Aug 11

Cuban Chicken Pizza

FYI – This post is long overdue but here we go:

So after experiencing a lackluster cooking class at Lenore Nolan Ryan’s Cooking School , my girlfriends and I started our own little cooking club.

I was the hosting the first one and I decided to use an easy recipe that I’ve used before. I’ve learned many times never to make a recipe for guests that you’ve never made before. :) It never turns out good. (However, there are exceptions) The theme of the night was latin night and I chose to demonstrate Cuban Chicken Pizza. I actually got this recipe from my sister back when we were both living in New York. She found it in Cooking Light Magazine and has since been a recipe I use  quite often.

Move over Taco Night, Cuban Chicken Pizza is here. (Ok I lied, Taco Night will never go away, but you should still enjoy this recipe!)

Cuban Chicken Pizza Close

Cuban Chicken Pizza

  • 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (11-ounce) can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (Cumin Powder will work as well)
  • 2 cups diced roasted chicken breast
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place flour tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from the oven; stack and press down to flatten. Set aside.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add corn to pan, and cook 1 minute or until lightly charred. Add cumin seeds; cook 5 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chicken, black beans, and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice.
  • Place tortillas on baking sheet. Spoon 3/4 cup bean mixture onto each tortilla; top each with 3 tablespoons of cheese. Bake at 350° for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Sprinkle each pizza with 1 teaspoon cilantro.

Cooking Light

(I realized when hosting a dinner party, it is very hard to manage taking stellar pictures and still serve warm food. )

Cuban Chicken Pizza Cheese


Cuban Chicken Pizza Cheese

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Jun 11

Cooking School: Pepper Roasted Chicken

I recently had a girls night at Lenore’s Cooking School.  I had no idea what to expect as the only other cooking class I took was at Publix and that was demonstration only.

My typical self was running 5- 10 minutes late and arrived to Lenore speaking to the guests of the class.

Cooking Class Intro

The class was titled Fast Food Fresh! Sassy Weekday Meals.

On the menu: Honey Garlic Lamb Kebabs, Spicy Salmon with Corn and Tomatoes and Pepper Roasted Chicken

Now my first impression was that we were going to be able to make all of the things on menu. I was quite wrong.

There was six stations – 2 stations for each meal on the menu.

The girls and I quickly went for the Pepper Roasted Chicken.

Pepper Roasted Chicken


2 teaspoons black pepper

5 5oz chickenbreasts

5 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 cups baby potatoes, sliced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

A bag of baby spinach leaves

Honey Mustard Dressing

2 Tablespoons mustard & Chopped Tarragon

3 Tablespoons of Minced red onions

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

Combine the mustard, onions, honey and vinegar in a bowl and stir to combine.  Drizzle in the olive oil. Set Aside.

Directions for Chicken

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the carrots and potatoes in some olive oil, tarragon, salt and pepper.

Brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the pepper over the chicken and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with the carrot and potato.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through

Toss the fresh spinach and warm potatoes and carrots. Place on a plate top with chicken and spoon over the dressing to serve.


The only thing I can actually say I learned was how to “properly” dice an onion. If you saw the way I tried to dice an onion, you would just laugh.  Don’t go the easy route by using a food processor, you don’t want it to be a watery consistency.

When cutting an onion… “the root is the core“.  So remember to leave the root on the onion and to slice towards to the root but still leaving the root.

Diced Onion

I would say that this honey mustard was actually quite good, but it took some time to get to the right taste buds that we were looking for.  Lenore’s assistant told us not to measure the oil, and quite frankly I did not feel comfortable “not measuring”. Luckily when you cook, you adapt!  So we added more mustard and more vinegar till we got to the taste we were going for.

Honey Mustard Ingredients

I’ve never made honey mustard this way.  I usually take the easy route and combine Honey and Spicy Mustard. It works just as well :)

Honey Mustard

Potatoes and Carrots Poured on Chicken

Potatoes Carrots and Chicken

The girls and I with our dish

Girls and Our Dish Pepper Roasted Chicken

This is so easy to make and I plan to make it again.

Pepper Roasted Chicken Plated

Overview:  Now the food was delicious, but to be honest I didn’t feel like we learned anything and we certainly did not learn how to cook the other two items on the menu. It felt like we used their kitchen and just followed the recipe on the menu.

I really loved how bubbly Lenore was at first.  Then every time I went to ask her a question or make a comment she would walk away. She reminds me of Rachael Ray. I hate Rachel Ray.

We later find out at the end of the class, that they charged $5  for every glass of wine we had.

My friends and I have another Living Social Coupon to go to Lenore’s Cooking School, but otherwise I don’t think I would go back there.  Unless she changes the way she sets up her classes.

The girls and I decided after the class that we are gonna do a monthly cook and learn at our places. Looking forward to the first one!

For those that have been to hands on cooking classes, how are they structured?  Do you learn more at demonstration?

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Apr 11

From NYC to the Poconos – Roasted and Herb Crusted Lamb Loin

While I’m planning my next successful dish to follow up my chocolate covered matzo (which got #1 on foodbuzz and I was overjoyed with excitement, thank you everyone who buzzed me to the top!), I wanted to introduce you to my friend Holly who hopefully will be a regular guest blogger. I previously mentioned Holly in my Food in Paris post. She spent 3 months in Paris  last summer and I was lucky enough to be able to visit her while she was there. Check out her blog on her Paris Adventures. It will make anyone jealous!


After spending the past summer in France, I didn’t come back with a keen sense of the language or a new desire to become an artist.  What I did pick up in the land of haute cuisine was a renewed appetite for good food and a desire to brush up on my culinary skills.  It was this new found interest that propelled me to scour New York City in search of outlets for my passion.

Luckily enough for me, New York is also in the midst of its own foodie love affair and it was easier than ever for me to find inexpensive and creative cooking classes, join other like minded faux chefs in renegade cooking clubs and indulge in my new hobby by baking and cooking for friends and the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen.

One of the first cooking classes I signed up for this year was at a place called Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center in Brooklyn.  The center hosts hands-on cooking classes, lectures and events for both adults and children on various topics and cuisines.  They also promote healthy and sustainable living (they compost scraps from classes!) and a sense of community.  Ger-Nis is located in south Brooklyn, near the Gowanus Canal, and is also available for rental and usage for events, video taping and recipe testings.  Check them out if you are in the New York area.

I recruited a friend and we decided to try a dinner class so that we could learn to prepare a full meal we could then replicate for friends while away for a weekend in the Poconos.  The lamb roast dinner that we made during our class was delicious!  I recommend the recipe to anyone who enjoys a good roast, as it was fairly easy to prepare and can fool your guests into thinking you are a much better cook than you may or may not already be!

While away with friends in the Poconos we prepared the roast and it was a HUGE success!  Eight people devoured an 8 lb lamb in less than an hour.  There is nothing better than good friends, good food and some good wine.  But don’t take my word, try it for yourself!


Grating and zesting in preparation for our big meal

The Veggies
8 pounds 2 ounces and a beautiful shade of pink!
Lamb in Pan
The girls handled the meat this trip and boy was it good!
Lamb Being Cut
PBR- Wine, Guinness, Miller Light, how’d this get in there?
PBR - Pabst Blue Ribbon
Chocolate Stout cake was a huge crowd pleaser- even at breakfast the next morning!
Chocolate Stout Cake
Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center
Roast Lamb Dinner
Teacher: Orianne Cosentino

(courtesy of Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center)
Serves 6


3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
¼ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 (4 pounds) boneless lamb leg roast, tied


Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl, combine mustard, garlic, herbs, cumin and salt. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan, over high heat, add canola oil. Add lamb and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and smear the top of roast with mustard and herb mixture.

Put lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and cook for (20 minutes per pound) 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 130°F for medium-rare or 140°F for medium. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

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Apr 11

Chocolate Covered Matzo

There is absolutely no excuse for my lack of blogging, I’ve done this before too many times. Trust me I still have been eating and cooking but haven’t felt inspired to share.  Until today!

As Passover is coming around the corner, I decided to tackle Chocolate covered Matzo. My friend Holly who is actually not jewish made this one time a couple of years ago when I was still living in New York City. It was so decadent and cured my 3pm chocolate craving at work. I knew I wanted to make it and every year since I had a taste I claimed I was going to make it. Nope, never did. About 4 years later, I’m proud to say I can now make Chocolate Covered Matzo. But to be honest, the site I found this recipe on,  says the recipe is easy to make with your kids, allowing supervision of course. However I won’t let that stop me from enjoying my creation because I’m back. :) (Back to blogging that is!)

Chocolate Matzo

Chocolate Covered Matzo reminds me of a chocolate covered pretzal. During Passover you can’t eat leavened bread, so matzo is a great substitute. Plus, I caramelized the matzo before the chocolate, so its a treat you won’t be able to pass up.

Caramelized Chocolate Covered Matzo Recipe


  • 3-4 boards matzoh
  • 3/4 cup Passover margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt


Chocolate Covered Matzo Ingredients

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the matzohs in the pan in a single layer, breaking them to fit if necessary.
  3. Heat the butter or margarine and brown sugar in a medium saucepan to a boil. Pour evenly over matzoh, spreading with a knife to make sure the matzoh is well covered.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes, until the caramel is a golden brown. Turn off the oven, and remove the matzoh.
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the matzoh. Return the matzoh to the oven. Let it sit in the warm (turned off) oven for 2 minutes. Remove and spread the chocolate evenly with the back of a flat spatula or a knife.
  6. Top with nuts, if using. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

(BTW – David Lebowitz makes a similiar recipe but he adds vanilla and toasts his almonds). I don’t think the vanilla is needed but its worth trying next time around)

When making this recipe, I couldn’t decide between dark and milk chocolate and pecans and walnuts.  I preferred the dark chocolate and pecans over the milk chocolate walnuts.  Not only did the dark taste richer and more decadent, the dark chocolate chips spreaded easier than the milk for some reason.

While making this recipe, I also learned how to make caramel, butter and brown sugar! Who knew?. So next time, your eating caramel, remember its pure sugar and fat. :) I actually had a little extra caramel when making this recipe, so I made caramel chews by pouring it into little circles on a sheet and putting it in the fridge.  It was so good. I have to be careful next time I’m making this recipe and not leave any extra caramel. :)  For the small chance that I do have extra caramel, I may put the extra caramel in some type of fun mold shape.  Caramel Chews!

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Mar 11

Chicken Piccata

It’s about time for another post from me… well sorta. This one comes straight from my mom, well at least the recipe and pictures do.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve been trying to get my friends and family to guest post. It’s either they don’t know what to write or they forget to take pictures.  At this point, I’ll take what I can get from them and figure it out from there.

On another note, I like to say I inspired my friend to start a food blog, an Indian food blog.  I’m not sure if she would give me the credit for inspiring her but I like to think so.  She hasn’t official launched it and won’t tell me the name of it, but once she does, I will be sharing it on here.

Now on to the recipe shared by my mom…

Chicken Piccata

Serves 4
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

The Chicken Piccata Recipe comes from my favorite cook book.  It’s called Calico Pantry.  It is made up of  recipes  contributed to the charity United Cerebral Palsy  association of Nassau County, New York.  I’ve had this cookbook for 36 years.  The recipes are great and always come out perfect!! Even if you can’t cook you can’t go wrong  making any of these dishes.

From  the loud New Yorker : )

(BTW – ever since I wrote about finding a cookbook and referred to her as a loud NewYorker, she won’t let it go and now refers to herself as the loud New Yorker)


Ingredients Chicken Piccata

2 tbsp. Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1 1/2 lb. Chicken cutlet
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


1 tbsp. Butter
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup wine


Combine flour,salt, and pepper to coat chicken.  In hot butter, saute chicken until well browned.  Add wine,lemon, and parsley and simmer,covered, for ten minutes.  Remove chicken to serving platter and keep warm.   Discard lemon or keep for use as garnish.

Chicken Piccata


Slowly heat butter in same skillet (pan).  Beat egg yolk with wine.  Slowly  add

To butter in skillet, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat stirring until sauce is thickened and hot.  Pour over chicken and  serve.

Chicken Piccata Sauce
Chicken Piccata Close up
Chicken Piccata close upChicken Piccata on Plate

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Mar 11

The ultimate chicken wings

I wanted to write about these little guys back when the superbowl was happening but they wouldn’t of gotten the attention they deserved as everyone was writing about their superbowl recipes.  Plus, I was stuck in bed sick and not able to cook anything.

close up drummettes

So a few weeks back,  at the  anti-valentines day’s potluck ( Yes, this happened, we all wore black and drank lots and lots of wine), I made chicken wings. How appropriate right?  Actually, they were drummettes but wings sound better and the recipe still applies.

I got this recipe from my brother in law who actually got it from his mother.  As soon as I had them, I knew I had to have the recipe.


Mini Chicken Wings or Drummettes
garlic salt
garlic powder
celery salt
onion powder

These are the 5 top seasonings I use, but you can substitute one or two with one you prefer. I know this seems very sodium heavy, but they are really delicious so you must try them, just don’t eat all of them to yourself. It will be hard but trust me its for the best.



  • Preheat Oven at 350 degrees
  • Using a Cookie Tray – lay out the chicken drummettes evenly on the pan

chicken drummettes

Sprinkle each seasoning on the individual chicken pieces, then flip each piece over and sprinkle the other side.

seasoned drummettes

Cook for 45 minutes in oven.  Mid-way thru flip over each drummete. While baking, the chicken will create natural juices and will be flavorful inside and out.

cooked chicken drummettes

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Feb 11

My Grandma’s Frozen Yogurt Pie

When my grandma made her yogurt pie, I probably never ate it.  One because I was young and a fickle eater and two because I was not a fan of yogurt.  About four years ago, I was at my sister’s apartment for dinner and she made this dessert.  Once I had my first bite, there was no turning back, I was hooked.  I kept thinking to myself why didn’t I try this sooner.  Well you know the reasons.  Anyways, I started making this recipe all the time, once it was finished, I would make another one.

This soon became a family staple when we had get-togethers.  I’ve assumed responsibility for making this dessert.  I do have to give my sister credit for keeping this dessert alive. Now-a-days my mom actually is the one who makes it all the time.  Its funny, I think my sister Jackie was probably the only one who use to like it.  Now, we all fight over the last slice.

Please mind the less than awesome pictures because I was making this at a potluck dinner with friends and got a little tipsy when it was being served.


Keebler’s Ready Crust -Graham Cracker (find this in the baking aisle)
2 Dannon Fruit on the bottom Yogurts ( I use strawberry and blueberry to get a mixture of flavor.
1 – 8oz container of Cool Whip – Free


  • Mix the Yogurt and Cool Whip together until well blended.
  • After ingredients are completely mixed, put yogurt filling in pie crest.
  • Put in freezer for a few hours until filling in frozen


  • Take out of freezer 30 minutes prior to serving, in order to soften the filling slightly.
  • Any leftovers, put pie back in freezer for a later time


ingredients in bowl

ingredients mixed

yogurt filling in pie crust

frozen yogurt pie

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Jan 11

Chicken Fricassee

In my previous post, I mentioned I started making the mozzarella, tomato and basil appetizer after attending a potluck dinner with friends.  Potlucks are great because you get to taste things that you never had before and get the recipe. Now this recipe, I started making after having potluck at the office.  I actually had to beg my coworker Jessica for this recipe.  It took her a while, like a few months, to give it to me.  I think she was just being lazy, but I finally got it.  I’ve made this dish so many times now, but I can still never make it the way she did.  I think she just didn’t give me the right directions.  However, the way I make it still tastes great, hence why I continue to make this dish all the time.

Another reason why I make this dish is because of these guys below. Let me introduce you to them, Miss Tomato, Mr Pepper and Mr Onion. These veggies are like my staples. I constantly use these 3 guys when cooking.  I know I need to expand and try new things but with these veggies you can always find something to cook even on a rainy day.

tomato onion pepper

Boneless Skinless Thin Chicken Breast
Sazon with Coriander and Annatto ( Goya sells pre-packaged packets)
Chicken Bouillon
Peppers – red, green, yellow
Extra Virgina Olive Oil
White Vineger
Can of Dice Tomatoes or Fresh Tomatoes
Sugar (optional)
Hot Sauce (optional)
white cooking wine


Cut Onion and Peppers into small pieces.  Take about 2 cloves of garlic and mince finely.

chopped onion pepper tomato


Prepare a pot of water for boiling.  Add salt, pepper, a little bit of olive oil and a cap of vinegar.  Once boiling, add chicken and reduce heat and cover.

While chicken is boiling:

In a saucepan, add enough Olive Oil to coat the bottom on the pan evenly.  Turn on to high and add minced garlic and chopped onions and peppers.  Allow to simmer for a minute, then reduce heat.  You will then add the dice tomatoes, coriander and annatto, chicken bouillon.  You will add salt, pepper and hot sauce to your own taste.

veggies in pan

Taste dish once all ingredients are added and then add sugar based on acidity

Once everything is in the saucepan – bring to a boil, uncovered for a minutes while stirring.  When I make this dish, there was never enough liquid to boil. I just keep it on simmer.

Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is done.  If you see the sauce has reduced too much, add some of the water from the pot where the chicken is boiling in. (I use cooking wine as I noticed the first few times of making this, the water diluted the flavor of the dish)

When chicken is done, remove the chicken and place on cutting board and begin to shred the chicken.  You can either use your hands or a fork and knife.  Once all chicken is shredded, add to saucepan.

shredded chicken and veggies

Once chicken is added, bring to a boil for a couple of minutes, reduce heat and cover for about 5 minutes then remove from heat.  (Again, I keep it on simmer because if I kept it on boil, the dish would dry out).

Bon Appetite

chicken friscassee

chicken fricassee


Usually potlucks you would hope to  get the correct recipe to follow, but if not you just have to adapt to your taste, experiment with flavors and hopefully it will turn out delicious.

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Jan 11

Simple Meals: Twice Cooked Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes

Since bringing in the New Year, I actually have avoided cooking a real meal/ taking on a new recipe.  Call it lazy, procrastination, whatever you want. I know I’m not the only one. You know who you are! :)

Tonight I decided to make an easy meal that I’ve made many times.  I don’t exactly have a name for it so I called it Twice Cooked Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes.   This may not be the healthiest meal, but trust me once you make it once you’ll definitely be making it again.

angel hair with tomatoes

Angel Hair Pasta
Tomatoes – Diced
Garlic Salt
Adobo Seasoning
Protein of Choice- I use Shrimp or  Chopped Chicken Strips
Olive Oil


Do your normal routine of cooking pasta in a pot of boiling water. Drain water in a strainer.  Now heat up a large frying pan with olive oil on medium low heat.  Once pan has been heated, put in the cooked pasta in the pan. Make sure the pasta has been coated with olive oil, you may need to add more olive oil to make sure the pasta does not get dried out.  Add Garlic Salt, Adobo Seasoning and Pepper to taste. After a few minutes of the pasta cooking in the pan, add the fresh cut diced tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes have softened.  Lastly, add your cooked protein into pan and your dish is now complete.

For your protein, lightly season it with salt and pepper and cook in a pan

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Dec 10

Appetizing Appetizers: Baked Clam Dip

As mentioned in my last post this is my favorite appetizer to make for any occasion.  My mom received this recipe from her friend years ago and she was always the one who made the clam dip.  Now that I make it, I’m the one in charge of it (plus, I think I make it better than she does). Try this recipe out and your guests will not be disappointed.

clam and crackers


32 Ritz Crackers (1 row)
2 cans of clams ( 1 chopped and 1 minched)
3 tablespoons of melted margarine
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 tablespoon of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of chopped onions
2 crushed garlic cloves

Directions: Super Easy so Get Excited

1. Crush Crackers and Mix all ingredients in a bowl
2. Pour Mixture into Pyrex pie bowl
3. Cook in Oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

Serve with water crackers!


If the mixture is too runny, just add a few more crackers

clam dip ingredients

Clam Mix

clam dip mixed

I realize I am using the same picture from the last post but just in case you forgot, here is what the final dish should be:

clam dip

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