Archive | January, 2012

Grandma Adamo’s Biscotti

Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies.   ~ Author Unknown

This biscotti recipe was passed on to me by my faithful friend, Angela Gober. It is one of the cookies she grew up on and treasures from her Sicilian Grandma Mary Adamo’s kitchen. It has long been a favorite of ours and one of our most requested recipes. These biscotti are great made just as the recipe reads or can easily be adapted to create other delicious variations.

4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup slivered almonds
good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix oil, sugar, and eggs with an electric mixer. Add flour, baking powder, and almond extract. Mix well and then stir in slivered almonds. Separate dough into 4 pieces and put 2 long rows on each cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and slice each biscotti loaf diagonally, placing the cookies on their sides and returning them to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes more or until lightly browned.

If desired: Dip each cookie in melted chocolate.

Taco Salad

Every one of our kids had a favorite meal and this one was Jake’s.  He never wavered when asked what he would like to have for dinner! The recipe came out every summer and became part of our hot weather fare but appeared on our table on many cool evenings as well.

From: Whole Foods for the Whole Family – La Leche League International Cookbook

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup water
2 cups kidney beans
1/2 pound grated cheese
crushed tortilla chips or corn chips
diced tomato
green pepper
carrots, chopped
black olives

Brown meat and onion, drain off fat. Add seasonings. Stir in tomato paste and water. Simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the kidney beans.
Make the salad with desired ingredients. At serving time, add meat and grated cheese. Dress with your favorite salad dressing and toss. (A good vinaigrette works well.) Add tortilla chip pieces and toss again.

Note: The meat mixture can be made ahead and chilled after it is cooked.

Chicken Noodle Soup


While growing up, I often heard my Irish Catholic mom enthusiastically proclaim the benefits of chicken soup that came from a Jewish mother’s kitchen. Being without this elusive culinary cure left me a little envious and determined that one day I’d be able to come close to creating something so special. After finding this soup recipe the search was over!

This tried and true delicious soup warmed us on countless cool evenings as the kids grew up and was always started at the first sign of a cold. Like so many other wonderful culinary treasures, it isn’t hard but takes time. Have all your ingredients on hand and put it together when you have the luxury of spending a few hours in the kitchen. Pair with some warm french bread or biscuits right out of the oven for the perfect meal!

From: Whole Foods for the Whole Family -La Leche League International Cookbook
3 pounds chicken
2 cups water
1/2 pound carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
8 cups water
8 ounces Manischewitz egg noodles
1 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
fresh parmesan or romano cheese

Place a whole or cut-up chicken in a baking pan with 2 cups of water. Bake uncovered for 2 hours at 325 degrees. Allow the chicken to cool, reserving the broth. Saute the chopped vegetables in butter in a large pot until golden. Scrape loose the chicken bits from the baking pan and add the broth plus 8 additional cups of water to the pot. Shred or cut up the cooked chicken, discarding the skin and bones, and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Add the noodles 15 minutes before serving. Soup will be very hot and can be turned off shortly after the noodles are added. Allow time for the noodles to cook and the soup to cool a bit. Season with salt and pepper.

In the Italian tradition, serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan or romano cheese!

Marianna’s Chocolate Cake

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he created mothers.” Jewish Proverb

This chocolate cake is from the kitchen of my second mom, Marianna Ferri. There is no doubt that I was twice blessed by her presence in my life and all that she taught me. Although she made being a working mom look easy, it was hard to miss that she was the first one up in the morning and her kitchen was in full swing before she left for work. With the enlisted help of her growing children, her home was warm and aromatic with the evening meal even before she arrived home. Family dinners were never missed by her husband and four children, and I was fortunate enough to often be the plus one at the Ferri family table! This cake has been a standby for me through the years and has become a beloved treat on our DeGennaro family table. It is from this amazing woman that I received this recipe and so much more.

1 egg
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup oil
2 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer until cake batter is smooth. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Note: This cake is moist and delicious served with nothing more than a dusting of powdered sugar. Fresh red berries or a dollop of whipped cream can be added for additional embellishment.

Chocolate – Icebox Eclair


18 servings

We were introduced to this taste sensation by our wonderful friend, Yoonie Whitcomb. Through the years we have come together for a few meals and always enjoyed the food, company, and healthy perspective she always brings as a Registered Dietician. This is just one of several recipes I begged her to share!

From: Cooking Light

1 box low-fat honey graham crackers
cooking spray
3 cups fat-free milk
2 (3.4-ounce) packages fat-free instant vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) tub fat-free cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) tub frozen reduced calorie whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

Lightly spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray. Layer about 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets on the bottom of the pan. Mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer and slowly add 3 cups of milk to combine. Slowly add the pudding mix to incorporate into the cream cheese and milk mixture. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute or until the mixture is thick. Fold in the thawed whipped topping. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the graham cracker sheets and top with another layer of graham cracker sheets. Layer the rest of the pudding mix and top with the last layer of graham crackers.

Combine 1/4 cup milk, softened margarine, honey, and melted unsweetened chocolate in a bowl. Beat well with an electric mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar to complete the frosting, mixing well. Spread frosting over the last layer of graham crackers. Cover the dessert and allow to chill 4 hours. This dessert is great made in advance.

Cousin Mary’s Carrot Cake


A family favorite at camp and countless gatherings…thanks for sharing Mary!

2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups carrots – cooked and mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 stick margarine or butter
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream together sugar and oil with an electric mixer. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Beat in carrots. Add dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Pour into a greased and floured 13 X 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Frosting: Combine the margarine or butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a bowl. Mix ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Spread the frosting on cooled cake.