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The Unhealthiest Recipe on This Blog: Italian Butter


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Appetizers & Sides, Breads, Uncategorized | Posted on 22-01-2012

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Green Swamp Soup Italian Butter

My favorite Italian restaurant is Garozzo’s in Kansas City, Missouri. The original location is in Kansas City’s Little Italy near the river market. My dear friend, Frank Siraguso, who grew up in Little Italy during its golden age, turned me onto Garozzo’s many years ago. I was immediately smitten.

The first thing I remember tasting was a dish called Sicilian Garlic Dip that Frank affectionately called Italian Butter. Served with warm Italian bread, the dip was one of the most decadent and addictive dishes I’ve ever tasted. Like the infamous Turkish Delight in Chronicles of Narnia, I couldn’t get enough! The more I ate, the more I wanted.

At home, I tried to mimic the recipe. It’s impossible. But once I moved here to Iowa and far away from Garozzo’s, I became determined to come as close as I could.

What I came up with is a garlicky herbed dip that can’t beat Garozzo’s, but holds its own here at the Andrews’ dinner table.

Italian Butter


2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried or fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried basil (1 tsp. fresh)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 or 3 dashes of salt


  1. In the still warm melted butter, add minced garlic and stir. (This infused the fresh garlic flavor into the rest of the dip.)
  2. Add all remaining ingredients, grating cheese in last. Serve at room temperature with Italian or crusty ciabatta bread.

Jalapeno Corn Waffels


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Appetizers & Sides, Breads | Posted on 23-11-2009

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Jalapeno Corn Waffles

These corn waffles are inspired by my visit to Memphis for my cousin Ginny’s wedding in October. We went to a local BBQ joint called Corky’s where they served jalapeno hush puppies. These were the most delicious hush puppies I’d ever had in my life! I decided immediately that a healthier version could be created, and thus, we have these non-fried corn waffles. You will need a Belgian waffle maker in order to make the waffles, but you can just as easily make this recipe into corn muffins.

Jalapeno Corn Waffle Batter


2 packages corn muffin mix
1 jalapeno, minced without seeds
1/4 onion, minced
2 eggs
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening, melted
1 1/2 cups milk


1. Preheat waffle iron or oven if making muffins.

2. Stir all ingredients together.

3. Pour mix into middle of waffle iron about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

4. Lower iron and cook for about two minutes.

5. Serve hot with real maple syrup, butter, salsa or cilantro!

Low-Fat Pita Chips


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Appetizers & Sides, Breads | Posted on 25-10-2009

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Baked pita chips

Baked pita chips

These low-fat, baked pita chips are so easy and take just minutes to prepare and bake. Follow these directions and you’ll even save energy when baking them!

NOTE: Serve this is part of the Middle East Feast menu.


1 package whole-wheat pitas
kosher salt
garlic powder


1. Cut one package of pitas in half.

2. Cut the halves into thirds to make little pita triangles.

3. Unfold your pita triangles and tear them into two pieces so you have two little pita triangles.

4. Set your oven to bake at 350.

5. Put pita chips on two baking sheets. Spray with Pam cooking spray or olive oil spray.

6. Sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic powder.

7. While oven is still heating, put the chips in the oven. This will allow them to slow bake and become very crispy.

8. When oven reaches 350, turn it off. Let the chips bake for about 10 minutes total or until golden brown.

9. Serve with kalmata hummus.

My Three Secret Zucchini Bread Ingredients


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Breads | Posted on 17-08-2009

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DSC01927Last week, I tried two different squash bread recipes, once again, trying to use up all the squash kindly given to me in the most delicious way possible. The low-fat/yellow squash version was NOT a hit with the fam, but the peeps at the office loved it. The full-fat/zucchini version was an instant hit with the kiddies, who helped make it of course. I managed to snap some great shots of them wolfing it down — before my camera broke. (Grrr …) I did include a shot of Gus mixing up the ingredients of the yellow squash version with his hand mixer.

Parents: If you do not have a hand mixer I suggest getting one! This is a really great way to get the kids involved with baking at a young age. I found the electric mixer to just be too dangerous a “toy” around my four-year-old, but he loves his hand mixer, it keeps him involved in the process and it’s relatively safe.

Now, for the secret ingredients! I like my summer squash bread to be a little more on the pumpkiny side. I’m not going to pass it off as pumpkin bread (like my friend David’s mom always tries to do), but I do want it to have the same flavor and aroma. So, my secret ingredients are: 1) brown sugar, 2) 1/2 tsp. ginger, 3) a dash of nutmeg.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 dash of nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups grated zucchini (This is more than some recipes I’ve seen call for, but it uses up your squash and leaves your bread nice and moist. Use two cups minimum.)


1. Grease and flour tow 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together. Add zucchini. Add dry ingredients and stir by hand until bread is just mixed. (My mother always said this prevents air “tunnels” in the bread.) DO NOT over mix. Pour batter in prepared pans.

4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. NOTE: I have a convection oven, and this recipe actually took and hour and 15 minutes. When you hit that 60 minute mark, watch the bread closely and test often. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and serve slightly warm with real butter. Mmmmmm.

To make the low-fat/yellow squash version:

Use only 1/2 cup of oil add 1/2 cup apple sauce and, of course, replace zucchini with yellow squash.