Monday, April 6, 2015


That's right, ladies and gents -- Cissa & Cira are coming back!

But now Cissa likes to be called Moxie, and Cira likes to be called Lize (rhymes with "eyes")

So what the hell happened? 

OK, so, long story short?  Life.  Life happened, people!  Lize was busy with her kids being in a Major Motion Picture, and then still being an awesome mom, homeschooling her boys, auditions for the #CorboBoys, and even moving about a week before Christmas one year! Oh, did we mention the dog?  Yeah, they got a dog, too!

Moxie was just busy trying to finish school (she didn't), then got a job, then got another job, then lost her job, and is still trying to find a job.

Life. It's Chaos, I tell ya!

But both of us missed writing, and cooking so we could write about it!

So after some Facebook messaging back and forth, we've come up with at least two more recipes for us to cook up and test for you!  Are you psyched, or WHAT??

We?  Are totally psyched!  Almost as much as you are! :P

So, stay tuned to this space, Folks -- Soon our latest Cooking with Chaos adventure will be a reality!

~Lize & Moxie

Monday, May 23, 2011

Recipe #4 - Meatballs/Home made sauce

Woo hoo!  Let's talk about chaos for a moment here. 

A few weeks ago we took a planned one week hiatus.  The next week Cissa had too much going on with school so I was ready to take over the posting with Pasta e fagioli (pronounced kind of like pasta 'vazool').  Didn't have time to get a family recipe, scoured the Internet and came up with one lots of Italians claimed to like. 

GIANT disappointment. 

Sure the soup tasted good, but a true pasta e fagioli it was not.  Cue some family stuff along with Blogger going down and then my laptop crashing for a few days and that post just did not.get.up.  At any rate, we'll do it over with a better recipe another time.  Cissa's got a heavy work load again this week (I think) so I am taking over.  I know what you are thinking...what's with the heavy warm dishes, it's freaking May.  Well to that I say sauce and meatballs are always in season - but it's been cold and rainy here in New England for what seems like weeks now.  Lighter recipes to follow with better weather for sure.

I start by making my own sauce.  I throw in two 28oz cans ground peeled tomatoes, 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, 6oz. can of tomato paste and always some Italian herb mix I grind.  That's standard.  I usually change up the other things according to my mood.  Today I added a half a palm of crushed red pepper flakes, 3 cloves grated garlic (yup, i grate it so i don't have to chop it!)

1/2 cup red wine (measuring cup, not a wine glass - as fun as that would be) and some fresh basil.  Can be put on stove or crock pot but lately I find it easier to use the crock pot.  Less of a mess, easier to taste here and there to adjust the seasonings.

Then we move onto the meatballs.  While I have never been able to procure my dad's 'secret' recipe (which he swears is not a secret - and yet I don't seem to have it), I have worked out my own.  Not the same, but my kids like it.  Instead of a blend of meats like beef, pork and sausage - I stick with ground turkey.  Healthier and I promise it still tastes good. 

To the 2 pounds of lean ground turkey, I add 2 eggs, 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2-4 grated cloves garlic (depending on size)... and today I added a small amount of chopped onion.

I usually get somewhere around 30 meatballs from that mix, and I pop it under the broiler for about 15 minutes... the they all go right into the sauce to sit for the rest of the day in the crock pot to finish up cooking and to kind of marinate around in the sauce.  (Not a fan of raw meatballs in the sauce.  Partially cook them first to be on the safe side.)

About 15 minutes before serving dinner, I boil some salted water and throw in the spaghetti.  My boys like the thin kind so the thin spaghetti it was.  Spaghetti on the plate, add the meatballs and sauce from the crock pot, some grated Parmesan cheese on top and ....viola!

So much chaos I didn't even get good photos of my guys chowing down.  At any rate, a total success for dinner.  Clean plates all around.  And the best part?  Meatball subs a day or two later with the leftovers.  Mmm!

Stay tuned later this week where I make up for the lack of recent postings by making my absolute favorite dish.   Home made Eggplant Parmesan!!!!

And if by chance you happen to see


Tell her to call me.  Before I put her photo on a milk carton.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Recipe #3 - Doughboys!

Hello everyone and welcome back to Cooking With Chaos!

Cissa here; Well Easter, just passed, and here in Virginia the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. It's summer weather, and when I think Summer, I think of doughboys!

But alas, I am in Virginia now. And yet, every summer, I think of the deliciousness of doughboys. So, determined to make this cooking blog truly Rhode Island-esque, I found a recipe for doughboys and shared it with Cira!

Cissa's Attempt:

I have fond memories of going to Oakland Beach back in the 80's with my family and getting doughboys and grape soda in long neck bottles from the food stand there, Mrs. Gus's. It was my heaven as a little girl, and though now Iggy's is there in it's place (bigger and with more menu choices but in the same location), doughboys are still the tradition!

I think that if Murphy and his dang law hadn't intervened this week, I would have gotten this post done sooner. But all that aside, it was pretty easy, and Misk and Minion 2 had fun helping me out.

The Recipe:

Rhode Island Doughboys

Thaw 4 or 5 pounds frozen bread dough and let it rise overnight in covered bowl in a warm place.
Tear off pieces and spread them with your hands to make a flat circle about the size of a teacup saucer. Deep fry one at a time in hot vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Shake in paper bag of granulated or powdered sugar, or sugar & cinnamon mix while still hot.

I think using fresh dough will work just as well, and clearly if you don't want a million doughboys, you would use less dough! Here's my classic dough recipe I've used for this and last week's pizza strips. It's easy to double or more if needed.

Pizza Dough:
1 pkg. rapid rise dry yeast
1 1/4 c. hot water
4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast on water and stir to dissolve. add 2 c. flour and salt; beat thoroughly (wooden spoon works well for this). Stir in remaining flour. Knead on floured surface until smooth (approx 5 min.). Place in clean, lightly greased bowl & cover w/dish towel for approximately 1 hour to rise. Knead down risen dough before use.

How It Went:

Due to some chaos in our life, my dough was a little more...tough than I usually experience, but that's what happens when you have to chuck it in the fridge because putting together furniture trumps cooking for your blog.

Here are the little "circles" Kate, Misk and I made prior to frying.

I learned real fast that poking a few holes before frying was a good idea with tough dough...the first batch ballooned up and were nearly impossible to eat!

Ahh, I love my little Fryalator it was very handy for this recipe. Here are some of the doughboys in it (I used regular vegetable oil):

And here's the result, with granulated sugar coating (in my opinion the best way to eat them!):

Of course we wanted to show you the top 3 ways, so here's another batch in powdered sugar:


Misk, Minion 2 and I all loved them. Minion 1 had to wait until she got home from her big field trip, but an hour after they were made, she claimed they were delicious. Of course, for the purpose of this blog I had to check, and sure enough, she was right! The minions preferred the powdered sugar batch over Misk's and my preference of the granulated sugar batch.

Needless to say, I will make these again, and they will come out even better because I won't have to worry about the chaos of furniture assembly at the last minute!


Cira's Attempt:

Oh how I love dough boys. LOVE I tell you. My mom would make them at home growing up. If there was a festival in town I was getting the dough boys. Not the candy apple, not the cotton candy - the dough.boys. With lots of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Now that I have kids I make them occasionally for the boys just as my mom did for me. My kids though? (Are a little strange.) Like they will not.ever. eat potatoes - no matter what - unless it happens to be a french fry. How these are my kids I don't know. Traditional dough boys? They come with powdered sugar - cinnamon - granulated sugar if you want. My guys? Eat them with syrup. No clue how that started, but that's what they do.

It's been while since I've made the kids dough boys so I was excited for this week... until Cissa mentioned making our own dough. In my opinion there are 2 things all self respecting Italians should know how to do.
  1. Make a red sauce.
  2. Make dough.
While I have spent years perfecting and making my own sauces... Confession time. I have never.ever.ever. made my own dough. Yup, I buy it at the supermarket or a bakery while secretly envying those who make their own. I don't know why I never tired. While working at Papa Gino's as a teenager I would run the dough machine. But that was making dough in bulk. And it was so not fun weighing it all out and shaping it. Took forever. Maybe that's what turned me off. Cissa assured me that she had a quick recipe so I took a breath and tried it.

OK, that breath may have been the start of a panic attack... but who really knows.

How It Went:

There I was mixing the ingredients and thinking "yeah this is so not going to work."

But then? It started to look like this!

And believe me when I say I was having a heck of a bad day. Suddenly I was enjoying beating the heck out of ... *ahem* I mean kneading the dough.

My littlest came in from playing after I had let the dough rise and was so excited to see what it looked like.

Beat Kneaded it again for a moment, heated up the oil (side note - I used extra virgin olive oil - I will no longer fry in vegetable oil - just not good for you), and started dropping in some dough.

And voila. Look how beautiful.

I sprinkled a little cinnamon and granulated sugar on all of them while they were still hot (shhh, don't tell my kids) and brought them to the table. To my surprise the twins opted for (more) cinnamon and sugar on theirs, while my oldest went with the syrup as usual.


It was a hit (as I knew it would be). My youngest told me this was the 'best dinner ever' and asked if I could make it every night. Being my pickiest kid, that was a big compliment. Must have been the home made dough.

Totally recommend this recipe. The dough boys can be as big or as small as you want and taste best when eaten hot, right from being fried (and momentarily drained on paper towels to soak up the excess oil). Success! And best of all? (Now I feel like I'm really a real Italian!)


Tune in next Wednesday when we bring you another Rhode Island dish!


We hope you enjoyed our review and are welcome to suggestions on how to improve our posts, or have suggestions for future recipes!
Send us an email to!
Also, you can "Like" us on Facebook and add us on Twitter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recipe #2 - RI Pizza Strips

Hello and welcome to our next attempt at a dish that is a Rhode Island favorite!

Sure, you can get pizza anywhere in the world. Some good, some bad, some you think you died and went to heaven from eating. But only in Rhode Island can you get a pizza that is unlike any other. We're talking about Pizza Strips!

Cissa's Attempt:
Every bakery has their own recipe, and the preferences vary. I asked some of you on Facebook and got a bunch of answers: Calvitos, DeFusco's, Crugnales, DePetrillo's. No matter what your preference (mine personally is Calvitos!), everyone who's ever left Rhode Island has wanted to have the strips once they've left. I think my attempt can help you.

The Recipe:
2 lbs pizza dough (home made or store bought -- I made my own dough)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon grated Romano cheese
3 teaspoons granulated sugar

Divide the dough in half. Spread the dough onto 2 baking sheets, 11 x 17 inches each, that have been wiped with a little olive oil.

In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spread the mixture evenly over the dough. Sprinkle lightly with additional olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is crisp, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cut the pizza on each baking sheet into 15 squares, each approximately 5 x 3 inches in size.

How It Went:
This was insanely easy to make. The most work was making the dough earlier in the day. I had Minion 2 help me mix the sauce, and by the time I spread out the dough in the pans, it was ready to be spread! Of course, nothing goes right perfectly for me, so I actually had to cook the first pan longer because my oven decided to stop actually working for a few minutes. The second pan came out perfect after 15 minutes....

The sauce is ready to be mixed up

Home made dough is all spread out in the pan

Fresh out of the oven, it smelled AWESOME!

Seriously, it looks just like how I remember!

My family actually loved this. We ate it hot because I was heading out the door to go to the movies, and I wanted their feedback. When I tried seemed just a little too sweet. I think next time I make this, I will use 2 teaspoons of sugar instead of three. But all the same, I was amazed that it came out just about exactly how I remember Pizza Strips to be!

This morning, I just had to try it again. Every true Rhode Islander knows Pizza Strips are not exactly right unless they're cold or at least room temperature. The consistency of the sauce was better, and but it still had a little too much sweetness for me, but that didn't stop me from eating 4 squares of it today!

I think 1/4 of the olive oil was too much. Even after wiping down the pans before adding the dough and sprinkling the oil on the sauce before it went in the oven, both sheets of it, I had about 1/8 cup left in my measuring cup.


No doubt this was a total success for my family. A day later, and two pans worth (30 pieces) is almost gone! Sure, next time I will use less sugar, and maybe even a little less dough to make the crust slightly thinner, but even if I don't, it was delicious. I actually can't wait to have this again! This would be great for a party, and you can even make it the night before because letting it cool and sit at room temperature before serving is the way it should be. :-)

And now it's Cira's turn....


Cira's Attempt:
Split decision on this one. This week Cissa and I used similar recipes we found online, but with one difference - the dough.

The Recipe:
Pillsbury pizza dough (I used the store brand from the market)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese
3 teaspoons granulated sugar

Use a 9x13 cookie pan. Place olive oil on the pan and lay out the dough. Add the sauce liberally.

Cook at 400F for 12 minutes. Let cool. Sauce is enough to make 2 9x13 pizza's. (I bought 2 ready made pizza dough so I could use all the sauce.)

How It Went:
I have to say this was super, super easy to make. Oil the pans, lay out the dough... mix the sauce, apply and bake. I took a taste of the sauce and was amazed at how much it tasted just like what comes on the strips we buy. Impressed and excited to try the pizza.

Here it is when it came out of the oven:

If I were to do this over again I would use much less than 1/4 cup olive oil. Definitely too much.

I made the pizza a few hours before dinner so it would have time to cool completely. When my husband came home for dinner he took a look at it and actually wondered which bakery I picked the pizza strips up at. Great sign, right? I have to say after 2 small slices I was done. Trust me, not a good sign. The sign of really good pizza strips? You would want to eat more than your stomach could fit.

The flavor of the sauce wasn't the same after it was cooked, the dough was extremely thin and a bit greasier that it should have been. I was My husband on the other hand? LOVED it. The boys? Started out saying they liked it. The twins each ate 2 pieces but then complained they didn't like it. My oldest? Barely ate one slice. Let me have him sum it up for you.


Mmmm hmm. Denied by all but one. I think our search is still on.


Tune in next Wednesday when we bring you another Rhode Island dish!


We hope you enjoyed our review and are welcome to suggestions on how to improve our posts, or have suggestions for future recipes!
Send us an email to!
Also, you can "Like" us on Facebook and add us on Twitter!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recipe #1 - Fettuccine Alfredo

Hello And welcome to the GRAND OPENING of Cooking With Chaos!

Check us out! Our very first recipe together! We're super psyched to be doing this! And away we go!

The Recipe:
Here's the recipe we used if you would like to try this at home:


1 1-lb. box fettuccine noodles
1 stick butter or margarine
¼ c. cream cheese
1 pt. heavy cream 1 1/4 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. fresh garlic, minced
garlic powder

Cook noodles according to package directions. When noodles have been added to water, in a medium saucepan, melt butter & cream cheese over medium heat. Whisk gently to blend. Add cream and whisk to mix, stirring until hot. Add 1 c. Parmesan cheese. Whisk gently until well blended and cheese completely melted. Add a few shakes of garlic powder. Whisk until blended. Add fresh garlic. Whisk gently to blend. Serve hot over noodles. Sprinkle bit of remaining Parmesan over top for garnish.

Cira’s Attempt:
Cira here to start this post. Cissa was nice enough to lend me her recipe for this one. I have to say that even while I was growing up, more than 95% of the pasta I ate had one form of red sauce or another on it. I have only had Fettuccine Alfredo a few times, and this was a first for me making the dish at home.

I got my ingredients ready and realized I had not printed the recipe out. Chaos at my house as usual, the printer was not working and the boys were running in and out of the kitchen. Picture me trying to throw ingredients into a sauce and stir with one hand, while holding my Droid in the other to see what I needed to do next. In between that and trying to get the boys to stop running through the kitchen, I missed a step - throwing in the Parmesan before the cream. Which explains why it looked like this.

Thankfully I was still able to salvage it. Mmm, how good does that look?

Results? 3 out of my 4 boys (husband included) Loved it! Here's one satisfied customer.

The littlest guy? Not so much. Look at that side eye he's throwing his Dad when told to keep eating.

Yeah. It was like that.

Ruling:While I would rate this an overall success (that littlest one throws that side eye frequently), I have to say that I thought it was just OK. I felt like it could have used more flavor.... like something was missing. And I won't lie, as someone trying to take a little extra weight off, thinking of all that butter and cream I used didn't make me love it more. There are very few things I make that require ingredients like that. I was however amazed at how easy it was to make. And quick too which was awesome for nights where I'm running short on time.

(Cissa here and I wanted to add - Cira, I usually do a taste test, if it seems lacking, I add more cheese and/or garlic powder ;-) Something to remember next time!)

(Cissa! Didn't want to mess with your recipe! Lol)

Cissa’s Attempt:
Cissa here -- I would have to say that a major majority of Rhode Island population is of Italian American decent. Thinking of all the Italian last names of my classmates growing up (Miss Cira included here), its easy to assume that many a night in Rhode Island households dinner was classic Italian fare. It is with that in mind, that we bring you a recipe for our first week that is a staple in many Rhode Island homes, my own included (and yes, I am actually part Italian, go figure!).
Since I’ve been making this recipe for about 12 years now, it’s really hard to screw this recipe up. My biological mother would make this on very rare occasion, and it took years to find a recipe that matched the taste since she never bothered to write it down for me.
Here’s how it went for me…..
Whisking the butter and cream cheese.

Adding the Parmesan cheese

Garlic Powder added

Adding fresh garlic

The finished product, ready to be added to the pasta!

Fettuccine Alfredo with Parmesan garnish!
The Minions ate it all of course :-)

Most definitely a SUCCESS! My family loves this recipe, and I love to eat it myself!

Words of caution: I recommend that you use GRATED Parmesan cheese for this recipe. Shredded will work fine, but it takes longer to melt, and sometimes gets congealed in the sauce, throwing off the taste because it doesn’t get distributed evenly. You can get grated Parmesan in the “fancy cheese” section of your grocer’s deli section, where they keep the delicious Brie and other kinds of cheeses with names I can’t think of at the moment (that I don’t normally eat).


Tune in next Wednesday when we bring you another Rhode Island dish!


We hope you enjoyed our review and are welcome to suggestions on how to improve our posts, or have suggestions for future recipes!
Send us an email to!
Also, you can "Like" us on Facebook and add us on Twitter!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Method to Our Madness

or How Cooking with Chaos works:

Once a week, Cira and Cissa will pick a dish from our growing list of food that is uniquely Rhode Island. We’ll either do the same recipe one of us found, or use our own recipes for the dish, and document our cooking endeavors around kids, husbands and life in general, using pictures and narration. We also will provide each of the recipes for you all to try in your own home.

Each entry will have both Cissa’s and Cira’s cooking experience within it. We think having a “second opinion” is important, and not many cooking sites offer this. We’ll be honest, brutally so. That’s the Rhode Island way – we tell it how it is, and hey, you don’t like it? Sorry about your bad luck!

At the end of each of our entries, there will be a picture of the finished product then a review of our efforts and taste testing. Sometimes we’ll taste test with our kids or husbands, on foods we don’t necessarily want to try. For example, Cissa hates seafood, but her husband and kids love it, so she’ll leave their words to let you know how a seafood dish turned out. Cira absolutely refuses to eat anything with cooked eggs in it, and so she will subject her husband and sons to give it a go. Oh yes, we are NOT afraid to cook, but sometimes? We just can't bring ourselves to eat the food, no matter how good our intentions!

After our individual reviews, you’ll see one of three stamps:

The green “Success” stamp is for a positive experience, cooking-wise and taste-wise. These would be the recommended recipes for you all to try.

The red “Failure” stamp is for a negative experience, cooking-wise and taste-wise. These recipes we would caution against trying based on our experience.

The blue “Average” stamp is for an experience that didn’t exactly work out for either cooking-wise and taste-wise, and we felt it didn’t merit either Success or Failure, but we would probably try again and suggest to our readers to try, barring our warnings from the experience.

So that’s the method to our madness. We hope you will enjoy the recipes we share. We’re excited to bring the wicked awesome tastes of our home state to the rest of the world. There’s a lot of things about Rhode Island cuisine you can’t get anywhere else….until now!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hello World, We're Your Wild Girls!

While Cira and I work on formatting and sprucing the place up, here's a video about one of Rhode Island's most beloved foods - the Zeppole!