1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages (1/4 ounce) or 4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
8 ounces almond paste
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
To Make the Dough:
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in the electric mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the water and eggs and beat until well combined.
Mix in the flour until the dough comes to a ball or comes away from the sides of the mixer bowl.
Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough.
Remove the dough to a floured surface. Grease the bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).
To Make the Filling:
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by beating the cream cheese and the almond paste together until smooth. Chill until ready to use.
Cover a large baking pan with parchment paper. I use a pizza pan.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a large rectangle, about 20 x 14 inches.
Spread the filling on the dough, leaving a half-inch border all around the dough.
Roll the dough up from the long side (jelly-roll style). Seal the edge tightly. Form the roll into a circle and pinch the ends together to form a ring.
Place the cake on the prepared pan. Using kitchen scissors, cut two-thirds through the dough from the outer rim of the circle at 1-inch intervals.
Allow the ring to rise, covered with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel for 1 hour until almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
Bake the ring for 35 to 40 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Wrap well and freeze until the day before Christmas. Defrost the cake at room temperature overnight.
On Christmas Morning
To make the glaze:
Combine the powdered sugar, almond extract, and enough milk to make a frosting that can be poured over the cake. Sprinkle with sliced almonds or red cherries, if desired. Allow the glaze to set before serving.
Leftover roasted cauliflower may also be used, as I did, using the leftover roasted cauliflower from my Fall Recipes post.
12 oz short pasta (penne)
1/2 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 medium shallots, chopped fine
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (1 1/2-pound) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
Combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring until the mixture is well toasted and golden-brown; remove from the heat and reserve.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium baking dish, combine the cauliflower, oil, and salt. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the cauliflower is tender and browned.
Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the shallots, melted butter, garlic, cream, tomatoes, and red pepper. Place the dish bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while the pasta cooks.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pan. Turn the heat to very low and add the cauliflower sauce. Heat for a minute or two and pour into a pasta serving bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs topping over the top of the pasta and serve.
Turkey Scallopini with Capers and Lemon
4 turkey cutlets ( pounded to 1/4-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish, optional
Pat turkey cutlets dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the turkey in flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook the turkey until browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and keep warm, covered. Repeat with remaining cutlets and oil and place them on the platter with the previously cooked cutlets.
Add garlic, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broth and deglaze the pan over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Boil until broth is reduced to about 3/4 cup. Stir in lemon juice, capers, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add butter and swirl with a whisk until a smooth sauce is formed. Return the turkey cutlets to the skillet with any juices from the platter and simmer until heated through about 1 minute. Garnish with sage and serve.
Kale and Mashed Potato Mix
Half the recipe of sauteed kale
Half the recipe of olive oil mashed potatoes
Thoroughly mix together the kale and mashed potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl. Reheat the mixture until hot., stirring twice, about 3-4 minutes.
1 large vine ripe tomato
2 tablespoons Italian seasoned panko crumbs
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
Slice the tomato in half. Place tomato halves on a small pan lined with foil. Brush olive oil over the cut sides of the tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over tomatoes. Broil 4 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned. Serve immediately.
4 lb organic chicken
1 medium onion quartered
1 celery stalk cut into 4 pieces
A handful of fresh garden herbs (Sage, Rosemary, Oregano & Parsley)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Preheat the oven to 425F
Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
Place fresh herbs, garlic, onion, and celery inside the chicken cavity,
Mix together the rub ingredients and coat the chicken with it.
Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the baking dish. Mix the melted butter with the lemon juice and pour over the chicken.
Roast for 30 minutes. reduce the temperature to 375F and roast for 30 minutes or until a digital meat thermometer registers 165 F. Baste the chicken several times during the roasting time.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve the juices in the bottom of the baking pan poured over the sliced chicken.
Mashed Potatoes with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
The better the oil, the better the flavor in the potatoes.
Makes 8 servings
4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Place potatoes in a heavy large pot. Cover with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Boil over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups potato cooking liquid.
Return the potatoes to the dry pot. Stir over medium heat until any excess liquid evaporates. Add 6 tablespoons of olive oil and mash until almost smooth. Mix in enough potato cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and serve.
Florida Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
1 pound Florida green beans, stems trimmed
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the preheated pan. Add sliced onions to the pan and cook them for 3 to 5 minutes until almost caramelized. Add the green beans and garlic to the pan and continue to cook ingredients for another 3 to 4 minutes until the green beans are almost to the desired tenderness. Add mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, and butter. Cook another 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve.
I used pappardelle pasta for this recipe because I wanted a lighter dish. Pappardelle noodles are very wide but lighter than lasagna. If you want a lower carb dish, I would recommend a low carb pasta I found made by Al Dente. It is a delicious egg/semolina pasta, that tastes like pasta but has half the carbs of regular pappardelle pasta. I like to serve a mixed green salad with Italian dressing with the casserole.
1 lb Pappardelle pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound Italian pork sausage
3-14 to 15 oz cans diced Italian tomatoes, undrained
One 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well and set aside
32 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley or ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cut the sausage into ¼ inch slices.
In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste, one tomato paste can of water, and the dried seasoning. Cook and stir for one minute. Add tomatoes salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Cook pasta two minutes less than the package directions. Drain.
Arrange a double layer of pappardelle (about a third of the pasta) in a 3-quart casserole dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Cover the pasta with 1/3 of the sauce and add half of the ricotta cheese. Spread the cheese to cover the layer underneath. Repeat the process for a second layer. Spread the remaining pasta for a third layer and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella.
Spray a sheet of foil with olive oil cooking spray. Place the coated side down on the baking dish. Bake at 375*F for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
‘Scarpariello” literally means shoemaker-style.”Shoemaker-style chicken” may refer to Neapolitan shoemakers making delicious food in the little time they had at the end of the day. Chicken scarpariello is sometimes attributed to Sicily and Calabria and is made by sauteeing chicken pieces in oil and adding white wine, lemon, garlic, and parsley. However, it is not a traditional dish from Italy. It is probably more of a “Little Italy” dish, born of southern Italian roots somewhere in our Italian American neighborhoods here in the United States. In any case, it is delicious and very easy to make. Some recipes are made with a whole chicken or chicken thighs. I prefer the chicken strips for this dish. I also add potatoes but you can leave them out and serve the dish with pasta.
1 lb chicken tenders
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil- divided
1/2 lb of spicy Italian sausage
12 oz new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch thick slices
4 pickled sweet cherry peppers, quartered
1 sweet bell pepper sliced (red, yellow, or orange)
1/4 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cherry pepper pickle liquid
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon black ground pepper
¼ cup each chopped fresh basil and fresh parsley for garnish
Sprinkle the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour.
In a 10- to 12-inch heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the chicken pieces, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, and brown on both sides, turning once.
Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pan, cook the sausage slices and potatoes until brown; remove them and set aside with the chicken.
Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers and cherry peppers to the pan. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, broth, vinegar, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil, then return the chicken, sausage, and potatoes to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a bubbling simmer until cooked through 20 minutes; add more wine or water if necessary to keep the pan from getting dry.
Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Stir the basil and parsley into the sauce remaining in the pan and spoon over the chicken.
1 large vine-ripened tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
Fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
On a serving platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Season salad with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil.
Shrimp Wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma (Saltimbocca)
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
6 pieces Prosciutto di Parma, sliced very thin
Coarsely ground fresh black pepper
Cut each piece of prosciutto in half, lengthwise. Place a sage leaf on each shrimp. Wrap one Proscuitto half around each shrimp. Refrigerate for a few hours if you have time.
Heat a stovetop grill. Coat the pan with olive oil. Place the wrapped shrimp on the grill and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. The prosciutto will get crispy. Sprinkle with the black pepper and remove to a serving plate.
Spinach and Pear Salad
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 medium red pears, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 celery stalk, diced
1 (6-8ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
1/4 of red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine.
Combine the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.
Use your favorite store-bought mix or my quick biscuit recipe.
I use a cast iron biscuit pan.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
10 tablespoons cold butter
5 tablespoons heavy cream
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender. Combine the cream and eggs. Mix into the flour mixture just until combined.
Coat a 6 cup biscuit baking pan with butter-flavored cooking spray. Divide the biscuit mixture evenly among the six wells. Refrigerate the pan until ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the biscuits in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.