Ciao, everyone!

We’re back after a wonderful trip to Rome, NY, to visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Having been born and raised in that town in Central New York, I miss the down-home, true-blue Italian cooking that can only be found there!  At one time, you could find it on every street corner.  Now, you need to look long and hard to find that kind of Italian Culinary Experience!  This time, as always, we hunkered down on the night we arrived to partake in the awesome food at The Franklin Hotel!    If you’ve ever eaten there, then ‘Nuff Said!  Anyway, time to get back to The Chef’s recipe of the week.  I think that you’ll like this one.  He’s added a nice twist at the bottom!

My goodness, I can smell it cooking as we speak!

Chicken Cacciatore  – Dutch Oven Style

Cooking Time: 80 min


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chicken drumsticks, thighs or bone-in chicken breasts (adjust as needed for number of servings)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 fresh mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped, undrained
  • 1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 quart Chicken Broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary and thyme.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


1.  In a 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle salt over chicken and cook 20 minutes, until browned on each side, turning halfway through cooking. 
 Remove from pan and set aside.

2  Add onion, green pepper and mushrooms to pan and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Drain off excess liquid.   Add chicken and remaining ingredients to onions and mushrooms; mix well.  Stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from burning, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through.

Serves 2-6 (depending upon the amount of chicken that you choose to include)

WW points plus: Use your guide to determine points based on the amount of chicken and olive oil used.  The rest of the ingredients are pretty much “gratuito!”

An Interesting Option:  Take the Dutch oven out to the gas grill.

Take it out to the Grill!

1.  Adjust the grill temp to 350 degrees F to heat the Dutch oven and cook the chicken as described above.

2.  Then lower the temperature to 300 degrees F for the second step. Once the veggies are sautéed and the other ingredients and chicken are added back to the oven, simmer for 60 minutes, adjusting the temperature to simmer the sauce without burning it.

Well, there you have it in a nutshell…or a Dutch oven, to be exact!  We hope you enjoy and

A presto!

Katherine and The Chef


A Delizioso Fall Favorite!

November 19, 2012

Hello again from the Cucina!  We have been having some scrumptious fall vegetable creations that will make your mouth water!  Always having been a fan of squash, the Chef has searched the net for flavorful ways to include it in his Italian recipe collection.  And this is what he came up with!  As with all chefs, he’s never quite satisfied with one recipe.  So, he whipped and shaped and molded the ones he’s tried, and voila!  This is his latest seasonal delight.  Mange and Enjoy!

Baked Italian Spaghetti Squash


A generous portion of cooked squash in baking dish.

1- large spaghetti squash

2-4 second olive oil spray

¼ – cup chopped green bell pepper

¼ – cup chopped onion

½ – clove garlic, minced

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (drained)

1/2-cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon minced basil

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 

1 – pint of homemade (or store bought) tomato sauce

Tomato, Pepper, Basil Topping


1. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Place the squash in a steamer and cook covered about 25 minutes until tender. Remove and allow the squash to cool, then use a fork and scrap the squash pulp from the shells in strands. Set aside.

2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook bell pepper, onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the tomatoes, pepper and basil to the pan and simmer for an additional two minutes. Drain the topping on a plate covered with paper towel to remove excess liquid.

3. Heat the sauce in a pan.

4. Assemble the dishes in ovenproof dishes. Place a generous portion of the cooked squash in each oil-sprayed plate. Top the squash, with the pepper, onion and tomato mixture. Smother each plate of squash with tomato sauce and 1/4-cup of mozzarella chesse.

5. Cover the plates with foil and place on a cookie sheet.

Top them off!

6. Bake 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (optional).

Serves 2- WW Plus Points: 2 points per serving

Make ahead: Steps 1 and 2 can be prepared and refrigerated the day prior.

The sauce is soupy, kind of like my dad likes his, and makes for a nice, warm fall dinner delight!

We hope you enjoy it and that you will send us your comments!

Buon Appetito!

The Chef and Me!

…cover and put into the oven!

Add cheese…