tsp. Cinnamon


Once the dough has risen roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches. Bush the dough lightly with water and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the dough, leaving a small border free of filling.


Roll the dough from the rectangle’s longer sides and pinch the seams together well. ultimate cinnamon buns Using floss or a serrated knife, cut off slices about 1 inch wide.ultimate cinnamon buns Place the slices in the prepared pan. Let the rolls rise until they fill the pan generously, about 15-20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350. Bake rolls for about 16-20 minutes or until golden brown and baked through.ultimate cinnamon buns


Rolls can be glazed with a mixture of 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 6 tablespoons of heavy cream if desired or enjoyed warm from the oven.


If you want to learn how to make the quick maple sticky bun try King Arthur Flour’s recipe which can be found HERE Both recipes  are prefect for a weekend treat.

Sometimes you just want to enjoy a delicious curry for dinner. Where we live take-out is not an option so I have to make it myself. This Vegetable and Scallop Curry comes together with about twenty minutes of preparation and thirty minutes of cooking. Not bad if you’re pressed for time. You could even chop the vegetables ahead of time and make the prep even quicker. The recipe serves four and the leftovers are delicious for lunch the next day.Vegetable and Scallop Curry


Vegetable and Scallop CurryVegetable and Scallop Curry





2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (about1 pound of sweet potatoes)

½ head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (3 cups)

2 tsp. oil

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 6oz bag of baby spinach

1 tsp. curry powder

½ tsp. Salt

1 cup light coconut milk

1 pound bay scallops

1 large tomato, coarsely chopped

Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges




Bring the potatoes and enough cold water to cover to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the cauliflower, return to simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 3-4 minutes longer. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water.


Heat oil in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add scallions and peppers; cook, stirring constantly, until scallions are wilted, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about one minute. Stir in curry powder and salt.


Add coconut milk and reserved cooking water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Stir in scallops, tomato, and potato mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until scallops are just opaque throughout, about 2-3 minutes. If you like you can garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges.Vegetable and Scallop Curry


This Vegetable and Scallop Curry is delicious, not extremely spicy but just a nice warmth.


I recently celebrated my birthday. What better way to celebrate than with a special homemade Chinese dinner with friends! Since we were out of town visiting my mother-in-law we took over her kitchen and created a fabulous meal.Chinese Dinner This was our menu for the dinner:


Crab Rangoon in Tartlet Shells

Spiced Asian Snack Mix

Mandarin Almond Salad

Simple Egg Drop Soup

Beef with Oyster Sauce

Kahlua Brownies with Ice Cream


It was such a fun evening! Celebrating with friends and family with good food in the perfect way to enjoy a birthday. I was in charge of the appetizers, which were so easy. The ingredients were made ahead of time and I just added the filling to the tartlet shells and popped them in the oven for a ten minutes. When the company walked in the door they were ready to enjoy.


My husband took over the rest of the meal; after all it was my birthday! The Egg Drop Soup was a new recipe but very easy to prepare for company. All the chopping was done before hand. The vegetables were cooked in the broth and at the last minute the eggs were added. After the soup course everyone sat at the table for a few minutes while my husband cooked up the Beef with Oyster Sauce. I have to say next to the World’s Best Eggrolls Beef with Oyster Sauce is a real favorite. You can use Bok Choy or Broccoli or any green vegetable in the recipe. Bok Choy is the preferred way we enjoy it. The rice was pre-cooked and was quickly heated up in the microwave.Homemade Chinese Meal


Everyone loved the meal! We had to show off our Pei Mei cookbook, which we’ve been using since 1980! So many memorable meals!Homemade Chinese Meal


I picked up dessert from our local Farmer’s Market bakery. You can purchase three good-sized Kahlua Brownies and split them all in half for a perfect dessert. Just warm in the microwave for about 20 seconds and serve with ice cream. These brownies were the perfect finish to our Homemade Chinese dinner.


I have shared the recipe for Beef with Oyster Sauce previously. Here is the recipe for the Simple Egg Drop Soup.Homemade Chinese Meal


Simple Egg Drop Soup




3 eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups chicken broth

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

½ tsp. Minced ginger

1 Tbsp. Soy sauce

3 scallions, chopped

¼ tsp. White pepper

¾ cup sliced shitaki mushrooms




Take ½ cup of the chicken broth and combine with the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.


Put the chicken stock, ginger, soy sauce, scallions, and white pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir. Reduce the heat to simmer. Stir in the beaten eggs. The eggs will spread out into ribbons. Turn off the heat and garnish with a few more sliced scallions. Serve immediately.


I hope you enjoyed our homemade Chinese Dinner. I will be sharing the Crab Rangoon in tartlet shells in a future post.

I’ve made a similar dish using the grain farro, and if you are not familiar with faro you should check out my post. Farro is a wonderful grain to cook with. In the winter I love soups and creamy comfort food. This Barley with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots is an easy dinner that tastes very much like comfort food! You can enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day or use them to make a Chicken and Barley Soup. However you enjoy this Barley with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots, it will warm you up on a chilly day. I like the fact that the whole meal only takes about 15 minutes of prep time and then 40 minutes of roasting/cooking time. The meal will be on the table in no time.Barley with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots


Barley with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots




2 large carrots cut into ½ inch slices

2 medium parsnips cut into ½ inch slices

1 tsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

½ cup shallots, chopped

1 cup barley

½ cup white wine

3 cups homemade chicken broth

1 tsp. Ground coriander

2 cups baby spinach

4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan




Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the carrots and parsnips in a large rimmed baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer and roast, stirring once, until lightly browned and tender, about 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, spray a large saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the shallot s and cook, stirring often until softened, about two minutes. Add the barley and cook until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir often. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed, about to minutes.


Add the broth and the coriander to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the barley is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the roasted vegetables and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Transfer to the serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.Barley with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots Serve at once.Barley with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

coconut candyI know the holidays are over and we’re all try to make better eating choices but I had to share this recipe from my husband’s grandmother. For years I have been hearing about “Gram’s Coconut Candy”. I have a cookbook that contains all the recipes she had in her file and one of the recipes is for her famous coconut candy. As the Valentine’s Day approached my husband and I decided to give it a try.coconut candy


We knew it wouldn’t be the same for two reasons, first of all Gram always used fresh coconut! I didn’t have any fresh coconut on hand so I had to use dried coconut. Second all of many of Gram’s recipes didn’t have exact measurements and her recipe for coconut candy was no exception. For example she would say “add a bit of vanilla” or “add confectioners sugar”. I’m sure it made perfect sense to her as she had made the coconut candy numerous times before. I’ve had wonderful results with other recipes such as Beach Plum Jelly, which had very little directions or measurements, just an equal amount of sugar and juice.jelly, pantry


After some online searching I actually found a recipe very similar to Gram’s but with some measurements. By combining the two recipes we came up with a wonderful treat to enjoy for Valentine’s Day. When making these coconut candies you have to work quickly as the coconut cream part dries out very quickly.The coconut confectioners sugar dough is also very stiff to work with.  It helps to have another set of hands to work the dough and to roll the balls.coconut candy It would also help to have more chocolate melted that the original recipe called for as I ran out of chocolate halfway through the process. We were all pleased with the result and will try it again using fresh coconut.coconut candy


Alma’s Coconut Candy




3 Egg whites, beaten very stiff

2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar

¼ pound of grated coconut

1 Tbsp. Vanilla


2 boxes semi-sweet chocolate

2-4 Tbsp. Butter (Gram’s recipe actually called for paraffin wax but I opted for butter)




Mix the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, coconut and egg white together. Roll into small balls and let stand for ½ hour.coconut candy


Meanwhile melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. When the chocolate is cool dips the coconut balls into the chocolate, Set the balls on a cooling rake to harden.coconut candy Once the balls cooled store in a cool place or in the refrigerator.


The flavor comes out if the coconut candies are allowed to sit for a day or so. I imagine if you used fresh coconut candies these would be even better.

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