Mary Ann's Blog

Not Your Supermarket’s English Muffins

I recently had breakfast in a diner with a friend. He ordered the usual: ham, eggs, home fries and an English muffin. The muffin looked like an SUV had run over it; it was pale and anemic looking, hardly what I would call toasted and reminded me of how wonderful homemade …

Don’t Be In The Dark About Mushrooms

Looking for something fast and yummy as a lunch, side or even light supper dish? Something to banish the guilt of indulging in too much smorgasbord holiday fare? Give stuffed Portobello mushrooms a try. Mushrooms are low in calories and high in rich nutrients like potassi…

Olive Oil…Buyer Beware

Recently CBS aired an expose on olive oil that only confuses the consumer even more. For over 25 years I have extolled the virtues of olive oil on Ciao Italia. I would caution any consumer to really read the label on any olive oil that you are buying. Here are some key ru…

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Chicken and Cauliflower Lasagne

Chicken and Cauliflower Lasagne Serves 6-8 1 medium head cauliflower, rinsed, cored and cut into 1-inch florets2 tablespoons olive oil1 medium onion, minced2 cloves garlic minced1 pound ground chicken or turkey1 tablespoon rosemary, minced4 tablespoons butter½ cup …

Light Meals for New Year's Eve

By the time we all get to New Year’s Eve, some of us are pretty weary of all the rich and varied holiday foods. Why not keep it light on New Year’s Eve. Here are some suggestions; all from my latest book Ciao Italia Family Classics.Farfalle with Pistachio Crea…

A Chef’s 12 (In Season) Foods of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a big box of cranberries.  On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me a large smoked ham and a big box of cranberries.  On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me chestnuts by the d…

Holiday Poached Pears

Poached pears are a no guilt holiday treat that you can assemble in no time. Cut not overly ripe pears in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place the halves in a casserole dish in a single layer, cut side down. Combine 2 cups fresh apple cider, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinn…

Sugar Cookie Secrets

At holiday baking time, I save the best for last. The last cookie on my list that is. Sugar cookies are to Christmas what chocolate rabbits are to Easter. No holiday would be without them. I have to mentally prepare myself for making them because they take so much time. …

Time To Make The Cookies

Years ago, in fact, because of my mother, I started baking Christmas cookies on October 12, Columbus Day. Mom stashed them in tin canisters and kept them in an ice cold unused room in the rambling house where I grew up. The room was off limits and notice was given that if…

Nuts About Chestnuts

Oh those chestnuts! It’s the season to use them in Granny’s turkey stuffing, in sauces and just enjoyed simple roasted. However, they can be a challenge sometimes to peel. Just recently in Verona, Italy, I was watching chestnuts being roasted over open coals o…

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Ciao Italia Family Classics

Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.

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