Easter Brunch

Sweet Pea Potato Frittata

I use this blog as my personal cookbook.  I know what recipes I’ve written here and can use the search button to find them.  If you are newer to this blog, finding recipes may be a little harder for you.  Someday soon, I hope to move these 200+ recipes to a website while keeping up my weekly blog.  Please let me know what you think of that idea, too!

Until then, here is what I’ve put together for an Easter Sunday Brunch from previously posted recipes. Enjoy!


Creamy Avocado Soup

Sweet Pea and Potato Frittata

Sweet Rhubarb Muffin

Happy Easter!

Spring Classes!

Here is the line up of upcoming cooking classes at Marcel’s in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.  In April, you’ll find a lunchtime demo ‘Restocking Your Spring Pantry’ with yummy recipes featuring fresh pantry items;  also, there is one last ‘Breakfast Now, Dinner Tonight’ class before this series breaks for the summer.  The two evening classes I’m teaching are ‘Made over Baby Boomer Classics’ in April, and ‘Small Plates:  International Vegetarian in June.  In May, to coincide with Mother’s Day, I am so happy to be teaching once again with my own mom; also in May, I’m excited to offer a new class format, ‘Shape Up for Summer’.  Please take a look at all of these, and more, below.  There are so many great classes, I hope to see you all sometime soon!!


8-Restocking Your Spring Pantry: Cheese Tortellini & Spring Vegetable Soup, Albacore Tuna, Chickpea, and Roasted Beet Salad with Dijon Dressing, Sweet Sunflower Mini MuffinsMarcel’s demo12:30-2pm. $35  Register HERE

16-Breakfast Now, Dinner Tonight: Southwestern Egg Scrambler on Corn Tortilla / Easy Risotto with White Beans, Mushrooms and Spring Peas. Marcel’s demo, 9:30-11am. $45  Register HERE

21-Made Over Baby Boomer ClassicsVanilla Bean Coffee Frappe, Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaf, Homemade Whole Grain Cinnamon Apple ‘Pop’ Tarts. Marcel’s demo, 6:30-8pm. $45 Register HERE


6-Cooking with Mom: Creamy Spring Radish Soup, Soy Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Salsa, and Lemon Blueberry Tart. Marcel’s demo, 12:30-2pm. $35  Register HERE

14-Shape Up for Summer: Roasted Asparagus with Chive Yogurt Ranch Dressing, Chicken and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, and Light Lime Cheesecake Squares. Marcel’s demo, 11-12:30pm. $35  Register HERE


3-Herbilicious! Lemon Poppyseed Bread with Lavender, Spring Vegetable Soup with Basil-Mint Pesto, and Rosemary Chicken with Maple Orange Glaze on Herbed Basmati Rice. Marcel’s demo, 12:30-2pm. $35  Register HERE

18-Small Plates- International Vegetarian: Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Curry, Eggplant Parmesan Bites, Black Bean Cakes with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce, Tofu and Cashew Lettuce Cups, and Apricot Blueberry Cobbler. Marcel’s hands On, 6:30-9pm. $65  Register HERE

Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle!


March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is ‘Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle. Many of you, friends who read and follow this blog, already bite into a healthy lifestyle everyday! Here is what that looks like:

Your day starts with breakfast.  Food at breakfast is used as fuel for your brain, better than any morning latte could do!

Half of your plate is fruits and vegetables.  Over the course of 3 meals and 1-2 snacks, you consume at least 5 to 7 fruits and vegetables. The more color on your plate, the richer in health promoting phytonutrients you consume.

Half of all the grains you eat are whole.  There is great nutrition- fiber, minerals, phytonutrients- in the bran layer of grains that gets lost when grains are refined.  You reap whole grain nutrition with three servings of whole grain everyday.

You enjoy three servings of dairy foods (or calcium-rich substitute) everyday.  With dairy foods- milk, yogurt, cheese- you consume the nutrients calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, that are most often lacking in American diets.

You choose to be active everyday by walking, running, stairclimbing, dancing, biking (the list is endless).  You reap the many benefits like weight management; protection from the chronic diseases diabetes and heart disease; strengthening of bones and muscles; and improved mental health.

Celebrate the steps you’ve taken toward a healthy lifestyle!  Good health- your health- is worth every bite!

Zesty Cioppino

Zesty CioppinoThis is the dish my mom and I prepared for our class last week at Marcel’s Lunch in Nonnie’s Italian Kitchen.  It is super yummy and very easy to make.  Start to finish it can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.  The fish/seafood in the recipe can be varied depending on your family’s preferences, simply substitute equal portions of fish and shellfish to suit your tastes.

Serve with crusty bread and a simple green salad…it’s so tasty your family will wonder who is coming for dinner!

Zesty Cioppino (serves 6 main dish portions)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 cups diced sweet onion (1 large)

2 green peppers, diced

1 cup sliced mushrooms (8 ounces)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon each: dried basil and dried oregano

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Ground black pepper, to taste

2 cans (16 ounces each) diced tomatoes

6 ounces tomato paste

1 cup white wine

1 cup vegetable broth

6 ounces canned all-white crabmeat

1 pound frozen shrimp, shelled and deveined

8 ounces firm white fish fillets (cod or halibut)

12 fresh mussels, rinsed with beards removed

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, dried herbs, salt, and red pepper. Cook until mushrooms are softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, and broth. Heat to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the fish. Make sure pieces are submerged. Adjust heat for fish to cook in a slow boil until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in crabmeat, shrimp and mussels. Heat until mussels open and shrimp is opaque, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with crusty bread! Enjoy!


Mom and I have another class together on May 6, Cooking with Mom.  Just in time for Mother’s Day!  Click here for more information and to register!


Warm Apple Crisp

Warm Apple Crisp

Tomorrow March begins!!!!!  But here in the snow-covered Midwest, Spring seems like a very distant reality.  The temperatures still average below freezing and there is snow in today’s forecast.  I find this to be the perfect time to share a warm, sweet dessert that will help put a smile on your face and those who eat this with you!  Enjoy!

Warm Apple Crisp (serves 6)

4 medium, tart apples (about 4 cups) peeled, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup yellow raisins

Juice of half lemon (1 tablespoon)

4 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or gluten free flour)

1/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Set aside. In a bowl, combine apples, sugar, raisins, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon flour. Mix to combine. Spread evenly on pie plate.

Combine 3 tablespoons flour, oats, nuts, oil, brown sugar, and spices. Mix well. Sprinkle this topping evenly over apples. Bake in center of oven until golden and bubbly, 30-40 minutes. Serve in individual dessert dishes and top with your favorite ice cream.



Thank you to my friend Sandy for my new mug!

A submarino is hot chocolate made the Argentine way.  My oldest daughter taught us how to make these…simple and fun!

I have more recipes from Argentina that I’ll share in an upcoming class at Marcel’s on February 24th, 6:30-8p.  At Dinner in Buenos Aires, I’m making Empanadas, Carbonada (a yummy beef stew), and Homemade Flan.  These are the dishes I learned to make during my trip to Buenos Aires this past November. Click HERE for more information and to register.  I hope you can join me!!

But today, let’s celebrate President’s Day with delicious hot chocolate!

Submarinos (makes 2 servings)

16 ounces milk

1 ounce dark chocolate, split

2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Heat milk in a small saucepan or microwave to warm.  Divide among two mugs.  Melt 1/2 ounce chocolate bar in each.  Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar, if desired.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings

It’s going to be another cold week in Chicago, but I have a recipe to keep you warm!  Simmering Chicken and Dumplings will warm your kitchen and your tummys with comforting aromas and flavors.

This is a recipe I’ve been making for my family for many years.  It’s especially tasty on cold winter nights when it helps us forget we were counting down the days ’til spring!

(Ssssh!  Only 39 remain…but who’s counting?!).

Simmering Chicken & Dumplings (serves 6)


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 small onion, diced

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin

3 cups plus 1/2 cup water

1 bay leaf

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 teaspoons salt

Black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup flour


1-1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried

2/3 cup skim milk

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the chicken, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or large covered saucepan. Add the chicken and brown them on each side for 2 minutes. Stir in onion, celery and carrots. Sauté briefly, then add 3 cups of water, bay leaf, bouillon cubes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken, covered for 30 minutes. Whisk together the flour and the remaining ½ cup of water in a medium bowl until smooth.   Add the mixture to the simmering saucepan. Cover and continue to simmer.

For the dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry mixture and add the milk, egg and oil. Stir briskly to make a batter. For each dumpling, spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into the simmering broth. Cover and simmer (no peeking!) for another 10-15 minutes, without stirring. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. Enjoy!

Milk Truth


Have you been confused lately about the facts and the health benefits of milk? You are not alone. Science has been misconstrued by the media and special interest groups.  As a result, many people are confused and may be turning away from one of the most nutrient-rich, affordable and available sources of high-quality protein and 8 other nutrients, many of which are lacking in American diets.

‘Milk Truth’ means using the support of science to uncover the facts.  The information below is from an information campaign to share the truth about milk.  It is science-based and links are provided for all the references.  I welcome questions and comments on this topic.  Please share!

Milk Truth:


Milk isn’t just for kids – although it’s especially important for growing kids who need the nourishment that milk provides. Milk is an affordable, convenient and easily accessible source of essential nutrients for all family members. Milk is America’s top food source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium – three nutrients that are most often lacking in our diet. Milk is also a good source of high-quality protein (casein and whey). Each 8-ounce glass of milk contains 8 grams of protein – compared to a large egg, which has 6 grams of protein.


No matter what you choose – fat free, low fat, organic – dairy milk provides 9 essential nutrients. Fat-free milk contains just 80 calories per cup, and all the nutrients are still intact. Rest assured, the milk is not diluted. If you prefer whole, full-fat milk, it’s actually 3.25% milkfat by weight – which is not as much as many people think. Since milk is highly regulated, you can feel good about its safety. Every batch is carefully tested for antibiotics, and any milk testing positive for antibiotics is discarded before it reaches the dairy case. So you can feel confident your milk is safe and wholesome.


Skeptics may claim that milk isn’t necessary, but a large body of scientific research suggests otherwise. Studies repeatedly show the benefits of drinking two to three glasses of milk a day. Milk helps build and maintain bone strength, and has been found to boost muscle growth and support healthy weight. An extensive body of research suggests far-reaching health benefits of milk – ranging from “reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and with lower blood pressure in adults,” according to ChooseMyPlate.gov. Milk and milk products are valuable foods that nourish people around the world and play a valuable role in global public health.


It’s hard to get nutrients you need without milk in your diet. Studies with adults and kids have shown just how tough that is, and how missing those nutrients can have a negative health impact. The truth is, not all non-dairy milks have the same nutrients as real milk, so it’s important to know what you are getting in each glass. For instance, dairy milk has 8 times the protein of almond and rice milks – which contain a long list of ingredients, including added sugar, syrups, salt, thickeners and stabilizers. Real milk’s ingredient list is short and simple, with only ingredients you know.


Milk is one of the original local, farm-to-table foods. It’s a product from farm families that care about their cows. In fact, 97% of dairy farms are still family-owned and operated – passed down from generation to generation. Little handling is done from farm to fridge – primarily just pasteurization, a simple heat-treated process that ensures the milk you buy at the store is safe to drink, but does not reduce the nutrients inside. Milk is a whole, naturally nutrient-rich food.

Ginger Pork, Eggplant and Bok Choy Stir Fry

Ginger Pork, Eggplant, Bok Choy

It was early in my trip to the grocery store that I knew what I would be making for dinner.  In produce, the baby eggplants looked great as did the baby bok choy.  In meats, pork tenderloin was on sale.  What a perfect trio for a very tasty stir fry!

My family enjoys stir fry meals, as do I.  They are quick to make and so healthy!  The timing for this meal is this:  start making the rice (it takes about 40 minutes to steam), then begin marinating the meat and prep the vegetables.  When the rice has about 15 minutes remaining, start heating a wok or a large skillet.  Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

Ginger Pork, Eggplant & Bok Choy Stir Fry (serves 4)

1 pound pork tenderloin

1/4 cup rice wine

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or chili garlic sauce)

2 teaspoons minced ginger, divided

2 or 3 baby eggplants (1 pound), cut into 1/2 inch moons

1 medium sweet onion, quartered and sliced

4 bunches baby bok choy, separate leaves from white stem. Cut stem into ½ inch pieces, cut leaves same

1/2 cup shredded carrots

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Cut the pork into ¼-inch slices and place in a medium bowl. Mix marinade: wine, soy sauce, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon ginger. Pour over pork. Marinade for at least 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Stir fry eggplant, onions, bok choy stalks, and carrots for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender-crisp. Remove vegetables from wok with a slotted spoon. Discard any liquid that collected in wok.

Reheat wok. Add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and remaining ginger. Stir fry for 20 seconds until fragrant. Remove pork from marinade in bowl using a slotted spoon and add to wok. Stir fry until pork is golden, 3-5 minutes. Return the vegetables to the wok, and add the bok choy leaves. Stir fry until the leaves begin to wilt. Serve immediately over brown rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.