Ciao! My name is Yolanda and I'd like to welcome you to my Blog! I have always had a love for cooking, baking and eating. This blog is mainly a place for me to record and share precious family recipes from those living and deceased as well as delicious recipes that my friends have given me throughout the years.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Farfalle with Creamy Ricotta Pesto

As I said in my previous pesto blogs, the types of pesto that you can create are endless and all so delicious! I had a container of ricotta in my fridge and wanted to see what I could make with it other than lasagna, so I went on the Sorrento Ricotta website and found an amazing recipe for ricotta pesto! It is basically a basil pesto sauce with ricotta and mozzarella added to it to make it creamy and cheesy.  I added pan Fried Lemon Chicken to the top and it was quite a satisfying meal!  I absolutely recommend you make this super quick and easy meal for dinner sometime!
*2 cloves garlic
*2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed down)
*1/2 cup pinenuts
*1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese (I use a combination)
*1 cup Sorrento Ricotta Cheese
*½ cup of whole milk Mozzarella Cheese
*3 Tbsp. olive oil
*1 lb of Farfalle Pasta
*Pepper, to taste

* In a small frying pan, lightly toast the pinenuts
*In food processor, process Olive Oil, Garlic, Basil and Pinenuts, until almost smooth. 
* Add Parmesan, Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese. Process until throughly blended. Set aside.
* Boil Pasta in lightly salted water and then drain well.
* Toss well drained Pasta with the Pesto and serve!
~*~ I made a delicious lemon chicken to add on the top of the pasta by pan frying chicken breasts in olive oil and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then squeezing a whole lemon onto the chicken.  I let it rest for a few minutes and them cut it into strips.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Black Bean Salsa Dip

This black bean salsa dip is seriously delicious!  It is the perfect dip to bring to any party and is another recipe that is always a hit everywhere I bring it!  I would like to give the credit to my step dad's sister in law Debbie Dutko for giving this recipe to me.  This dip is exceptionally good with Frito Scoops.  Something about the flavors in the dip mixed with the corn flavor of the Frito Scoops just goes so well together!
* 1 can of Black Beans (Drained)
* 1 can of Black Olives (chopped)
* 1 sweet Onion  (diced)
* 2 large Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
* 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
* 1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
* 1/2 tsp. of ground Cumin
* 1/4 cup of Feta Cheese
* 1/2 tsp. of salt
* 1/4 cup of Fresh Cilantro (finely chopped)
* Frito Lay Scoops (for dipping)
* Drain Beans
 * Chop Olives
 * Dice Onion and Mince Garlic
 * Chop Cilantro
 * In a medium size bowl, add all ingredients and mix together with a spatula
 * Server with Frito Lay Scoops

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

 I wish everyone a Happy Easter! I will be enjoying mine at my mom's house with my family and some of my husband's family.  I wanted to share with you the recipe for my Carrot Cake Cupcakes with a Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting that I made.  Carrot Cake is one of my favorite cakes to eat! Instead of buying the cream cheese frosting to spread on top I decided to make my own.  I just took a basic frosting recipe and adding my own twist of Whipped Cream Cheese.  I also made half plain cupcakes and the other half with Raisins and Nuts, this way I can please everyone!
Cupcake Ingredients:
* 2 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour
* 1 1/4 tsp. of Baking Powder
* 1 tsp. of Baking Soda
* 2 1/2 tsp. of Ground Cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp. of salt
* 1 lb of Carrot
* 1 1/2 cups of Granulated Sugar
* 1/2 cup of Granulated Light Brown Sugar (you can use regular light brown sugar too, just pack it down)
* 4 Eggs
* 1 1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil
* Optional Ingredients: Golden Raisins and Chopped Walnuts
* Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees
* First Prepare the Carrots by: Peeling the Carrots and then finely shredding or grating them in a food processor on the shred setting. If you do not have a food processor then just grate them with a grater (It will take much longer that way!). 
* Transfer carrots to a bowl and set aside.
* In a large bowl sift together the Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, and Cinnamon. 
* Fold in Carrots and set aside.
* In a food processor, process the Sugar, and Eggs for about 20 seconds. With the machine running, slowly pour in the Vegetable Oil through the feed tube and let run for another 20 seconds.
* Pour Wet Mixture in with the Dry Mixture and mix well with a spatula.
* Place Liners into a muffin tin and Scoop Batter into the Muffin Liners (I use my cookie dough scooper for this).
* Bake for 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes our clean. 
* Lift each cupcake out and place on a cooling rack.
* At this point I add Golden Raisins and Chopped Walnuts to the remaining batter. The reason for this is because some of my family likes their cupcakes plain and some like them with raisins and nuts, so I usually make the first 12 cupcakes plain and the last 12 with the raisins and nuts.Everyone can be satisfied then! :)
* While the cupcakes are cooling, go ahead and make the Frosting.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
* 12 oz of Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese
* 6 TBSP. of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
* 1 TBSP. of Vanilla Extract
* 4 Cups of Sifted Powdered Sugar
* In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium high speed until smooth.
* Mix in the Vanilla Extract
* Slowly beat in the Sifted Powdered Sugar, increase the speed and beat until smooth.
* Once the cupcakes are fully cooled you can go ahead and pipe or spread the cream cheese on top! (I used a plastic bag and tip to pipe it on)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pasta alla Carbonara

Pasta alla Carbonara is an Italian Pasta dish with the basic ingredients of grated Pecorino or Parmesean cheese, guanciale (dried pork cheek), bacon or Pancetta, and black pepper. The pork is fried in olive oil and, then hot pasta is dropped into the pan to finish cooking for a few seconds. A mixture of raw eggs, cheese is then combined with the hot pasta, which must remain a liquid component of the sauce as it cooks. I add a little cream to my Carbonara, but my mom says that in Italy they do not use cream and that adding cream is an American thing.  
* 1 lb of spaghetti
* 4-oz of uncooked Pancetta, diced
* 3 Large Eggs
* 2 TBSP of Olive Oil
* 3 cloves of diced Garlic
* 1/3 cup of Heavy Cream
* 4 TBSP of freshly chopped Parsley
* 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
* Salt and Pepper to Taste
* In a large Pot, boil spaghetti in lightly salted water until cooked to taste
* While the spaghetti is cooking, Heat Olive Oil in a large frying pan on Medium High Heat
* Add Pancetta and Garlic, cook until the Pancetta is a golden brown color. Drain the fat.
* Lower Heat and Add Heavy Cream and Parsley, blend together together.
* In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, cheese, and salt and pepper together; Set aside.
* Drain Spaghetti and toss in the Pork and Cream mixture
* Turn off the heat and add the Egg Mixture.  Toss in the hot Pasta quickly so that it does not turn into scrambled egg.  You want the sauce to be creamy.
Serve in a bowl with some grated cheese on top and enjoy!