Tracy's Minestrone Soup


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced or finely sliced
2 carrots chopped
1 to 2 potatoes chopped
1 yellow or green squash chopped
1 tablespoon each of dried basil & oregano crumbled
2 bay leaves (leave whole)
1 large can crushed tomatoes with juice
(sometimes I will add some diced tomatoes with it)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large can or 1 package of frozen greenbeans
4 ounces small pasta (tubettini, ditelinni, etc...)
1 large can of northern white beans drained
(optional for topping soup grated parmesan cheese & minced parsley)


In large/medium-large pot heat olive oil over low heat for 1 minute, add onion & cook until soft, add garlic & cook for 1 minute. Raise heat to medium & add carrots, potatoes, squash, basil, oregano and whole bay leaves. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes & stock, bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so you have a gentle bubbling and cook uncovered 20 minutes. Add green beans, remove bay leaves, add pasta & cook until tender (add more water if needed). Add northern beans cook 3 to 5 minutes. Put soup into bowls & add Parm. cheese & parsley if you like. (really good w/ parm cheese on top). Enjoy!!!

Chicken Scarpiello

• 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 teaspoons butter
• 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 1 cube chicken bouillon
• 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 pinch ground black pepper


1.Cut chicken breasts into 1 x 3 inch strips, and dredge in flour.

2.In 10 inch skillet, heat oil and butter. Add chicken. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides (3 to 4 minutes). Using tongs, remove chicken from skillet. Set aside and keep warm.

3.To same skillet, add shallots and garlic. Saute until softened (1 minute). Add water, wine, broth mix, and seasonings. Mix well. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced by 1/2 (3 to 4 minutes). Return chicken to skillet, and cook until sauce is thick and chicken is heated through (2 to 3 minutes).

Rice Pudding


½ gallon milk
1 cup long grain white rice
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon anisette (optional)
1 teaspoon Orange zest (optional)
½ cup Raisins (optional)


In large pot, add milk and rice. On low heat, cover and simmer. Stir every 5 minutes.
When pudding starts to thicken, add sugar & vanilla and optional ingredients.
Cover and continue to stir every 5 minutes.
When rice is still somewhat soupy, add beaten egg and remove from heat

Bacardi Rum Cake

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 18-1/2 ounce yellow cake mix
1 1-3/4 ounce (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum

Glaze:1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of the nuts on bottom of pan. Combine all cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan. Invert on serving plate. Prick top all over with a fork. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Use brush or spoon to put extra dripping back on cake.

Glaze:Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. ***At this point I melt a about 1/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips with a little butter, wait until the cake cools, and I drizzle the melted chocolate back and forth all over the cake, then top with the rest of the crushed walnuts. It makes a beautiful apprearance, really dresses it up!!

Aunt Eleanor's Baked Macaroni and Cheese


2 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
2 bags of sharp shredded Cheddar cheese
8 tablespoon butter
6 cups Whole Milk
8 TBS Yellow Mustard
4-5 shots of Hot sauce (optional)
2 TBS Flour
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 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. Pour pasta into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. In a large saucepan, on med-hi heat, melt butter, add flour whisk together with a little milk, until blended, slowly keep adding milk whisking together, until it starts to thicken up. Whisk in mustard, and hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and all the rest of milk gradually. Turn off the stove and add in one bag of the shredded cheddar. Whisk in until melted and creamy.

When all is blended and sauce has thickened, pour over pasta in dish. Mix well to combine. 

Top the whole thing with the rest of the shredded Cheddar, and bake, uncovered, for 35-45 mins, or until top is golden brown.

NOTES: I usually make double the recipe, I cook for 6 people, plus a few neighbors and like to have tons of leftovers (it freezes well).

Darlene's Grandmother's Italian Tomato Sauce


4 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbs chopped Garlic
3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4  Large Basil leaves, ripped into pieces
2 Cans Crushed Tomatoes (28 oz)
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
1 Cup Water
½ Cup Red Wine  (only when they had some left over)
3 TBS Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
1 Tbs Oregano
1 Tbs Parsley
A good Pinch of Hot Pepper Flakes
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper


Saute' the garlic in olive oil on medium/high in the bottom of a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  After a minute or two stir in the tomato paste, then add the crushed tomatoes, water, red wine, basil, oregano, and hot pepper flakes.

 Put a lid on the pot and let come to a rolling simmer. Lower down to a light simmer, stir occasionally and let cook down for at least an hour, the longer the better.

Right before serving, take of the heat and add in the grated cheese. Enjoy!!!

This makes a big batch, it freezes well in an airtight tupperware container.

For more flavor, cook your sausage, meatballs, pork etc...in the pot first, remove the meats, most of the oil and start the sauce from there. Add the meats back in when the sauce is assembled and let them all simmer together. 


Meatloaf is a very popular family dish, simple, not expensive and most kids love it, especially if you cover it in Ketchup or Barbecue Sauce! Our family also likes it topped with a brown beef gravy. Into the mix you can use any of the store brand ready made packets of meatloaf mixes or even cans of soup like french onion, cream of mushroom etc...

Basically, the recipe below is a flexible one. I put in whatever I have in the fridge (red peppers, onions, pickles etc...) This makes a large loaf but remember, Meatloaf is also one of the great leftovers. Slice it up cold and put it in a sandwich with a little mayo and ketchup.


3 lbs chopped meat (or a mix of Veal, Pork and beef)
2 cups bread crumbs (plain or Italian)
3 whole eggs (generally 1 egg per pound of meat)
1/2 large onion (diced)
1/2 large red pepper (or green pepper)
1 medium carrots (diced)
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of whole milk
2 TBS yellow Mustard
¼ cup Ketchup or barbecue sauce (plus 1/4 cup reserved)
¼ cup Parsley
Salt and Pepper
Herbs and spices of your preference
I use: Cumin, paprika, onion and garlic powder.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and lightly grease a over broiler pan. In a large skillet add about 1-2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and sauté the onions, pepper, and carrots until tender. Add in all the spices that you prefer last.

Remove from heat. In a large Mixing bowl, mix the meat, sauteed vegetables, breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, mustard, and 1/4 cup of the Ketchup. Mix with your hands (dig in) or use 2 forks. Mix together well.

Place the mix onto the pan and shape into a loaf. Spread the remaining Ketchup or barbecue sauce all over the whole loaf (top and all sides). Bake about an hour or until the internal temp reaches 160 degrees, let sit 15 mins before serving.

Italian Wedding soup

Recipe courtesy of: Barefoot Contessa

¾ cupChopped Onions
¾ cup Chopped Celery
¾ cup Chopped Carrots
3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 cups Chicken Broth
½ cup White Wine
¾ cup Tubetini or Starts Pasta
1 Bag Baby Spinach

“Meatball ingredients”

½ lb chicken Sausage
¾ lb ground Chicken
½ cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 TBS chopped Parsley
1 Egg
½ cup Bread crumbs
1 TBS crushed Garlic
Salt and Pepper

Mix the Chicken mixture with the Cheese, Parsley, Egg, Bread crumbs, crushed Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Drop TBS onto a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 mins
or until slightly browned. Meanwhile, sauté veggies in the oil until caramelized. Add in Chicken stock and wine. After a few mins, add the pasta, and cook for about 10 mins, then add in the meatballs, and the Spinach right before serving, after the Spinach is wilted, it’s ready to serve. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese when serving.