Nutella, Strawberry & Banana Stromboli

July 22, 2014 Menu No Comments

Being a writer of an Italian-themed food blog, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I have quite a few tasty guilty pleasures – with Nutella and stromboli way up on top of my list. I’ve posted a number of stromboli recipes on my blog over the years, and Nutella…well, how can I not love Nutella? Last week, I allowed both tasty worlds to collide as my daughter Julianna and I put a frozen puff pastry sheet that we hand on hand to deliciously good use. This was a fun and easy recipe that my daughter and I both enjoyed working on together. Time was mostly spent waiting on the pastry sheet  to completely defrost (which took a good 30-45 minutes). Once the pastry sheet was defrosted, I had Jules spread an even layer of Nutella as I sliced up some fresh strawberries and bananas. When spreading the Nutella, we left a one inch border on all four sides, which would allow us to fold and tuck the pastry sheet and not have any Nutella run out when baking. Once rolled, jelly-roll style, we brushed a little egg wash on the top of the rolled pastry, then topped it with a sprinkling of cinnamon. We baked it at 400˚ on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 15 minutes. In just a short amount of time, we had a piping-hot dessert ready to be shared with my wife and our younger daughter Ava, served up with a little whipped cream on the side. I’m sure you can go all kinds of fun and crazy directions with this recipe…and I plan to do so, especially when the fall weather rolls into town in a few months. Be sure to keep it fun, let the kids get involved, and I guarantee that it will make for a tasty and memorable evening for you and your family!


Step 1: Using one defrosted puff pastry sheet, spread an even coating of Nutella. Be sure to leave a one inch border on all four sides, which will make for easier rolling and sealing. This is a fun and easy step to have your kids handle, as you prepare and slice the fruit topping.


Step 2: Place the fruit slices evenly on top of the Nutella spread. Be sure not to over-pack it with fruit, otherwise it will be difficult to roll the pastry shell – possibly breaking the shell if over-packed.


Step 3: Roll the pastry sheet jelly-roll style. Fold the top and bottom ends down before the final roll, so that both ends are tucked in and sealed.


Step 4: Place the rolled pastry onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush the top of the pastry with an egg wash, then sprinkle with a little cinnamon. Be sure to add a few vertical cuts to the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place the cookie tray into a 400˚ oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.


Step 5: When cooled, slice it and serve it on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. Enjoy!


Italian-style Shrimp Po’Boy Sandwiches

July 11, 2014 Entrees, Menu No Comments

I was inspired to put this dish together a few weeks back when I saw Rick Moonen’s Catfish Sloppy Joe sandwich featured on The Food Network. I put a different spin on it by using my own Sloppy Joe recipe (found here), replacing the ground meat with shrimp. I also added zucchini and Old Bay to the mix for additional taste. I like to think of this sandwich as a cross between a Sloppy Joe and a Shrimp Po’Boy…a Sloppy Po’Boy, if you will. Unlike a true Po’Boy, these shrimp are not battered and fried. I also used a crusty Italian roll instead of a baguette…as long as the bread is good, there’s no need to be picky as far as I’m concerned. Whatever you prefer to call it, this is definitely a hearty and tasty sandwich, easy to make, and perfect for the summer season.




Italian-style Shrimp Po’Boy Sandwiches

Makes four sandwiches

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small red or green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ cup chopped onion
1 zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 lb medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, each piece cut into thirds
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
salt & pepper
Old Bay seasoning

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the zucchini, stir together and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the shrimp, stir together. Cook until all shrimp are pink.

Add the can of tomato sauce, season with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning  to taste.

Stir together, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce thickens up.

Serve in a crusty roll.


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