This cookbook includes a collection of some of my favorite meals and recipes. My hope is that these will inspire you to create delicious meals for your family and friends. My family teases me and says that I inherited the Italian cooking gene from my grandmother. It is true that her influence on my cooking, and in my life, is immeasurable. When I’m making homemade ravioli, tomato sauce from tomatoes from Italy, and especially when baking homemade Italian bread, I’m reminded of childhood memories of cooking with my grandmother in my kitchen. When asked how she made a recipe, she would say, “I used a little of this and a little of that.” She had such an extensive knowledge of Italian cooking, even though she didn’t follow a traditional recipe. I know she would be proud that I am continuing to carry on old world family traditions. I also learned to cook from my parents, Midge and Mike, and the Swiss and Irish influences from my mother still resonate today in my meals. I have been incorporating the lessons learned from my family with inspirations from my travels around the world, my own personal creativity and recipe development in my home kitchen, and my desire to avoid waste and incorporate fresh local ingredients. I call myself a “Homegrown Chef” and for more than a decade I have been just that. My youngest son, Jack, was diagnosed with food allergies as a baby, and eating out was not an option for our family. Healthy eating and allergy-friendly meals became a way of life. Jack, along with my husband Peter and my two daughters, Maggie and Sydney, have become my taste testers. In my recipes, I avoid using fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree-nuts and sesame. I also tend to avoid cooking with egg. I will note on recipes that apply if it is gluten-free, egg-free, tree-nut free, peanut-free, or sesame-free. I do not cook gluten-free, but like to note it if a recipe can be adapted. My cookbook offers recipes that you can make all year round. Some are Italian classics like my Italian Style Meatballs, Rustic Tomato Sauce, Spinach Lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan, Homemade Pasta, Ravioli, and Potato Gnocchi. I also offer some all-American fare like Chicken and Dumplings Soup that will warm your heart and soul, Creamy Dill and Lemon Dip, White Bean, Red Onion and Arugula Pizza, Roasted Vegetables, and Macaroni and Cheese. Some Mediterranean inspired foods like Homemade Hummus, and Lemon Chicken with Orzo are included as well. My desserts will not leave you disappointed. I offer an array of desserts including my Vanilla Cake, a scrumptious Apple Pie and a recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake that has been in my family for many generations. You will get your kids to eat their veggies with my Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Yam Cookies. Yummy or should I say Yammy! This cookbook provides a strong foundation in which to create delicious food for your family. Every recipe is easy to follow, nutritious and calls for you to use the freshest ingredients available. These recipes have become go-to family meals.