Pan Fried Artichoke Hearts

Artichoke hearts alone can make me a very happy person! It’s a known fact that they are the best part of the artichoke!! Coat them in breadcrumbs, fry ’em up and serve with a dipping sauce; I’m ready to party!

I always loved these as a kid and I love them as an adult. It is the perfect appetizer for any occasion. I think they are sort of fancy and have always thought of it as a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve sort of appetizer.

Pan Fried Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Drain artichokes and pat until completely dry.
  2. In a coating tray, crack the egg in one tray and whisk.
  3. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate tray.
  4. Toss each artichoke heart in the egg and then coat with breadcrumbs.
  5. Put them aside until all are done and you are ready to fry.
  6. In a large skillet put enough oil so that it is about 1 inch high. Heat on medium high heat.
  7. When oil is ready, put several artichoke hearts in the skillet and let them brown.  When they are browned on the one side, turn them over with tongs and let them brown on the other side.
  8. When you remove them, place them on a paper towel lined dish.
  9. When all the artichoke hearts are done put them on a serving platter and serve with a Simple Crushed Tomato Sauce for dipping.

Enjoy!


If you liked this, you will love…

Broccoli Rabe

Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna is the perfect dish for any holiday. My mom makes the absolute best lasagna. She made it for every holiday. We all loved it and would enjoy it for weeks later. She’d have leftovers and then a whole tray in the freezer for another night. It is the ultimate comfort meal.

I love lasagna, but I’m not a big fan of making it. It always looks a little messy when I make it. I would prefer to make a tray of stuffed shells, baked ziti or lasagna rolls! It looks better and I like that it has less ricotta cheese.

I love spinach in my lasagna rolls because I love veggies. If I put spinach, I don’t serve meat with it. If I leave the spinach out, I serve it with a side of meatballs or meat sauce. Either way lasagna rolls are delicious and comforting and presents beautifully.

Of course double the recipe for a bigger crowd or to put one tray in the freezer for a later date.

A basic marinara sauce should be made first. You can find the recipe here. 👇🏼

Marinara Sauce

If you decide to leave the spinach out and do meat sauce, you can find the recipe here👇🏼

Meat Sauce 

or Meatballs!

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Lasagna Rolls

Ingredients

  • Marinara sauce
  • 10 oz package of frozen spinach(optional)
  • 1 box of lasagna noodles
  • 32 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Boil a large pot of salted water and cook noodles per directions on box. Drain and set aside to dry.
  3. Put about 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine the spinach, ricotta, pecorino, and egg.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Lay the noodles out flat and spread about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture evenly on the noodle.
  7. Roll and place seam side down in baking dish.
  8. Cover with sauce and sprinkle with with some more pecorino Romano cheese.
  9. Cover tightly with foil.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Enjoy!

Other pasta dishes that are perfect to feed a crowd…

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta

Ravioli with Crushed Tomato Sauce

Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

Overnight French Toast with Pecans

I LOVE Christmas morning. How could it get any better? The Christmas tree is lit, presents are everywhere, the kids are happy and my coffee is brewing… Let me tell you, Overnight French Toast with Pecans will make Christmas morning even more magical as the smell of cinnamon fills the air as breakfast bakes. I hope you give this a try and start a new tradition for your family. Merry Christmas 🤶🏼

I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for overnight french toast and really had to try it myself. I am a big fan of french toast because it is such a simple, budget friendly meal that the whole family loves. So to think I could prepare it the night before and just bake it the next day was amazing.

This recipe was adapted from several recipes I found online. So, a big thanks to all those bloggers that tried this before me. Some of the recipes were just too sweet and heavy for us in the morning. I definitely cut out some butter and sugar. And the pecans take it to the next level.

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Overnight French Toast with Pecans

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of Challah bread
  • 1/2 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp. of cinnamon sugar
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • powdered sugar
  • syrup

Directions

  1. Add the brown sugar to the butter and stir.
  2. Spread the mixture on to the bottom of a baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Slice the bread into thick slices.
  5. Transfer the whole sliced loaf to the baking dish.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the loaf of bread while separating each slice so the mixture goes on evenly.
  7. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the whole loaf.
  8. Top with the chopped pecans.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and leave in the fridge until the morning.
  10.  Preheat the oven to 350.
  11. Take the french toast out of the fridge for about 15 minutes so that it comes to room temperature.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes covered.
  13. Take aluminum foil off and bake for another 15 minutes.
  14. The top should be crispy and the bottom should be soft.
  15. Serve with a side of fruit. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle with syrup.

Enjoy!


If you enjoyed this recipe you will also like…

Bread, Milk and Eggs!

Annie’s Crumb Cake

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Pretzel Bark

I had some items in the pantry and was itching to make a quick holiday treat. I had vanilla flavored almond bark and thought what is easier than that? Really nothing. It’s so fun and such a nice treat to give to others around the holidays. We made it with some hot cocoa and enjoyed it on our visit to a holiday light show.

While taste testing our holiday bark, we realized that in every bite we wanted pretzels. The salty crunch with the bite of the sweet was so yummy. We picked each piece apart to get a bite with pretzel. So the recipe below will be adjusted to how we like it, full of pretzels! It’s an easier version of the chocolate covered pretzel! Keep in mind, you can add anything you’d like that you have in your pantry. Almonds, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc…

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Pretzel Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 package of vanilla flavored almond bark
  • 1 bag of salted pretzels 🥨

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. Put a good amount of pretzels in a sealed storage bag. Smash the pretzels with a wooden spoon to get little pieces.
  3. Spread a layer of the crushed pretzels onto the wax paper.
  4. Heat the almond bark in a saucepan over low heat until it is melted.
  5. Pour the melted almond bark over the layer of pretzels.
  6. Pour another layer of crushed pretzels over the melted almond bark.
  7. Store in the fridge until the almond bark is hardened.
  8. Break off pieces and enjoy!


Some other sweet treats…

“Crowd Pleasing” Rice Pudding

Annie’s Crumb Cake

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Aunt June’s Cream Cheese Cookies

My Aunt June has been making these cream cheese cookies for years. She is a pro. They are so delicious and the perfect size that you can just keep popping them in your mouth! I guess that’s really not a good thing, but it really is! You can triple the recipe and store them in the freezer.

Warning: They taste even better right out of the freezer and that can be a dangerous thing!

I know there are so many cookie recipes out there around the holidays, but these are the ones I’d choose to make over and over again.

Happy Baking!

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Aunt June's Cream Cheese Cookies

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 3 oz. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • Optional toppings: Mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, preserves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the softened butter and cream cheese together.
  3. Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  4. Add the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix until combined. (If you feel the batter is too hard, add a little more cream cheese. If you feel the batter is too loose, add a little flour)
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Fill your cookie press with the cookie dough and press out your favorite shapes.
  7. Top with the topping you prefer.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes. (This is the tricky part, since everyone’s ovens are different. Keep your eye on them. They should not brown. The second they start to brown on the edges you can take them out.)
  9. Cool, if you can wait and enjoy!


If you enjoyed this recipe, you won’t want to miss these…

“Crowd Pleasing” Rice Pudding

Blizzard Soup

My sister Jen has been making this lentil and sausage soup for a while.  She was stuck home in a blizzard, so I was finally able to get her to write down the recipe for me.

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Jen and Sal

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Lentil and sausage Soup

By Jennifer Stagnitta

This is my Blizzard Lentil and Sausage Soup.  It is a variation of my lentil soup, my friend Stephanie’s recipe and Carrabba’s Spicy Lentil soup, which we all love.  Hope you enjoy!! ☺️

 

Ingredients

  • 1 and a 1/2 cups of lentils or mixed beans with lentils (believe it or not, when I went to go get lentils at Uncle Guiseppe’s they were all out of lentils because a storm was on its way. So instead, I got mixed beans with lentils in it. You can use either.)
  • 1 lb. of Ground sausage(out of the casing)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • one onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 – 8 cups of water
  • 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • one small can of tomato sauce(optional)

Directions

  1. In a large pot brown the sausage. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove from the pot and drain.
  3. In the same pot, heat one tablespoon of olive oil.  Saute the onion, carrots, and celery until tender. Towards the end add the garlic and saute for one more minute.
  4. Return the sausage to the pot with the vegetables.
  5.  Add the 4 cups of water and the chicken broth.
  6. Add the lentils.

It takes a long time for the soup to thicken.  Around 2 hours or so.  This will become a very hearty soup.  While its cooking or towards the end you can add more water and the can of tomato sauce to thin it out.  Serve with grated cheese on top and warm, crispy Italian bread. 

If you are interested in the slow cooker version click here.

Some other yummy soups…

Stove Top Chicken Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Cheesecake Bites

This is the perfect dessert to make for that special someone in your life. They will appreciate it and your love will shine through. I got this recipe from my mom’s recipe book. She used to make these when she entertained. I loved them as a kid and I love them now. This is one of those simple recipes that looks like you spent hours preparing.

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Cheesecake Bites

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Mini cupcake liners
  • 2 (8 oz. packages of cream cheese), leave out to soften
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Nabisco MINI Nilla Wafers
  • Optional Toppings: mini chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberries, etc…

I whipped up a batch of homemade whipped cream, without the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. Just plain whipped cream. I added a dollop to the top of each cheesecake bite. My favorite topping is a can of cherry pie filling. I scooped out one cherry and placed it on top of the whipped cream. It presents beautifully for Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve or any special holiday. 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fill the mini cupcake pan with the cupcake liners.
  3. Put one MINI Nilla Wafer in the bottom of each cupcake liner.
  4. Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix until all the ingredients are fully combined.
  6. Carefully top each wafer with a spoonful of cream cheese mixture.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool completely.
  9. Top with your favorite toppings!

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

I’ve been eating homemade chicken soup since I’m a little girl. My grandma used to make it and freeze it in containers. My mom did the same thing.  My mom’s note:  She used to make it the day before, because overnight the fat settles on the top.  She would scoop off the fat, heat and serve.  

The smell and taste of homemade chicken soup is so comforting, but not everyone can sit around and wait for the chicken to boil, then shred it and boil the bones for another hour. We are busy and can’t sit around cooking all day. I’ve adjusted my mom’s chicken soup and made it a little easier, but still soooooo delicious. It is my son Dominick’s favorite meal. I have a couple of secret ingredients that make it extra special. I don’t usually have enough leftovers to freeze it for another night!

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken cut up(I buy it already cut up)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 tiny cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 bag of egg noodles
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • Grated pecorino Romano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Saute the carrots, celery, and onion in EVOO and a little bit of butter until tender.(This is one of the secrets to making the slow cooker version as tasty as the regular one-butter!) Towards the end, add the garlic and saute for one or two more minutes. Throw in the parsley and remove from the heat.
  2. Place veggies in the slow cooker.
  3. Add the spices: salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf and turmeric. (Turmeric is one of the other secrets. It gives a great color to the soup and it’s a natural anti-inflammatory!)
  4. Mix the veggies and spices together and place the chicken on top. Cover the chicken with 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken broth.
  5. Set on high for 6 hours.
  6. Carefully remove the chicken pieces and the bay leaf.
  7. Remove and discard all the bones. Shred the chicken. Put the chicken back in the slow cooker. Add the two tiny cans of tomato sauce. (That is the last secret you NEED to know about. My sister Ali said that is what her mother in law does and honestly it really makes it better!)
  8. Set on high for 1 more hour.
  9. Meanwhile, boil the noodles. Drain and set aside.
  10. Place some noodles in the bottom of a bowl. Place chicken soup on top. Grate a little pecorino Romano cheese on top and enjoy!

Other soups you need to try…

Spinach Tortellini Soup

Slow Cooker Blizzard Soup

Stove Top Chicken Soup

Mashed Potatoes

This is the first year ever I have pulled the sweet potatoes from our Thanksgiving menu and added mashed potatoes instead! And I am really excited. I was kind of feeling bored of the sweet potatoes. I want mashed potatoes smothered in gravy.  Right?!

Mashed potatoes are heaven. They are creamy and delicious. You can add just a few ingredients and keep them simple or fancy them up. My boys like them indented in the middle with a pool of gravy👌.

This a basic recipe for mashed potatoes. Feel free to add your favorite ingredient…

You can add truffle salt, roasted garlic or cheese!

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

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Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of potatoes(gold)
  • 1 cup of half and half(you can use milk to keep it lighter or heavy cream to make it creamier)
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter(you can add your own salt to your liking)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Scrub the potatoes good.
  2. Peel and quarter the potatoes.
  3. Cover them in a large pot with salted water.
  4. Bring to a boil and cook until tender when you touch them with a fork.
  5. Drain and put back in the pot.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the butter and the half and half in a small pot until melted.
  7. Pour the butter and half and half over the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Season with enough salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Enjoy.

If you are looking for other Thanksgiving Day recipes here you go:

Colonial Pumpkin Pie

“Crowd Pleasing” Rice Pudding

Butternut Squash Soup

Apple Cake🍎

Grandma’s Stuffing

Thanksgiving stuffing is special to most people because it is what they grew up on. It is what makes them think of Thanksgiving. Some people serve it on the side and call it dressing. Others stuff it in the cavity of the turkey and call it stuffing. We call it stuffing but serve it on the side of the turkey. Oh, and it doesn’t have any bread in it! So, we are all confused! 🤷🏻‍♀️

This stuffing is extra special. It is special because it is THAT good, but it is also special because my Grandma was a special lady. She started this tradition and made it every year. Then my mom and aunt did the same and now my sisters, cousins and I are also following in those footsteps. Honestly, it can be served without the turkey and we would all be happy. None of our Thanksgiving’s are complete without it. 

If there is one recipe you follow of mine, let it be this one. We have all changed it a little on our own throughout the years, but this is how I have come to make it.  

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving with full bellies and lots of leftovers.

I’m thankful for the women in my family that set the traditions that made the holidays feel so special. I hope I can do the same for my family.

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Grandma's Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds of ground beef(not lean)
  • 2-3 cups of white rice, uncooked
  • 4 packages of baby bella mushrooms (8 oz. each)
  • 10 stalks of celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a big bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
  • at least 12 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions


This should be made the day before Thanksgiving.  

  1. In a medium pot cook the rice according to the directions on the box. Use chicken broth in place of the water. 
  2. When the rice is finished cooking, set aside.
  3.  In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the celery and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Set aside when done.
  4. In a medium pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook down until all of their juices are gone and the mushrooms are browned. Set aside when done.    
  5. In a large skillet, add the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until there is no longer any pink left. Drain the fat and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, add the beef. Then add the rice and combine. 
  7. Add the rest of the veggies and the parsley. Season with more salt and pepper. Stir until combined. 
  8. Cover tightly and store in the fridge.
  9. I would recommend taking it out of the fridge about an hour before baking. That will cut down on the cooking time. 
  10. Preheat the oven to bake 425.
  11. Place the stuffing in 2 separate baking dishes so that there is a thin layer of stuffing. That will also cut down on the cooking time.   
  12. Pour about a cup of chicken broth in each baking dish. You want enough to moisten it, but not too much that it is soupy. 
  13. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until heated.
  14. Every half hour or so, remove from the oven, stir and add chicken broth as needed. 
  15. Season with salt and pepper if needed and enjoy!


Other Thanksgiving dishes that you’ll want to add to your table…

Mashed Potatoes

“Crowd Pleasing” Rice Pudding

Butternut Squash Soup

Colonial Pumpkin Pie

Apple Cake🍎