Tag Archives: white wine

Scallop & Broccoli Casserole

Well earlier today when I was trying to decide on what recipe to use in today’s blog I was stumped. I did come across a great breakfast dish I found in a magazine while I was in the gym (I read my food magazines while on the LifeCycle). But then I started making dinner with what I found in the fridge and freezer. So that became today’s blog. The final finished picture will be added to the post once it finishes baking!

Well 10 days from today I am returning to the land of the employed. I got a job at AAA South. It is a temporary seasonal position but hopefully it’ll become more. I will be working the reception desk. This will be a huge challenge for me as anyone who knows me, knows “the face”. I will leave it at that. But this job will also take time away from blogging. So I am going to try and get ahead for the first work week anyway. We will see how that works. Because as it is now I am just getting around to the blog and it’s almost 8pm! Imagine when I have a real job! So bear with me  when I start working (Jan.31 to be exact). So here is today’s recipe.


1 pound bay scallops

2 cups cooked brown rice (I like jasmine)

2 cups chopped broccoli, no stems

2 Laughing Cow cheese wedges, chopped (I used French Onion)

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped (Less if you aren’t a fan of garlic! Perish the thought)

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ cup white wine (any kind you choose)

1 cup Locatelli romano cheese (or any kind of grated parmesan/romano you want)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


4 tablespoons butter/butter substitute melted

1 cup panko bread crumbs


1. In a large heated sauté pan add olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until just tender. Add the chopped Laughing Cow cheese.

2. Add the broccoli and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until all liquid seems to be evaporated. Add the basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Stir. Add ¼ cup of the white wine and sauté for another 5 minutes.

3. Place the rice in a large bowl. Add the veggie mix to the rice.

4. Add the scallops to the pan and cook for a minute or so. Add another ¼ cup of the wine and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the scallops are opaque. Add them to the bowl of rice and vegetables.

5. Add the romano cheese to mixture and stir thoroughly. Add to casserole dish of choice.

6. Blend the panko bread crumbs with the melted butter. Spread evenly over the top of the casserole.

7. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 45 minutes. Topping should be browned and bubbly.

Escargot Bourgignonne

Cruises are a wonderful thing. In the last 19 years I’ve been on 14, so far. Most of them on Carnival Cruise Lines. John and I take cruise vacations over all others for the most part. Sure we go up to my family’s summer place in Maine but that’s different. Cruises are wonderful. You get treated like royalty. No making your beds or cleaning your room! It’s wonderful. Someone cooks for you 24/7 and cleans up! Gotta love that! But one of the best things about cruising is that you get to try all kinds of food that you would normally not have. Escargot for instance. I had them on my very first cruise and I’ve been hooked ever since! I don’t care that they are really fancy slugs. It’s my way of payback for all damage slugs have done to my gardens over the years!

Anyway, I’ve had them in many different styles. This version is pretty popular. On the cruise ships you get them this way or even covered in cheese! Cheese, garlic, wine, oil…All very tasty! Every cruise we take we always look forward to the night we get to eat snails! I would eat them more if they served them more. This recipe is actually from Carnival Cruise Lines. I bought their cookbook on my 2nd cruise, which was actually my first Carnival Cruise. I’ve been on Carnival eight times now. Two more and I become a VIP! Woo hoo! The last cruise was in December 2009 and we went to the Panama Canal. Incredible! But I digress…Escargot! This recipe isn’t very hard and you can get cans of the little buggers in pretty much every supermarket. They are in the tuna aisle.


¾ cup butter

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons white wine

1 tsp Pernod or anise-flavored liqueur (omit if you don’t like anise)

Pinch grated nutmeg

1 can escargot, well-drained

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Cheesy Escargot on the Carnival Miracle Dec. 2009


1. In a large frying pan, melt butter over high heat; stir in garlic and onion. Cook until tender but not brown.

2. Stir in wine, liqueur, nutmeg and escargot; season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10-15 minutes or until flavors are blended. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6

Microwave Shrimp Scampi

No matter how many Italian restaurants you go to,  if you order Shrimp Scampi you will rarely get the same thing twice. I think every restaurant has their own version of this simple and delicious meal. Some bread the shrimp, some have a creamy sauce, some grill the shrimp, some have lots of garlic, others don’t. The list can go on and on. Years ago I came across a recipe for the microwave that is so simple and fast that I use it quite a bit. I also adapted it of course to my cooking style. I used to serve it over linguini. Those days are over! Now I use the Tofu Shirataki Noodles for the most part. You can also use any small pasta like orzo or even rice. Linguini or spaghetti shaped pasta, wheat or regular is always a good choice though. It’s up to you. My recipe also calls for a little more garlic than most people like, so if you are one of those who aren’t crazy about lots of garlic, just put less in. This recipe is a great “go to” recipe if you need something fast, and happen to have shrimp in the freezer. I always have shrimp on hand. I stock up. (Yes, for when our friend Andre is visiting!) No really, I actually buy my shrimp at Walmart. No joke. We have a Super Walmart where I do most of my grocery shopping. They sell a 14 ounce bag of frozen cooked and cleaned or raw, large shrimp for $5! Sometimes they have the extra-large, same 14 ounces, for $6. Everytime I go I try and get another bag. This way I always have shrimp on hand. It’s great for any unexpected guests who pop in too. Shrimp cocktail is always a winner! A quick way to defrost that bag of frozen shrimp? Just put the shrimp in a large bowl (yes take it out of the bag first) and cover with cool water. Not hot or warm water. Cool water. Check after about 10-15 minutes, if shrimp is still a little frozen, dump the water and add fresh. It shouldn’t take more than another 5 minutes. Easy! Oh and I don’t know if you are like me when it comes to “shrimp tails” but I think it is such a pain in my butt to have to stop and remove the tail while eating! Every single restaurant leaves them on. Sure they look nice but really. Do we need to make a mess trying to get that tail off and not ending up with it in our lap? I think we can forgo the tail! So in this recipe, remove the tails before cooking along with the rest of the shell! Whew, thanks for letting me vent! And now for the recipe!

Photo is for illustrative purposes only!


½ cup butter (or butter substitute)

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound raw large shrimp, cleaned and DE-TAILED (you will thank me!)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup white wine (any kind you have is fine)

Paprika (optional)

Parmesan cheese


1. Melt the butter in a 2 quart microwave safe bowl or casserole dish. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, wine and salt.

2. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper or other type of cover.

3. Microwave on HIGH until shrimp is pink/opaque and tender, about 3-6 minutes, stirring twice.

4. Serve over linguine, spaghetti, orzo, rice, quinoa, or whatever you want! Sprinkle some paprika on top if desired. Serve with parmesan cheese for the top and maybe some nice crostini or Italian bread to soak up the garlic butter!

Serves 2

Chicken Breast Braciole

Most people who know what braciole is would normally think of beef. Not chicken. Well this is a chicken version of that recipe. You can also use veal, pork or beef if you want so don’t worry. It will be fine. Chicken has more protein and we should all eat more of it. This is another low-fat recipe but feel free to fatten it up if you need to. I won’t be offended. These are a little like little chicken croquettes or something. I will post a picture as soon as I make them! Promise!


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

½ cup bread crumbs (your choice)

¼ pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded

2 tablespoons parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons white wine

juice of one lemon


1. Cut each chicken breast into four pieces. Place chicken breast between waxed paper and pound with a mallet until they are about ¼ inch thick.

2. In the center of each piece place bread crumbs, mozzarella and parsley evenly. Roll and secure with toothpicks.

3. In a frying pan over medium heat, put the oil and garlic. Saute garlic till lightly browned. Saute chicken in the olive oil and garlic until golden brown.

4. Add wine, reduce heat, cover and cook 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Italian Summer Wine Trilogy

Summer is officially here tomorrow. But for most of us it’s been here for weeks already. Especially in Florida. And when the heat of the summer takes over and everyone is enjoying outdoor parties, barbecues, deck parties etc. the last thing we want is a heavy wine. Which many Italian wines can be. But Italy also produces many varieties of lighter more refreshing wines which are perfect for a hot summer day on the veranda! I have only listed three wines which I think are best for the summertime. There are a couple other wines that are less known here in the U.S. and they are pretty hard to find so I will not list them. If I had to choose one of these three over the others, my vote is for Prosecco. Riondo Prosecco is our favorite.

Riondo Prosecco

PROSECCO: My favorite Italian wine for any season is actually a sparkling wine, Prosecco. Prosecco should be on everyone’s summer wine list, in my opinion. It’s made for the most part from the Prosecco grape which grows in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps. Sometimes the Prosecco grapes are mixed with a small amount of Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanc grapes as well. Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method that the French use. The Charmat method lets the wine go through the second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in the bottles like champagne is done. No turning the bottles everyday like champagne. This method preserves the freshness and flavor of the Prosecco grapes!

Prosecco Grapes

Prosecco is usually very affordable, light and fun. Much easier on the wallet and palate than Champagne. The fizz in Prosecco is not overwhelming, it’s just right. It is usually dry with citrus (lemon and grapefruit) overtones and just a hint of honey. Did I mention I love Prosecco? You can serve it with pastas with light sauces, fish, seafood, salads etc. Pretty much everything goes with Prosecco if you ask me and John! It should be served well chilled! It’s best to serve Prosecco within 3 years of its vintage date but the higher quality ones can be aged up to seven years! Not in my house! We’re lucky if a bottle lasts a few days before we open it and drink it! The Venetians say Prosecco is an ideal appertivo or ombrette (pick-me-up). Remember you can also add fresh peach nectar to it and make…Bellinis!!! There are many brands on the market in all price ranges from $7+ usually. We have many favorites in all price ranges.

Pinot Grigio Grapes

PINOT GRIGIO: Pinot Grigio is one of the best known Italian white wines. It’s a light, dry wine with an almost lemony flavor with slightly nutty overtones. The Pinot Grigio grapes are also grown in the Veneto region (like Prosecco) as well as the Fruili region, both in northeastern Italy. Pinot Grigio is usually pale in color, almost straw-like and it’s best to drink it close to its vintage year. It’s not a wine you want to age. It’s best served with seafood, light pastas and cheese. I would stay away from acidic dishes such as vinegar-based salad dressing and citrus-based sauces. It’s not a good combo. It’s a great wine to have before dinner. In the United States Pinot Grigio is usually a summer favorite. It’s another wine that is very reasonable in price. You can get a good bottle for as low as $5 or $6 and of course the prices can get much higher.

Trebbiano Grapes

SOAVE: Soave is another well-known Italian white wine here in the United States. When I hear Soave I usually immediately think of Soave Bolla. The Bolla vineyards have made Soave a household name here. Soave is a light, crisp wine. It’s made from the Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave grapes that again grown in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy.  I’m sensing a trend here. Soave is produced as a still wine as well as sparkling or sweet wine as well. Most of the imported Soave we get here in the U.S. is the still variety. Soave usually has a slightly green color with very distinct perfume-like tones. It goes great with light pastas, salads or fish. Or just drink it on its own while sitting on the patio relaxing after a long hard day! I tend to favor the Soave over the Pinot Grigio myself.  It’s a little more fruity than the Pinot Grigio which is why I like it. Soave gets its name from a small town nestled among the vine-covered hills in the shadow of a handsome and well-preserved castle. Pretty cool! It is also a wine that should not be aged. Drink it no more than three years from its vintage year.

Garganega Grapes

Mussels Ala Genua

I never knew I liked mussels for most of my life until I had them at a friend’s house about 10 years ago. Who knew I’d love them so much! We have tried mussels in most of our favorite restaurants in our travels and have found such a range of styles and tastes! In Florida our favorite place to get mussels is at our favorite Italian restaurant EVO in Tequesta. (www.evoitalian.com). And strange enough our all time favorite place for mussels was in one of the oddest places you would think, North Conway, NH at a wonderful place called The Muddy Moose Restaurant and Pub (www.muddymoose.com)! We were there at the outlets a few years ago on while on our trip to Maine and decided to get a beer, they are a microbrewery also so they have great beers. We were hungry as well so decided to give their mussels a try and they were outstanding! Go figure, a local pub serving bikers and tourists and they all loved the mussels! A full pound of Maine mussels sautéed with garlic, shallots, white wine, butter, lemon juice and crushed red pepper. Incredible to say the least! We compare everything to theirs now. EVO’s recipe is fresh Prince Edward Island mussels pan sautéed with white wine, roasted garlic, pecorino romano and tossed with a touch cream, finished with fresh basil and toasted crostini. Also to die for! But mine is my own recipe and it’s still really good. I have been actually buying my mussels frozen from Wal-Mart, no joke. I get two whole pounds for $3.50! They are already cooked and frozen! And they are really good! Go figure! I always have some on hand in the freezer for a quick snack when company comes by. They don’t take too long to cook and they are pretty low-calorie too. It’s the cream sauces and bread that makes them higher in calories. Anyway, without further ado (as my Dad always says…) here’s the recipe.


2 pounds of frozen mussels

2 -15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes with garlic and basil

olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup wine, red or white, which ever you have open

thin sliced italian bread toasted, if you wish

grated parmesan cheese


1. In a large sauté pan, pour enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan and heat on medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until lightly brown. Careful not to burn it.

2. Add the wine and sauté with garlic for a minute or so.

3. Add the tomatoes to pan and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes until heated thoroughly.

4. Add the mussels and mix thoroughly. Cover and heat for about 7 minutes. Remember they are already cooked so don’t overcook.

5. Serve in a large bowl with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 6 (or 3 really hungry people!)

**Check out the Muddy Moose when in North Conway, NH!! You won’t be disappointed!

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