Such a Good Cook

For All Your Cooking Needs

Home Cooking


 I learned most of my early cooking skills from my mother.  She is already a Good Cook.  In spite of her efforts to pass down our family recipes I never had much interest. We were an Irish/Italian family so you can imagine the diverse foods and flavors I grew up with.  Not only is my mother a great cook but she is an exceptional baker as well.  The baking part rubbed off and it is still the area where I excel.  My paternal grandfather was a first generation Italian and the cook in their family.  My mom learned as much as she could from my grandfather so we could keep these generational recipes in our family.  So I will share my recipes as an archive to the D’Ambrosio and Green families.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Grandpa D’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs and Sausage

Friday’s were pasta night in my home.  I remember coming home from school to the smell of sauce on the stove.  My mom would always cook Italian sausage and meatballs in her sauce.  I can still remember the smell whenever I think about it.





  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1-tablespoon fresh parsley
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper 



  1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well and form into small balls about 1-½ inches thick. 
  2. In your saucepan, brown the meatballs until firm
  3. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Spaghetti Sauce



  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (in casing)
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1-tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 large can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 small cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste plus 1 can of water
  • 1-teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 bay leaf



  1. Brown Sausage with onion in saucepan.  Remove from pan when brown on all sides.
  2. Add vinegar to drippings to deglaze pan.   Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil
  3. Add browned sausage and meatballs and reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Cook for several hours on low simmer.  Stir occasionally.  Sauce will thicken as it cooks.


Growing up in Michigan we would take vacations to Northern Michigan to Mackinaw Island. On the Island they sold Pasties (soft a) or “Meat Pies.”  My mom would say that it reminded her of a dish her mother made.   The pasties were a favorite part of the trip. My mom recreated them when we returned home and they were no long reserved for trips to Mackinaw Island.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees






  • 2 Cups sifted flour
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 6 – 7 tablespoons cold water




  1. Sift together flour and salt.
  2. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until pieces are the size of small peas.
  3. Sprinkle water over mixture gently mix with fork.
  4. Gather up in finger, form a boll. 
  5. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut 12 – 14 6-inch circles.  





·        1 lb. Ground Beef

·        1 small onion chopped

·        2 cloves garlic minced

·        1 can of boiled small white potatoes diced

·        1-teaspoon salt

·        1-teaspoon pepper

·        2 tablespoons butter




1.      In  a large pan  melt butter. Add onions and garlic and sautee until soften.

2.      Add diced potatoes to brown.

3.      In a medium size bowl put ground beef and onion and potato mixture mix well to combine ingredients.

4.      Add salt and pepper


Place a ½ cup of filling on one half of the pastry.  Fold the other half over the filling and crimp edges together with a fork.  Fill remaining shells.  Place on baking sheet and cook for 25 – 30 minutes until pastry is golden brown.  Serve warm. However they are very goods served cold.   


Lou's Roasted Hazel Nuts

My Father’s culinary claim to fame was Roasted Hazel nuts.  Traditionally he made these for Thanksgiving and Christmas.   Served with dessert, we would sit around the dining room table and crack roasted Hazel nuts and talk for hours. This is still a tradition that I serve for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are so simple to make and so delicious.  But watch out, they are addictive and once you have eaten a roasted Hazel nut, you will never be able to eat raw again.  ENJOY!


  1. Heat oven to 350 Degrees
  2. Place Hazel nuts (in the shell) on a baking sheet spread to fill sheet.  Cook for 30 – 45 minutes.
  3. Check often and with an oven mitt shake the pans to make sure that all side are roasted.  When the shell is a rich brown they are done.  Let cool.