Roll me down the highway

Easter. Christmas. Thanksgiving. Birthdays.

Family holidays one and all. Time to get together and…


I swear I engorge myself with more fatty, delicious, home-cooked treats at these family get-togethers than at any other time of the year.

When Mom and I get together, we are a deadly cooking team. For instance, we prepared three pans of homemade Lasagna for Easter dinner. Three full 9×13 pans. For all of six people.

But we didn’t stop there… Mom had already made our family’s delicious Easter Bread in preparation for the day, but we decided to get even more crafty and found an old recipe we used to make for Potato Tarragon with Sour Cream and Chive Bread. Talk about yummy. 😉 But it was getting late, and we didn’t want to bother with making it so late. So we dusted off Mom’s bread machine and portioned down the recipe for the machine. And it turned out perfectly!!

Yes, we are a bit nuts in the kitchen. And no, folks, we didn’t stop there. Because Easter morning, we had to make Italian Fritatta.

In case you don’t know, Fritatta is a huge omelet with tons and tons of cheese, Italian sausage, and this year, meatballs. DE-LISH-US! It’s the best part about Easter morning.

Now you didn’t think that I was going to talk about all these yummy things without sharing recipes did you? Of course not. What kind of friend would I be? 🙂

I am actually going to work with my mom on producing her own recipe book on CD-ROM. She already has a ton of her favorite recipes typed up and saved on her computer. I’m also thinking of getting a bunch of my Grandma and Nana’s favorite recipes and putting them on the CD as well… Might ask my Aunt too. It’ll be the Aiello Family Recipe CD ROM. Hmmm. I’m really liking this idea. 🙂 So watch your mailboxes, you might be getting a gift this Christmas. 😉

OK no more chatter… Here are some recipes for you to sample.

Easter Bread
8 ¬? -10 C. Flour
1 ¬? C milk
2 pkg. Yeast (4 tsp.)
¬? C water
l ¾ C sugar
¾ C. Butter
1 tbsp. salt
4 eggs

In a large bowl combine 3 C. Flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Blend well. Heat milk, water and butter in pan until warm (120-130 degrees). Butter doesn’t have to melt completely (2-3 minutes in microwave). Add to flour mixture and mix well. Add all eggs and blend on low until well mixed (3 minutes, medium speed). Gradually add flour until dough is firm. Turn out on floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (5 minutes) Put in greased bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled. Turn out and punch down. Divide into 3 loaves and place in greased pans. Allow to rise again until doubled. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or 325 for 35-40 minutes. Should be golden brown. Cake tester should come out clean.

Baked Italian Easter Frittata
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (can also add small meatballs)
2 dozen eggs
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
¬º-¬? C. Grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
cooking spray
3 tbsp. Oil

Separate sausage into small pieces and fry until brown. Drain grease and set aside. Beat eggs with mixer until foamy. Mix in cheeses. Add cooked sausage. Spray 15x10x2 pan with cooking spray and coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Spread egg mixture in pan and level off. Bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes until frittata is set and top is golden brown. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 10-12 servings.

Tarragon Potato Bread with Sour Cream & Chives
6-6 ¬? C flour
2 pkg. Yeast
1 ¬? C milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 can condensed potato soup
¬? C sour cream
¼ C chives
1 tsp dried tarragon

Combine 2 ¬? of flour and yeast in a large mixer bowl. In a saucepan, heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter or margarine until just warm, stirring constantly to melt butter. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl. Add soup, chives, sour cream, and tarragon. Mix well. Scrape sides frequently. Add remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn out on floured surface. Knead until smooth, 5-8 minutes. Cover and let rise till double. 50-60 minutes. Punch down. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough in half and shape into 2 loaves. Place in 2 greased loaf pans. Let rise till double, about 30 minutes. Bake 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or till bread tests done.

Italian Meatballs
1 Pound Ground Beef
Garlic Powder (1/4 Cup approx… I don’t measure. 🙂
1 egg
Bread Crumbs (1/3 Cup approx.)
Parmesan Cheese (1/2 Cup approx.)
Oregano, Basil, Parsley to taste
Salt, Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together by hand or with mixer. Form meatballs by rolling by hand or scooping with melon baler and fry or bake at 350¬? until browned well.

Tomato sauce (meatless)
Olive Oil
48 oz of Tomato sauce or puree
Garlic Cloves, Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

Mince garlic (I usually use about 2 cloves for every 24 ounces of sauce.)
Prepare sauce or puree (open cans and get em ready!)
Heat olive oil in deep pan.
Drop garlic into hot oil. Stir and let it heat well. Lower heat. The garlic will begin to blossom and become pungent. Add oregano and basil to taste. When garlic starts to break down, add sauce to mixture. Heat should be at medium, no higher. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Add more Oregano, Basil and Parsley as needed. Cover and simmer, stirring regularly. Do not let sauce sit too long or it will burn.

Note: if using puree, you may want to add about a can of water for each can used to the mix as it will be very thick. You can add more or less water as necessary to your preferences.

Aiello Family Lasagna
(For one pan of Lasagna)
One box Lasagna Pasta
48 oz. Pasta Sauce
1 lb. Meatballs
1 lb. Italian Sausage (3-4 sausages)
4-5 hard-boiled eggs
16-32 oz Ricotta Cheese
16-32 oz Mozzarella Cheese
Approx. 16 oz. Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Boil pasta until al dente (not soft.)
Peel and slice eggs.
Spray 9 x 13 baking pan.
Add a small amount of sauce to the bottom of the pan.
Layer pasta noodles along bottom of pan. Be sure to overlap as you lay them in.
Add meatballs, sausage, eggs, ricotta cheese to layer.
Add mozzarella cheese last. Use plenty of cheese, as this is your glue to hold the layers together.
Pour about 1 cup of sauce over all ingredients.
Sprinkle with Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Add another layer of pasta.
Repeat process until you reach the top of the pan.
The last pasta layer should be covered with a thin layer of sauce, then sprinkled with Mozzarella and Parmesan/Romano cheese.

Bake in 375¬? oven for 1 hour covered with foil. Remove foil after hour and bake for 15 more minutes or until top is bubbly and crusty.

Remove from oven and let sit for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve with leftover sauce and Parmesan/Romano cheese.