Posts Tagged ‘recipes


Menu: Dinner for Two

Inspiration: My husband often works late so on nights he arrives early I love to prepare an intimate setting. Dinner for Two is a simple and elegant dinner even for week night dining.


  • Arugula & Prosciutto Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

  • Crusty Garlic & Herb Bread

  • Tortellini with Oregano Butter




Arugula & Prosciutto with Orange Vinaigrette

  • 8 oz Arugula: washed, dried and roughly chopped
  • 4 slices Prosciutto
  • 1 large orange: zest & juice
  • 2TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 2TBSP honey
  • 1 clove garlic: minced
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4cup extra virgin olive oil

How: Preheat 350 degrees

  • Place prosciutto slices on baking sheet and bake until crisp approx 10 minutes. Let cool and crumble the prosciutto.
  • In blender or food processor combine the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt & pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • While processor is running slowly pour extra virgin olive oil & blend until fully combined.

Plate Up:

  • Place arugula in large bowl
  • Pour orange vinaigrette over salad and allow to wilt & toss
  • Sprinkle prosciutto crumbles & toss salad again


Crusty Garlic & Herb Bread

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3 garlic cloves: minced
  • 2TBSP Parmesan: fresh & grated
  • 1tsp rosemary: fresh & chopped
  • 1tsp oregano: fresh & chopped
  • 1 sweet Italian loaf: sliced

How: Preheat 450 degrees

  • Oil the inside of the bowl of a food processor (will help the herb butter from sticking)
  • Add softened butter, garlic, Parmesan, rosemary & oregano
  • Pulse until well combined
  • Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread
  • Lightly toast the bread: approx 5-6 minutes

Plate Up:

  • Place bread on desired serving plate
  • Serve warm


Tortellini with Oregano Butter

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2tsp dried oregano
  • Parmesan: fresh & grated
  • 1 pkg cheese tortellini (find in deli section or freezer section of market)
  • Kosher salt


  • Bring large pot of water to boil: salt generously
  • Boil tortellini until translucent & puffed
  • Melt butter in saute pan over medium heat
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Add oregano and stir 2-3 minutes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Plate Up:

  • Using a pasta strainer or slotted spoon put tortellini into large serving bowl
  • Pour oregano butter over the tortellini
  • Toss & Sprinkle with Parmesan
  • Serve

The ingredient combination of Dinner for Two was superb. Each dish complimented one another with the key ingredient of oregano. Arugula Prosciutto Salad with Orange Vinaigrette cleansed the palate and offered a touch of sweetness which blended beautifully with the salty Tortellini with Oregano Butter & Crusty Garlic Herb Bread.





Chocolate Mascarpone Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Inspiration: Childhood favorite combination: Chocolate & Peanut Butter

Creation: Chocolate Mascarpone Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting




Cupcakes Preheat: 350 degrees

  • 1 Box Extra Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 8oz pkg Mascarpone


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 TBSP butter: softened
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream



  • Mix eggs, oil & mascarpone with mixer on low-medium until blended & creamy
  • Add cake mix & blend with mixer on medium-high until all liquid is absorbed & most of the lumps are gone (Be careful not to over mix or cupcakes will be dry)
  • Line mini cupcake tins (2)
  • Use a small ice cream scoop & spoon the mixture into each tin
  • Bake cupcakes 18 minutes or until toothpick when inserted comes out clean
  • Remove & allow to cool on wire racks before frosting



  • Mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla & salt on low-medium speed until blended & creamy
  • Pour in heavy cream
  • Mix until light & smooth

Plate Up:

  • Once cupcakes have completely cooled use spatula or knife to apply frosting to each cupcake
  • Place on desired serving plate or platter & serve

As a child most people love Reese Peanut Butter Cups…as adults you will love the grown up way of combining chocolate, mascarpone & peanut butter!





Pear & Carrot Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Inspiration: In season pears & craving a different salad. I paired this salad with Pork Chop Milanese with Creamy Lemon Dijon Sauce & Creamy Parmesan Orzo.

Creation: Pear & Carrot Salad with Curry Vinaigrette



  • 1 1/2 lbs carrots: trimmed, peeled & cut matchstick thin or shaved (save time & purchase prepackaged carrots: fresh are more tasty)
  • 2 firm pears: recommend D’Anjou
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley: chopped
  • 2 TBSP White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • Cut carrots into matchsticks or use vegetable peeler to shave into thin slices
  • Quarter, core, stem the pears & cut into thin slices
  • Place carrots, pears & parsley in large bowl
  • Using a blender or food processor: combine white wine, curry powder, honey, salt & pepper
  • While blender or food processor is running pour the olive oil & mix until fully combined

Plate Up:

  • Pour vinaigrette over the salad
  • Toss and place on desired serving dish or platter
  • Optional: Sprinkle with Toasted Walnuts

The sweetness of the pears & carrots blended so well with curry vinaigrette. Pear & Carrot Salad cleansed the pallet while dining on Pork Chop Milanese with Creamy Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette. The pairing of all the courses were splendid.




Artichoke & Tomato Panzanella

Inspriation: Love of artichokes…simply stated – I had a craving.

Creation: Artichoke & Tomato Panzanella



What: (Serving for one)

  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts – quartered & drained
  • 2 Roma tomatoes – sliced or chopped
  • 2 slices Whole Wheat Bread
  • 1/4 cup Basil – fresh & chopped
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Black Pepper


  • Preheat grill pan on medium-high heat
  • Slice Whole Wheat into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • Place Whole Wheat & Artichoke hearts on grill
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Allow to grill about 6 minutes on each side – bread should be toasted & artichokes golden at tips
  • Remove & place in bowl
  • Add chopped tomatoes, basil, dash of salt and dash of pepper


  • Whisk: 1/3 olive oil & 1/3 white wine vinegar
  • Add 1 tsp. salt & 1 tsp. pepper

Plate Up:

  • Bowl: Bread, artichokes, tomatoes & basil
  • Pour dressing over
  • Toss & Serve

Sweetness of the whole wheat & bite from white wine vinegar & artichokes made this Panzanella another lunch favorite!




Ravioli & Balsamic Brown Butter

Inspiration: Adaptation of recipe I stumbled upon in Real Simple magazine

Creation: Ravioli & Balsamic Brown Butter



  • 1 pkg frozen Four Cheese Ravioli (can be found in deli section of market)
  • 3 TBSP Butter
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan – fresh & grated
  • 1/4 Walnuts – toasted
  • 1 TBSP Italian Parsley – fresh & chopped
  • Kosher Salt & Fresh Pepper


  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil
  • Add Ravioli – boil 8 minutes or until they float (tender but still a bit firm)
  • Remove Ravioli from water with a pasta spoon & place in small bowl or on dish
  • Medium Heat: Melt butter in saucepan & allow to become translucent & golden
  • Stir in Balsamic Vinegar
  • Add toasted Walnuts – allow to coat
  • Dash of Salt & 3 turns of Pepper Mill
  • Toss Ravioli with the Balsamic Brown Butter

Plate Up:

  • Serve immediately
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan
  • Sprinkle with Italian Parsley

Salty Balsamic Vinegar with Butter & the toasted walnuts with the nutty flavor of Parmesan creates a creamy, sweet & salty sauce for Cheese Ravioli.

Dinner made simple & savory!



Spring Salad: Vinaigrettes

Inspiration: Salads are a Springtime favorite & I am always creating & searching for new flavors to toss with salads.

Creations: Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette & Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Author’s note: I love using honey to sweeten vinaigrette, fruit, yogurt, tea or breads rather than a syrup or sugar.  I love the taste & it is so healthy!


Honey Balsamic Viniagrette  (vary measurements based on salad size)

  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper


  • Whisk: Honey & Balsamic Vinegar
  • Whisk while pouring Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Salt & 3 turn of Pepper Mill

Plate Up: Toss Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Spinach, toasted walnuts, chopped Fuji or Gala apple, & goat cheese.
  • Mixed Greens, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries & feta cheese.


Honey Lemon Vinaigrette (vary measurement based on salad size)

  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 1 Lemon – juice & zest
  • 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard – Mild & Creamy w/ White Wine variety
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper


  • Whisk: Honey, Lemon Juice & Zest & Dijon
  • Pour & Whisk: Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Salt & 3 turns of pepper mill

Plate Up: Toss Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Spinach & arugula, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, & feta cheese.
  • Mixed Greens, sundried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts & goat cheese.
  • Serve as a side dressing for roasted potatoes or pork.

Serve up spring salads with these vinaigrettes for a lite lunch or side salad. Fantastic!



Black & White Cookies

Inspiration: Elegant twist on Kiss Cookies (sugar cookies with Hershey’s Kiss in center)

Creation: Black & White Cookies



  • 1 pkg (log) sugar cookie dough (Pillsbury)
  • 2 bars Dark Chocolate (Ghirardelli)
  • 2/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • Sugar (refined) for dusting



  • Create a double boiler: bring pot of water to boil & reduce to simmer & place glass bowl on top
  • Pour 2/3 Heavy Cream into glass bowl and begin to heat
  • Chop Dark Chocolate Bars
  • Add chocolate to warm cream
  • Stir until chocolate is completely melted
  • Remove from heat & pour into small bowl
  • Place in refrigerator for at least an hour so the chocolate ganache will harden


  • Slice log of sugar cookie into 1/2 inch slices
  • Cut each slice into 4 pieces (cut in half then cut the halves)
  • Roll the dough to create a little strip approx the size of your pointing finger


Preheat: 350

  • Once ganache has hardened use a tsp measure or melon ball scoop to create small chocolate balls
  • Round out in palm (quite messy so keep a damp cloth near by)
  • Place chocolate balls on baking sheet
  • Wrap each with a small strip of sugar cookie dough
  • Using a floured glass press down the cookies so they are flat
  • Sprinkle with sugar
  • Bake 8 minutes
  • Allow to cool on wire wrack before moving to serving platter so the chocolate will not stick

Simple & not too sweet the Black & White Cookies were superb. The dark chocolate gave a perfect balance against the subtle sweetness of the sugar cookie.  Certainly a simple & elegant success!

Guest’s Comment: These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!


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