Lentil Minestra


Do you sometimes start cooking and end up with something totally different? As a rule breaking-ologist, here’s a simple lentil soup that turned into a lentil minestra (peas, chicken, roasted red onions, sausage and arborio rice).

I kept adding layers:

When I started to the boil the lentils in a medium pot, I decided to add a container of chicken broth (from my freezer). I drained the lentils (after a minute on the stove), and added the chicken broth to a large pot.

The fresh chicken in the refrigerator ended up in the pot too! I simmered for an hour and then turned off the heat. I removed the chicken from the pot (to de-bone and add back to the minestra).

On my way home from running a few errands, I stopped at my favorite Italian deli (Russo’s) and bought fresh crusty Italian bread, a piece of parmigiano cheese and fresh Italian sausage.

I roasted the Italian sausage (make sure you poke them with a fork) and added two red onions (cut in slices) for thirty minutes. I added the roasted onions and sausage(cut into chunks) to the pot. I prepared arborio rice (al dente) and added to the pot. Not to mention, I also added a bag of frozen peas!

I sauteed for additional 5-7 minutes and it was ready to serve. I added freshly grated parmigiano cheese, black pepper and a few pinches of red chili flakes (optional). The finishing touches of fresh crusty Italian bread and red wine to our rustic dinner with friends.

a presto,


Chicken Salad/Insalata di Pollo

chicken salad

What’s for lunch? Today, I took a little of this and that and came up with a tasty Chicken Salad/Insalata di pollo. Simple, Fresh and Delcious! Hold the mayo!

A litte of this and that:
2 cups (leftover boiled chicken breast), cubed
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 stalks of celery (individual ribs, chopped
2 cups of grape tomatoes (staring at me on the kitchen counter)
salt and pepper (to taste)
red chili flakes (opional – I like it hot)
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.

leftover tip:
Add peanut sauce, toasted sesame, red pepper and corn. Serve in Radicchio leaves (cups).

a presto,


Chicken L’Orange with Dried Cranberries and Capers


When I make eye contact with some of favorite flavors in the refrigerator or pantry, look out! With this dish, I brought two favorite flavours: oranges and dried cranberries. I had leftover cranberries from a previous batch of biscotti (cranberry/almond) and an orange sitting on my kitchen counter. I decided to add some sweetness to the chicken and also a sweet way to use fresh ingredients!

Pre-heat oven 400 Degrees

Here’s another easy dish to prepare….

I layered in an oven baking dish: chicken breasts (seasoned with salt, pepper, red chili flakes). Added the following on top the chicken: fresh orange slices, dried cranberries, 2 tbsp. capers, lemon rind of one lemon (I then sliced the lemon and layered in the dish). ps – I could hear my mother’s voice (peccato) …… that is if I threw out the naked lemon! I added 1 cup of water to the edge of the dish and covered the dish with foil wrap.

In the over it goes…..after 30 minutes, I removed the foil and lowered the heat to 350 degrees for additional 15 minutes.

I made some brown rice and steamed some broccoli and served with the chicken. Ready to serve! I poured the juices of the fruit, cranberries, capers and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil with the rice!

I also have made this with slices of mango in the mix…..

My intern and I enjoyed a nice lunch !

Breaking Bread with Rigatoni and Poached Chicken


On April 21st., one of my best friends past away. Experiencing another loss brought up a lot of sad feelings. I was very lucky to have such a great friend: unconditional love – an angel in disguise. After the service yesterday, I prepared a nice meal to honor Barbara as we broke bread amongst some friends. This was one of Barbara’s favorite dishes that I would prepare – here’s to you Barbara!

Rigatoni with poached chicken breasts in tangy tomatoe sauce with a hint of pesto

This is a very simple dish and having a pantry stocked with some of my essentials makes it very easy to prepare in no time. We were drinking some wine while I prepared this tasty dish:

I just added layers and ended up with this delicous feast:

Serves 4-6

Poached Chicken Breasts:
4-6 chicken breasts
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs (plain unseasoned)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil/1 tbsp. butter
pinch of red chili flakes
2 tbsp. pesto
1 tbsp. capers
1 cup white wine
28 oz can of tomatoe sauce(crushed)
freshly grated parmigiano cheese

In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Add salt and black pepper to the breasts and coat the breasts in the egg wash. In a separate bowl, add the bread crumbs and coat the breasts.

In a large pan, add olive oil and butter to medium-high heat. Add the breasts and turn each side after three minutes – will form a nice golden crust.

Add a 28 oz can of tomatoes, 2 tbsp. of pesto (I keep them in ice cubes in the freezer), a dash of red chili flakes, 1 tbsp. capers and 1 cup of white wine. ps – If you are drinking red wine, then add red wine or your favorite. Place the lid over the pan and turn heat to medium. The chicken will cook evenly and the steaming process will keep the meat moist…..Stir occassionly and turn the chicken. Approx. 20 minutes in cooking and then ready to serve.

In a large pot, cook the pasta according to the package instruction until it is al dente (approx. 8 minutes).

Remove the chicken breasts and serve in a large platter. At the same time, drain the pasta, 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and add to the tomatoe sauce. Add freshly grated Parmigiano cheese (approx. handful). Place pasta in bowl and serve immediately.

I garnished the table with grilled pieces of bread, roasted peppers, olives and vino!

Now that’s a feast!