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Sunday, April 8, 2012

SOUP's ON: What's For Dinner?: EASTER S'MORES JARS

SOUP's ON: What's For Dinner?: EASTER S'MORES JARS: W e are attending a family brunch tomorrow for Easter and I wanted to create something different for each guest.  Inspired by all the Mason ...

Saturday, April 7, 2012


We are attending a family brunch tomorrow for Easter and I wanted to create something different for each guest.  Inspired by all the Mason Jar gifts under Easter on Pinterest, I created my version of the Easter S'More Jar:

1/2 c pastel M&Ms (I used both Dark and Milk Chocolate)
6 Purple Peep Bunnies
1 package of Land o Lakes Cocoa Mix
1 package of Teddy Grahams (individual pkg)
1 6" x 6" pastel colored material
1 thin pastel colored ribbon approximately 14" long
1 Qt. Mason Jar
1 Gift Card (blank inside)
1 Bunny sticker
1 Plastic Egg sticker
Hole puncher

Combine Jar in whatever order fits your taste.
Place M&Ms on bottom layer,
Next, add the Peeps along side of jar
Finally, place the teddy grahams and cocoa in a plastic sandwich bag
Fit the sandwich bags in the middle of the Peeps.
Cover with flat suction lid
Take material and cover evenly over the lid
Screw the outer lid around the material
Tie a ribbon under the rim of the lid
Fill out gift card, and punch hole in the corner
Tie the gift card with the thin ribbon tied around the lid so the gift card securely hangs
Stick the plastic egg sticker to the top of the lid onto the material
Add a bunny sticker to the side of the jar to finish.

Happy Easter!

It's Just Me Val, Ciao'!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Breaded Italian Pork Chops


Note: This recipe was inspired by "Rock Recipes" Baked Parmesan Panko Pork Chops and I want to give credit to Rock Recipes for the base recipe...

I've changed it up to give an Italian flair and then added a fruit topping.
A DELICIOUS outcome!  Unbelievably juicy and tasty.  I  chose to serve this with Asparagus,Corn, and a baked Macaroni and Cheese with a crusted topping and applesauce.

So here's how to prepare this great dish, let's start from scratch:
You'll need the following:


6 Pork Chops (lean and medium thickness)
1 c Panko Bread Crumbs
1/2 c Flour
1/2 c Mixed grated Parmesan and Pecorino Romano
1 Egg
1 Lg Apple
1 T Water
Sea Salt
Garlic Parsley
Olive Oil Spray (or spray of choice)

2 T's Juice from a small container of Mandarin Oranges

Mix a blend of Sea Salt, Pepper, Garlic Parsley, and Oregano
Sprinkle over bother sides of chop and rub in to help it stick.

Place flour in a bowl
 Mix Panko with Cheeses in a bowl
Whisk water and egg together in a bowl

 Dip each chop 1st, in flour, then egg, then coat with Panko/Cheese mixture


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Olive Oil to coat
Place chops onto foil and spray tops of each lightly
Bake 15 minutes
While chops are baking slice and core apple into 18 thin slices 
After 15 minutes remove baking sheet and flip chops to reverse side
Place 3 apple slices on each, 
Sprinkle cinnamon lightly across apples 
Sprinkle Mandarin Orange juice lightly across apples
Back to oven for 20 minutes

Plate and serve

Mangia Mang'

It's Just Me Val, Ciao'!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

SOUP'S ON: What's For Dinner - How It All Began...


One afternoon, I was working our business as I always do from home and at approximately 3 pm I looked up at the clock and realized I didn't have a clue of what I was going to make Bob, my husband, for dinner.  I had nothing but the same the freezer and that was frozen.

I had Facebook open as I did much of the time back then (played Mafia Wars at the time) and had over 3,000 friends from it so I thought, what the heck, I'll ask everyone else what they're doing and maybe I'll get a brilliant idea.  So I did, I posted a 'personal status' SOUP's ON: What's For Dinner?.  To my amazement 50 plus friends responded and one Mafia Wars friend Ron from Texas posted a Chicken Pasta Casserole that looked easy and fast.  I asked for the recipe which he then posted.  By now it was going on 4 pm, I printed off the recipe and ran to the store.  Headed back home, prepared, baked and served it one hour later and it was De-Li-Cious!  I will never forget that experience.

That worked so well that I decided from then on when I was unsure what to make for dinner I would post that question on my status and see what happens.  AND I did just that, each time working marvelously until it started to become an everyday post because others started to also like it.  With 3,000 friends the posts can get long and it wasn't too long that I realized this was probably annoying to my other friends and family.  So I decided to take this quest to a group.  Our first group in the Soup's On Family was established in October of 2010.  Today our novice to expert Chefs/Members wait each day for the bell to ring around 3 pm and meal plan posts begin and go through the night/day dependent on what part of the world the chef is from.  On days when that bell doesn't ring by myself, I can count on anxious members to ring it for me, with our well known POST: SOUP's ON: What's For Dinner?

Since then we have added many other themed groups and pages.

I sure hope you've enjoyed this group and page as much as I have.  Below are other SOUP's ON family groups and pages. Please feel free to join or like pages or groups below and help us grow by letting your friends know too!  Enjoy and Thanks!

1. It's Raining CATS and DOGS - Our pet page (even have a Bear and Horse that are members)!:

2. Couch Potatoes to Book Worms - Our Book, Movie, TV and Music Page (Reviews, Tips, Likes and Dislikes, new and availables):

3. The Garage - Auto, Motorcyle and AV News, Rallies and Races:

4. My Green Thumb - All about gardening, landscaping, ponds, birds and pools:

5. Eat-Write & Train Yourself Healthy - dedicated to healthy eating and lifestyle for over 40 when your metabolism and body say NO!:

6. Help! I Need a Vacation - Travel and vacation reviews, tips and ideas, photos etc...:

7. Soup's ON: What's for Dinner? - Meal planning and Recipe sharing

 8. It's Raining Cats and Dogs - Collaborative sharing of member pet lovers all over the world from breeders to pet owners. Share ideas, questions, tips, links, videos, photos, stories and more!

And our newest Group...

9. A Girl, Her Purse and Her Shoes - What woman doesn't love purses and shoes? This group will be dedicated to sharing purses and shoes from all over the world, from the most expensive to the least, and as often as possible post sales. In turn we hope that you will share your choices and why they are, or your latest finds. If you are a purse diva or an Imelda Marcos with shoes this group is probably going to be a favorite of yours!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Herb Crusted Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin

Herb Crusted Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin

If you're as tired of packaged and marinated Turkey Tenderloin as I am, this is a great alternative.
It is tasty and easy to prepare, and when done it is as juicy as brined turkey.  Enhanced by the stuffing combo of flavors of Pancetta, Portabella and Baby Swiss Cheese make it a flavorful choice.


1 Turkey Tenderloin
1/2 # Pancetta
Baby Swiss Cheese (to taste)
4 Medium Portabella Mushrooms
2 Green Onions
Handful of fresh Italian Parsley
Juice of one Lemon
2-3 T Marsala Wine
1 T dry Rosemary
1 T dry Thyme
1/2 t ground sage
1/2 t poultry seasoning
Sea Salt
Garlic Parsley
Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a Food Processor: Green Onion, Italian Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic Parsley, and Juice of a Lemon, chop to a blend and add Marsala Wine.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil
Chop Pancetta and Portabella and add to oil when hot
Mix until browned, then put into a bowl and set aside

Cut the Turkey Tenderloin 2/3 through
Pour and Rub Herb blend over top, side and bottom of Turkey Tenderloin
Place inner Tenderloin into skillet with drippings from Pancetta and Mushroom and sear on both sides to golden brown, remove.

Place seared Tenderloin on a sheet of aluminum foil
Line Tenderloin with Baby Swiss slices cut in half
Stuff Tenderloin with Pancetta/Portabella mix
Wrap Tenderloim closed, like a deli sandwich, in the aluminum foil
Bake for 45 minutes in medium baking pan or dish (Tenderloin should read 165 degrees when done)

Plate and serve with your favorite vegetable and potatoes:  Mangia Mang'

It's Just Me Val, Ciao'!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grilled Terriyaki Marinated Flank Steak


I love Keep it Simple recipes and this recipe is just that!  It has such excellent flavor and is simple, simple, simple to prepare.  It originated from our daughter Lyndsi's kitchen.  We used to always grill skirt steak, while Bob's favorite cut of meat was brisket.  As most know, for tender Brisket it requires a good deal of cooking time that you don't always have.  This Flank Steak recipe is a great compromise. I assure you, the whole family will enjoy each tender - juicy - flavorful bite! 

1 Flank Steak
1/2 bottle Terriyaki Sauce
Sea Salt
McCormick's Garlic Parsley


Lay flank steak either on cutting board or place in plastic zip loc bag
Using a tenderizer or mallet, pound steak on both sides.
Sprinkle sea salt, coarse black pepper and garlic parsley over both sides and rub in
In a zip loc large bag pour 1/2 of the Terriyaki sauce, place steak in bag and cover with other 1/2 of the Terriyaki sauce.
Place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours (the longer this meat marinates the better)

When meat is fully marinated, take out, grill each side 8 minutes and Whala!  You're done.
Slice meat against the grain and serve with your favorite vegetable, salad and add some Garlic Toast for a an awesomely delicious dinner!  Mania Mang'!

It's Just Me Val, Ciao'!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Italian Casserole was introduced to our family years ago by my sisterinlaw Barb. 
If you're looking for a quick casserole with an Italian flair, this is definitely it and easy to make!
Add a side salad, and some garlic bread, bread sticks or as I chose to serve with garlic butter drenched rolls, and of course a great bottle of wine!  Mangia Mang'!

Hope you enjoy the recipe!


1 lb. Lean Ground Beef (Bison, Chicken or Turkey optional)
1  6oz. can of Tomato Paste (I used Contadina)
1 package of dry Spaghetti Sauce Mix (I used McCormicks)
8 oz. Sour Cream (I used Daisy Lite)
4 oz. shredded Mozzeralla (I used Sargento)
2 T Butter
2 T grated Parmesan
2 tubes Crescent Rolls (I used Pillsbury)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Using a 9x13 casserole dish lightly spray with Pam to cover sides and bottom of dish
  • In a medium skillet, brown ground beef, drain, and place back into skillet
  • Add spaghetti sauce and tomato paste, mix well and set aside
  • In a bowl mix sour cream and Mozzarella cheese
  • In a ramekin, melt butter in microwave 

1st: Lay one tube of crescent rolls flat, stretch gently to fit on bottom of dish
2nd:Ground beef mixture followed by sour cream mixture
3rd Top with 2nd tube of crescent rolls, again laid out flat and stretch gently to fit
Brush top of casserole with melted butter evenly and sprinkle Parmesan on top

Bake for 35 minutes 
Cool 5 minutes and Serve 

Serves 12

Monday, March 19, 2012


Chicken Marsala over Buttered Parsley Pasta (shown with Shitaki Mushrooms and Broccoli)


5 Thin sliced Chicken Breast halves
2 pkgs. Shitaki or Portabella Mushrooms

1/4 Red Onion
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
6T Butter
1/2 # Spaghetti
Olive Oil
5 cloves Garlic 
1/4 c Pecorino Romano


To Start:
Heat 2 T Olive Oil in large Skillet
Crush garlic, add to oil and cook till golden brown (remove)
While garlic is browning, salt and pepper chicken breast slices on both sides and rub in
Once removing garlic from Olive Oil, add the chicken and cook 5 min on both sides
Once Chicken has a golden glaze, remove from Skillet, place in bowl and pour drippings, cover 
Add Olive Oil if needed, lightly

In the meantime...
In 3 QT pan, boil 8 cups of water with sea salt 
When bubbling add 1/2 # Spaghetti and cook to 'al dente', strain and place in bowl
Add 3T Butter salt, pepper, garlic parsley and parsley flakes, mix
Add Pecorino Romano mix and cover

After removing chicken and drippings...
Add 1 T Olive Oil to the skillet and over medium heat:
Add Mushrooms to skillet stir for 2 minutes
Add Butter and melt
Add onion and saute till soft, about 1 minute
Add Marsala Wine mix
Place chicken and drippings on top of mushroom mix, Cover

Plate Chicken and top with Mushroom mix and drippings, serve with pasta

Mangia Mang'    

It's Just Me Val, Ciao'

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chicken Scarpiello

One of my favorite channels is the Food Network. The chefs rock on that channel and I love to record their shows and watch them when I have time- and make their meals! Anne Burrell, who was Mario Batali's sous chef came out with this super awesome dish that I just HAD to make and I could not change it at all to be my own. Not yet anyway- I have some new ideas to spice it up for the next time I make it :) Scarpiello requires a whole chicken that you chop up- this is where my husband comes in. I said, I will make this meal, but only if you cut up the whole chicken. He agreed and then turned into my sous chef/assistant/partner in Scarpiello crime! Together we got this meal done and it tasted AWESOME!! Beware you need a good 1 hour to prepare everything and less time for cooking, maybe 25 minutes! Ingredient Line Up:

  • Olive Oil

  • 1lb fennel sausage- we used italian-turkey sausage is a healthy alternative option as well

  • 1 whole chicken- diced up, bones intact- get rid of the guts!

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 spanish onion- or any onion you like sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

  • 3/4 C white wine- we used Pinot and did NOT use measuring cups :)

  • 1 C quartered hot cherry peppers

  • 1/2 C hot cherry pepper juice, from the jar

  • 1 C Chicken stock, or more if needed

  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano, I used dried because my herb garden is not ready yet!
Isn't this chicken chopping lovely?! He did a great job! Cherry Peppers=YUM! Find them in any grocery store Diced onions, garlic and soon to be chopped cherry peppers! Directions:

  • Coat a large wide pan with Olive oil and bring the pan to a medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown well. Remove the sausage, put aside for later use.

  • Add the raw pieces of chicken to the same pan the sausage was cooked in, season well with salt and pepper and brown. Once browned on all sides, remove and set aside for later use.

  • Drain the oil from the pan, and add new oil to the pan. Add the sliced onions and season with salt. Cook the onions over medium heat for 6-7 minutes, add garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

  • Add wine to the pan and reduce it by half, while the wine is reducing scrap up all browned bits from bottom of the pan. Return the sausage and chicken to the pan, add cherry peppers, cherry pepper juice, chicken stock, and oregano. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer, simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes, add more chicken stock if the stock has reduced too much.
See the browned chicken and sausage in separate bowls as well as the sliced cherry peppers in the juice and of course the white wine- feel free to pour yourself a glass while cooking! Sweating onions Smells so YUMMY

This was so good!! YUM Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ooey Gooey Chocolate and Chewy

Time for another sinful treat! My husband decided to buy a bulk container of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough because we are trying to sell our house and he believes he needs to bake cookies everytime we have a showing or open house. I can do without the fresh cookie dough because I will eat it! I do not need to eat this stuff!! That being said, today was an 'I am going to eat Cookie Dough' Day. I had to great creative to make it worth my cheating. So here we go!

  • Get a bag of marshmellows and your favorite cookie dough

  • Whether you make your cookie dough or buy it already made, do that first!

  • Scoop your cookie dough and form a big ball of cookie dough around one big marshmellow

  • Put onto your baking sheet, add parchment paper to make for easy clean up.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until nice and chewy. NOTE: the marshmellow wont melt into the cookie until you bring it out of the oven, don't be alarmed! You get a large chocolate chip marshmellow ooey gooey chocolate and chewy cookie! Beware very messy, enjoy with some milk!