Tuesday, January 31, 2012


To the inside of my refrigerator!  Cooking Club of America asked for pictures of the inside of your fridge and I figured why not.  This is where the magic happens and now you can be apart of it too.  So many yummy veggies, eggs, waters, condiments, cheese and Tupperware.  It is as clean and organized as I am...Happy Cooking!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Our Newest Addition...

A brand spankin' new Crock-Pot The Original Slow Cooker!  But wait is it a crock pot or a slow cooker???

Most of us, me included, have no idea the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker so to answer the burning question...Crock-Pot is the trademarked brand name for the Rival brand of slow cookers.  Ah ha BUT the glaring difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker is the location of the heating element.  Crock pots have the heating element housed in the sides of the appliance base so the heat surrounds the food while the slow cookers heating element is in the bottom of the appliance base heating the food from the bottom.  Slow cookers might also have a thermostat for a wide range of temperatures.    Either way they both perform the same function...gently cook food low and slow giving us tender and succulent meals each and every time we plug it in.

The Crock-Pot / Slow Cooker is a great weeknight option for busy cooks.  It is optimal for tougher cuts of meat, great for soups, side dishes stay warm, and the smell that lingers in the house just screams comfort.

So go break out that Crock Pot / Slow Cooker you have stashed in the pantry and look for some of my favorite crock pot / slow cooker recipes in February!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Thursday Night Dinner Idea...

It is Thursday and you probably already had chicken, fish, meat or pasta already this week so how about some soup tonight - because of course you are still celebrating soup season right along with me.

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie and can be made tonight to compliment a grilled cheese sandwich on Itlalian bread.  It is simple to prepare and has delicious, fresh flavor!

Cream of Asparagus Soup

2 Pounds of Asparagus (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 Large Onion (chopped)
Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Salt / Pepper
5-6 Cups of Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh lemon Juice

In a heavy pot, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the onion and cook on low heat until softened
Add asparagus pieces and season with salt and pepper, cook for 5-6 minutes
Add chicken broth to pot and simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until asparagus is very tender
Remove soup from heat and cool
***Puree soup in batches until smooth and return pureed soup to pot
Stir in heavy cream and re-season with salt/pepper
Bring soup to a boil and whisk in remaining butter and add lemon juice
Serve with croutons and alongside a grilled cheese sandwich on Italian bread

Be careful when blending hot foods - make sure soup is cool enough to handle before pureeing.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Fun Day...Big Blue Style

To all my fellow BIG BLUE fans tonight is the night get your friends together...Here is a quick menu that is sure to please and can be done just in time for 6:30 p.m. tonight!

Enjoy the game, enjoy the food and may the best team win!

GIANT Mac & Cheese

1/2 lb. Uncooked Elbow Pasta
1 Cup Cottage Cheese
2 Cups Milk (not skim)
1 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 lb. Shredded Cheddar and Colby Jack Cheese
Tablespoons Butter
Pam Spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with Pam Spray
Add uncooked pasta to dish
In a blender, add cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne and salt/pepper
Puree till smooth
Pour over and mix with pasta
Add cheese and re-season with salt/pepper
Mix to incorporate
Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes
Uncover, dot with butter and bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered
Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes before serving

Serve this up with some...

Boardwalk Chicken 

4 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Cutlets
1 bottle Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
1 10oz Package Pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Marinate chicken in honey mustard for 20 minutes
***In the meantime crush pretzels in food processor
After 20 minutes take each piece of chicken, shake off excess marinade and coat with pretzels
Place chicken on non stick baking sheet
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside and juices run clear

***Do not crush pretzels too fine they should resemble small crushed pieces of pretzel
***Make sure to discard any unused pretzel crumbs not used to coat chicken


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Friday, January 20, 2012

Spark It Up...The Grill That Is

I know, I know it is January which is not synonymous with grilling but why not???  Summer winds down and we vow to keep grilling all year long and then we abandon the grill and leave it out there in the freezing -or not so freezing temperatures in Jersey lately - cold.  Lonely and abandoned we look at it from the kitchen window and say to ourselves can't wait till we can fire up the grill again.  Why wait for the break in the temperature the flavor of the grill is so familiar and delicious.  It never disappoints, it always satisfies.

Quiet down that craving for something flame kissed on the barbie and make some veggies juts like I did last night.  It was so delicious and fresh.  The smell of the grill wafted through the air and clung to my clothes.  My neighbors probably thought I was crazy but I think they think I'm crazy even when the grill is off.   My grilling session spectacular and the end result veggie stacks to compliment a big bowl of lentil soup  - because some of us are still celebrating soup season too!

January Veggie Stacks 
1 Lg. Eggplant (sliced in thick rounds)
Zucchini (sliced medium in rounds)
1 Lg. Vidalia Onion (sliced thick in rounds)
5 Cloves Garlic (chopped)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 Portabella Mushrooms (gills removed)
4 Slices of Wet Mozzarella

Place the eggplant, zucchini, onion and garlic in a container with a tight fitting lid or Zip Lock bag
Season with salt/pepper
In a small bowl whisk together the oil and vinegar
Season with salt/pepper
Sour over the veggies to coat evenly
Secure lid or zip the baggie
Refrigerate for 4 hours
Remove veggies from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature
Grill the eggplant, zucchini and onion till soft about 5-7 minutes per side
Season the inside of each Portabella mushroom with salt/pepper and lightly coat with vegetable oil
Grill mushrooms for about 5-7 minutes per side
Allow all veggies to cool for a few minutes

Assemble the stacks
Portabella, mozzarella, a small grind of salt/pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant
Repeat till all stacks are assembled and serve alongside a bowl of lentil soup or salad

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chili Hog...

That's right Tony & Toni cooked up a big, big crock pot of chili and joined the 9th Annual Ocean County Harley Davidson Chili Cook-Off this weekend.

Tony gets an e-mail from Ocean County Harley Davidson, his second home, about a chili event they are hosting.   With out a flinch he says "we are going" and I concur.  Tony's only request is I make it with ground turkey. I will admit I do not absolutely love chili but I have an idea of the flavor I'm looking for.  So in normal Toni fashion I head to Shoprite, my second home, and I gather up some chili ingredients...poblano peppers, dried beans, onions, ground turkey, tomatoes, cheese, and 30 other items I picked up along the way for general purpose.

I come home flip on the Frank Sinatra (that is the best cooking music) and dive into my chili project.  I prepare the chili and cook and stir for about 2 hours.  The outcome a full bodied pot of chili. Tony got his turkey and I got the deep, rich flavor.  A perfect marriage.  We taste it and agree it's going to Harley Davidson on Saturday.

The guidelines said it chili has to be hot and in a crock pot at 11:30 a.m.  So 9:00 a.m. we warm the cauldron of chili low and slow, transfer to the crock pot and off we go to Lakewood, New Jersey.

We are welcomed and given number 17.  We plug into the outlet and set the crock pot on keep warm. The other chili hogs come in, set up, and we all stand around from 12:00 - 2:00.  Toni talks to others about chili while Tony talks to others about chili and hogs.  A great day.

It is $3.00 for a spoon and all you can eat Dixie cups of chili.  Tony buys a spoon and heads around the table tasting the other 23 different crock pots of chili.  His feedback...some good, not so good, mushy, spicy, contestant #19 really spicy, sweet, hot, vegetarian.  It is going to be close.  People taste and we receive some positive feedback from the crowd.

The tally comes in and....3 3rd place winners, spicy #19 wins 2nd place and a mother daughter combo take the win for a $100.00 Harley Davidson Gift Card.  All spicy chili's won the challenge...spicy equals memorable!  Better luck next year for the Moschello Chili Team.

Don't worry I heard there is Meatball Cook-Off in the fall!

Moschello Chili
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Poblano Peppers (sliced)
1 Lg. Vidalia Onion (diced)
2 Lbs. Ground Turkey
4 Cups of Strong Brewed Coffee
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
4 Small Shakes Cayenne Pepper
2 Lg. Cans Organic Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1 Bag Red Kidney Beans (soaked, rinsed, picked over)
1 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

In a large dutch oven heat oil and add onion
Saute peppers and onion till soft about 5 minutes
Season with salt and pepper
Add the turkey and pour in coffee
Season with cumin and cayenne pepper
Stir to incorporate
Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, and beans
Stir to incorporate
Reason with salt/pepper
Cover with the lid and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally
Taste and re-season if necessary add cheese and stir

***For a hotter more memorable chili add a habanero pepper along with the poblano pepper at the beginning of the recipe***

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Soup Season Continued...

What better way to celebrate soup season that with the quintessential Chicken Soup.  Chicken Soup is extremely powerful.   It is simple yet complex in that it has the power to heal everything from the common cold to a broken heart.   Chicken Soup is like a big hug from your grandmother in a bowl.  It is always filled with loads of love...the chickengoodness..the veggies, warmth...the broth.  With these few simple, yet tasty ingredients you will have your own bowl of affectionate soul soothing soup in no time...Enjoy!   

T's Chicken Soup

Rotisserie Chicken (shredded)
1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Salt/ Pepper 
1 Medium Onion (chopped)
2 Cloves Garlic (chopped)
1 Bag of Frozen PeasCarrots, Corn
2 Tablespoons Dried Tarragon
32 Ounces of Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 lb. of Small Pasta (i.e. pastina, alphabet, orzo, elbows)

In a large stock pot add vegetable oil, onions, and garlic
Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes
Add frozen vegetables and cook with onions and garlic for 5-7 minutes
Add the chicken and tarragon incorporating the chicken with the vegetables
Re-season with salt and pepper
Add chicken broth bring to a boil
Cover and reduce heat to medium low for 30 minutes
In the meantime in a separate pot cook pasta according to directions
Drain pasta and set aside
Once soup has cooked for 30 minutes taste and adjust seasoning accordingly if needed
Add pasta to soup and serve

***If soup becomes to dry once the pasta has been added go ahead and add some more chicken broth or water to the pot

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Let's Celebrate Soup Season...

With a slight flurry of snow yesterday in the great Garden State the temperature, I thought, was going to stay cold which means one thing to me...it is officially Soup Season.  Much to my dismay it is going to be 50 degrees tomorrow!  Nonetheless I am celebrating soup season in my kitchen which happens to be one one my favorite seasons of the year.  I often get carried away and make soup in an over abundance.  So much so that I could swim in it till spring.  With the endless possibilities of chicken, lentil, broccoli, split pea, black eyed peas, potato, corn, creamy soups, chowders, vegetable soups how could you not get washed up in a great big bowl of soup. So join me in celebrating soup season with one of my favorites...

Potato & Leek Soup

2 Tablespoons Butter
***2 Large Leeks (sliced)
2 Russet Potatoes (peeled and diced)
1 Quart Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

In a large stock pot melt butter over medium heat
Add leeks and saute for about 5-7 minutes
Add potatoes and stock
Season with salt/pepper
Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes
Allow mixture to cool (be careful when blending hot foods - make sure soup is cool enough to handle before pureeing)
Puree until smooth with either the blender (two batches is recommended) or with an immersion blender
Stir in heavy cream
Re-season with salt/pepper if necessary
Serve warm and topped with croutons

***Leeks tend to be very sandy inside. slice leeks only reserving the white portion of the stalk. Place leeks in a colander and rinse well before adding to the recipe***

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's Cookin'...

You tell me...
I am looking for YOUR comments on my recipes. I want to know who out there is making my recipes from my cookbook Forkful of Simplicity . 

Now is your chance to tell me what is on your mind...love it, hate it, burnt it, made it so many times I lost count, my sister-in-law stole the recipe, too much, not enough, dry, cooking time was off, dish was absolute perfection. Whatever it is I want to know about it. 

Leave me a comment on a recipe you made from Forkful of Simplicity Cookbook, I will publish it and at the end of January I will choose the best, most honest comment submitted. What will you win...and who will it be?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome 2012...


I hope that this year brings much love, health, wealth and happiness. 

 To all my followers, future followers and the occasional reader hope this blog and my Forkful of Simplicity blog give you the simple and tasty recipes you are looking for to satisfy your inner foodie. 

 I want this to be your "go to" recipe blog so please join me in 2012 for the next leg of our journey as we discover new foods, cooking methods and recipes.