Best Gifts For The Home Cook

My 5 recommendations for holiday gift ideas for the home cook in your life! These are all staples in the Cucina and I think every home cook should have 'em!

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Calamari with Pancetta Ft. Chef Mike Carrino

Chef Mike Carrino of Pig & Prince in Montclair NJ is my special guest this week as we get ready for the Feast of 7 Fishes in the Cucina! He shares an amazing calamari recipe with us, along with tips for selecting and preparing the squid! PLUS check out what he's got going on at the restaurant at the link below!

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Poached Pears

This elegant dessert has a secret - it’s SUPER easy to make! You can make it in advance OR do it right in front of your dinner guests if you’d like to be extra fancy!

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Stuffed Pork Loin

This show stopping roast is perfect for the holidays! Loaded with flavor from the inside out - it's actually pretty easy to make! AND you can make your stuffing ahead of time PLUS it pulls double duty for things like mushrooms or peppers! Stash any extra in the freezer to use once the holiday leftovers are gone!

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Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pasta is ALWAYS part of what we fondly refer to as "Italian Thanksgiving"! And these pumpkin gnocchi go perfectly with America's favorite meal!

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Mashed Turnips

As always I'm sharing some of my favorite (and friends and family favorites) recipes for Thanksgiving dinner! This dish is a GREAT alternate to mashed potatoes! Low calorie and low carb, mashed turnips make a great substitute. Adding in a few carrots helps sweeten the dish and of course, a few pats of butter never hurt! Want to make them vegan? Use olive or coconut oil instead. And of course you can add in whatever kind of milk you normally use in your house!

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Pumpkin Braised Pork

This is pumpkin in a WHOLE new light! Savory pork is seasoned with warming Fall spices, then braised in pumpkin puree and stock along with onions, carrots, and kale for a 1 pot winter dish that will fill everyone up and keep 'em happy! Serve with crusty bread for the perfect cold weather dinner!

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Chicken Soup

With cold weather settling in and the holidays coming up - someone is BOUND to catch a cold. And there's nothing more naturally healing than a bowl of homemade chicken soup! This easy soup is loaded with good for you nutrients AND it can be stored in the fridge or freezer for runny nose emergencies! If you prefer, you can add pasta or cooked rice at the end!

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Cider Doughnuts

Cider doughnuts are one of my FAVORITE Fall foods! And while I love grabbing them fresh and hot from a farm after picking apples and pumpkins...I can't be there every day! So I figured out how to make donuts at home!

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Skinny Scampi w/ Julie Hartigan

Chef and recipe developer Julie Hartigan joins us in the Cucina this week! She's teaching us her skinny shrimp scampi recipe along with some great kitchen tips for easy weeknight meals in general!

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Applesauce

Overdid it with the apple picking? Not to worry! Here's a quick, easy, sugar free recipe to preserve all that Fall bounty! Homemade applesauce is great with roast meats, in baked goods and even all on its own!!

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Mushroom Risotto w/ Chef Eric LeVine

Chef Eric LeVine is my special guest this week! We're showing you how to make a fabulous wild mushroom risotto for Fall. Talking about Taste of Hope NJ AND Chef's new gig!

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Mom's Meatballs

Learn how to make meatballs just like Mamma D! This is our family recipe and, like all good Italian children, I think MY Mom makes the best! But feel free to tell me how YOUR family makes their meatballs in the comments section!

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Hummus & Pita Chips

Watch how easy it is to make hummus at home! This snack is not only good for you, but quick and simple to make at home! PLUS learn how to make your own baked pita chips from pita bread!

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Heirloom Tomato Galette

Enjoy these last days of Summer by using up her bounty of heirloom tomatoes in this fresh, delicious galette! Fast and easy and LOADED with good-for-you nutrients, it’s a great appetizer and/or vegetarian dish!

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Spaghetti with Clams

There's something about seafood that just screams Summer for me. And since we're winding down these last lazy, hazy days, I couldn't think of a better dish to serve up than spaghetti with clams! It's quick and easy, packed with fresh Summer flavors, and great for entertaining!

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Grilled Peaches

This simple summer dessert keeps everything outside on the grill! These are VERY easy to make and make a great presentation for guests! Serve them up with something sweet and cool - like whipped cream, ice cream or even some whipped ricotta!

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This salad is a meal peppers dream! You can make it on your weekend and portion it out for the week! It can even sit in its dressing because it's quinoa based so it won't get soggy. Top it off with my Mediterranean spiced chickpeas OR grilled chicken if you're a carnivore.

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Protein Packed Tuna Salad

I may have cheated a little on the title here. This isn't tuna salad slathered in mayo. This tuna salad will actually benefit your body and keep you feeling full for HOURS! And the story of where I found it is the best part of all! (hint, got the idea in an airport!) Check out the video to see how I make tuna salad, Cucina style!

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Cacio e Pepe

My friend Mike Favetta joins me in the Cucina this week showing us his version of pasta cacio e pepe! This classic Roman dish only has 3 ingredients but is often difficult to make! Mike shows us what he learned from the "Nonna" downstairs from his apartment in Milan!

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