• Jane Evans Bonacci The Heritage Cook

    WELCOME to The Heritage Cook ... we're sharing traditions, one recipe at a time! I learned to cook at my grandmother’s side, watching her create nourishing meals for the family. I love to share the lessons she taught me. I am a recipe editor, developer and tester, a food writer, passionate cook, and baker. Subscribe to the blog and never miss a recipe or the fun of Chocolate Mondays! Creating, exploring, sharing, nurturing ... that is what I love about cooking!

  • Some comments made by readers …

    ... Woo hoo! Mondays just got a whole lot better now that you’re featuring chocolate in some shape or form each week. It’s my favorite food group, after all...

    ... We prepared the “Fathers Day Brunch” on Sunday. It was a big hit! I was amazed at the light and very tasty pancakes. It looks like your recipes are going to keep me busy!...

    ... The [Chocolate Crinkle] cookies look beautiful. First bite brings a sensational experience to the pallet. Slightly crunchy exterior at first, then the moist interior with a burst of chocolate flavor through out my mouth. The flavors lingers long enough that I feel I must have another bite to experience it all again...

    ... This chicken is delicious. So tender, even the breast meat, with a hint of onion and lemon. Definitely a keeper...

    ... Just had my first bite and WOW! I think this is the best homemade brownie i have ever tasted. Great chocolate flavor with the right amount of sweetness. And the fudgy consistency is perfect! ...

    ... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the glossary. I’ve “heard” these terms but never have I seen them in print. Keep ‘em coming! ...

    ... I made this pasta sauce this past weekend...what can I say, it was delicious! I added fresh zuchinni and eggplant for a vegetarian style meal like you suggested. Topping the pasta dish with fresh basil from my "Swiss" herb garden made the sauce perfect! ...

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Enchiladas Rancheras and Chile Rice Casserole

When I was in college, I used to make dinners for my classmates. It was a treat for them and a taste of home cooking was a welcome relief from dorm food. I grew up cooking for a family of six and I missed making those big dinners. Having friends over gave me an excuse to make some of my favorites.

Most of the time when I was growing up, if I ordered enchiladas in Mexican restaurants, they were filled with seasoned ground beef. Not exactly true Mexican, but they were good and filling. One Christmas, a friend gave me The California Heritage Cookbook and as I read through the recipes, I realized that I had a lot to learn about ‘real’ Mexican cooking.

My guests who came to dinner the night I first served these enchiladas were astonished at the flavors, and so was I. This sauce is so far superior to anything store-bought that it is well worth the extra effort. I like to serve the enchiladas with the Chile Rice Casserole, also from the California Heritage Cookbook for a nice change of pace from traditional Mexican Rice. Add a tossed green salad for a balanced meal. And don’t forget the margaritas for sparkling dinner conversation!

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Root Beer BBQ Sauce!

I am one of those crazy people who loves grilling so much that I do it all year long. Yes, even when it is raining. Umbrella in hand, I’m out there checking to see if the food is done, LOL. I am always on the lookout for good BBQ sauce recipes because my husband is allergic to artifical smoke flavoring. This flavoring and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS – something I try to avoid) are found in nearly all bottled sauces.

I love the savory/sour/sweet combo of tomato-based sauces with fruit juices and sugar. Using sodas in sauces is an old tradition in the American South and the root beer in this recipe adds a wonderful flavor. It will have people scratching their heads trying to figure out what is in the sauce.

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Aunt Jane’s Killer Marinara Italian Pasta Sauce

How I learned to make spaghetti sauce … oops, make that pasta sauce! When you join an Italian family one of the first things you learn is that there many types of pasta, what they are each called, and that you never refer to pasta as “spaghetti” unless it really is spaghetti! And, God forbid, you think a jar of sauce is something you can serve!

When an Italian-American refers to pasta sauce, it will invariably be Marinara, a vegetarian sauce made with just tomatoes, garlic (or onions), olive oil, and maybe basil. The rest of America typically pops open a jar or makes a meat-sauce. You know the one, with tomato sauce, hamburger, onions, and a ton of garlic. When Marinara is so quick and easy to make and tastes monumentally better than store-bought sauce, I don’t know why anyone would ever buy another jar.

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Creamy Parmesan Farro

Creamy and rich, with a soul satisfying flavor, Creamy Parmesan Farro is going to become one of your favorite recipes! Using the same technique as risotto, Farro is easier to work with than Arborio rice. Your family and guests will think they are eating at a fine restaurant when you serve this dish!

We have heard a lot lately about how good whole grains are for us. Unlike highly processed grains like white rice, they are left in their natural state and are a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. All of that is interesting, but what I really care about is that they are delicious! Brown rice, barley, rye, oats, and Farro are some of the whole grains available today. Chewy with a nutty character, they are a tasty change from the normal starches we are used to.

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Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Chipotle Black Bean Soup

I love soups. They are full of flavor and nutrients, easy to digest, and filling. Today is a cold and rainy day and I want something to warm me up. A vegetarian dinner will help off-set yesterday’s chocolate indulgence. When you hear the word vegetarian you may think of a plate of boring vegetables, but this soup is about as far from boring as you can get!

Have you ever tried chipotle chiles? They are smoked jalapenos, typically found dried or in adobo sauce. Adobo sauce is a combination of vinegar, herbs and spices, and is often used in Mexican cooking. If you are using dried chiles, you will need to reconstitute them in boiling water for about 15 minutes, remove the stem and seeds, and chop coarsely. If you just wanted the smoky flavor without the heat, you could use some smoked paprika instead.

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