Sunday, February 20, 2011



The snow is gonna fly big time today. Run out to the grocery store before the conditions get too bad and buy yourself a chuck roast and make this recipe for a real comfort food meal. I tested it out on my family a few nights ago, and not a single drop of gravy, morsel of vegetable or meat was left. I did not even have to wash the plates, it was so good they licked them clean!

This recipe was given to me by my friend Pam, who proudly proclaims herself, "a non-cook". If she can make it so can you.

The roast would be great served on polenta, mashed potatoes or cous cous but I just roasted potatoes, carrots and onions the last two hours of cooking and they were great. This meal is so easy and the smells are unbelievable. Try it, you'll like it.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 beef roast, any kind, (I used a chuck roast)
1 package dry brown gravy mix
1 package dry Italian Salad dressing mix, Good Seasons Brand
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup water

Put the roast in a crock pot or roaster
Stir together the packaged mixes and sprinkle over the roast
Pour the water around the roast.
Cover and cook the roast in the crock pot on low 7-9 hours
Or cook in the oven for 5 hours at 300 degrees.
Mix together the dry packets of ingredients and sprinkle over the roast.

When ready to serve cut the meat in pieces and make sure and pour the sauce over the vegetables and meat.

Friday, February 11, 2011



Valentine's Day is considered one of the most romantic days of the year. Restaurants love it, because everyone wants to go out and celebrate with a big fancy meal. I actually prefer to stay at home for my own cozy dinner with the ones that I love. Below is a recipe for a dessert that my special Valentine loves. If he is lucky I will be making it for him on Monday night. In any case I hope you will try to make this easy but delicious tart for the special person in your life. The recipe can also be found in my cookbook, Carmela's Cucina. And if you still need a gift for the special person in your life contact me for a copy.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 and 1/2 sticks butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 4 or 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add almond extract, followed by flour. Mix until combined. Reserve 1/2 cup of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Press remaining dough into a 10x1 tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes, or as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove tart pan from refrigerator and spread the jam over the crust. Crumble the 1/2 cup of refrigerated dough over the jam. Sprinkle the tart evenly with almonds.

Bake the tart in the middle of the lower oven rack until the crust is golden, 30-40 minutes. Cool on a rack. Remove the tart from the pan and serve at room temperature or warm, with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



Are you looking for a really satisfying, yet easy winter meal? Then this is the recipe for you. Recently I was teaching at Nordic Ware and was telling LoAnn, the cooking class coordinator about and article that I had read about making a baked chicken in a "Bundt Pan." Before I knew it she was passing out a recipe that she had found on line. She actually said that she found about 30 recipes for cooking a whole chicken using this method, so if you don't like this one, then try some of the other recipes that you can get on line. And if you are like Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa you can make a different baked chicken for your whole family for a month.

With all of this cold weather we are having I decided to take the carcass from the chicken and turn it into soup. I will add a bit of the left over meat, add a few fresh vegetables and some frozen tortellini and have another cold weather meal for tonight's dinner. And nothing smells better than a roast chicken in the oven and nothing is easier than this recipe.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 whole 3-4 pound baked chicken
8 whole red or new potatoes
4 whole carrots chopped
2 whole yellow onions peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh poultry herbs finely chopped such as sage, rosemary and thyme
5 Tablespoons butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees

Spray bundt pan with non-stick spray. Toss the potatoes, carrots, onions and celery together with the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the fresh herbs and butter salt and pepper and spread the mixture under, over and in the cavity of the chicken.

Place the cavity of the chicken over the center post of the bundt pan, with the legs down and wings up. Tuck wings under the chicken to prevent burning.

Place bundt pan on top of a rimmed sheet to catch the drippings. Do this even if the center of your pan does not have an opening.

Bake for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. The juices should run clear. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes and carve.

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen