Easy Linguine With Clam Sauce

When I was a young girl we had a summer house on Cape Cod and my godfather would go clamming and make steamers.  I loved them… I would eat more than most of the adults.  Then I got a little older and turned into a squeamish teenage girl and that was the end of that.  Well this dish made me love clams again.  I was so intimidated to make it, but my husband told me to give it a try. It is so easy to make and everyone is always impressed with how it looks even if they won’t eat it. This one is so good, all my children eat love it!

Set a large pot with salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water for later. Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until garlic is translucent. Add the white wine and simmer a few minutes. If you can use a good wine. It always helps to use a good white wine. But if you don’t have it, anything will do. Add the reserved water. Bring to a boil. Add the clams and cover the pan. (I always buy my clams at our local fish monger, Fresh Catch. The employees are great and always help me find quality stuff). Leave the cover on and cook for approximately five minutes. Until the clams have all opened. If you need a few more minutes, take it. If after that there are any clams that have not opened, discard them. Add the juice of half of a lemon. Frankly, in my opinion the more lemon the better, so on my plate, I always add more. Take off the heat and add the pasta to the pan and very gently toss. At the last minute, add the parsley, some lemon zest and serve. Garnish with lemon and grated parmesan cheese. This meal is so easy and I was always so afraid to make it. If you swap out the linguine for a gluten free version it makes a great gluten free meal.  I have even done this recipe on the grill outside and it works great. This meal is fantastic paired with a great with a Chardonnay and crusty bread. Enjoy!

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Easy Linguine With Clam Sauce

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. linguine Regular or Gluten Free (reserve a cup of the pasta water)
  • 2 lbs. clams Washed and scrubbed clean to get ride of the sand that may have been left on.
  • 3 cloves garlic Diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup White Wine I use a good Chardonnay
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley Chopped. In a pinch you could use dry but fresh parsley is a game changer here.
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper To taste.
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese To taste.

Instructions
 

  • Set a large pot with salted water to boil for the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water for later.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until garlic is translucent.
  • Add the white wine and simmer a few minutes.
  • Add the reserved water. Bring to a boil
  • Add the clams and cover the pan.
  • Leave the cover on and cook for approximately five minutes. Until the clams have all opened.
  • If you need a few more minutes, take it. If after that there are any clams that have not opened, discard them.
  • Add the juice of half of a lemon.
  • Take off the heat and add the pasta to the pan and very gently toss.
  • At the last minute, add the parsley, some lemon zest and serve.
  • Garnish with lemon and grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

This meal is so easy and I was always so afraid to make it. If you swap out the linguine for a gluten free version it makes a great gluten free meal. 
Goes great with a Chardonnay and crusty bread. Enjoy!
Allergens: Shellfish, Dairy, Gluten (Does work good with gluten free past also)
Keyword Allergy Friendly recipe, clam chowder, family dinner, food and wine, gluten free recipe, home cooking, Italian dinner, italian recipe, sunday gravy, spaghetti sauce,, linguine with clam sauce, mediterranean food, mediterranean recipe, pasta, pasta dinner, seafood, shellfish, simple meal

GREAT GLUTEN FREE PANCAKES

I am the only gluten free person in our house (intolerance not allergy), so it can get complicated sometimes. On the rare occasion that something is so good my family likes to eat it even though it is gluten free is a true miracle. This recipe is one of those rare instances. I have tweaked this recipe a few times over the years, but I think I have found the sweet spot. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour is a game changer and I recommend everyone give it a try. This is an unsolicited recommendation. I made Irish Bread the other day (another recipe to come) and it was fantastic. Now I am going to get fat eating all this stuff I had to avoid before!

We are a big breakfast family and we are always making pancakes. Undoubtedly, I will try them and end up feeling horrible for a few days, so I am always on the lookout for a good gluten free pancake. There are multiple food allergies in our family and this one helps with a lot of them. It is peanut free, tree nut free, gluten free and can be dairy free if you substitute the dairy milk for almond or oat milk. I am always on the lookout for recipes that are family friendly and easily adaptable to be allergy friendly.

I have also used this in a waffle maker to make gluten free waffles and it came out wonderful also. I do recommend making these on the smaller side. I have found that when making gluten free pancakes they can be a bit grainy and mushy in the middle. Cooking them slowly and on the smaller side helps with this a lot. Also, for leftovers, I find they work best when toasted.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you have tips on how to make them even better, I would love to hear them.

What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?

Anthony Bourdain

Great Gluten Free Pancakes

With the invention of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, making pancakes is now a regular occurrence in our house. So good even my non-gluten free family will eat them for breakfast. These gluten free pancakes are easy to make and very easily adaptable. A very kid friendly recipe your whole family will love.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 2 Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Griddle or skillet Waffle Iron if you decide to make waffles instead

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Gluten Free Flour I recommend Bob's Red Mill 1-to1 Baking Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Melted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk I only had the light buttermilk on hand and it worked fine. I bet you could substitute Almond or Oat Milk in this for those with Dairy Allergies.
  • 1/4 cup Fat Free Milk This is all I had but I think any would be fine.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla (Optional) I have left this out and might almost like it better without.
  • Chocolate Chips, blueberries, bananas Optional ideas

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl mix all your dry ingredients. (Flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Put the butter into a microwave dish and cover with a paper towel to avoid messing up your microwave. Melt the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  • Combine the milks with the vanilla and the butter.
  • Add the egg to the milk mixture and whisk together.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the flour ingredients and mix until just combined. Will be a little lumpy. Feel free to add a little more milk here if needed.
  • Warm up your griddle to medium heat. When a splash of water bounces on the griddle it is ready. After the grill is warm enough grease with a bit of butter or cooking spray. You should not have to do this between every pancake. Usually only once but if you are making a lot you may need to add more down the line.
  • I like to make these on the smaller side because they can be a bit mushy if large and cooked to quickly. So I stick with the 1/4 cup size.
  • This is where I add some additions, like chocolate chips or bananas. (You can add to the mixture if you want also. When the edges start getting bubbly check to see if they are browning. If they are, give them a flip.
  • These are best if eaten right away.
  • Leftovers: I freeze them if I will be eating a lot later or a Ziploc bag in the fridge.
  • Because Gluten Free pancakes can get a bit mushy inside, I find that toasting them to reheat works best.

Notes

These are the best Gluten Free Pancakes I have ever had. Give them a try and let me know how you like them. Also, this recipe could easily be used in a waffle maker too!
Allergens: Dairy, Egg
Keyword Allergy Friendly recipe, Breakfast, cajun recipe, Family Friendly Gluten Free, Gluten Free Breakfast, Gluten Free Pancakes, gluten free recipe, Gluten Free Waffles, Pancakes

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The Easiest Homemade Barbecue Sauce

This barbecue sauce has been a staple in our house for years. It is so easy to make and easily adaptable. Everyone loves it and it freezes wonderfully. It is great on chicken, spareribs, hamburgers, shrimp and even cauliflower!

Almost Everybody’s Happy to Be a Fool for Barbecue

-Jack Nicholson-

The Easiest Homemade Barbecue Sauce

This basic barbecue sauce is easily adaptable and great on chicken, ribs, burgers and cauliflower!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp. Avocado oil vegetable or canola will work too
  • 1 Shallot finely chopped, (onion will work too)
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic finely minced
  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • 3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (I have used red wine vinegar in a pinch and it was great)
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar White sugar will work also.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper I have used Tabasco Sauce instead on many occassions.
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil over medium heat and saute the shallots for about three minutes
  • Add the garlic and sauté for another few minutes until translucent.
  • Add the Ketchup, Vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, sugar, chili powder, cayenne and cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. (Don't put the vinegar first, the smell will burn your eyes. Like cutting onions x 100)
  • Mix and bring to a soft boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. It will thicken up.
  • Makes about 3 cups.

Notes

This recipe is easily adaptable and freezes great. I hope you enjoy it!
Keyword barbecue,, dinner, easy recipe, family dinners, food allergy friendly, gluten free, grilling, home cooking, vegetarian friendly

Keeping it bubbly! – Trick to keeping Champagne and Prosecco bubbly

Smile…. There’s bubbly

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The easiest trick to save that leftover bubbly. Whether it be Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or even sparkling cider.


We like to celebrate things in our house. So it is not unusual for us to have a bottle of Champagne or Prosecco in the fridge. You never know when you will need to make a quick toast or have a Mimosa or an Aperol Spritz. But, we are not big drinkers so we tend to have some leftover and there is nothing worse than flat champagne. Well of course there are worse things, but you get the picture.

I used to work at a French company back in the day and after work on Friday’s we would buy bottles of champagne (good champagne) and celebrate the end of a good week.  That was a great job! There were a lot of tipsy train rides home but we were young and not driving, so who cared. My boss, who was French and grew up in champagne country taught us a trick to preserve the bubbles so you could finish the bottle the next day.

It’s very simple…… Put a spoon in the bottle and put it in the fridge…..That’s it!!!  It is so simple and it works. Thanks Thierry! This holiday season, I was telling someone and they did not believe me so we tested it…. and I was right. Everyone was extremely impressed.  My daughter even tried it with Sparkling Cider and it worked. It is a great tip, that you will probably never have to use…..because who has leftover Champagne or Prosecco or Cava!

I make Prosecco disappear, what’s your superpower?

-Unknown

Spaghetti & Meatballs with Sausages

I do not claim to be Italian but this Irish/Scottish Mom makes a pretty good Sunday Gravy or Sauce, however you would like to call it. It will never be as good as my childhood neighbor, Mrs. DiScipio’s Gravy. Anything she made was amazing. Once a year she would make a homemade tomato sauce from tomatoes from her garden. On Friday nights she would make pizza with that sauce. I dream about that pizza. But the whole point of this blog is to share our family recipes with my children. Because food is love.

It has taken many years but I have finally figured out the meatballs. Adding the pork mixture from the sausages to the ground beef mixture was a game changer. Whenever I made the meatballs before, you never knew how they would come out.

My kids love this recipe and it is a good staple recipe for a great Sunday Dinner.

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.

-Julia Child

Spaghetti & Meatlballs with Sausages

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 4 hrs
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 3 lbs. 80/20 Ground Beef Can add pork or veal too
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Bread crumbs homemade, italian style or even Gluten Free
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese or romano Or any combination of the two
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped parsley
  • 1 15 oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cans of warm water
  • 2-3 32 oz Ground Peeled Tomatoes I use Pastene
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Wine I use white, but red is great too
  • 1 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1.2 tbsp dried parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Instructions
 

Meatballs

  • In a large bowl, break up the ground beef.
  • Take one or two of the sausages that you are planning to put in to the sauce and slice the casing off. Break apart the sausage meat and add it to the ground beef mixture.
  • Add the eggs, bread crumbs, cheese and parsley. Gently mix. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  • I use a cookie scoop so all the meatballs are the same size, but you don't have to.
  • Get a bowl of warm water to keep your hands and the scoop wet. Gently form the balls and put on a greased cookie sheet with a rack.
  • Poke holes in the remaining sausage and add them to the rack also. Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes.
  • ALTERNATIVE: My mother just put the meatballs and sausage directly into the sauce to cook there completely. They were always very good. It will just take longer too cook. I have also cooked the meatballs and sausages in a cast iron skillet, this works well too.

Tomato Sauce

  • In a large, heavy pot, over medium heat, saute' the garlic in the olive oil.
  • When the garlic becomes translucent add the wine and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and three cans of warm water. I like to use a whisk here as it helps to mix the paste. When the mixture is smooth, bring to a boil, add the bay leaf and the cans of Ground Peeled Tomatoes. Add the rest of the spices and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce mixture to a simmer.
  • When the meatballs and sausages are done, add them to the sauce and simmer for at least two hours.
  • This is always better the next day.
  • Serve with your favorite crusty bread and a salad.

Notes

Allergy Information:  Nut Free, Tree Nut Free. This recipe is easily adaptable to suit your allergy needs. I use Gluten Free breadcrumbs. You could leave the cheese out of the meatball mixture. 
Keyword italian recipe, sunday gravy, spaghetti sauce,, sunday dinner, spaghetti and meatballs, pasta, meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs

LETTER TRACING FOR KIDS: PRE-K WRITING PRACTICE

Pandemic hits and you are bored, so what do you do? Put all those graphic designs skills to use and create some workbooks and journals. Would love if you checked out my first workbook Letter Tracing for Kids: Pre-K Writing Practice.

Give your preschool aged child a headstart with fun and engaging letter writing practice sheets. This beginner handwriting book contains over 70 pages of brightly colored, creative tracing activities. A fun way to build confidence and improve penmanship all while teaching them letters and beginning spelling.

Breast Cancer and The Black Apron

If you know, you know…if you don’t, follow along.

This is not my usual food blog post, so if it does not apply to you, feel free to skip this. But unfortunately, if Breast Cancer does not affect you personally, more than likely it will affect someone you know at some point and this is a good tip to pass along.

As many of you may know, 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Triple Positive Breast Cancer and had a double mastectomy with reconstruction followed by 14 months of chemo/infusions. There are certain things that you learn along the way, that you feel compelled to share with people and “The Black Apron” was a biggie for me.

When you get a mastectomy there are drains that need to be dealt with. These drains have weight to them and with them hanging, there is pulling and they get in the way and it is very unpleasant/painful. The doctor will give you a special sports bra looking contraption with hooks to hang the drains from and it will do the job. Lots of people suggested sweatshirts with pockets, specifically zip up hoodies, because you can’t lift your arms over your head. These zip up hoodies have almost inner pockets that are a result of how they are put together and these kind of worked.

One day I was looking for something and found an old black waitress apron from my bartender/waitress days and it had two pockets. I thought maybe if I wore that and put the drains in the pockets of the apron it might be more comfortable. It was life-changing. It was very inconspicuous and slimming and laid perfectly for the drains to reach. If I wore a long shirt over it you couldn’t even tell I had drains at all. In addition, I didn’t look huge from them swinging in front. But the most important thing, is the pain and unpleasantness was diminished so much. Not gone of course, but so much better.

The day I walked into the plastic surgeons office for a check up, he was instantly confused. Why did I look like my drains were gone? He loved the idea of the apron and said that he would recommend it to all of his patients. I am not the first person to come up with this, I have heard other people talk of it since, but it is my go-to gift when I hear someone has to have a mastectomy. I found this one Amazon from Boharers and it is very inexpensive.

If there is one thing I have learned is, it is that we are all in this together and we need to share our knowledge.

If your path demands you to walk through Hell, walk as if you own the place.

-Unknown

Gluten Free Indian Flat Bread

I always love to share great new Gluten Free products when I find them. Recently, I decided to explore this local Indian Marketplace that I have heard great things about. Patel Brothers in North Attleboro Massachusetts. We love Indian food in our house so this was going to be fun.

My family is a big fan of butter chicken and Tikka Masala, but after seeing this place, I need to get more adventurous. Maybe they offer cooking classes.

When I hit the frozen food section, I came across this interesting item. Haldiram’s Gluten Free Chapati (Indian flatbread). I just had to buy it. My family always eats flatbread when I attempt Indian cuisine, but due to my gluten intolerance, I am always left out. Brought it home and made it straight away. I heated the Chapati up in a cast iron skillet and it only took a few minutes.

They are fantastic. I have been eating them with eggs in the morning, as a sandwich wrap and my daughter stole one and made a quesadilla with it. I think I need to buy a case.

Food is our common ground, a universal experience

-James Beard

Stuffed peppers

This recipe is one that I tried to re-create from a wonderful meal we had dining al fresco at Gillette Stadium, where they have a wonderful plaza of restaurants and shops. We decided to try Tavolino’s Pizzeria and it was great.  I had the Chicken Caesar Salad Gluten Free Pizza and I would highly recommend it. My husband ordered the stuffed pepper appetizer and they were amazing.  I just had to figure out how to cook them. To be clear, I currently have a stuffed pepper recipe that I love, but since I went gluten free it is on the “NO” list. But these stuffed peppers are gluten free and amazing. They are an updated version of the stuffed peppers that mom would make when I was a kid.  You remember those….minute rice and tomato soup!  These are much better and pretty easy to make.

“A home cooked meal is a labor of love”

Unknown

Stuffed Peppers

A traditional stuffed pepper recipe with rice and beef. They were warm and filling and wonderful.
Course dinner
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 7 Bell Peppers Any color you like
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Ground Beef 80/20 (You could use ground turkey or chicken also)
  • 1 lb. Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage I used sweet and then spiced up the sauce
  • 1 Small, white onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 28 oz. cans Ground Peeled Tomatoes I used Pastene No Salt Version (unsolicited)
  • 1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 tsp Dried Basil I tend to use more
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes Can use less if you not into spicy
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Salt & Pepper To taste
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Basil chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 2 cups Cooked white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella

Instructions
 

  • Add Olive oil to hot frying pan.  Brown sausage and ground beef.  Drain off liquid. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. Add the wine and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan.  Cook down a bit and then add the tomatoes, dried spices and sugar.  Let simmer for at least 30 minutes.   Add the fresh basil and parsley and now it is ready.
  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • While the sauce is cooking cut the tops of the peppers and clean them out.  Put the cooked rice into the a mixing bowl and add a few cups of the sauce as well as the ground beef mixture.  Don’t make it too wet or you will have “soupy” peppers.
    Stuff the peppers with the rice/meat mixture and add them to a baking pan. Try to have them fit snuggly into the pan, so they do not tip over.
  • These take longer to cook than you might think.  I would cook them for at least 40 minutes.
  • After the 40 minutes, take them out add a generous amount of mozzarella to the top of each pepper and put them back into the oven for at least another 20 minutes.
  • Everything inside has been cooked but you want the peppers to soften and this takes a while.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with the extra sauce and a glass of wine! Be prepared one of these is a hearty meal. Enjoy!

Allergens: Dairy