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Recipe: Stuffed Manicotti with Spicy Turkey Sausage

It’s darn cold around here, these days, so I thought that a nice, hearty lasagna would be just the thing to warm me up. Any excuse to fire up the oven, you know? But lasagna can be a lot of work… so I decided to make some stuffed manicotti instead (doesn’t it actually LOOK just like lasagna?).

Stuffed Manicotti

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Recipe: Italian Wedding Soup, YSOL-style

Typically, Italian Wedding Soup is made up of chicken stock, tiny meatballs, even tinier pasta (pastina) and escarole. It’s fantastic, but like many traditional recipes, could use a little lightening up by reducing fat and adding more veggies. I’ve also amped up the flavor by using my complex “Viva Italia!” seasoning blend,  both inside the meatballs and in the broth at serving time.

"Viva Italia!" spice blend

So, I’ve swapped out the pasta for cannelloni beans,  which provide the same weight and starchiness as the pasta, but add protein. The typical beef meatball is transformed with low-fat turkey breast, and I’ve added carrot and fennel bulb to the usual garlic and onion in the meatballs.

Overall, you still get the same warm, wedding-ish feeling from this soup, but now you can feel better about eating it! Who wants to hear the recipe?  I DO! Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Campanelle Pasta Salad with Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Campanelle” is an Italian word that means little flowers or little bells. It’s also the name of one of my favorite Barilla pasta shapes, ever! Anything that you add to them gets trapped in the folds, so that every bite yields a burst of flavor.

With summertime cooking, I wanted to make a really fresh, easy pasta salad for my two Farmers Markets that I’m doing this season — every Wednesday at The Nutrition Center in Great Barrington, and the 1st and 3rd Saturday right here in Hillsdale.

Viva Italia! Pasta Salad
Viva Italia! Pasta Salad

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Meet the Sea Salts!

Get to know my sea salts! 

Sea salt is such a hot topic these days, with its gorgeous colors, health benefits over table salt, and unquestionable “foodie” appeal. I am continually adding to the salts that I carry, but here is the present line-up of deliciousness:

“Fault-Free” (California White) All natural, solar evaporated, it is gathered from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
“Hawaiian Nights” (Hawaiian Black Lava) Hawaiian ocean water is drawn into complex array of filters and will go through a reverse osmosis process. From here the water is evaporated through a sophisticated solar evaporation method leaving behind the finished salt product which is hand collected and further infused or “bathed” in activated Coconut shell charcoal.

“Hawaiian Sunset” (Hawaiian Red Alaea) Unlike most salt which is mined, Red Alaea is sea salt that is created through natural evaporation when it is trapped in tidal pools and mixes with red volcanic clay. The red color itself comes from the extremely high amount of iron in the clay.

“Tickle Me Pink” (Himalayan Pink) Himalayan Pink Salt is one of the purest salts found on earth, having been protected by hardened lava within the Himalayan salt beds for hundreds of millions of years.  The many hues of pink, red and white are an indication of this salt’s rich and varying mineral and iron content.

“Kitchen Campfire” (Smoked Sea Salt) 100% natural, solar evaporated, gathered from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. From there it is slow roasted above Red Alder wood for a rich and distinctive flavor.

“Simply Celtic” (Tamise de Guerande Grey) Hand-harvested using centuries old Celtic methods. Sel Gris comes from the clay lining the salt ponds. Guerande is a French town on the West coast of France, on the Celtic Sea.

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