Arugula Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Arugula Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

 Now that the weather is a little cooler it's time to turn on the oven for some homemade pizza. This Arugula Pizza with Balsamic Glaze was the highlight of the day.

Pizza is just so versatile, you can top it with whatever you like. I started the morning by making two batches of pizza dough. I used Fleischmann's RapidRise Instant Yeast, with the rapid rise yeast your dough will be ready in about 30 minutes.

Ingredients for the Pizza Dough:

2 packages of RapidRise Yeast
6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of light olive oil

To mix the dough I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the dough hook. Add the water, yeast, salt, and oil into the mixing bowl. Begin adding the flour one cup at a time. Continue mixing until the dough forms. Then, Roll out on a floured surface, cover with a kitchen towel for about 30 minutes. This recipe will easily make three pizzas.

Arugula Pizza

Lightly grease the pizza pan and roll out the dough. I made several tomato pizzas and Jamie made this Arugula Pizza with fresh tomatoes and balsamic glaze.

Start with spreading olive oil over the top of the rolled out dough. Add fresh oregano leaves, Italian seasoning, one clove of minced garlic, and some shredded mozzarella cheese. The fresh oregano is from Jamie's herb garden.

Arugula Tomato Pizza Recipe

Now, add fresh sliced tomatoes and fresh arugula. You can slice the tomatoes to your liking thick or thin. Add some more shredded mozzarella cheese over top and bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Arugula Tomato Pizza

Remove the pizza from the oven and drizzle the top with Cento Italian Glaze. This is a sweet and tart glaze made from balsamic vinegar and works well with meat, roasted vegetables, cheese plates, and fruits. Now, it's time to slice and enjoy your pizza.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy it!

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Fresh Tomato Cucumber Salad

Fresh tomato cucumber salad

This is the time of year that we all enjoy the beautiful harvest form our gardens. This year Jamie planted a container garden with tomatoes, cucumbers, banana peppers, and fresh herbs. We are enjoying the harvest with this fresh tomato-cucumber salad.

Fresh tomato salad

We started by slicing eight banana peppers. You can also use bell peppers for this salad it really doesn't matter. If I were to use bell peppers I would have sliced them into squares.
Cucumbers for tomato salad

We peeled and sliced two nice sized cucumbers. We Sliced them about 1/4-inch thick or more and then cut them into fours.

Five medium-sized tomatoes cubed. Now we have banana peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes all together in a medium-sized bowl. Oh, wait I forgot to tell you about the garlic, we chopped up four cloves of garlic and added it to the salad.

Mixing the Fresh Salad:

8 banana peppers sliced
2 cucumbers sliced 1/4-inch and then cut into fours
5 medium tomatoes cubed
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup light olive oil
Chopped fresh basil (Add to your taste)
Italian Seasoning, Salt, and Pepper (Add to your taste)

Mix everything together well, cover, and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let all of the flavors meld together.

This is a perfect salad to serve with any meal. I always like having some fresh Italian bread handy to dip in the juices. Oh! that is so good!

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy it.

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Fresh Blueberry Hand Pies

Fresh Blueberry Hand Pies

 These fresh blueberry hand pies are a sure crowd-pleaser. A friend of ours came to visit last week and brought us a boatload of fresh blueberries.

I wanted to make something quick with these fresh blueberries so I decided on these hand pies. The first thing I did was make my pie crust. 

Pie Crust Ingredients:

2-2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup Crisco (Chilled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour and salt
  2. Cut the chilled Crisco into smaller pieces and add to the bowl. I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
  3. Using the dough hook turn the mixer at low speed.
  4. Begin adding the ice water one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Continue on low speed until a ball of dough forms. If you have to use more water that's okay.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.
While the pie crust was in the refrigerator it was time to make the blueberry filling. This filling was so easy to make and can be used for pie filling also. I had some of the filling leftover and our grandson loved it on his waffles.

Recipe for blueberry hand pies

Blueberry Filling Ingredients:

4 cups of fresh blueberries (Divided)
3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, cornstarch, water, and salt.
  2. Over medium heat stir until all is combined.
  3. Add 3 cups of blueberries and continue to stir.
  4. Bring this to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes Until the filling thickens.
  5. Remove from the heat and add 1 cup of blueberries, butter, and lemon juice.
  6. Stir until all is combined and let the filling cool.
Hand Pies

Now it's time to roll out the pie crust. I rolled the pie crust between two pieces of wax paper to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut 4-inch circles. Place one tablespoon of the blueberry filling in the middle, fold it over and crimp the edges with a fork.

Blueberry Hand Pies

Next, press a fork in the middle of each hand pie to create venting. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Before baking, beat two egg whites and brush over the top of each one. Then, sprinkle sugar over the top.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake on center rack for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown.

These little treats a perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just an anytime snack.

You might also like these Fresh Lemon Hand Pies

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy it!

Charcoal Grilled Chicken Breasts

Charcoal Grilled Chicken Breasts

I treasure the times when our whole family can get together. It has been a difficult year for gatherings. This year for Father's Day we had everybody together.

So, it was time to celebrate with some charcoal-grilled chicken breasts. There is no doubt that the best grilling is done over charcoal. Well, that's my opinion anyway.

I picked up 8 large bone-in chicken breasts at our local grocery store. The first step was to marinate the chicken. We marinated the chicken breasts overnight in Chiavetta's Barbeque Marinade. This is a great marinade for both flavor and tenderizing the meat. 

Charcoal Grilled Chicken Breasts

Seasoning chicken breasts

We fired up the charcoal in the Weber Charcoal Chimney. To me, using the chimney is the best way to fire up your charcoal. There is no chance of getting that charcoal fluid after taste on your food.

 While the charcoal was heating up I seasoned the chicken breasts with Penzeys Galena Street Rib and Chicken Rub. This is a traditional southern-style barbeque rub.

I seasoned the breast meat by lifting up the skin on the chicken breasts and pouring in the seasoning with a small spoon. Then I worked the seasoning onto the meat with my finger. 

Bone Grilled Chicken Breasts

Then, I rubbed the seasoning all over the top and bottom of the chicken breasts. As you can see these beauties are now ready for the grill.

I grilled these for 7 to 8 minutes per side flipping them twice in the process for a total of 30 minutes. The cooking time may vary based on the size of the chicken breasts. These were large breasts with the ribs.

 I grilled them until the internal temperature was 165 degrees. It's best to have an instant-read thermometer on hand so you know when they are cooked.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy it!

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Grilling Snow Crab Legs

Grilling Snow Crab Legs
How to Grill Snow Crab Legs

There is no doubt about it, our family loves crab legs. If you like crab legs and give this method a try, you may never buy crab legs in a restaurant again.

Your local grocery store should have snow crab legs in the freezer section or seafood section of the store. Check to see if they are fully cooked, they should be, so all you really have to do is heat them up.

Grilled snow crab legs

We started off with 5.5 lbs. of snow crab legs and let them thaw. Fran melted 1/2 stick of butter and I mixed in 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and lightly brushed the crab legs on both sides.

I fired up the charcoal chimney to get the coals nice and hot. You can also do this on a gas grill. I would use the medium setting for a gas grill.

 I set the hot coals about 5 or 6-inches from the cooking grates. Set the crab legs on the grill and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Caution: It's best to have a spray bottle handy for any flare-ups, you don't want to burn the crab legs. 

Grilling Snow Crab Legs:

4 tablespoons of butter melted.
1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
4 to 5 lbs. of crab legs (enough for 4 people) or you can adjust accordingly.
More melted butter for serving.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy it 

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Canning and Preserving Eggplants

If you follow my blog, then you know I have a passion for preserving old family recipes. These are the recipes our grandmother's and mother's made from scratch.

Food that when you make it today brings back the fondest childhood memories. Let's face it homemade is the best and nobody makes it like our grandmothers.

My cousins, Jimmy and Carmie share the same passion for preserving these cherished recipes. Here are the recipe and instructions that have been in my cousin Carmie's family for generations.

Eggplants prepared in this way are perfect on sandwiches, or as a snack with a nice slice of Italian bread. I'm so glad Carmie has this recipe because my mother also made these and I don't have her recipe. So, here is the recipe by Jimmy and Carmie.


A Marcella Family Recipe 

Canning and Preserving Eggplants

Carmie and I have been making this family favorite for as long as we have been married. (Basically, I cut the EGGPLANT and then make sure the jars are sealed). It is a recipe that her mother; ANNIE taught her. For years we have been saying that we should document this recipe and process so that it will be preserved for future generations. Anyone that we know that has tried this specialty really enjoys them. Whenever we go back east, we are always reminded to pack 3 or 4 jars. 

We have always made a bushel of Eggplants when making this recipe; however, you can make 2 or 3 individual EGGPLANTS if you like. As you will see there are no critical conversions for the ingredients no matter how many you decide to make. 

The first step is to trim both ends and then peel them with a potato peeler or a paring knife. Then you will slice the Eggplant into 1/8th to ¼” thick slices. (When we first started, I attempted to cut them by hand and trying to keep them uniform was next to impossible. So, after a few years I bought a RIVAL ELECTRIC FOOD SLICER). It is now well over 40 years old and still performing well). Now, the slices are uniform and the time for this step was cut by about 60% or more.

Peel and Slice

rival electric food slicer

 So, the ingredients for day one is EGGPLANTS and SALT. As indicated, we did a bushel of Eggplants. Twenty-three in all.

 Next, the Eggplant Slices are layered in a kitchen strainer and salted with Iodized Salt between each layer. Once the strainer is full of all of the slices that have been salted we then place the strainer in a place for them to drain overnight. (A sink or tub work well) 

We place a dish or flat bowl on top of the Eggplants and then place a weight on the dish or bowl to help press the moisture from the Eggplants. (We use a gallon of oil or vinegar) The next day the strainer; that was full to the top, will now only be-half full and the slices will now be half as thick as they were original.

Pressing the water out of the eggplants overnight

 On day two you will need the following ingredients: 

1-gallon HEINZ Apple Cider Vinegar
1 ½ -gallons CRISCO Canola Oil
1 Jar 2.12 ounces McCormick Red Crushed Pepper 
1 Jar 2.6 ounces McCormick Crushed Whole Oregano Leaves 
1 Jar 32 ounces Minced Garlic 
Wide Mouth Pint Mason Jars 

To start, fill a large frying pan about half full of vinegar and bring to a slow boil. On the counter next to the stove, layout several dish towels. Start by placing several slices of Eggplant in the boiling vinegar and blanch for 30 seconds or so. 

Remove from the vinegar and lay the individual slices flat on the dish towels to drain. Once drained, place the Eggplant slices in a large bowl. Continue until all of the slices have been blanched. The slices will have a very vinegary taste at this time. 

 At this time, we fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover two mason jars when laid on their sides. Bring the water to a boil and place two jars in the water. Also, in a small saucepan, we heat enough water to cover the Mason Jar inserts.

Boiling the jars and lids

 Now for the hard part. (Just kidding) Carmie sets up a workstation with a shallow bowl, oil, oregano, red crushed pepper, and garlic. One of the jars is removed from the boiling water and placed on the shallow bowl. (Remember to place another jar into the boiling water). First, a little oil is added to the bottom of the jar, then a little garlic, a little oregano, a little red crushed pepper and then a couple of Eggplant slices. 

This process is continued until the jar is full to within approximately ¾ to ½ inch from the top of the jar. A regular dinner fork is used to keep the slices layered and flat. It also helps eliminate any air pockets that may form. 

The top of the jar is then wiped with a clean dish rag and one of the Mason Jar Lids are placed on the jar and the lid ring is installed and tightened. The jar is then placed in a draft-free area to await that wonderful sound. POP! We have found that the FOOD SAVER VACUUM SEAL MACHINE is a lot more reliable. SO, I get to help again. Using the Food Saver and the Wide Mouth Jar Attachment, I seal the jars.

 As you can tell, this is not an easy process; however, if you start with two or three Eggplants, you should not be overwhelmed. Also keep in mind that if you start small, you can eliminate the mason jar and use a small Tupper Ware Container. The process is the same except the final assembly is in the Tupper Ware Container, not the Mason Jar. 

Once opened, the jars must be refrigerated. Unopened, and if sealed properly the jars will last about two years when stored in a cool dark place. Once opened and refrigerated they still have a shelf life of 6 months or so. Twenty-three Eggplants yielded twenty-three pints. 

You might like some of our other Canning Recipes

Thumbprint Cookies with Lemon Curd

Thumbprint Cookies with Lemon Curd

Well, I hope you guys aren't tired of lemon recipes yet. I had some lemon curd leftover from the Fresh Lemon Hand Pies I made the other day. I needed to use it up so I made these simple thumbprint cookies with lemon curd filling.

These buttery little shortbread cookies are a true delight. They're so easy to make and can really be filled with any fruit filling.

Thumbprint Cookies with Lemon Curd: Ingredients

1-1/2 cup butter (Softened)
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract or (maple syrup)
3 large eggs beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon curd or any fruit filling
2 or 3 tablespoons sugar to sprinkle after baking

  1. With an electric or stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla together.
  2. Add the salt and flour one cup at a time and continue mixing on low speed.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, continue to mix until a dough forms.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, roll the dough into balls, about 1-1/2 tablespoons.
  5. Press the center of the ball to create a cavity, fill the cavity with the lemon curd or fruit. I used the tip of a teaspoon to fill them.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes sprinkle sugar over top while still hot. Place the cookies on a rack and let cool.
Tip: Did you know that maple syrup is a substitute for vanilla extract? 

I was in the process of making these and found that I was out of the vanilla extract so, I used the maple syrup. They turned out perfect.

Lemon thumbprint cookies

    I used a 1-1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop and then rolled them into balls. Press the dough back together if it splits when pressing with your thumb.

    You can find the recipe for the lemon curd here:

    As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy it.

    Easy Lemon Brownies

    Easy Lemon Brownies

    Every year my cousin Jimmy sends me a box of fresh lemons from his back yard in Arizona. So, I'm always making something lemony this time of the year. The first lemon recipe this year are these easy lemon brownies.

    These are not your average store-bought lemons. The lemon on the right is store-bought and on the left is a lemon from Jimmy's back yard in Arizona.

    So, how do you use up all of these lemons on steroids before they go bad? Well, first, you make as many of your favorite lemon recipes as you can.

    You can squeeze fresh lemon juice and freeze it. I freeze about 1/2 cup at a time is a small freezer bag. It will last indefinitely in your freezer for any recipe or fresh lemonade all summer long.

    Easy Lemon Brownies Ingredients

    1 cup of sugar
    1/2 cup salted butter (Softened)
    2 large eggs
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    Zest of one lemon
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder

    Easy Lemon Brownies Recipes

    1. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, and lemon zest until it is fluffy.
    2. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing. Then add the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
    3. Add the flour and baking powder, and continue to mix until all ingredients are combined.
    4. Prepare an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
    5. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly 
    6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes
    7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
    While the brownies are cooling you can make the glaze for the top.

    Easy Lemon Brownies Glaze

    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
    zest of one lemon

    Whisk all these ingredients together in a bowl until you have a nice creamy glaze.

    Best Lemon Brownies

    Pour and spread the glaze over the top fo the brownies. Let these cool completely before cutting. These lemon brownies turned out to be nice and moist and oh! so lemony delicious, your family is going to love these for sure.

    As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy it!

    You may also like some of my other fresh lemon recipes:

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