Archive for March, 2008

The March roundup of No Croutons Required is being held at Tinned Tomatoes. This month’s challenge was to make a spicy vegetarian soup that would “tingle the tongue.” I submitted this recipe and I must honestly admit that all the soups are just begging to be tasted – they all look soooo good. Head on over and check them out.

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Head over to Once Upon A Feast for another tasty edition of Presto Pasta Nights. I can never leave Ruth’ blog without feeling either hungry or inspired!

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These macaroons are little white chewy clouds of sweetness, that melt on your tongue and then give you a little chocolate kiss. Sinfully good, enjoy!

Chocolate polka-dot macaroons

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 cup sugar

2 large egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet and then line it with a sheet of parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix the coconut, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla, until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be flaky and sticky. Shape the mixture into loose balls, about two tablespoons’ worth each, and place on the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven, and cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Yield – 20.

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Adapted from Martha Stewart’s New Classics, this was easy to make and very pleasing on the palate. First time I ever tried cavatelli pasta, and I really liked it. It has an interesting texture, and holds the flavors it is served with inside its tubes. I added some leftover chicken to the recipe, but it can be easily enjoyed vegetarian. Buon appetito!

Cavatelli with spinach and lentils

2 cups of lentils (14 ounces)

2 garlic cloves

1 dried bay leaf

1 pound of cavatelli, or your favorite pasta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 leeks, white and green parts only, sliced into 1/4″ rounds

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon coarse salt

freshly ground pepper

8 ounces of baby spinach

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, 1 garlic clove, and bay leaf. Add enough cold water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and discard the garlic and the bay leaf.

 Brin a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, but reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the pasta in a large bowl.

Mince the remaining garlic clove. In a large saute pan, heat the oil and add the minced garlic, leeks, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and season with salt and pepper.

Add the spinach and reserved pasta water to the pan; toss to wilt the spinach, about 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the pasta, toss to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

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Tonight I made a recipe that I saw on Simply Recipes that sounded too good to pass on. It was quite easy to make, and came together in a jiffy. Preparing it was half the fun, especially adjusting the seasonings; eating it was the rest of the fun – we literally inhaled it and it was gone! Where did it all go? One bite just led to another and another – make sure you try this one – a real winner. Enjoy! (Thanks, Elise.)

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Festa Italiana


There is an Italian foodie fest called Festa Italiana, hosted by Finding La Dolce Vita and Proud Italian Cook. I am submitting my Peasant Polenta Pie (which you can find here), and I am looking forward to discovering that long table under the grape vines, spilling over with enticing and new Italian recipes and ideas. Join me there at Festa Italiana, to be held sometimes soon after March 22!

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Great Cooks!

I’ve just joined the Great Cooks Blogroll, and wanted to invite you to check out this fabulous resource of recipes, cooking advice, and meal ideas. You can find out more here.

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