Archive for March, 2008

Italian Savory Pie


Here’s a recap of one of two recipes I made for this past Easter. Why only two you ask? Because I have a mother and aunt who insist on making everything and then tell me to make nothing (go ahead women, say something, cause I know you’re reading this, lol)! But that’s never going to happen! Of course, even if I didn’t make the two things, we still would have had too much food, lol…But that’s every holiday for us….So I opted to make an appetizer and dessert. The yummy dessert was Espresso Brownies from a Giada DeLaurentis recipe I promise to post later this week. For the appetizer, I went with a Martha Stewart recipe I made a few years ago for Italian Savory Pie.

I actually really really really like this dish. However, I think the only ones who ate it were myself, my husband and my mother. My cousin, L, did taste it and remarked it needed salt. I used the 1/4 tsp. of salt as instructed in the recipe, and the ingredients were actually pretty salty (ricotta, mozzarella, prosciutto, Parmesan), so this might have been a matter of taste.

It’s very much like a very cheesy quiche and I would serve this at a brunch or dinner. I’ve found it does not taste as good hot out of the oven as opposed to either room temperature or slightly warm.

I also used Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Dough as I’m entirely too lazy to make my own. It’s a tasty, cheesy little pie that I’ll keep in my recipe repertoire. If you click on the above link to the recipe there is also a short video of the pie being made.



Overall rating: 4 stars

Italian Savory Pie

Italian Savory Pie


Makes one 9-inch pie.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for brushing


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in center. Prepare crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal. With processor running, add eggs and process until dough comes together and forms a ball, about 1 minute. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare filling: In a large bowl, stir together ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, mozzarella, prosciutto, parsley, and pepper; set aside.
  3. Divide dough into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll larger piece into a 12-inch circle; gently transfer to a 9-inch glass pie dish. Place filling in pie plate and spread evenly; set aside.
  4. Roll remaining dough into a 9-by-9-inch square; cut into 1/2-inch wide strips. Using strips, form a lattice pattern over filling. Trim bottom crust, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Crimp edges to seal. Brush with egg, and bake until filling is firm, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

First published November 2005


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Herb Roasted Pork Loin with Parsley Shallot Sauce


I know, I know…another recipe from Ellie Krieger. I get excited with a new cookbook, sorry. After making this recipe, I’ve come to an important conclusion. I’m just not a fan of pork (same for cauliflower). Sure, I love me some taylor ham/pork roll. I won’t pass up some bacon. But pork loin, ehhh….I can go the rest of my days without ever eating it again. So I’m not the greatest judge of this recipe. It was just ok for me. The Parsley Shallot Sauce was unnecessary (although it looked pretty) because the pork had plenty of flavor on it’s own. I also made her Roasted Cauliflower from the cookbook (not on Food Network’s site) which just called tossing it with salt, nutmeg, and olive oil . File cauliflower and pork loin in the “DO NOT COOK AGAIN” cabinet. They weren’t bad tasting just not the right meal for me. I would never crave this meal. However, if you are a fan of roasted pork and cauliflower, then maybe this recipe might work for you?

Overall rating – 2.5 stars

Herb Roasted Pork Loin with Parsley Shallot Sauce

Copyright, 2005, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved 

2 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 1/2-pound) center cut boneless pork loin, trimmed of all visible fat
1/2 cup Parsley Shallot Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Mash the garlic and salt together with a fork until it forms a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the oil, fresh herbs and freshly ground pepper. Rub the garlic-herb paste all over the pork. Transfer the pork to a roasting pan and roast for 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve the pork into slices and serve with the sauce.Parsley Shallot Sauce:
1 1/2 cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.
Yield: 1/2 cup

Nutrition Information
Nutritional Analysis per Serving Calories 263
Total fat 16 grams Saturated fat 4.7 grams
Protein 28 grams Carbohydrates 3 grams
Fiber 1 gram

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Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Keyport, NJ

Drew’s Bayshore Bistro is another one of Keyport, NJ’s culinary secrets starting to get out. Drew’s is one of the trio of fantastic restaurants (McDonagh’s and Trinity) in a row on the same street in Keyport. I’ve been wanting to try Drew’s after reading much positive hype on and It’s a tiny, little place you could miss if you weren’t looking. Reservations are a must on the weekend as the place is small and tables fill up fast. The cooking pays tribute to Cajun and Bistro-style food and the owner/chef Andrew Araneo, a native of Keyport, can be seen in the kitchen upon entering. Reservations were for a Saturday night and the place was packed. Not an empty table or seat in the house. And each time a table left, it was quickly filled up.

We started off the evening with two appetizers. First was the BBQ Pork Strudel, a house specialty. I can’t tell you how many times on the various foodie boards I read that I’ve seen this item mentioned with rave reviews. Well, they were all right.  It’s BBQ pork with cheddarjack cheese in a crispy phyllo with pickled jalapeno coleslaw on the side. Tastes like a pulled pork sandwich with warm, melted cheese surrounded by the crisp, buttery crust. Outstanding. I didn’t really taste the coleslaw when I read it had jalapenos in it though. But this was a great start to the evening.

We also had the Clams and Andouille, pan-roasted little neck clams and andouille sausage in a garlic tomato broth. Again, wonderful but the broth was a little spicy. The sausage-clams combo is a winner.

For our main entrees, my husband had the Chipotle Braised Short Ribs- slow braised beef ribs with smashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The meat was amazingly tender and full of flavor, but not too spicy.

I went with the Blackened Salmon with garlic crawfish, smashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. As much as I love salmon, I chose this because I wanted those crawfish. Well….I could eat a bucket of those garlic crawfish (hint hint…make this an appetizer!!). They were amazing. The salmon was perfectly blackened, moist, and delicious.

For dessert, I went with the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding which was heavenly. And the husband had the brownie special. Another wonderful ending to a fantastic meal.

Overall, Drew’s lived up to all the hype I’ve been reading about. I feel fortunate to live nearby Keyport and have three great restaurants in a row to pick from depending on my mood. Check out Drew’s if you are looking for a top-notch dining experience.

 ****Side note…Stopped by Trinity in Keyport for lunch this past Saturday after the St. Pattie’s Day parade. All I can say is if you go there, get the garlic bread….It’s fresh garlic  bread with pancetta bakedin it topped with fresh herbs and fresh mozzarella. Also tried the Kobe burger. yum…. And don’t forget to stop by the bar and try one of their new creations – a Peanut Butter Cup Martini…It just goes down toooooo easy….

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Stuffed Turkey Burgers


Ground turkey recipes are usually hit or miss with me. I find if you are using a very lean cut, 93% fat free for example, the turkey needs major seasoning and can end up dry if overcooked. These stuffed turkey burgers from Ellie Kreiger just didn’t do it for me. The only seasoning was salt and pepper which left them with a bland taste. Also, the lack of a binding ingredient (like eggs or mayo) made these burgers very dry. I think they have potential though. With an egg and some extra seasoning, maybe some garlic, fresh parsley, these burgers could be a keeper.

Overall rating – 2.5 stars

Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Copyright, 2006, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved

1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers, divided
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Divide turkey into 4 equal sized rounds. Make 2 equal sized patties out of each round so you have 8 patties total. Sprinkle 4 of the patties with 2 tablespoons each of roasted red peppers and cheese, and top with remaining patties working the turkey around the edges to seal burgers closed. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill or broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Nutrition Information
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving Calories 265
Total Fat 7g Saturated Fat 1.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 56g Sodium 630mg
Protein 43mg Carbohydrates 5g
Fiber 0g  

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Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach


Here’s another great recipe from my new Ellie Krieger cookbook. It’s quick, easy, and very healthy, not to mention great-tasting and filling. I’ve been on a hunt for whole-wheat couscous lately. Cannot find it anywhere, so I substituted brown rice. The sauce that goes over everything was great and not acidic as you might think from the balsamic vinegar.

Overall rating – 4.5 stars

Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach

Recipe courtesy Ellie Krieger  

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
8 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium canned chopped tomatoes with juice
2 cups whole wheat couscous, cooked

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove the chicken and set aside. To the same pan, add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Lower the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Place the couscous in a serving bowl. Top with the spinach, chicken and balsamic-tomato sauce. Nutrition Information Nutritional Analysis per serving Calories 353 Total Fat 6 grams Saturated Fat .9 grams Protein 34 gramsCarbohydrates 42 grams Fiber 8 grams

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Trinity Restaurant, Keyport, NJ – Take Two

Trinity Restaurant in Keyport, NJ has quickly made itself one of my new favorites places to eat. I first ventured out here back in December and wrote up a very positive review. I’ve been anticipating getting back here and the perfect opportunity presented itself. I have a group of girlfriends that gets together every other month or so for a “Ladies’ Night.” I figured we’d have a nice dinner at Trinity and end up at McDonagh’s down the street for some drinks. Well, we were enjoying ourselves so much, we never made it to McDonagh’s!

We started off at the bar and our friendly bartenders made some recommendations on drinks and food. I started with a Pear Cosmo, which was lovely as did one of my friends. The other two ladies had an Angel’s Kiss drink, which I’ve had here before and cannot remember what’s in it, but it’s delicious.

We were then seated upstairs (yay!) overlooking the first floor. There was a two-piece band playing music while we were there which was entertaining. Our waiter for the evening, Sam, I want to say, was wonderful. From recommending food to taking our picture, he was a pleasant addition to the evening based on my last encounter there with an inexperienced and forgetful waitress.

We decided to start with two appetizers. Based on one of the bartender’s recommendations, we chose the Broken Arrow Ranch Wild Boar “Arepas” with Three Salsas, Queso Fresco and Avocado Puree. This reminded me of pulled pork and three of us thought it was quite tasty. One of my dining companions found it bland though. I enjoyed it and would order it again. From what the staff told me, this item will most likely only stay on the Autumn and Winter menus due to its heaviness.

The second appetizer we chose was the Catalan Style Clams with Chorizo, Spanish Peppers, Cilantro, White Wine and a Touch of Cream. In my previous visit I had this and raved about it on my last review. I told the ladies they would not be disappointed. And I was right. Everyone loved the clams, particularly the sauce they were bathing in. It was so good, we wouldn’t allow the busboy to remove the empty dish as we told him we were waiting for our bread (which was baking) to dunk it in. Once our hot, fresh bread came out, we dove right into that sauce and didn’t leave one drop. In between appetizers and our main entrees, in addition to the wonderful bread, we were served a light salad with fresh greens and a tangy vinaigrette.

Onto the main event…. the best thing about dining with girlfriends is that we all shared! I was able to taste each entree and each was fantastic in its own way. My friend J chose the special- Serrano-Wrapped Halibut with Roasted Vegetables. This was a hearty piece of fish atop roasted beans, carrots, artichoke hearts. This was excellent as J noted and the serrano ham was great paired with the halibut.


My friend R had the Gaucho Steak – 16 oz. Flat Iron served with Chorizo Chorreadas and Chimmichurri Sauce. The meat was cooked perfectly, the sauce had a nice bite to it and the chorizo and potatoes were awesome.


My girl, L, had the Porcini Stuffed Cappelletti, a new item on the menu.These were plump little pillows of pasta filled with mushrooms in a light sauce. Delicate and delicious.


I ordered the Pan Roasted Snapper over Truffle Herb Israeli Couscous “Risotto” with Mushrooms and Port Wine Sauce. oh. my. God. Did I mention I’ve never had snapper? I don’t know why I chose something I wasn’t familiar with but it sounded great. And it was. The snapper was slightly crisp on the outside and tender and flaky inside. The couscous was yummy mixed with the mushrooms. And that port wine sauce. Wow. I don’t know how it was made but I want that darn recipe. I’d put it over anything and eat it. Chicken, steak, veggies, cardboard. Whatever.


And somehow we managed to squeeze in dessert. R went with the chocolate sorbet, a creamy, chocolaty delight. J went with the Creme Brulee with pistachio shortbread. That was enough for her to come back again. And L and I went with the Chocoholics Anonymous. This dessert changes and this night it featured white chocolate mousse (to die for), a mini chocolate souffle cake (perfect paired with the chocolate sauce), and a chocolate taffy of some sort (sprinkled with sea salt, it had the texture of a gooey fudge and reminded me of a chocolate-covered pretzel). Mmmmmm….


I cannot wait to go back here again. I adore this place at this point. If you are looking for some fresh cuisine in a beautiful yet casual setting where the food takes center stage, please check out Trinity, you won’t be sorry.

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Peanut Butter Split Smoothie


I know crappy pic…..

Peanut butter and bananas. Hey, even Elvis like this combo. How could you go wrong with it? I personally love it (particularly the Reese’s Special Edition Elvis Peanut Butter and Banana Cups, but that’s another story….). But I’m all about being healthy so here’s a quickie recipe for you from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave: Luschious Recipes for a Healthy Life.

Smoothies are a great way to get a quick meal in there if you are always on the run like I am. I typically make mine without yogurt and found the addition of yogurt made the smoothie thicker. If you’d like it a little sweeter I suggest a packet of Equal (or Splenda or Sweet ‘n’ Low) or even a drizzle of honey. I thought it was perfect as is. I also used low-fat peanut butter instead of natural, which may have accounted for the slight sweetness that others seemed to miss. The recipe can also be found on The Food Network’s site with some additional reviews here.

Peanut Butter Split Smoothie  

Copyright 2006, Ellie Krieger All rights reserved

1 ripe banana, quartered and frozen
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons creamy, natural, peanut butter

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition Information
Nutritional analysis per serving Calories 325
Total Fat 12.5 grams Saturated Fat 1.5 grams
Cholesterol 3 grams Sodium 90 mg
Carbohydrates 43.5 grams Protein 13.5 grams
Fiber 4.5 grams

Comments (2)

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