Paula Guiliano is eager to pass on great recipes to food lovers and believes life can definitely be made better by cooking at home.
Guiliano is the author of "Life Beyond Takeout!: Chicago's Fabulous Foodies Speak Out About Food, Wine, & Life." She said the premise for the book lies in her desire to take fellow foodies on an "engaging culinary journey into the art of good cooking made easy through time-tested family and original recipes."
The book features 85 recipes and covers dishes that are perfect for simple Sunday dinners at home to holidays and celebrations of all types. Ethnic dishes from Italian and Greek to Polish and Jewish specialties are also in the spotlight as are American favorites.
Guiliano has enlisted the contributions of foodie friends Paul Ropski, Jim Karagianes, Fran Karagianes, Bill Gorgo, Geneva Gorgo and Marilyn Aleide in this culinary project. There are chapters and recipes provided by them as well.
"Our hope is to open up a sophisticated world of tastes and smells for you to discover. We are a passionate group of foodies who like to eat, and we have perfected the art of good eating by combining fresh ingredients with easy to follow recipes that taste great. This colorful collection of good smells and great tastes is meant to tease your senses and stimulate your imagination," she writes.
In addition, the book also includes a special chapter on wine and beer pairing by Wien-Bauer, Inc., an importer of various spirits.
Guiliano said food long represented a "link" to family and friends throughout her life. In the chapter detailing the history of her family, she said her grandparents migrated from Marigliano, just south of Naples, Italy, and settled in the Taylor Street neighborhood of Chicago. Her parents later moved to Melrose Park, also known as 'Little Italy," she said.
Calling food an "elixir that fixed what ailed you," Guiliano said "one of the reasons for compiling this book with some of my relatives and friends was to preserve these great tasting recipes and to pay homage to them for shaping and influencing our lives in so many ways."
Among recipes in "Life Beyond Takeout!" are Paula's Chicken Soup; Chicken Salad; Breaded Cauliflower; Spinach Ricotta Pie; Gravy and Gravy Meats; Chicago Pot Roast; Italian Sausage with Melrose Peppers; and more. FYI: lifebeyondtakeout.com
Try Guiliano's recipe for chicken salad
4 skinless, boneless, Kosher chicken breasts
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon dill relish
2 tablespoons sweet relish
3 large celery sticks
1 cup red seedless grapes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season four skinless, boneless chicken breasts on both sides and place in a small baking pan. Add 1/8 to 1/4 inch of water and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes until completely soft and tender. Remove chicken and cut breasts into small chunks or cube size pieces then set aside to cool. Use a fork to tear the pieces apart so they don't look so uniform. In a large mixing bowl, add chopped chicken, mayo, dill, sweet relish, and mustard, and mix thoroughly. Chop celery sticks very fine with an electric chopper making sure you don't puree the pieces. Add these contents into the mixing bowl and stir to mix evenly. Cut red grapes in halves then gently fold these into the mix and stir lightly making sure you don't smash the grapes. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator until cool. The chicken salad can be served as an appetizer by displaying it on a bed of lettuce or with crackers, and as a sandwich on your favorite bread.
Source: Paula Guiliano