Deirdre's Dish ~

Dishing it up, dishing it out and making life delicious ~ one day at a time

Marshmallow Puffs make perfect Pops June 29, 2012

When I think back upon the summer dessert recipes of my early childhood, I think about fruit-laden JELL-O molds, homemade frozen popsicles and the ever popular S’more – which got me thinking and inspired some recipe surfing to discover there’s more versatility to the ubiquitous marshmallow than the traditional summer “S’more.” While the chewy gooey sugary puff is a great confectionary component to many sweets, in this Marshmallow Pop recipe it grabs center stage and makes a statement all its own. (And, its ordinarily under-appreciated gelatin counterpart garners a favorable second billing recognizing its use transcends beyond the basic JELL-O mold.)

1 pkg. Jumbo Marshmallows
1 3 oz. pkg. JELL-O (flavor of your choice)

Tooth picks
Small dish of water – ½ inch deep
Paper towels

Select your favorite JELL-O flavor or create a combination of flavors. Pour mix into a shallow bowl.
Insert a tooth pick into each marshmallowand arrange on a tray or cookie sheet.
Hold the marshmallowby the pick and dip into the water ensuring it is coated on up to the top of the barrel.
Roll around on the paper towel to eliminate excess moisture.
Roll in the JELL-O powder mix – set aside and repeat with remaining marshmallows
Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour and serve.


I Love Lidia ~ Recipe for Chicken with Green Olives and Pine Nuts May 16, 2012

I was recently at a fundraiser at which one of television’s most-loved chefs, best-selling cookbook author and restaurateur –  LIDIA BASTIANICH –  was the honored guest and feature speaker. While chatting with the “First Lady of Italian Cuisine” I was delighted to discover she was indeed the “real deal” and came across as direct and delicious as her recipes.  Her passion for cooking, comfort, and all things “La Familia” was evident in every word she spoke, and by the end of the evening I felt like we were true friends. I have prepared many of her famed recipes and continually reference one chicken dish as my all-time favorite when looking to serve family style comfort food that’s simple and flavorful and epitomizes all things “Lidia!”

Buon Appetito!


3 to 4 pounds assorted chicken pieces, cut-up
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 cup brine-cured green Italian olives
½ cup white wine
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted


Rinse the chicken pieces, and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off excess skin and all visible fat. Cut drumsticks off the thighs; cut breast halves into two pieces each. Season the chicken all over with the salt.

Put the olive oil and butter in the pan, and set over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted and hot, lay in the chicken pieces, skin side down, in a single layer; drop the garlic cloves and bay leaves in the spaces between them.

Cover the pan, and let the chicken cook over gentle heat, browning slowly and releasing its fat and juices. After about 10 minutes, uncover the pan, turn the pieces, and move them around the pan to cook evenly, then replace the cover. Turn again in 10 minutes or so, and continue cooking covered.

While the chicken is browning, pit the olives (if they still have pits in them). If you’re using small olives like Castelvetrano, use a pitter and keep them whole. If you have larger olives (such as Ascolane or Cerignola), smash them with the blade of a chef’s knife to remove the pits, and break them into coarse chunks.

After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes, scatter the olives onto the pan bottom, around the chicken, and pour in the wine. Raise the heat so the liquid is bubbling, cover, and cook, gradually concentrating the juices, for about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, and cook uncovered, evaporating the pan juices, occasionally turning the chicken pieces and olives. If there is a lot of fat in the bottom of the pan, tilt the skillet and spoon off the fat from one side.

Scatter the pine nuts around the chicken, and continue cooking uncovered, turning the chicken over gently until the pan juices thicken and coat the meat like a glaze.

Turn off the heat, and serve the chicken right from the skillet, or heap the pieces on a platter or in a shallow serving bowl. Spoon out any sauce and pine nuts left in the pan, and drizzle over the chicken.


Not Your Every Day Meatloaf! May 6, 2012

Meatloaf, a popular dish among the budget minded, blue-collar sect of the 60s and 70s, was traditionally considered a weekday meal and not something you would break out the fine china and serve as Sunday dinner. This however, is not your every day meatloaf. My dear friend, Food Editor at The Record, and fellow blogger (see Susan Leigh Sherrill shared this amazing Italian Meatloaf recipe with me a few years back, and I have deemed it worthy of Sunday dinner status. The combination of meats and layering of ingredients creates an interesting and delightful alternative to “traditional meatloaf” and the Italian seasonings pack a far more powerful punch than the standard ketchup, mustard and onion components.

Note: You can play around with a few of the ingredients and swap out the Mozzarella with Smoked Gouda or add fresh oregano instead of parsley. Any way you spice it or slice it, this is not your Every Day Meat Loaf!


ITALIAN MEAT LOAF (Makes 12 to 15 servings)
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grindings of black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
1 pound smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
1. Combine the ground beef, sausage, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the eggs, tomato juice and wine; mix thoroughly.
2. Lay out 1 large sheet of wax paper. Spread the meat loaf mixture into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle on the paper. Arrange the basil leaves over the surface. Scatter the sun-dried tomatoes over the basil and arrange three-fourths of the cheese on top.
3. Using the wax paper as an aid and starting from one short side, roll up the meat like a jelly roll. Peel back the paper as you roll. Press on the meat loaf lightly to seal and place in a jelly-roll pan or the bottom of a broiling pan that has been lined with foil.
4. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven 1 hour 10 minutes. Place the remaining slices of cheese on top and continue baking 10 minutes longer. The meat loaf can be served hot or cold. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing.

From “The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook”


“Take me away” Vanilla Café au Lait April 12, 2012

There are days I feel my life (as I liken to carefully choreographed chaos) gets crazier than usual. And there are days when I feel I am experiencing my “life” through the post ~ as in parcels, packages and “notices” via FedEx, UPS and my friendly mail carrier. With three out of five kids presently living at home (with an occasional weekend returnee) my mail order aficionados can sometimes go overboard.
Such was the case one recent afternoon when I arrived home from a harried day at the office to discover and assortment of packages positioned in my front vestibule. There was a standard box from J.Crew, a large sized envelope of some sort, and an oversized box that could have housed a small child. It made me pause for a moment before whipping out my cell phone to text the usual suspects inquiring who ordered what. At that moment my daughter arrived home, surmised the largest piece of mail order evidence and inquired, “Who ordered the flat screen?”

This demanded something stronger than a “Calgon, take me away” ~ Moments like these call for a Vanilla Café au Lait. And, if it’s after 5pm, consider adding a shot of scotch!

1 1/2 cup(s) half-and-half
1 1/2 cup(s) whole milk
2 tablespoon(s) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 cup(s) hot, strong brewed coffee

Make the café au lait: Combine the half-and-half, milk, and sugar in a small saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk mixture and add the bean to the saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean from the milk mixture and whisk for 1 minute. Fill each mug with 1/2 cup of hot coffee and 1/2 cup milk mixture. Serve immediately ~ and hide the mail order catalogs!


Roast Chicken with Spicy Herbed Olivada March 18, 2012

Nothing says “Sunday” more than a roast chicken paired with some homemade sides. This chicken recipe puts a certain pizzazz in the traditional poultry roast with the addition of a black olive tapenade. The oil from the tapenade serves as a tenderizer which creates possibly the moistest and most succulent chicken dish I’ve tasted. I like to make this as a mid-day meal and then serve leftovers on crusty bread (with additional tapenade),mozzarella and roasted red peppers as a light supper.
Happy Sunday!

Roast Chicken with Spicy Herbed Olivada
1 1/2 cups pitted Kalamata olives (about 8 ounces)
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 7-pound roasting chicken

1/3 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup (about) low-salt chicken broth

Combine olives, rosemary, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper in processor. Blend until olives and garlic are chopped finely. With machine running, add 4 tablespoons oil through feed tube and blend until coarse paste forms. (Olivada can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to small bowl, cover, and refrigerate.)
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Starting at neck end of chicken, carefully slide hand under skin, loosening skin over breast, thighs, and top of drumsticks. Spread olive paste as evenly as possible over meat under loosened skin. Rub outside of chicken with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Fold wing tips under; tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Place chicken on rack set in roasting pan.
Roast chicken until skin is golden brown and thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Using carving fork, tilt chicken to empty juices from cavity into pan. Place chicken on platter; tent loosely with foil.
Pour pan juices into 2-cup glass measuring cup; spoon off fat that rises to top. Add wine and enough broth to juices to measure 1 1/3 cups. Pour liquid back into same roasting pan. Set pan over 2 burners and boil until sauce thickens and reduces to 3/4 cup, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper; pour into gravy boat. Serve chicken with sauce.


Beer Braised Boneless Short Ribs March 7, 2012

Beer, the refreshing malt beverage and nectar of many college kids, is gaining new found respect in numerous culinary circles and recipe conversations. And with the expanding variety of ales, stouts and lagers, beer is becoming a creative force in the way dishes are prepared and a determining factor in the end result. No longer the brunt of those bad “brew ha, ha” jokes that begin with: “Open can of beer, drink half…” Beer has gained its rightful place alongside wine in cooking method categories. This dish, which is probably the easiest and tastiest short rib dish I’ve made to date, is prepared in a crock pot which makes preparation and clean up easier… so you can relax with an ice cold beer!

Crock Pot Short Ribs Braised in Guinness
Dredge boneless short ribs in flour ~ shake off excess
Brown in small amount of olive oil in skillet.
Place in crock pot.
1 can Guinness
¾ cup of Ketchup
3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp. Dark Brown sugar
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp. pepper.
1 tsp. Salt ~ to taste
Pour over ribs:
2 medium yellow onions ~ sliced
Cover :
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.


Mm Mm (Better than Campbell’s Soup) Good March 2, 2012

The challenge: College kids are coming home for break; it’s the season of Lent which means no meat on Fridays; and you’re trying to be creative and think outside the usual Friday night pizza box.

The solution: Fire Roasted Tomato Soup! The fire roasted goodness and warmth of this soup allows you to ladle up something substantial and delicious for a Friday dinner or any day of the week. The combination of roasted tomatoes along with the green chilies adds depth and texture while the addition of butter, added at the very end, gives the soup a velvety richness that embraces the heat of the chilies without making it overpowering. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread or Texas Toast grilled cheese and enjoy what I call, “Mm mm REALLY Good!”

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
2 Muir Glen® Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes 28 oz
1 Muir Glen® Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chili 14.5 oz
2 cups vegetable broth
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
3 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Sour Cream for topping
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Puree one 28-oz. can of Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes and one 14.5-oz can of Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chili in a food processor. Pour into a large soup pot. Add the remaining can of tomatoes, vegetable stock, bouillon cube and sugar. Stir well and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so soup doesn’t burn. Add the butter season with salt and pepper and stir until butter is melted. Let simmer for an additional 5 minutes before serving with a dollop of Sour Cream and sprig of Cilantro.


Simmer up some Italian ‘Amore’ ~ Bolognese Sauce February 25, 2012

A blustery Saturday afternoon is the ideal time to whip up something hearty and delicious which will fill the kitchen with rustic aromas and satisfy your craving for comfort food.  I recently tried my hand at a Peasant Bolognese recipe which follows most of the basic guidelines for a “true Bolognese” but results in a more rustic finished dish. Of course, there is no “one recipe” for Bolognese Sauce, however the basic ingredients must remain the same including: onions, celery, carrots, pancetta, ground beef, tomatoes, milk and white wine. I cheated a bit and skipped the milk, substituted thick bacon for pancetta and added ground pork to the addition of ground beef. The end result ~ FABULOUS.  I loved this recipe so much, a second batch is presently simmering on the stove.

Now that’s Amore!


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 large onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, shredded

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 (28 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes

6 ounces tomato sauce

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound pasta (tagliatelle  ~ fettuccine or rigatoni)

Must be served with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!


1. In a large skillet, warm oil over medium heat and saute bacon, onion and garlic until bacon is browned and crisp; set aside.
2. In large saucepan, brown beef and pork. Drain off excess fat. Stir in bacon mixture, mushrooms, carrots, celery, tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, stock, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to saucepan. Simmer 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
4. Serve sauce over hot pasta.


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