Maura’s Italian Grandmother’s ” Jumbot “

Maura is one of my BFF’s. She is the youngest of 11, from Peabody, Mass.. She has so much East Coast spirit, it’s contagious. Her mother’s name is Carmella. Of course she has a sister named “Tony” and Eva, who is the oldest. When I was describing the point of this recipe blog to Maura ( to post only easy recipes that are as healthy as possible and ideally handed down generation to generation so that I too could share with my kids), she immediately said, “My Grandmother’s Jumbot!”. I had to look up the spelling because it is not pronounced how it is spelled. Maura can say it like a true Italian.


Italian Jumbot Ingredients. ( Sausage optional.)

Italian Jumbot Ingredients. ( Sausage optional.)

You know someone is  a “foodie” when (like Maura) they describe a recipe and are so detailed, even when it’s a simple recipe like this one. “You have to use CRUSHED tomatoes, NOT diced or whole – CRUSHED!”. I had to twist her arm a little to share this recipe with me as lovely and simple as it is – that , and I showed up with a pitcher of Margarita’s when we went to Palm Desert together for a girls’, “get out of Dodge” weekend. I think the Tequila (even though it’s not Italian) may have helped motivate her to share. While this recipe is specific, the traditional “Jumbot”, is made with whatever vegetables and meats one has in the house. Without the sausage and cheese, it’s still a delicious vegetarian and vegan meal. Either way – it’s a great, healthy gluten-free option for my kids as well!


1 or 2 of each vegetable. So easy.

1 or 2 of each vegetable. So easy.


 (double for a larger family or crowd):

  • Few Tablespoons of Cooking Oil (Olive or Coconut…)
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes + 1 Can of Water
  • 1 Sm. Can Tomato Paste
  • Tablespoon Dried Parsley
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Cup Whole Green Beans
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into squares
  • 1 Large Potato, cut into cubes (personally, I scrub potatoes clean, it’s easy)
  • 1 Zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 1 Yellow Squash, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 Sweet Italian Sausage, cooked in water (pierced to let the fat out) 


Cook onions in oil until start to look clear.

Cook onions in oil until start to look clear.

Cook onions in a large pot in oil until they start to look a little clear. Add the garlic if you’re using it and cook for an additional 20 seconds.



Add 1 can of water to crushed tomatoes,onion and garlic.

Add 1 can of water to crushed tomatoes, onion and garlic.

Then, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley and water. Reduce for 30-60 minutes on a low flame.


Then, add all the cubed vegetables except the zucchini and squash. When the potatoes are almost done, add the zucchini and squash and cook until done.  


If you are eating with sliced sausage, add and heat through. You can also add earlier if you want more sausage flavor infused in the liquid.


Add parmesan and serve alone, with crusty bread or over pasta or cous cous.

Add parmesan and serve alone, with crusty bread or over pasta or cous cous.

Serve in a bowl with crusty bread, or over pasta, rice or couscous.


World’s Easiest Tomato Soup

My next door neighbor grows organic produce in a green house next door. Seeds from one of his plants must have made it over to my side of the fence because a tomato plant appeared on the side of my house growing next to the electrical meter.


My wild tomato plant!

My wild tomato plant!

It was so interesting to me because I never planted it, never watered it, it’s not an area where there’s even a lot of dirt – and yet, it persisted. I let it go to see how large it would get. I ended up with more Cherry Tomatoes than I knew what to do with. Life is full of wonderful surprises!




Wild Urban Tomatoes

Wild Urban Tomatoes

So, what to do with all of these Cherry Tomatoes? Even though it’s Summer here at the beach, it rained quite a bit this month of August. It actually poured a few nights with thunder and dangerous lightening. So soup works – even in the Summer. This recipe is so easy.


  • Tomatoes (Cherry or other cut in 1/2 or 1/4s)
  • Filtered water (cover the tomatoes)
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


When life gives you tomatoes...

When life gives you tomatoes…

Put all ingredients in a pot and cover with water.


Simmer for several hours adding more water as needed.


Add fresh basil if you’d like after cooking. Or, you can also add a pinch of dried Oregano. Some people add bread to thicken the soup. But you can add nothing at all. 


I love my little "handblender".

I love my little “handblender”.

Blend to smooth.


If your tomatoes have many seeds as mine did, you will need to strain after blending. 


My daughter likes me to stir in a little cream or half and half to give the soup a little creamy flavor. 


Put in bowls and enjoy! Or, if you’re throwing a party, soup in shot glasses is a great appetizer option when carried around on trays and passed out to your guests. 


French Onion Soup

The Onion Soup at Au Pied du Cochon, Paris

The Onion Soup at Au Pied du Cochon, Paris

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Paris, he was dying for a great onion soup, so I told our taxi driver (in my best French), “Il veut soupe a l’oignon”. He immediately drove us to a restaurant called , “Au Pied du Cochon”, which stands for “The foot of the pig” , which is one of their specialties. Their onion soup was simple, traditional and divine. They also served this amazing tower of “Fruits de Mer”, consisting of multiple types of seafood (Oysters, Langoustines, etc…) We noticed a man, alone and really drunk eating it. He continued to shout obscenities and insults at the waiters. As he staggered out, two of the waiters took off their aprons and followed after him. We still wonder why. Did they rough him up? We do not know. But the waiters did walk back in with smiles on their faces. What a great night and I cannot wait to make it back there some day.  For now, I make the onion soup which is surprisingly easy. You really cannot mess it up by adjusting the measurements of the ingredients.


  • 2 Tablespoons Butter and/or Regular Olive Oil
  • 4-6 Yellow Onions, Peeled and Sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar (optional).
  • 4-6 Cups Broth (traditional recipe calls for Beef, I use whatever I have on hand).
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup Red or White Wine (great way to use up leftover wine).
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Brandy or Cognac(optional)
  • Sourdough Bread slices, toasted
  • 1 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 1 Cup Shredded Gruyere (I buy already shredded Swiss/Gruyere mix from Trader Joe’s).
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan (optional)


In a large pot, heat butter and add onions. Stir on a low to medium flame until onions are carmelized. If you need to, you can add a little sugar to help speed up the process. 


Add wine and scrape the brown bits off of the bottom of the pot. Add broth and herbs. Reduce the flame and let cook for about 20 minutes (or more). Add the cognac or brandy.


Divide into individual, oven proof dishes. Place a piece of Sourdough toast (or your favorite Gluten Free option such as Udi’s bread) on top. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the bread (optional). Then, cover the top with the Swiss and Gruyere. 


Can you see my puppy photobombing the picture?

Cheese on the Onion Soup before melting it on top. Can you see my puppy photobombing the picture on the top left?

Put into a 400 degree F oven , or toaster oven or broiler until the cheese melts on top.


I am so happy I can make this for my husband. Some day, we'll go back to Paris!

I am so happy I can make this for my husband. Some day, we’ll go back to Paris!







Italian Wedding Soup

This is a staple in our house and I always make it after Thanksgiving as it’s a great way to use up Leftover Turkey. You can also use Chicken, Sausage or Meatballs.


  • Two cleaned Carrots , chopped
  • Two Stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • Water or broth to fill up 1/2 to 2/3rd of large pot
  • Cut up Chicken or Turkey (or Whole Meatballs or Sliced Sausage)
  • 1-2 Scrambled Eggs
  • Several  handfuls of Spinach (about 1/2 package but can vary).
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Bring water to a boil in and add vegetables (except Spinach).


Let simmer to make a vegetable broth.


Add poultry or meat or sausage.


Add Spinach, push down to cover with simmering liquid.


When Spinach is cooked, swirl in the Egg and then immediately swirl in the Parmesan.


Serve hot.


 party soup easy leftovers leftover turkey a way to use up leftover turkey or chicken italian soup simple recipe