Hot lemon, ginger, honey water

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I’m not feeling well today at all.  I am not in the mood to think of what to make for dinner.  There is chicken in the fridge, some cauliflower and I may grill some tomatoes and peppers with the chicken.  I basically am falling back on the grilled herb chicken recipe that I always use.  But what I recommend when your throat is killing you is

1 inch ginger peeled and chopped

1 lemon squeezed

1 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon honey

Let it all steep and drink.  It’s helping a bit, that and a nap.   I really love the spicy side to the ginger, the tang of the lemon and the sweetness of the honey.  I’m lucky to still have a bit of delicious honey I bought at the Monza open air market in Italy.

farmer's market


Light tomato sauce with meatballs

All I can say is YUM.  It’s extra yummy because tonight my dear husband is cooking.  On the weekends, I get spoiled occasionally with a dinner out or Paul cooks a nice meal.  So tonight he has made meatballs with a fresh tomato sauce.

Fresh tomato sauceTomato sauce:

You can use cans or fresh tomatoes.  If you use fresh, get 4-5 lbs, so you can freeze some or have enough for a dinner party. We only bought 3lbs and we have just enough for 3 people.  You can also use whole canned tomatoes, 3 big cans or 6 little ones.  The sauce is so much better with fresh.

If you are making fresh you will need to boil a big pot of water and place the tomatoes in it for a few minutes, just until the skin cracks. Take them out into a strainer and peel the skin and discard.

2 white onions

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 stick of butter


Melt butter  with onions chopped in 4ths and whole garlic cloves.  Add tomatoes and cover for about 30 mins.  Remove all onions and garlic.  Blend the tomato sauce with a hand mixer or find a way to purify it so it’s even in texture.  Cook uncovered for another 15 mins.


1lbs of ground beef

1lbs of ground pork

1 egg

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons dried or fresh oregano



olive oil

One onion finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients together, any which way you want!!! But if you want more structure.  I usually mix both meats together with salt and pepper.  I then add the egg and bread crumbs.  I add a bit of olive oil, fresh herbs and finely chopped onion.  Place on a cookie sheet, we are trying to make our meat balls smaller but  they always end up so big.  We make extra and freeze them.  When reheating, DON’T HEAT IN YOUR TOMATO SAUCE-MAJOR YULK.  It just gets really greasy.  Just heat up in a frying pan or in the microwave, seperately.

Place in the oven at 375 for about 30 mins depending on the size of the meatballs.

Chicken stew with orange, tomatoes and olives over polenta

chicken stew

Tonight I will embark on making my husband happy through his stomach!  He has had a few rough days at work and needs some comfort food.  For him it’s anything stewy, pasta-like or just really heavy.  Tonight I will cook a chicken stew served over polenta.  He needs a little Italian boost.  When living in Italy he could get all his favorites for lunch, but now here in Southern Cal, I will try and recreate our little Monza living.  I will pull out my instant polenta tarragna that I bought in Italy, it’s delicious and only takes 5 mins to make.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t act like I’ve  standing in front of a hot stove stirring the polenta, nonstop.  I can still bitch like I have and I’m really good at it, my husband will attest to that, but if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll just say how delicious it is and thank me a bizillion times over:)

So this recipe is based on something I found in the Italian William Sanoma cook book.

1 medium sized egg plant

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 shallot

Olive oil



4-5 tomatoes, peeled

dried or fresh oregano

1 orange

bunch of black olives

Chicken pieces: I used two thighs and two wings.  Sometimes I use a whole chicken cut up, depends on how many I’m serving.  However, if you are going to use more than 4 pieces of chicken, adjust the ingredients.

Chop eggplant in cubes and place in a strainer with lots of salt for about 30 mins.  This is to soak up all the bitterness.  You should wash the eggplant and dry when ready to use.  I don’t, but I’m not so great with watching my salt intake.  I think it adds flavor to the sauce.  Cook chicken in a little bit of olive oil.  Brown on both sides for about 3-4 mins per side.  Place on plate.  Lower heat and garlic and shallot.  Let cook for about 2 mins. Return chicken to pan.  Add the juice of the orange along with the orange zest, coating chicken.  Add the tomatoes, breaking them up into the orange juice.  Add the olives and egg plant.  cook covered for 30 mins on low.  Uncover, mix it up and cook for about 15 more minutes.  I usually make this way ahead of time, so by the time my husband who tends to be late finally gets home, the chicken is falling off the bone.  But it’s still delicious.  The trick is to get the polenta right.  So now i”m off to make the polenta.

Hope you enjoy!