Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Fall Favorite

Hi Foodie Friends,

It's my favorite time of the year!  Cooler weather, the smell of Pumpkin candles lingering through out the house, not to mention Pumpkin Spice Lattes! But my favorite all time tradition is of course, apple picking.  I drag my girls every year to Bowman's to pick some fine apples.  They aren't as thrilled as I am, but I don't care! It's Fall, it's tradition and I want apples! LOL.

I always have to sneak my stash in the house because it's never just a little.  Pass out apples to neighbors and friends, so it looks like I only picked a "small bag".  I always have plenty left for apple cake, apple sauce and apple pie!   By accident, I made the best apple pie ever!!!  Now, let me just say, my pies turn out good, but this was over the top, pallet popping good!  Even my kids ate it!  Cinnamon, butter, apples, and homemade pie crust.  There it is folks, my secret weapon.  I have the most amazing and easy pie crust known to man.  So easy, you mix it right in the pie pan.  Now, that caught your attention!  No rolling, no letting it sit overnight, nothing!  Just mix and bake! Another fun fact about this recipe, you can precook the pie shell for pudding pies. Follow the same steps and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until light brown.  Whala!  Life can't get any better than that.

Below are step by step instructions for you to make your very own, fabulous Apple Pie Crisp.  Hope you enjoy.

Ingredients: (makes 1 pie shell, double for 2 shells)

1 1/2 cups of Flour
3 tsp. Sugar
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 tbsp. Milk


5 Large apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 cup Sugar
3 tbsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg


1 cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
1/2 stick Butter, cold and cut in small cubes

1. Add all ingredients into your ungreased pie pan.

2. Mix together with a fork until a dough forms.

3. Start patting the pie crust to the sides and bottom of pie pan with your fingers.  Be sure to poke holes in the bottom and sides of dough.

4. Add the apple and cinnamon mixture and spread evenly

5. After combining ingredients for the crumb topping, sprinkle on top of pie and dust a little cinnamon on top.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 55-60 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mini is best!

Hi Foody Friends,

Oh what a weekend!  If you didn't tune in, I was featured on The Let's Eat segment on Channel 13 this past Saturday.  I was beyond excited to be on TV and doing I what I love best, cooking.  Nerves were building up a few minutes before showtime, but as soon as we started, the butterflies eased and I was as cool as a cucumber.  Four minutes, that's all I had! Cook, talk and please Dan Bazile's taste buds, which isn't hard, because that man loves food!  He makes your morning fun and so easy that you forget you are on camera.  I am looking forward to hopefully visiting the Let's Eat Kitchen again soon.

I decided to go with a fun recipe that is simple and family friendly.  Kids especially would love to make. Mini Lasagnas. These are great to have as a light dinner.  Served with a side salad, these lasagnas will satisfy any craving of Italian goodness. The best part, is there are unlimited ideas for a stuffing.  You can stick to a traditional recipe, or as I did, kick it up a notch and use Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes.  Not only is this a vegetarian friendly meal, but it's a great combination of cheeses.  Melted and oozing with flavors that will make your pallet pop! Plus, they are small.  I had a nice side of red wine with mine. 

I hope you enjoy the Mini Lasagnas as much as we did!  Get your kids in the kitchen and whip up a batch. Enjoy!

Mini Lasagnas with Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes
Ingredients: Serves 4
1 Pint Grape Tomatoes
8 Lasagna Sheets
16 oz. Plain Goat Cheese (room temperature)
½ cup of Grated Parmesan
1 Garlic Clove
2 tbsp. Fresh Basil
2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley
Salt and Pepper
Stick of Butter
4 Ramekins
Olive Oil for drizzling
Preheat oven at 450 degrees.  Place tomatoes in an oven safe baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 10 minutes, or until tomatoes start to pop open.  Remove from oven and set aside.
Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
Boil Lasagna in salted water, drain and let cool.  Butter each Ramekin inside and set aside. 
Using 2 cooked lasagna noodles in an “x” shape, line each ramekin, pushing the noodles gently into the bottom of the ramekins, allowing any excess pasta to overhang on the sides.
In a small mixing bowl, add goat cheese, garlic, basil and parsley.  Mix until a creamy mixture.  With the back of a wooden spoon, break up the roasted tomatoes then add into the mixture.  Mix together, add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon ¼ cup of the filling into the bottom of each ramekin.  Fold 2 overhanging pieces of pasta over the filling.  Add another ¼ cup of filling and fold over the remaining pieces of pasta. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with Olive Oil.
Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until tops are golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.
To serve:
Run a knife around the edges of the ramekins to loosen the lasagnas.  Unmold the lasagnas onto serving plates and serve.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Garden Fresh!

Hi Foodie Friends,

It's Summer and the Farmer's Markets are at full bloom and so are the veggies.  My favorite time of the year for the fresh of the freshest from all our local farmers.  I remember growing up I used to have to "watch" my Father plant a garden.  Yes, watch only.  No planting.  Just hours of watching and fetching tools from the garage.  I would much rather plant, because watching someone do something for an entire afternoon is worse than actually doing the work.  I think he enjoyed the company and between yelling at me when I would bring an ax to him when he wanted a hammer, he taught me a few things about planting a garden.  First and foremost, what a hammer looks like.  Always turn the soil, even after your plants start growing.  Water daily or at least every other day.  Be gentle, don't be heavy handed when picking vegetable from a plant.  Seems pretty easy.  My father would spend all weekend planting the perfect garden.  Straight rows of cucumbers, peppers and tomato plants.  Pumpkin plants on the corners because they grew the biggest. All neatly surrounded by a wired fence. There was always some sort of yelling and profanity coming from the garden, mainly because I was drifting off looks at the trees or birds flying by, or listening to the "bees in my head."  That's what my dad said when I was hyper. LOL.  I look back and get a good chuckle.

This year I decided to take all I learned growing up and start my own garden.  It may not be huge, or straight rows of vegetables, but it's my garden.  I remembered everything I learned growing up and put my love and heart into it.  I even talk to my plants and they respond by growing delicious green beans and cucumbers. My tomato plants are growing, but no tomatoes, yet.  It's coming.  Pepper plants are almost ready and I have garlic and onions in there somewhere, but I need to locate them.  LOL. Overall, my garden is looking pretty good.  I picked my first batch of green beans last week and just picked my second batch Saturday. They are growing like crazy!  I am tickled pink!

With my freshly picked green beans, I created a little dish that would be great for a Summer meal out on the deck. Weather you cook family style or a Date Night dinner, you can't go wrong.  Hope you enjoyed my little memory from growing up and a fabulous dinner below.  Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Sauteed Green Beans


4 pieces of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 lb. of fresh Green Beans
1 Garlic clove minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 tbsp Roasted Garlic Chipotle Seasoning.  (Or your favorite chicken seasoning)


Preheat your grill on low.  Season both sides of chicken breast with salt and pepper and your favorite seasoning. Grill each side until done. About 5-6 minutes each side.

While your chicken is grilling, rinse the green beans and set aside.  Over medium heat add oil and garlic,then toss in green beans.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Sautee for about 5-6 minutes.  Beans are best a little crispy.

Don't forget a nice glass of Red!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Those Pesky Leftovers

Hi Foody Friends,

I don't know about you, but I love the holidays. It's the few times a year I can turn into an Elf on Christmas and a Bunny on Easter.  Prepare a feast of delicious foods and drink lots of wine. Sharing all my childhood traditions with my girls.  Not to mention, my O.C.D. issues when it comes to holiday decorating, coloring Easter eggs and decorating Christmas cookies.  But, the one thing that annoys the crap out of me are the leftovers!  What to do with my 10 pounds of ham still sitting in my refrigerator??  One can only make so many ham dinners before you start smelling like a ham.  Oh, don't get me started on the unknown amount of egg salad I consumed this past week.  Honestly, is that even safe?

Frittatas.  I love saying that word as much as I like eating them.  Bobby Flay, Giada and even the Barefoot Contessa are always making some crazy Frittata concoctions.  My they always look scrumptious.  I put together a tasty little recipe which is perfect for entertaining guests for breakfast or brunch.  Plus, they are simple to make. Quick for those hungry In-Laws staying with you during the holidays.  You can use just about anything in a Frittata, even wine.  I used some of our leftovers from Easter.  It was fabulous and even the kids enjoyed it!

So get that apron on, make some Mimosa's and get cooking! Enjoy the recipe below!


Ingredients: (serves 4)

8 large eggs scrambled
1 cup chopped ham cooked
1 cup of Collard Greens cooked and seasoned
1 shallot minced
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
Couple of dashes of Hot Sauce
1 tbsp. Oregano
1 tbsp. Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste


Preheat oven at 350 degrees. In a non stick skillet, melt butter and add shallots, cook until soft. Add ham and greens until warmed through. Add the seasonings, hot sauce, then pour in the scrambled eggs. Combine all ingredients.  Top with Cheddar cheese and let cook for about 5 minutes without stirring. Place the pan into the oven and finish cooking for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Spring!

Hi Foody Friends,

Happy Spring!  Well, I guess on the calendar it's Spring, but it sure doesn't look like it when I peek out of the window.  I don't know about you but I am ready for the Farmers Market, grilling and Margaritas!  The best part of warmer weather, is lighter foods.  We tend to be more comfortable in the cold weather eating a huge pot of Chili or a Pot Roast.  I started off this week's Date Night with a lighter version of dinner that made us craving for more.

Tilapia is one of my favorite fish to cook.  I buy the Cape Gourmet Tilapia Fillets at Shop Rite.  A bag will run you about $8.99 for 10-4oz. fillets.  I can easily get two meals out of the bag.  I used five fillets for our dinner and have plenty leftover for Fish Tacos next week. Sometimes, you can get a good deal on fresh Tilapia in your Seafood Department.  But, to get the most out of your buck, I would suggest frozen.

I visited Rachel Ray's Everyday site online and found a great recipe.  Parmesan Crusted Tilapia.  Yum! Anything with cheese has got to be good!  It was exactly what I was looking for and simple because I had everything else that I needed in my refrigerator.  Those are some of the best recipes, when you do not have to make a trip to the grocery store because you are one or two items short. Simple and easy, of course.  It was a 30 minute meal!  Plus, I have wine on hand....time to cook!

Enjoy the recipe below and try it for yourself!  Let's keep our fingers cross that the warm weather will be here soon so we can fire up the grills and blend our Margaritas!


Serves 2

1 bag of Cape Gourmet Tilapia Fillets (5 fillets only)
Salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups of Bread Crumbs
1 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan
Flat Leaf Parsley


Preheat oven at 400 degrees.  Combine Bread Crumbs and Grated Parmesan.  Chop up some Parsley and add to mixture.  Lightly salt and pepper the fillets then drizzle will Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Coat eat fillet with the bread crumb and parmesan mixture and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle Paprika over fillets when done.  I also added some Grape tomatoes to roast along with the Tilapia for a little extra taste.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until flaky.

Serve with a Rice Pilaf and sautéed Asparagus.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Way to a Man's Heart is Through His Stomach....

Hi Foody Friends,

February is the Month of Love.  You know how I love Date Nights! Not only every Wednesday, but we got an extra one this month with Valentine's Day!  But, we are not talking about Valentine's Day, we are talking Date Night.  My favorite day of the week.  I'm always rambling on to you about taking time out once a week, to enjoy a great dinner and catch up with the one you love.  Life gets hectic.  Work, kids, sports, DJ events, and just everyday life can get you nuts!  Good food, wine and a movie, at home?  Perfect!  Great way to unwind and realize why you do all the craziness that life brings to you all week long.   Now for a meal that will surely satisfy my husband's stomach and heart.

I visited my favorite store, Healthy Living Market.  I'm starting to become a little addicted.   Besides strolling through a Wine Store, which I love to do, strolling through the vegetables at Healthy Living Market is another love!  It's my favorite part of the store.  As I ventured towards another department, I came across a great Basil Pesto.  Meditalia Bail Pesto.  It was delicious.  I could always make pesto, but when the day gets away from you, this is the best alternative.  You can also use it as a marinade, too. Delish!  I knew exactly where I was headed with this dish. Elicoidali with Basil Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pancetta.  I picked up a loaf of crusty Baguette and a block of Fresh Parmesan. Simple and elegant.  I left Healthy Living Mart with all my ingredients needed for a fantastic meal. Next stop, wine!  Then home to cook a fabulous Date Night Dinner.

I'm always excited to cook for my family, especially for my Husband.  He works hard for us to make sure we have everything we need.  Watching him succeed in just about anything he does, shows me I can succeed in my dreams and Cooking Wright with Donna.  He supports me in everything I want to do and my goals. It's easy to tell someone you love them, but it's best to show it through food.  The dinner turned out fabulous.  He loved the pasta and the night was just as I expected.  Wonderful.




Elicoidale Pasta 1 lb.
Meditalia Basil Pesto
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
Fresh Parmesan
1 loaf Baguette
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Italian Seasonings

Preheat your oven at 450.  Toss and coat the cherry tomatoes with EVOO and Salt and pepper. Place the Pancetta on a baking sheet, in slices.  I usually buy the pre-packed and pre-sliced Pancetta. Cook the tomatoes until they start to pop and the Pancetta until crispy.

Slice the Baguette in half. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle Italian Seasoning over the bread.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile boil your pasta and drain.   Add in your Pesto, roasted tomatoes and Pancetta. Toss and grate Fresh Parmesan over the pasta and serve.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Friday, January 17, 2014

40 is not Fabulous, but Wine is!

Hi Foody Friends,

Funny thing.  I'm looking back through my blogs, and came across one I wrote about a year ago.  I explained how I hate dieting and counting calories is stupid. Look at me now, counting calories.  I think once the first number of your age turns to a 4, you start realizing, are you healthy or are you not?

I always believed I was "healthy".  Let me rephrase, I am healthy.  To a certain point of course.  I have always been an active person, never lazy, strong, athletic to a certain age, fun, amusing to others.  I have a good sense of humor, I like to laugh, joke and make fun of my kids. LOL.  2013 was a big year.  We had our third daughter, Ivy Olivia, born in May.  I turned the dreaded 40 in June.  I had my fist anxiety attack the end of August, and I had a "scare" when I had my first Mammogram in December.  Thankfully, it was just dried tissue, no sign of any Cancer.  Besides my daughter being born, I could not WAIT until 2013 was over!  By this point, I hated 40.  40 was not fabulous.  Where's the wine?

So, once I got my anxiety issues under control, with medicine, of course, I can now function almost like a human again.  I'm not quite there, but almost.  In the meantime, it was time for a change.  2014 is going to bring me two things, a healthier me and Cooking Wright with Donna is going to explode!  I am dead set on making both of my resolutions happen.

Our biggest issue, for all of us in the Wright Household, is portion control.  I love to cook, so the food is good, and you want more.  Always seconds.  Not anymore, one portion only.  My kids hate me at this point, especially when I make spaghetti.  My middle girl, is a pasta fanatic! She lives for pasta!  Less carbs, more veggies. More greens and salads.  It's been working and it feels great!  If I'm losing weight, everyone loses weight.

My next issue to tackle is wine.  This my friends, is hard. If you know me, you know I love wine, it's fabulous!  Especially, since I found a new wine that I fell in love with.  Montepulcciano D'Abruzzo!!!!!  I love saying that out loud!  I feel so Italian.  The first time I tried it was in New York City with my husband for our Anniversary.  We stopped at a little Italian restaurant in Manhattan to have some wine.  The Bartender had an awesome accent, we looked at each other and said,  "That's an authentic Italian accent, he'll know a good wine, wow"! Come to find out, he's from Brazil. No where near Italian, but he introduced us to Montepulcciano D'Abruzzo!  Dry red wine that makes your pallet explode! It's a must try.  Let's just say, the sidewalks in Manhattan were a little uneven when we left.

So far, 2014 is going well.  I may like 40 at some point.  I think it will take a little love, caring and wine.  Wine is, by the way, fabulous!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Here's to 2014 Healthy Living

Hi Foody Friends,

Happy New Year! It's 2014 and I'm sure you and many others have made that dreaded resolution to lose weight and get fit.  I am one of them and so far, it's great!  I'm actually surprised on how committed I am.  Is it because I turned 40 last year or is that I just over ate or over drank during the Holiday Season?  Well, it's both.

Usually I jump right in, and say, "I'm signing up for Weight Watchers, it's the only thing that works, I'm so fat!"  Followed by me persuading my husband how much I need this.  Where's the violin and cheese??  I found a great app on my IPhone called Spark People.  It counts calories for you and your fitness.  So far, so good.  My goal is to lose 2 pounds per week. I'm on track so watch out,  I am on my way to a lean, mean machine this summer!

On another note, eating right and not starving yourself is the key.  Recently, I was introduced to Organic Food.  I know, I know.  It's been here for years, but I never grocery shopped for it.  I went and visited Healthy Living Mart in Wilton.  First time there and was very pleased.  I spent about an hour in there, believe me I could have spent a lot longer.  Such a great variety of foods, some I have never even heard of which even sparked my palate!  I was looking for a family friendly meal, that kids especially would love, that was healthy in a tricky way.  You know, everyone has a picky eater in the family.  I have one that "claims" she's picky, but she can't pull one over on this Mom! But, we are all aware of when it comes to veggies and healthy foods, they look at you like a deer in headlights.  What? Where's my Happy Meal?  No, not here.  So, I found Turkey Breast Cutlets made by Misty Knoll Farms in Vermont, Fresh Organic Zucchini Squash and some yummy Organic Herbs.  My menu was coming together as I drove home.  Marinated Grilled Turkey Cutlets, Baked Zucchini Fries with a Dill Dipping Sauce and Black Bean and Corn Salsa. It sounds healthy and delicious all in one!  I couldn't wait to start cooking.

As you can see with the pictures, the dinner was a hit!  Husband and kids were satisfied and loved it!  The turkey cutlets were marinated in Lime juice, EVOO, garlic, salt and pepper.  Grilled to perfection!  Zucchini Fries were breaded with Panko Breadcrumbs, Parmesan Cheese, dried Basil and Oregano. To top it off, a fabulous Salsa made with Black Beans, Corn, Tomato, Avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper!  What a great combination this dinner was.  Healthy, satisfying and kid friendly.  Check out the recipe below and visit Healthy Living Mart, you will not be disappointed.  By the way, they have a Beer aisle and sell Wine! Oh, I will be back!

Cheers to 2014!

1  Medium Zucchini Squash or 5 Small
1 cup Panko's
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp. of Dry Oregano and Basil
2 Eggs

Heat oven at 425.  Cut Zucchini into fries, lightly salt and set aside.  Mix Panko's, Parmesan and Herbs in a shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs.  Dip Zucchini in egg wash, let excess drip off, dip into dry batter and then place on a foiled covered baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.                                                                                        

1 lb. Turkey Cutlets
1/4 cup Fresh Lime Juice
3 tbsp. EVOO
Generous amount of Salt & Pepper
Dash of Cayenne

Marinate in the above for about an hour.  Grill on each side for about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness of cutlet.

1 Can of Black Beans
1 cup of Corn
1 Avocado
1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes diced
Drizzle with Fresh Lime Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste