Grandpa’s Peanut Brittle

January 26 is national peanut brittle day so it seemed timely to share this family recipe. According to my internet research peanut brittle first started showing up in American cook books in the early 1800’s, so this is about as old fashioned as it gets. Unlike many of those early recipes this one holds up. Peanut brittle is delicious. I’ve talked quite a bit about … Continue reading Grandpa’s Peanut Brittle

Stress Free Italian Inspired Dinner Party

I am not Martha Stewart, and if you are reading this I’m guessing neither are you (Martha, if it is you, I love what you do but I don’t have the time, energy or budget to be you). For those of us lesser humans, the thought of throwing a dinner party can be stressful. I want a casual evening surrounded by great friends, good food … Continue reading Stress Free Italian Inspired Dinner Party

Mascarpone Budino with Marsala & Berries

The name is certainly impressive, and the flavor is amazing, but there is no actual cooking required for this recipe. An excellent dessert for any meal, or a nice snack for a summer party. If you are not familiar with mascarpone cheese, you are missing out. It is a soft, mildly sweet Italian cheese frequently used in pastries and desserts. **Note – you really need … Continue reading Mascarpone Budino with Marsala & Berries

Cold Pasta Salad

If you can boil water, you can make this cold pasta salad. It is incredibly flexible so you can adjust to include/omit ingredients based on your personal preferences or just what you have on hand. It holds well for several days in the fridge (I think it gets better) so you can make it well in advance. Ingredients 1 box (12-16oz) pasta. I like to … Continue reading Cold Pasta Salad

Pizza Margherita Flatbread

Capture the flavor of authentic Italian pizza with minimal effort. Great as a lunch, snack or appetizer. Yes, using a flatbread as a crust is cheating and not what they would do in Italy, but it cuts the time significantly and this captures the aroma, taste and feel of Pizza Margherita without spending all day in the kitchen. Ingredients- Sauce 1 15 oz can of … Continue reading Pizza Margherita Flatbread

Slow Cooker Manicotti

If you are looking for a “set it and forget it” meal that will deliver serious flavor with minimal effort, look no further. I created this recipe as part of the Italian dinner party collection of recipes, but it certainly can stand on its own. If you want to try some pasta that is a little more complex than spaghetti this is your recipe. The … Continue reading Slow Cooker Manicotti


While many may interpret this as “before the pasta”, a more accurate translation would be “before the meal”. Antipasto is a formal course in Italian dining, but we are going to take some liberties and think broadly about antipasto as anything from an appetizer course to a snack. You can put together an impressive looking antipasto course with minimal effort, and since there are no … Continue reading Antipasto

Cranberry Salad

I have known of the existence of cranberries most of my life. I tried cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving when I was a kid and hated it. Too sour. Later in my life I tried dried cranberries, and found that I liked them as they were much sweeter. I have seen fresh cranberries for sale in bags around the holidays and assumed they were only good … Continue reading Cranberry Salad

Good ’nuff for Company Sloppy Joe

#employee Sloppy Joe was the unsung culinary understudy of my youth. I don’t ever recall anyone asking for it when someone asked “what do you want for dinner?” I don’t know of a single person that ever listed it as their favorite meal. (By now you are probably asking yourself why this post exists if Sloppy Joe is so unloved). The thing is, it showed … Continue reading Good ’nuff for Company Sloppy Joe

Easy spinach & artichoke dip

I can barely type as I am writing this post because I am still eating this dip.  I can’t put it down.  Be warned, this is one of those “so good it could ruin your life” kind of things.  What’s worse is that it is ridiculously easy to make so I can’t even use that excuse to prevent me from making more. The directions below … Continue reading Easy spinach & artichoke dip