Vigo Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix

 

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Vigo Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix

October 2014

Every year, the hubby & I visit New Orleans for our anniversary. It is a fun-filled week of listening to live Jazz & Zydeco bands on Frenchmen Street as well as visiting the local historical eating establishments sprinkled throughout the French Quarter. While we enjoying sampling all the food NOLA has to offer, there is one traditional dish I just can’t get enough of — JAMBALAYA! I love the mixture of Cajun spices, dirty rice, and shrimp all prepared harmoniously in one big bowl. My only problem is that before we know it, our vacation is over, and we must return to our daily lives.

Thanks to Formato Brothers, I don’t have to wait one year to visit NOLA and get my fill of jambalaya. Instead, I can easily whip up this spicy dish in the comfort of my own kitchen. It is so easy! I just followed the directions on the back of the Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix package (which is essentially: boil water, add butter & shrimp, add Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix, stir, and simmer for 25 min). If you are allergic to shellfish, don’t worry. You can add precooked bite-sized ham or sausage instead of the shrimp*.

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Now my only problem is saving some Jambalaya for the family!

*Quick note about using shrimp. I used frozen shrimp that I first thawed under cold water as directed on the shrimp bag. I elected to keep the shrimp tails on because that adds extra flavor. Be careful as little pieces of tail might break off while thawing. I added the thawed shrimp by hand (instead of dumping the bowl) so those broken shrimp tails didn’t fall in my pot.

–Andrea Formato

Pastorelli Pizza Sauce Pizza # 2 – Kristen’s recipe

Pizza Kristen 2014Here’s another great pizza recipe using Pastorelli Pizza Sauce.  Many thanks to our friend Kristen Clements  Mackey in Texas.

One package pillsbury pizza crust
One can of Pastorelli pizza sauce
Fresh buffalo mozzarella
Shredded kraft mozzarella
Fresh basil
Roma tomato
Sautéed mushrooms in tablespoon of butter and fresh chopped garlic
Assemble as desired and bake!

Soooo easy & soooo good!

Thank you, Kristen!

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Pastorelli Pizza Sauce Pizza # 1

Pillsbury pizza dough – regular, not thin
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Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Minced garlic – store bought works great – 1 teaspoon is enough
Some fennel seeds – crush
Italian sausage – remove from casings – try sweet or spicy or hot for variety
Grated mozzarella
Grated or shaved Pecorino Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves

  1. Prepare dough as instructed on package.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet, then tomatoes, sprinkle w/ salt as desired, saute until charred & start to break down.
  3. Put tomatoes in a large bowl, add garlic & fennel & mix.  Crush tomatoes in large bowl.  Leave some large pieces.
  4. Form little balls of sausage & position on top of the pizza.
  5. Mix grated cheeses & some chopped fresh basil leaves in a separate bowl.
  6. Sprinkle cheeses over dough.
  7. Add tomato mixture unevenly across the dough.
  8. Bake about 25 minutes, or less depending on your oven.
  9. Remove from oven & top w/ basil leaves.
  10. Cool slightly then cut as desired.  We use a rectangular shaped cookie sheet w/ sides to make this.

Delizioso!

Note:  I found a recipe for Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago & adapted it to fit our family’s tastes.

–Judy Thomas Formato

 

Sweet and Caffeinated On The Go!

 

I always try my best to carve out coffee time every day.  I love waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee waiting for me downstairs each morning.  As well, I enjoy that 2:00 PM caffeinated pick me up alongside some sort of sweet treat.  However, some days I just can’t quite make it to the 2:00 PM ritual…usually because work scheduled an impromptu meeting or there’s suddenly a phone call that must be made.

Thanks to Formato Brothers I don’t have to be deprived of my caffeine & sweet tooth fixes when I’m running out of time.  Instead I just reach for Bali’s Best Espresso & Latte Candies.  These tiny candies are the perfect travel companions.  I can easily house a handful in my purse for those on the go moments.  Bali’s Best Espresso & Latte Candies use real coffee, so I know I’m not missing out on the good stuff.  When I pop one in my mouth I can instantly taste the coffee in the sweet hard shell.  But this delectable experience doesn’t stop there.  After a few minutes there is a nice surprise in the middle:  more melted coffee!  The best part is that 4 pieces equals only about 60 calories.

My coworkers thank you, Formato Brothers….so do I.

–Andrea Formato Castner

Casa Giulia Jam Raspberry Bars

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Andrea  w/ dessert bars at a recent birthday party.

Earlier this month, I was invited to a 70th birthday party for my best friend’s mom.  I was told I didn’t need to bring anything, but my parents taught me never to go to anyone’s house empty-handed.  So, I needed to find the perfect special recipe for this special occasion.  What says love better than dessert?!

Thanks to the wide variety of Formato Brothers Casa Giulia Jams, I was able to pick the perfect flavor for my fruit bars dessert.  I decided to go with Raspberry, but you could pick whatever fruit you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ C all-purpose sifted flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1 C butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ C Casa Giulia Jam – your choice of flavor

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F; spray an 8” square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the brown sugar and butter until fluffy; beat in the egg and almond extract.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture until blended.  Scrape the batter into the pan, smoothing the surface with a rubber spatula.  Spoon the Casa Giulia Jam over the batter smoothly and evenly.
  4. Bake until lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack.

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    Andrea & Heather w/ dessert bars at a recent birthday party.

My best friend Heather and her mom (and everyone else at the party) loved this!  It was so chewy and we didn’t even feel guilty about eating it because of the delicious fruit jam!  I can’t wait to make this again; my only dilemma is:  which Casa Giulia Jam do I choose next?!

–Andrea Formato Castner


Quick Pizza

This is such an easy pizza to prepare.  It is quick if you use ready-made dough, or a little slower if you make your own.  We are always in a hurry so the quick way is the best sometimes for the Formato household.Caliente Hot Pepper Spred Mix Marino

Use olive oil spray or canola oil spray & spray a 10″ x 15″ rectangular pan.

Prepare pizza dough (I love to use a Pillsbury thin crust dough in a can).  This means to spread it out to fit the pan, you shouldn’t have to go up the sides w/ the dough.  It should fit nicely in this size baking pan.

Pour pizza sauce over it (here’s where you use the Pastorelli brand, which by the way, is delicious). 1 can can be used for 2 pizzas.

Sprinkle w/ shredded mozzarella cheese.

Add little balls of sausage (make it easy on yourself, remove casing from Italian sausage & form round pieces;  we like Johnsonville Italian sausage which comes in Mild or Hot).

Chop up some green peppers & sprinkle on top.

Bake for about 10 minutes or according to the package directions.  Cut into little squares & serve.

You can add more cheese before baking.

You can freeze & then add cheese before baking.

Usually there’s not much left every time this is served.

Hope you enjoy this!

Formato Brothers Caliente Olive Spread

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1/3 bottle Formato Brothers Hot Pepper Spread
1 cup roughly chopped Kalamata olives
1 cup roughly chopped stuffed green olives
1 cup roughly chopped artichoke hearts
1/3 cup good olive oil

Drain olives & artichokes before chopping.

Mix together in a glass bowl, cover, refrigerate over night.  Serve w/ rustic baquette cut into pieces.

Many thanks to our wonderful friend Gary Marino for his ongoing recipes using Formato Brothers products.  Keep ’em coming, Gary Boy!