RSS Feed

Thanksgiving Stuffing

The stuffing is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner. Most people agree! I’ve made many variations of stuffing with ground beef, diced giblets, dried fruit…. The recipe here is our family favorite! It’s a classic stuffing with dried bread cubes, sautéed vegetables, herbs and turkey broth.

I’ve been following Martha Stewart since she began her empire. This stuffing is based on her recipe.

At least a day before prepare a cornbread recipe in an 8×8 inch baking pan. I use a Martha recipe. The recipe on the yellow cornmeal container is also good 

I use a local bread called Spatz white bread. A sourdough also is good. It needs to be dried out on a rack at least a day before.

I also make my own turkey  stock. At least 2 days before, follow my recipe for Chicken Soup with Vegetables. Make the stock only and roast 2 turkey wings and 2 drumsticks.

Also a day ahead I like to sauté the vegetables and herbs together. 

In a large saucepan melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sauté the following:

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

4 carrots, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1 fennel bulb, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

When softened add these herbs:

2 teaspoons each dried sage, thyme and marjoram

2 tablespoons each fresh rosemary and parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sauté another 5 minutes. Cool and refrigerate overnight.

On serving day put the stuffing together.

In a large mixing bowl combine the dried cornbread and white bread that has been sliced into cubes.

Mix in the vegetables.

Optional is to add 1 cup dried Michigan cherries. I usually don’t.

Lastly, take 4 cups turkey stock that has been heated and mix into stuffing. 

Pour into a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. It only needs to be heated through and slightly crisped up. Over baking will dry it out. 🦃

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

The ultimate comfort food for all ages!

My young grand kids were coming so I prepared this for them. It was a family favorite when I was a child and when my children were young. Everyone loves it!

This is from a Chicago cooking school back in the day, The Francois and Antoinette Pope School Cookbook, where my mom took lessons. This was before Julia Child, post WWII.

1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked in salted water and drained

In a large saucepan melt 2/3 cup butter

Whisk in 2/3 cup flour and simmer a few minutes.

Whisk in 2 tablespoons dried mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer a minute.

Gradually whisk in 4  1/2 cups hot milk. Stir constantly and simmer 5 minutes.

Add 12 ounces American cheese or Velveeta cheese. Stir until melted.

In a buttered 2 quart casserole layer the macaroni and cheese sauce in several layers. Top with sauce.

Layer 5 American cheese slices on top and bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until browned.

Chicken Soup with Vegetables

This soup is guaranteed to be delish, it does not take a lot of work, but you need to plan for a 3 day process. The chickens need roasting and the pan drippings and broth both need to be chilled overnight to allow all the fat to rise to the top so it can be removed and discarded.

I use all organic chickens and produce for the best flavor!

Barbara Kafka’s book, Soup a Way of Life, was used for guidance in developing this recipe.

Stage 1Roasting the Chickens

An easy alternative is to buy 3 deli roasted chickens which are smaller than the 5 pounders I roast, but then you won’t get the pan drippings to enrich your stock!

In a large roasting pan with a flat or V-shaped turkey rack in the bottom, place two 5-pound organic roasting chickens that have been rinsed well and dried with toweling

Sprinkle chickens generously with kosher salt

Place roaster on the bottom rack of a preheated 425 degree F oven

Brush skin with melted butter

Roast 25 minutes and then rotate pan front to back. Brush skin with butter

Roast another 25 minutes and rotate again. Brush skin with butter. Add 1/2 cup water to pan. Add more water as needed. You should end up with at least 1 and 1/2 cups of pan drippings.

Roast another 25 minutes or until thickest part of breast reads 160 and the thigh reads 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer

Let chickens rest on the stove top 15 minutes.

Serve chicken or debone completely. Reserve all bones

Scrape all the drippings into a small container. Add a little water and heat on the stove top if they stick to the pan. Refrigerate overnight and then remove the fat layer on top.

Stage 2The Broth

In a large pot place all the bones of 2 large roasting chickens and cover with water by an inch.

Add the reserved drippings. Cover stock and bring to a boil.

Allow broth to barely simmer so bubbles are barely breaking the surface of the liquid, with the lid slightly ajar, 4-5 hours. Add water if the level falls below the bones.

Remove from the heat and cool 15 minutes.

Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large pot or bowl. Pour strained broth into storage containers. I use quart size canning jars. This makes about 2-3 quarts.

Refrigerate overnight to allow fat to rise to the surface and solidify. Discard fat before using broth.

Stage 3Making the Soup

In a large pot melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat

Stir in 1 large shallot, chopped and 2 leeks, washed well and sliced (white and light green parts)

Sauté until translucent. Add 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced and sauté 10 seconds. Don’t brown the garlic!

Add 8-12 cups roast chicken broth and bring to a boil

Add 1 fennel bulb, sliced horizontally

1 turnip, peeled and diced

1 pound thin carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

Simmer with a cover 5 minutes

Add 3-4 small zucchini (the striped zucchini variety is attractive). You can also add yellow summer squash. Simmer with a cover 5 minutes

Voila! Your soup is finished! This is a very fresh tasting soup so don’t overlook the vegetables. They should hold their shape. Reheating will cook the vegetables further.

Apple Crisp

This fruit crisp is a lighter substitute for apple pie. It has less flour, sugar and fat than pie!


I made these crisps in individual ramekins. About 12 per recipe. Cut the recipe in 1/4 if you only want to make a few little ones!


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F or 350 if using a glass or ceramic baking pan.


Prepare topping first in a food processor with the steel knife blade or large mixing bowl

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour, lightly added to measuring cups, not packed

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if possible

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 Tablespoons cold butter (1 stick + 2 Tablespoons) cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 and 1/2 cups almonds or pecans, coarsely chopped (finely chopped if mixing topping by hand)

Combine dry ingredients in food processor or bowl. Add butter and pulse for 3- four second bursts so it looks like cornmeal. Add nuts and pulse again for 5-one second bursts till it looks like wet sand. Do not over mix. Keep in frig while preparing apples. If mixing by hand add butter and pinch butter till it looks like wet sand. Then mix in finely chopped nuts.

This is what the topping looks like before adding the nuts.


6 pounds McIntosh and Granny Smith apples (12 cups peeled and cut into medium chunks)

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1 and 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice or more if desired

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Combine above ingredients in a large bowl. Pour evenly into a 9×13 inch baking pan. 

Sprinkle topping evenly over apples.

Place crisp in middle of oven. Bake 40 minutes or until fruit bubbles and the topping is light brown. 

Other fruit can be used. If using plums, mix 2 Tablespoons quick cooking tapioca with the plums.

If you want a darker crust, use the broiler for a few minutes.

Serve with ice cream

4 Months in France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy

Here is a list of my 25 posts of our adventure in Europe. This is like a table of contents of our trip.

What’s To Eat in Paris?

What’s To Eat in Lisbon?

What Else is There to Eat in Lisbon?

What’s to Eat in Seville?

What’s to Do and Eat in Córdoba Spain?

What to Eat and Do Near Sitges Spain?

What’s to Eat in Provence?

Village Hopping in Provence Part 1

Village Hopping in Provence Part 2

What’s to Eat in Corsica?

Where to Go in Corsica?

What’s to Eat in Sardinia?

Where to Go in Sardinia?

What’s to Eat in Sicily?

Discovering Sicily

Beautiful Puglia and It’s Trulli

What and Where is Puglia?

What’s to Eat in Puglia and Where is It?

What’s to Eat and Do in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast? Part 1 of the Amalfi Coast

Beautiful Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, Part 2 of the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento, Making Limoncello and Beyond, Part 3 of the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento, Herculaneum and Naples, Part 4 of the Amalfi Coast


2 Days in Milano

Istanbul Backstreets and Eats

Istanbul Backstreets and Eats

Our 4 month adventure ended with Istanbul. It seems kinda crazy flying 4 hours further east from Milan to Istanbul for a few days and then back west for an 11 hour flight to Chicago! The tickets with Turkish Air were half the price of the other airlines and they are the highest rated airline in Europe!  And we love Istanbul. We spent a week there last year

This time we also rented an apartment, but in a less traveled neighborhood, FenerBalat. This is like the new Brooklyn. It’s a neighnorhood of immigrants and lower income folks, but is now appreciated by the young professionals. Antique shops, and some are closet size, coffee shops and new renovation. It’s fun, but sketchy too. Here are some pics of the neighborhood.

Our first floor apartment


Men like this collect recyclables all over Istanbul with their carts


Old run down buildings are being bought and renovated in the past few years


Some creative design and a streetwise child


This is the street of our apartment. I’ve been told it was used in the most recent James Bond film! The streets are their living rooms. People sit on the sidewalks and streets all day.

Antique shops are everywhere, of many varieties

This lady bakes in this local bakery in a wood burning oven

Streets like this are slowly being purchased and renovated

This woman is washing off her sidewalk with water

This man walks around selling pastries from his cart 


This man sells and buys old things from his cart.

This man sells sandwiches 

Another salesman of all things but his dogs


People tend to walk in the streets rather than the sidewalks


Kids walking through traffic and waiting for the train to pass

Families walking through traffic on busy Istanbul streets


We did not see one dryer in any of our apartments throughout Europe. Hang drying is everywhere 


Local fast food:

A fried ground lamb burger mixed with spices and breadcrumbs

A fresh baked custard 


This is called Wednesday Market or Caramba, because it’s held on Wednesdays in the Balat neighborhood


Our favorite coffee shop in Balat, Coffee Department, where the owner scientifically roasts coffee beans and has a variety of coffee making styles. I love these floors!

Notice his hand made coffee making apparatus 

And here is the traditional Turkish coffee shop


The shop owner is enjoying his newly purchased reel to reel tape player!

We truly loved our stay in Fener-Balat


We took a lovely boat trip to Prince’s Islands. It was an overcast day, but we enjoyed the sights anyway. The Bosphorus is a busy waterway always filled with fast moving boats of all sizes.


There are 3 Prince’s Islands. We went to the largest one. It reminds me of Mackinac Island. No cars, only horse and buggies, wood frame large houses and very picturesque.   


We took the horse and buggy to the interior of the island where we then walked a mile to the top of the hill for some great views and yummy food!

A mosque/church on this hill With scarfs to cover your head, arms and legs.

A deep fried thin pastry filled with provolone like cheese and qbits of sausage
Another deep fried pastry filled with ricotta like cheese

This is one of the thin pastry doughs used here

Other pastries with cheese and spinach fillings

Making stuffed grape leaves with a grain and vegetable filling


In our Balat neighborhood we ate dinner at Agora, a very nice restaurant. Here is a tray of mezes or small plates: eggplant, thick yogurt with hot peppers, herbed olives, ground pistachio and almond and dill mixture, yogurt with fresh basil and spices, seabass in tomato with cilantro.


This is a main course like meze of sliced lambs liver with sliced onion and peppers

Lamb chops with a grilled pepper


Calamari in a fish sauce

One of the many entrances to the Grand Bazaar. We bought nice quality jewelry this time and last year from EFES


Lunch at the Grand Bazaar is a ground lamb and spice mixture grilled on skewers

Village Salad with a Pomegranate Dressing

A dessert of ground pistachio and honey pudding


Haggia Sophia means Holy Wisdom and was originally a church, then became a mosque, then a church and is now a museum. First built in 537

The Blue Mosque or the Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built in 1609 and is known as the blue mosque because the interior has blue tiles.

Ancient column called the Egyptian Obelisk was built in 1500 bc and moved to Constantinope in 390. This is located in the Hippodrome which is where the ancient chariots would race.


This cistern of Istanbul is one of hundreds and is called the Basilica Cistern and is where the water reserves were stored up through modern times. There was originally a Basilica in its place and after a fire in 476 the cistern was built. It’s a popular place since the latest Dan Brown book was set here.


This is St George’s Church and is the center of the Greek Orthodox Church and home of the Patriarch. There has been a rule that no church should be larger than a mosque, so this church is small.
Mosque and gardens in the Balat-Fener neighborhood called Mosque of Fatih. We learned the government pays for the care and upkeep of the mosques. Interesting to see such a lavish mosque in a poor worn out neighborhood

The flower beds in Istanbul are all curvy and elaborate. They use sod cutters to make the patterns. The designs remind me of Arabic script. 


Washing area for men to clean their hands, face and feet before entering the mosque

My favorite drink only available in Turkey! Ayran, a thin yogurt drink with added salt. Very similar to a salty buttermilk. It’s available everywhere!

Our last night we went to the rooftop bar at the Marmara Pera Hotel. The views were the best in the city and so worthwhile!  We had dinner at the rooftop terrace at Duble Meze in the Palozzo Donizetti Hotel. Fabulous!


Meze in the Palazzo Donizetti also has great views! The food is fantastic! You can see the Marmara Pera Hotel is close by


Duble Meze Menu


Tabouli with yogurt, stuffed mussels and Circassian pate.

Roasted marinated peppers topped with a melted cheese

Chocolate coffee mousse and chocolate cake squares


The next morning we boarded a Turkish Air flight to Chicago which began with Turkish Delight! A sweet memorable end to a glorious 4 month trip!


Two Days in Milano

Milan is the Paris of Italy. Paris is always a good idea as Audrey Hepburn says. I think Milan is too!

Every time we go, we discover something new. This time it was the Boscolo Hotel, the hair make over at Marchianos, the Salsamenteria di Parma Restaurant, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum and of course the shopping and the risotto! It was only 2 days, but every minute was packed!

We always treasure our visits with the Nebulonis! They met us at the Boscolo Hotel where we stayed.


Cool lobby of the Boscolo!

Boscolo Lounge

Boscolo Pool and Spa


Our bedroom at the Boscolo


Cool bedside lamp



Breakfast buffet mini pancakes skewered with ham and cheese at the Boscolo!


Dinner at Salsamenteria di Parma Restaurant. Very authentic food from the food capital of Italy, Emilia-Romagna!

Lambrusco is a sparkling light red wine served cold to balance the heavy flavors of the EmiliaRomagna region.

And at this rustic restaurant it is served in ceramic bowl!

Here are 2 spreads for the rustic crusty bread:Parmesan with olive oil spread and sautéed onion spread

Prosciutto and sausages, specialties of a salumeria, which is an Italian deli.

Lasagne with a meaty ragu and Parmesan cheese

Ravioli filled with zucca, which looks like our pumpkin and tastes like our butternut squash.

And for dessert, Salumi de Chocolat! This is a dessert I have made which is a base of broken vanilla wafer like cookies with chocolate, butter, nuts and powdered sugar. The light color pieces of cookie are to represent the fat chunks of salami! It’s a cookie log that is not baked which is rolled in powdered sugar and then sliced.

My Milano Hair Salon Experience at Marchiano’s


Those aren’t my legs:)

A hair styling involved all these people plus one more!


The Poldi Pezzoli Museum is a private mansion turned into an art museum. Similar to the Fricks in NYC and the Isabella Stewart Gardener in Boston.


Bar at the Boscolo. Very trendy crowd. A buffet of antipasti finger foods were available. The view is of the Duomo

Dinner at a nearby pizzeria for risotto with zucca and shrimp and risotto with red wine and cheese

Milan is a beautiful exciting city that should be on your travel list. Next time I’d go to the Expo!!! It’s like the Worlds Fair of Italy, focusing on FOOD! It’s located in Rho, a town just outside Milan.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 169 other followers