Tag Archive | autumn recipes

Italianizing a British Favorite


Bringing two cultures together in one delicious dish

My husband and I are both first generation Canadians as our families immigrated from across the ocean—mine from Italy, his from England.

Remember the movie, Big Fat Greek Wedding? Substitute Greek for Italian and you have our families in the same situation. The rambunctious, informal side meets the formal-high-tea, quieter side. However, it didn’t take long for my husband to become an I.B.M. (Italian by Marriage) and for his family to join in with our family’s boisterous get-togethers. they even embraced the way I enjoy Italianizing many dishes—including their beloved traditional British fare….(at least that’s what they tell me), 🙂

One of the dishes I put an Italian spin on is Shepherd’s Pie.

This is an unforgiving (put your own twist, substitute the herbs or type of vegetables and/or meat if you wish) no-fail recipe. This is a delicious crowd pleaser, I hope you’ll give it a try.




For the vegetable layer:

3 zucchini (green or yellow or a mixture of both)
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Wash, dry and slice zucchini into approx. 1/4 inch rounds and put in a bowl
  3. Drizzle zucchini rounds with olive oil, and stir to coat all the rounds
  4. Add bread crumbs and toss to coat all the zucchini
  5. Spread the coated zucchini onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Set aside.

For the meat layer:


1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (spicy or mild, your choice)
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce (or if you don’t have any, tomato paste)
1/4 vegetable broth (or chicken or beef broth, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

  1. In a skillet, cook the meat until browned and cooked through.
  2. To the skillet add the sweet red pepper, shallot, tomato, broth, and stir well.
  3. Bring the meat mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, simmer for 10 – 13 minutes (you want the liquid to evaporate as much as possible)
  4. Once done, remove from stove, stir in the fresh basil and set aside.

For the potato layer:

1 ½ lbs. potatoes (I use Yukon Gold, you can use whichever variety you enjoy)
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (this will be used later, when assembling the dish)
salt to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of cold water (add salt to water) to boil.
  2. Peel and rinse potatoes, cut in about 1-inch chunks and add potatoes to boiling water.
  3. Cover pot until water boils again.
  4. Reduce to medium heat and simmer until potatoes are tender enough to mash.
  5. While potatoes are cooking, add milk and minced garlic to a pot. On medium-low heat, cook milk and garlic, stirring—for five minutes.
  6. Once potatoes are done, drain them and return to the pot, then add: milk-garlic, oil, mozzarella cheese, and mash until creamy and smooth. You can add a bit more milk if desired.
  7. Taste, and if needed, add a bit more salt.


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray (I use a 9 x 13 one, or you can use an oval one, whichever you have on hand)
  3. Spread the meat mixture at the bottom, as evenly as possible.
  4. Add the zucchini slices on top to cover the whole dish
  5. Top with the mashed potatoes to the edge of the baking dish, which creates a seal, preventing any of the juices from bubbling over.
  6. Add Parmesan cheese all over the top, then smooth potatoes with spatula.
  7. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes—until the potatoes are browned on top.
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve with bread, salad or a side of your choice.




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Spoonful of the sweet, savory & spice.

I experimented with making a pork loin roast in a different way, and came up with this dish that my family loved.

If you like sweet, savory and spice all rolled into one, then I know you will absolutely love this recipe, and you will receive rave reviews from your family and friends. Great dish to serve for a dinner party, because once you put it together in your crock pot it doesn’t need any attention.

It keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen.

Sweet & Sour Pork Tenderloin


2 lb (or you can use 1.5 or 3 lb loin) pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin

2 TBSP oil

1 bottle of Diana Sauce for pork and ribs (Or any pork/rib BBQ sauce you have on hand)

6 ounces apricot jam

6 ounces grape jelly

6 ounces marmalade

1 TBSP soy sauce

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP fish sauce

1/2 cup tomato puree

2 tsps. hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)

1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 sweet yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

10 ounces pineapple, (sliced or in chunks, your choice)

Sea salt

Ground black pepper


  1. In a bowl add the following: BBQ sauce, apricot jam, grape jelly, marmalade, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, tomato puree, hot chili sauce. Whisk them all together until smooth. Taste to see if you’d like to add more hot spice.
  2. Heat up a saute pan with oil on your stove, while the pan is heating up, pat the pork loin dry with paper towels, then season both sides with salt and black pepper.
  3. Place roast in pan and brown on both sides.
  4. Remove from heat. Slice into (about 1/2 inch) slices, then cube each slice.
  5. Pour some of the sauce you made at the bottom of your slow cooker to cover the whole bottom.
  6. Add the cubed meat to slow cooker.
  7. Add the sweet bell peppers and pineapple
  8. Cover the meat and peppers with remaining sauce.
  9. Stir to ensure all meat is covered with sauce.
  10. If using a slow cooker, cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

From our tables to yours, enjoy in good health.

Serving Suggestion

Serve over white jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.



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Where did the peanut go?

While clearing my mind and “meditating” during yoga class early this morning I glanced out the window and noticed a squirrel scurrying up a tree.

It led me to thinking about the peanut that used to sit on top of the Squirrel Peanut Butter jar. When you opened a new jar, there it was; a tasty, crunchy peanut.

It’s not there any more.

Where did it go?

Continue reading

Soup’s On!

Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday.

Be sure to stop by my fellow author friends’ blogs  (links listed below) and check out what they have cooking.

“Let me be the first to tell you, drinking alcohol is the worst thing to do in cold weather. Hot soup is the best because the process of digesting food helps to warm you up.” ~~Morgan Freeman~~

The crisp, colorful autumn days ahead always turn my thoughts to making soup-a-licious dishes.

I love soup because it’s easy to make, you don’t have to be exact in the measurements, (for the purpose of this blog, I have included exact measurements…somewhat) uses up a lot of leftovers and you can fuel your body with all the anti-oxidant goodness from vegetables and fruits in one bowl.

Super Easy Delicious Orange Soup (Please note: No oranges were used in the making of this soup)


1 Large Sweet Potato (peel and chop into cubes)

2 Large Carrots (peel and slice)

1 Butternut Squash (peel and dice)

1 10 oz. can Pumpkin puree  (not the kind you make pie with)

2 Ripe Pears (or if you’d prefer you can use apples) – peel, remove seeds and chop

1 Small Vidalia Onion (sliced and diced)

2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)

Olive Oil

Vegetable or Chicken Broth (if you don’t have any on hand, water will do)

Sea salt to taste

A few dashes of Ginger


Heat oven to 425

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can spray your sheet a non-stick spray) arrange the carrots, butternut squash and sweet potato in a single layer and lightly coat vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle some Sea Salt.

Turning once, bake until the vegetables are tender.

Remove from oven.

In a large pot saute the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil.

Add all the baked vegetables plus pureed pumpkin and the pears into the pot.

Add enough broth (or water) to cover all the contents.

Sprinkle in some Ginger.

Add salt to taste.

****Optional: You can also sprinkle in curry powder, if you like curry.

Simmer on stove for about 40 – 50 minutes.

Remove from stove and cool slightly (enough so that you can put it in your blender or food processor.)

Puree the soup.

Return the soup to the pot and re-heat on low, stirring.

Garnish with either: toasted pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds, or slivers of apple, or slivers of pears

If you have leftover soup, here’s a quick and easy way to use it.

Simply use the leftover soup and coat chicken breasts, crush some almonds on top of the chicken breasts and bake.

Be sure to stop by these other blogs and pick up more recipes.

I Heart NY Cheesecake by PG Forte

Just a little Devilishly Sweet Red Velvet Cookies! by Moira Keith 

“I died and went to Italy” by Nancy Lauzon

“The Allure of Ice” by A Catherine Noon