Thursday, June 15, 2023

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

 This recipe got a thumbs up from my 16 year old granddaughter. Between the two of us it was enough for 3 nights, so it makes 6 servings. Two nights we had it on top of spaghetti and the other with rice. I preferred the pasta. Total time: 20 minutes prep with either 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. I opted for the 4 hours as I started later. 


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (mine were rather large, add more if yours are on the smaller side)

5 small mini sweet peppers, diced (I used ALDIs brand)

1 yellow onion, diced 

4 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon minced garlic 

1 jar Bertolli’s Rustic Cut with hearty Vegetables (I can only find this at Walmart)

1 small can of tomato paste 

1 tablespoon each of oregano and parsley 

Salt and pepper, to taste 


Put your chicken in the bottom of the crockpot top with mushrooms, onions and peppers. In a bowl add the sauce, tomato paste and minced garlic, stir to combine. Pour on top of chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle on seasonings and salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook 4 hrs high or 6-8 hours low. Cook long enough that chicken falls apart easily. I tore mine apart prior to serving in the crockpot. Cook rice or spaghetti according to package instructions. Add chicken cacciatore on top of spaghetti or rice. Enjoy! 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Tomato Angel Hair Pasta and Fior di Latte Salad

 Even though it’s cold today we’ve had weather in the 80’s already this spring. I’m looking forward to more warm weather. With the warm weather I’m always looking for lite meatless meals. This Tomato, Angel Hair Pasta and Fior Di Latte (fresh mozzarella) Salad is a great lite meal. Serves: 6-8 


2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tsp salt
2 lbs assorted small colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups coarsely chopped Campari tomatoes
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp (10 ml) lemon zest
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp finely minced jalapeño pepper, optional
1 tbsp finely minced shallot
3 tbsp capers, well rinsed
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1.5 lb ball Fior di Latte mozzarella, torn into small pieces
1 lb dried angel hair or capellini 



On a cutting board, using a large heavy knife, mash garlic and salt into a paste, then transfer to a serving bowl. Add cherry tomatoes, Campari tomatoes, lemon juice, zest, vinegar, oil, pepper, parsley thyme, jalapeño, shallot, capers, basil and Fior di Latte. Mix well to combine and let sit, loosely covered, for about 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

When ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain pasta and immediately add it to tomato mixture, tossing to combine. Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Italian Broiled Scallops with Apple-Wood Smoked Bacon and Black Olive Relish


This Broiled Scallops with Apple-Wood Smoked Bacon makes an excellent appetizer or entree. If serving as an appetizer use skewers instead of toothpicks. Appetizers like antipasto platters include seafood along with cheeses, marinated or grilled vegetables, smoked meats and olives. Did you know that antipasto means “before the pasta” and are traditionally served before a hearty pasta course. If serving as an entree include a pasta side dish, salad, bruschetta bread and your favorite white wine. Why bruschetta bread this recipe also includes a black olive relish! Enjoy! Serves 4, 3 scallops per serving. 


6 slices of apple-wood smoked bacon, cut in half 

12 large scallops, patted dry

1 tablespoon lemon zest 

1 sprig rosemary, minced 

1/3 cup black olives, pitted and chopped 

2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1 clove garlic, minced 

2 tablespoons fresh chives or 2 teaspoons dried chives *tip 1 tablespoon of fresh = 1 teaspoon dried

Extra-virgin olive oil 


Preheat oven to 350. Place bacon on a baking sheet and precook 5 minutes. You want it to be almost done, but still flexible. Drain on a paper towel. Discard grease or if you are serving a salad you might want to make a warm bacon dressing. Drain grease into a small skillet, set aside. 

On a flat workable surface lay scallops out evenly and sprinkle with the lemon zest and rosemary. Wrap each scallop with bacon and secure with a toothpick. 

In a small bowl combine the olives, tomatoes, capers, garlic and 1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives or 1 teaspoon dried chives. Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil to glaze the mixture together. 

Turn oven on broil. Brush each scallop with olive oil and lay them on a baking sheet. Boil 1-2 minutes on each side or in a hot nonstick skillet. Until slightly caramelized. Serve with a dollop of olive relish for your bruschetta bread. Sprinkle on the remaining chives, optional. 

Warm Bacon Vinaigrette: 

In your small skillet with bacon grease heat up on medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (depending on how much bacon grease you have it should be close to even) and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard. Stir. Taste test if needs adjusting. Pour immediately on salad. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Italian Pasta e Ceci


Italian Pasta e Ceci

Bursting with juicy tomatoes, hearty chickpeas and tender pasta in a light broth, this easy pasta e ceci is the the cozy weeknight meal you've been looking for. The best part: it all cooks up in one pot in about 45 minutes! Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium celery stalk, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) can chickpeas,drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup dried ditalini pasta (or another type of small pasta)
  • Salt and black pepper, to tastes


  1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat.

  2. Give the oil a minute to heat up, and then add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sweat the veggies for about 10 minutes, until they begin to soften up.

  3. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.

  4. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and rosemary.

  5. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes.

  6. Stir in the pasta and bring the liquid back up to a boil.

  7. Allow the pasta to cook in the soup at a low boil until al dente — this may take a minute or two longer than the time indicated on the pasta's package directions. Stir the pot occasionally while it simmers.

  8. Remove the pot from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Aldi’s Italian Marinated Pork Tenderloin

 There are many methods to cook a pork tenderloin. Grill, oven or crockpot are my favorite ways and each are pretty easy. With either of these methods I always marinate the pork for 8-12 hours, then give it a good searing, about 2-3 minutes on each side. 

Do you have a favorite marinade or do you try the store bought versions like this Italian seasoned pork tenderloin from Aldis? 

Always use a meat thermometer to determine whether your pork tenderloin is done. It should register at 160 F for the meat to turn out white. You can also cook it until the internal temperature reaches between 145° and 160° F. At this temperature it will be a little pink inside, but still safe.

I cooked my pork roast at 375 F for 1 hour. It ends up being 20 minutes per pound. Therefore cooking time will vary depending on the size of the roast and your oven. Start checking with a meat thermometer after 50 minutes.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Cheater’s Lasagna….A Monday Meatless Meal

 I love cheater’s recipes, making something delicious in half the time. With this lasagna recipe we switched out lasagna noodles with cheese filled ravioli. Not much prep work with this recipe either. Again I’m using Bertolli’s Rustic Cut with Hearty Vegetables instead of their original Marinara sauce. The thicker the better if you are serving this recipe as a Monday Meatless Meal. You can switch it out with their Bolognese Sauce with meat, if you prefer 

While it’s baking make a side salad and don’t forget to serve it with your favorite red wine 🍷! Buon Appetito! Serves 4 


Olive oil for greasing baking dish

1 1/2 lbs cheese ravioli 

3 cups Bertolli’s Rustic Cut with Hearty Vegetables 

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 


Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Grease a 3 qt baking dish with olive oil and set on the baking sheet. 

Spread half the ravioli in an even layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat for the second layer. Cover dish with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is golden brown on top, about 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes prior to serving.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Bertolli’s Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

According to Bertolli this Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore is an authentic Italian cuisine that is light, simple and flavorful. Made with a few of Bertolli’s ingredients: Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil and their new (not in Meijer 😡) Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Marinara with Hearty Vegetable Sauce. You can’t go wrong. Serves 4 Total Crockpot Time: 4 hours high or 8 hours low. 


6 - 8 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed 

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 large yellow onion, sliced

5 cloves garlic, sliced

1 24oz jar Bertolli Rustic Cut Garlic Mainard with Vegetable Sauce

1/2 each green and red bell peppers, sliced

8 oz sliced brown mushrooms 

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives 

2 tablespoons capers

4 springs fresh thyme 

1 bay leaf

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced 

16 oz spaghetti, cooked

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese 


Pat dry and season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet on medium/high heat add the olive oil and add the chicken skin side down. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and then set aside. 

In the same skillet add the onions, cook 5-7 minutes until translucent then add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Transfer to crockpot.

In the crockpot also add the following: sauce, peppers, mushrooms, olives, capers, thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir to combine. Nestle chicken into mixture and top with lemon slices. Cover and cook high 4 hours or low 8 hours. Remove bay leaf. Serve on top of spaghetti with chicken and the sauce. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and shaved Parmesan cheese. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Italian Spinach Parmesan Chicken or Is it Chicken Florentine?

It’s close, but I think it’s a bit more thick then the creamy Florentine also we are adding mushrooms. I’m going to make a Parmesan roux with some Italian seasoning and minced garlic. We are serving 4, so I need 4 chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Check the temperature prior to setting aside to insure the internal temperature reaches 165F. 

In the same skillet add a tablespoon of olive oil when heated add 8oz sliced brown mushrooms, sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Roux ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoon butter 

1 1/2 tablespoon flour 

1 tablespoon minced garlic 

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning 

1 1/2 cups half & half

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 

Roux directions:

In a large saucepan add in your butter when melted whisk in the flour. Once combined gradually add in the half & half whisking as you go to get rid of any lumps. Add in your Italian seasoning, garlic and cheese and whisk until cheese melts. If too thick add in extra half & half. 

Pour the roux over the mushrooms and add in the spinach. Stir until the spinach wilts. Return the chicken to the pan and pour some of the mixture over the chicken cook until heated through. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Penne Chicken Florentine My Way

 Basically Chicken Florentine is chicken in a cream sauce with some cheese and spinach. I added some ingredients to mine as you can see in the picture there’s a big mushroom on top. I did cheat and didn’t make my own cream sauce I used a jar of  

Bertolli Creamy Basil Alfredo Sauce with Aged Parmesan Cheese, Made with Fresh Cream and Real Butter

that I found at Meijer. 

With this recipe I had 2 skillets and one large sauce pan pretty much going simultaneously. I started with the 3 chicken breasts I found on sale at Meijer for 1/2 price (4.26) because they were close to sell by date. And they were delicious. 

Cooks Venture Pasture Raised Heirloom Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets

I added a tablespoon of olive oil to the larger skillet, salt and peppered the breasts and cooked them to the internal temperature of 165f. In the other skillet I added a tablespoon and a half of ghee (or a tablespoon of olive oil and a 1/2 tablespoon of butter) and cooked up some sliced brown mushrooms. Now I cooked the entire package and you only needed a third of the 8 oz package. But it’s up to you how many mushrooms you want…make this your way.

In a 3 quart sauce pan add water and salt when boils cook a 1/2 pkg or 8 oz. of penne pasta for 15 minutes. 

When the chicken was done I removed it onto a paper plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any oil. Same skillet add the 1/2-3/4th jar of Alfredo sauce (wish I used more and I will add some to my leftovers), 1/2 jar of chopped Sun-dried tomatoes and a good two handfuls of spinach. Here I go again, I had spinach in a spinach and spring salad mix and I just used that. Just as good. Cook until greens wilt, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken, mushrooms, drain and add the penne pasta and top with some dried basil flakes. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Cook until heated through, about 5-8 minutes and serve. Buon appetito!

Remember: 1 breast per person per serving. More breasts and pasta, you’ll need more sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and greens. This recipe took me about an hour.